If you are planning to visit Sarawak soon for leisure and sightseeing purposes, Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV) should not be missed. Sarawak Cultural Village is located on the foothills of Mount Santubong, which is about 35 km away from Kuching.
Previously, I had a free two nights stay at Holiday Inn Damai Beach and SCV is only half a mile away from the hotel. I commuted to SCV using the hotel’s free shuttle service (although I should mention the walking distance is really quite short). I may have to split this visit into 3 posts because there are altogether 51 photos to show!
At SCV, One will get to experience the lifestyle, culture and witness the heritage of the major ethnic groups in Sarawak. Despite the expensive RM60 entrance fee, SCV remains as one of my most memorable visits in Sarawak and I really recommend it to anyone who can afford the tickets.
I saw a few foreigners who were turned away by the ticket price. After I completed the tour, I was pretty sure their decision was a mistake. Because, the ticket price is really worth it in exchange for a great experience. Besides, the price surely wouldn’t be a problem to them if converted into their native currency.
The signboard actually has the words “Selamat Datang Ke Kampung Budaya Sarawak”. But the early sun was so bright, it caused some reflection so you won’t really notice it in the photo. Or maybe it’s because my skills just sucked, lol.
SL and I were the first visitors to arrive at SCV that morning at 8.45am, we were quite excited about the trip really. For your information, SCV’s opening hours is from 9am to 5.15pm daily. When you’re at the entrance feel free to marvel at the wonderful rocks, which is actually already part of SCV’s attaction – a modern stone Sculpture Park. That’s me in the background (notice pointing arrow) waiting for the ticketing girl to come, lol.
As soon as you step into Sarawak Cultural Village, you will be greeted with a nice garden full of blooming flowers with various wooden statues placed around. Since Sarawak is also known as ‘Land of the Hornbills’, one of the statues is designed based on the iconic bird.
I am guessing the other wooden statues are created based on the major ethnic groups in Sarawak?
This statue is split on the face. I wonder if it was done intentionally..
A map and a booklet are provided at the ticketing booth as part of the tour package. The map shows the recommended roads to take for touring SCV while the booklet has a few square slots in which a stamp will be given everytime you visit an attraction. The first thing we did was crossing this bamboo bridge to the Bidayuh Longhouse.
The bamboo bridge was a sturdy structure built only a few feet above the ground. Still, you can’t help but feel a little nervous walking only on two bamboo branches. If I am not mistaken the Bidayuh used bamboo to make paths from village to village. So, you would have already experienced something on Bidayuh’s lifestyle by completing this routine, which is exactly the purpose of visiting SCV.
Whenever a guest enters the Bidayuh headhouse, the gong would be sounded. Then it would be followed by a traditional dance as a welcoming gesture.
Some tools used by the Bidayuh tribe on display.
The headhouse as seen from outside, it resembled a circular pavilion structure with a hornbill sitting on top of the roof.
Do note that most longhouses are dark and the smoke emitted from wooden fire made it really difficult to take nice photos. I tried to avoid using flash if I could so some photos are blurry.
The Bidayuh is actually a head-hunting tribe and the Bidayuh warriors would collect human skulls from the enemies they have killed. I did see some human skulls hanging from the roof top and I was told they were real human skulls. Quite scary, huh.
At the back of the Bidayuh longhouse was a middle-aged craft artist creating works of key chains, necklaces, stationary holders and most interestingly blowpipes. They are priced from a few bucks for the key chain to fifty for a blowpipe. You may argue the price is expensive for a simply looking key chain. But bear in mind they were made with real wild boar’s teeth hunted by the Bidayuh.
Also, you get to blow wooden darts through the blowpipe at styrofoam here. I was really surprised at how far the dart could travel (~3 metres) with its piercing strength by a simple blow, even the aiming part was darn easy.
The experience was so fun I deliberated whether to buy a blowpipe. I didn’t buy it in the end due to the price. But later before I leave Sarawak, I really regretted it.. You simply won’t find any more authentic and better looking blowpipe made using special types of bamboo in the common souvenir shops in Sarawak. In SCV, you get to buy the REAL thing, that could shoot darts! Compared to the blowpipes you get from the souvenir shop, which is really just a souvenir.
Outside the Bidayuh longhouse was a Bidayuh lady eagerly to show the process of deshusking paddy. She is real friendly and not camera shy too! Funny thing is she could pose better and faster than the visitors, lol.
In each quarter of the longhouse, there’s an occupant showing the daily activities of the respective tribe. For example, if you were in a kitchen area you’d see the occupant baking their traditional biscuits. Here, a lady is seen beading and making traditional hats which can be bought if you like them enough. That concludes the tour for Bidayuh Longhouse.
Random huts for resting like this are built around Sarawak Cultural Village. This one is located right next to the Bidayuh Longhouse. For the next part of the trip I will show the most exciting part of the entire SCV tour, the cultural dance performance. I hope the post about SCV so far has been as interesting to you as it was to me.
SCV is low profile. Seriously need more promotions! In Thailand a small cave and some hot springs in the North get promoted as serious tourist attractions.
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vk: Is it? I thought it should be a quite popular spot by now.. I think one SCV’s problems lies in the long distance from Kuching.. and there are not many attractions nearby
It’s great to see you posting on SCV! It brought back my memory there..
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vk: Thanks cariso.. I just wished my photos were taken much nicer..
great posting hopes did not know about this place b4 this great info….
vk: thanks.. I hope the info (although not much) helped.. I try to showcase the place via photos and through some descriptions
aiyoh when i was at Swk, there wasn’t enough time to go there :(
vk: I guess you were visiting Kuching? This place is quite far from the town, about 45 minutes’ drive away. So I had to stay at the hotels nearby instead
Wow Santubong is happening! I’ve often suspected that there are too many places I’m missing out on around Malaysia – I just don’t think we hear enough about them. Keep this up Vkeong!
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vk: Thanks jm, there are many places in Sarawak I haven’t blogged about.. pretty lazy actually because too many photos to edit.. :P
wow… i haven’t even been there despite being s’wakian. but it does look like it warrants a visit. and having real people demonstrate is tonnes better than wax figurines.
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vk: My Kuching buddy told me to visit this place. Because from what he told me, visiting Sarawak without going to the Cultural Village is like visiting Penang without taking the ferry or driving over the Penang bridge, lol
i went there twice when i studied there. hehe….i miss sarawak especially my uni..
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[…] mentioned earlier, the cultural show (mostly traditional dances) is the nicest among all attractions in Sarawak […]
thanks for sharing such a pretty photo.. it is nice…
Sarawak indeed is a very good place for vacation… If you have not done so, please do not miss Sarawak for the your next vacation destination…
Except Cultural village, I think Semenggoh Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre is also a “must” places to go….