borneo / sarawak cultural village

if you ever found yourself in Kuching, Sarawak, this is the one place you should visit. tucked almost an hour away from the city, it's located at the foot of Mount Santubong and just minutes away from the Damai beach. there is an entrance fee but don't miss the 45-mins performance held at the auditorium - it's all worth it.

the cultural village is a 'living museum', where one could learn about the major ethnic groups of Sarawak Borneo and how they used to live hundreds of years ago, at a glance. traditional houses were built here as exhibits, with the actual\closest materials they could find to resemble how it was in the olden days. Sarawak has more than 40 sub-ethnic groups, each with its own distinct culture, language and lifestyle. each with its tempting & bewildering handicrafts, it's hard to say no to seeing most of it in a day.

funny that the one thing i remember most from this afternoon though, was how sunny it was that Ken & i had to squint for hours, our clothes drenched in sweat. Kuching's heat in August is no joke, also for the fact that it's so close to the sea. looking through the camera while we took these photos was a real struggle when it was blindingly bright, i remember clicking away not knowing whether i got the focus right. i'm just glad that we survived the day - but hey, i'd do it all over again :)

left: an artwork hung behind the entrance door of the Bidayuh house.

right: the 'orang ulu' (upriver people) house, built in the mountains with carved tree trunks as pillars.

the Chinese started arriving in Sarawak as far back to the 17th century so it's not surprising that there is a Chinese farm house here too, they have been around long enough to call Sarawak home. they now make up about a quarter of Sarawak's population, and are Sarawak's second largest ethnic group after the Ibans. so i took this photo of Ken walking into the farmhouse & we made a silly joke after, saying the 'Chinaman' is home :p

^ sculptures by local artists are spread across the huge compound.

left: we found this little guy & he quickly became our model-of-the-day :)

right: fishing traps, hand-woven with rattan strips.

^ the 'ta'ah' of the 'orang ulu'. handmade, covered in beads.

^ there is this sewing machine too, a simple exhibit showing how people change the way they work through the years, when modern things were made available within reach.

^a view of Mount Santubong in the distance.

i left most of the photos wordless - it's hard to describe much & understand unless you're there, in person. as a native, i couldn't help but feel happy that this place exists - in its own ways it remind us of our roots & some of the traditions of our ancestors, that we still hold ever so dearly in our hearts. the wooden houses with huge tree trunks as pillars are long gone, the head-hunting days are long gone. but none are forgotten :)