Sarawak Cultural Village

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About an hour’s drive out of Kuching is the Sarawak Cultural Village. Here you can see a collection of buildings typical of the region, with locals showing the arts of cooking, weaving, and singing. The highlight is a dance performance showing the different regional styles, and a fine demonstration of how to use a blowpipe. The youngest member of our tour group was ‘forced’ up on stage for this latter performance, and it was great fun to watch as everything was done with sign language and a great deal of humour.

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Crossing bridges and going up and down stairs requires some skill in this village, but options did exist to allow you to use an easier route if necessary.

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Despite being given (after the event) a ‘Passport to a most pleasant and an unforgettable experience’, detailing the different buildings, our guide rushed us through leaving no time to figure out what was what. So, these are my best-guesses, and hopefullly I don’t offend anyone.

The first house you visit belongs to the Bidayuh, who account for 8.4% of Sarawak’s population, and who live mainly along the Sarawak and Sadong rivers.

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Next is a house of the Melanau people, comprising just 5.8% of Sarawak’s population. Nowadays they live in the central coastal region, and these houses are forty feet above the ground. The Melanau are sago eaters, not rice eaters.

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The other buildings belong to the Iban tribe (once known as Sea Dayaks and now about 30% of the population), the Penan tribe of nomadic people, and the Orang Ulu or ‘up river dwellers’. Then there are the houses of the Malays and the Chinese, but none of these are clearly identifiable to me in these photos. So, here is a collection of buildings and some internal shots.

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Borneo is famous for its head-hunters, and there was one example of a skull on display.

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A common ‘ornament’ features the hornbill bird, which is the national bird of Sarawak.

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The weavers installed in these houses wear their own produce, which you can buy but nobody does.

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The women demonstrating how to cook local delicacies have better luck in selling thier products.

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Back outside is a lake where you can watch the ancient craft of fishing!

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Just outside the village is the seaside! This is Damai Beach but be warned, crocodiles were recently reported to have taken several people from the next door beach.

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© Helen Gray 2020