Kuching, Sarawak Cultural Village and Damai Beach

Sarawak Cultural Village is a 'Living Museum' where the village was set up to preserve Sarawak's cultural heritage. Sarawak cultural village located at Pantai Damai, at the food of Mont' Santubong. The 17 acres cultural village is a perfect place if to learn more about local cultures and lifestyles. Inside the village, the village residents provide information on their traditional cultures and lifestyles. There are about hundred over people (staffs) living in the village, demonstrating daily activities in a traditional way such as processing of sago and making handicrafts. Don't miss the cultural dance performance 

Beautiful Mon't Santubong can be see along the way the Sarawak Cultural Village. 

We arrived around 10.45am. Entrance fee RM60 for adult and RM30 for Child aged 6-12 years old. We got the ticket at RM50 per pax (RM10 cheaper) thanks to the Rented Taxi Driver who purchased for us before we reach SCV. 


A SCV Passport given at the ticket counter. We can get stamps on the passport while visiting the model houses in the village. There are also some other information inside this green booklet e.g. explanation of each ethic and their house, the dance synopsis (for the cultural performance) and etc.

Shuttle bus schedule where you can take from Kuching City Centre to Damai (Sarawak Cultural village is just located opposite Damai Beach.


After enter to the cultural village, on the right hand side is where souvenir shop, public toilets, auditorium and restaurant located at.

The Map of Sarawak Cultural Village. There are model house that represent major ethnic group in Sarawak: longhouses of the Iban, Bidayuh, Orang Ulu, Melanau tall-house; Chinese farm house, Malay Kampung House and Penan hut. 


Rumah Cina (Chinese House)


The first house we visit is Chinese Farm House. Chinese farmers in Sarawak migrated to Sarawak in the early 1900s, at the invitation of the Rajah who wanted to build up a solid farming middle class. Many came, most stayed; one-third of the state's population is now Chinese.

My sis and me are getting our first stamp on the "SCV Passport" at the red table. The Chinese house is divided into two main parts; the family room which contains the kitchen, eating and living area as well as a storage area for valuables such as bicycles or agricultural machinery, and the bedroom.

The staff in the Chinese house are selling some Chinese traditional food. My sister has a great sense when it comes to food. She always purchased those snack in those model house which selling traditional food snack and try it with us while we are busy browsing around haha!


The traditional Chinese way of making soybean milk (or tofu) using a stone grain grinder. My house used to have one where my mom would ask us to help to grind the soybean when I was young. My mom has a blender but I guess back then those blender were not strong enough to crush the whole soybean. 

Rumah Melayu (Malay House)


Next is Malay Kampung houses. I never visit a real traditional Malay kampung house except the replica houses in cultural park. Notice that the Malay kampung house was built with stilts below and they have large windows. This is mainly to keep the building cool and the stilts elevate the building to keep them away from floods.


Inside the Malay houses where the living hall is.


The 2 doors are bedroom (left) and kitchen (right).

The bedroom.

The Malay wedding hall and decos.

At the kitchen, the resident is making kuih bahulu using a mould on charcoals. 

Kuih bahulu, otherwise known as mini egg sponge cakes in English, is a popular delicacy among Malaysians, most commonly prepared for Chinese New Year or Hari Raya.  

Evidence of my sis who purchase snack for the second time haha! But thanks to her we have some snack to munch while browsing around.

One of the lazy cat sleeping at one of the corner in the kitchen. There are about 3 of them in the house. But beware! they are not friendly to strangers. ^^

Rumah Tinggi Melanau



Next to the Malay kampung house is the long house built with very tall stilt - the Melanau Tall House! It is at least triple times taller than the Malay Kampung House.

See how tall is the house when my husband stand near the tall house! 

The wooden stairway to go up to the tall house. Before we climb up to the tall house, the friendly resident (an uncle) who sitting under the house told us about the tall house while we get the chop for the passport. According to him the tall house also named "Lamin Dana" and it is about 30-40 feet high from the ground. 

Entrance to the living hall.


Next to the entrance, there are some these jars that use to preserve drinking water. A resident told us, the Melanau people would boil hot water keep in these jar and pour the whole jar of hot water down to chase away the enemy.


The healing hall. Long time ago, before the Melanau people converted to Christianity or Islam, they were animist and believed in spirits of nature. A "Healing Hall" in the main gallery contains artifacts used during a spiritual ceremony.




Hallway & bedrooms


Tree trunk carved stairs which lead us up to another floor in the longhouse.

Husband is trying to show the tree-trunk craved stair's step can only fit 1/4 of his foot size.

We are thrilled with the experience of climbing up and down with the tree trunk craved stairs haha!


On top is where the exhibition of wedding hall & newly-wed room of the Melanau people.


Another tree trunk craved stairs going down to kitchen. This time it is a short one - less than 10 steps but the steps is longer and wider size than the earlier one.

The Kitchen. This time no one is cooking or demonstrate in the kitchen.


Another corner of the kitchen and on the right is the stairs that we climb down to the kitchen.


Beside the normal tall stairs we climb to the living hall just now, this tree trunk craved staircase  is also another way to come up. 

The long house is normally built close to the river (here it is lake).

Behind the tall house is a sago making hut demonstrate the processing of the Melanau staple food. Before we can go to the sago making hut the staffs or residents at the cultural village urge all the tourist go to the auditorium hall as the cultural performance is going to start. (The performance starts at 11.30am).

Rumah Orang Bidayuh 


Another the cultural performance, we continue to visit the rest of the model house. The 4th model house we visit is Rumah Bidayuh. 

This is the round headhouse also name "The Barok", with the statue of a hornbill at its crest. The round headhouse is where single Bidayuh men will sleep inside, get ready to spring into action should there is any surprise attack.

The Bidayuh headhouse is a place to held a meetings or ceremony. Also a place where the weapons and prizes of headhunting are stored. The bidayuh house is also know as bamboo long house. Look at the floor that made of bamboos.

Drums and Gongs hung in the headhouse are not just for the ceremonies but also use to call for alarm when there is an emergency or attacks from enemy.

View of another Barok (round headhouse) from the Bidayuh Long House.

Next we head to the Bidayuh Long House located next to the headhouse. A Bidayuh lady give us a stamp on the green passport. 

These are the homestays for those who interested to experience living in a Long House. 

At the Bidayuh Long House, handicraft are selling here. 

The sleeping area.

A photo of us with the round headhouse and it's crest made of statue of a hornbill behind us.

 
The hornbill is a symbol of good fortune according to the locals.


Outside the Bidayuh Long house, along the path you can see these carved figurines that set beside the pathway to chase away the evil spirits.


We miss out this and wasn't sure what is it for (it should be fore farming purpose for the Bidayuh). If you know welcome to leave a comment and let me know, thanks!

Another wooden craved figurines beside the path when we walk to the next model house.

And do not miss to cross the famous Bamboo Bridge.

Rumah Orang-Iban



Next, we go to Rumah Orang Iban.


The Iban race, once known as “Sea Dayaks”, built their longhouses to last fifteen to twenty years, or, until the farm land in the surrounding area was exhausted. Then they packed up their goods and chattels and moved inland, upriver, along the coast, wherever fresh farm lands looked promising. About one-third of all Sarawakians are Iban; while some of them live in towns or individual houses, a large number still prefer longhouses. (info from the little green passport)

A traditional longhouse is built of axe-hewn timber, tied with creeper fibre, roofed with leaf thatch. Iban longhouse is diveded into three areas. A main hall in the middle (Ruai), multiple rooms (bilik) and a veranda (tanju) outside. An Iban longhouse usually has about 30 to 50 families living in individual rooms of the longhouse. The longhouse has a chief or headman (Tuai Rumah) who acts as the sheriff. 

Iban Pua Kumbu weaving. This traditional exquisite weaving call Tenun Karap. Weaving is an Iban housewife's recreation. Iban mothers taught their daughters the craft of weaving easy patterns at an early age. Most girls had completed one skirt by the time they were fourteen, and then proceed to larger projects. 

Some antique Iban gongs, colourful hornbill bird (Burung Kenyalang) carving, jars, animal fur jacket and weapon (Parangs) mounted on the walls. 



This is Kueh Cuan (Rose cookies) - The name "cuan" mean mould in bahasa Iban. It is a cookie mixture of sugar, wheat flour, rice flour, eggs, coconut milk and water. The "cuan" will dipped in the batter and the mold with batter will dipped in hot oil and let it cook for a while, until the mixture can be peel off from the mould. Continue to fried a little while and remove from oil and the rose cookie is done. 

Rumah Orang Penan


The Penan Hut is very simple hut with not much to see as the Penan is a nomadic people of the jungle. The Penans live in the dense virgin jungles of Central Borneo. 

Some are 'coming out' and learning to farm the land, others still prefer their roaming life-style. Penan shelters are quickly constructed to last for a few weeks or months. They are sited near a good stand of wild sago trees, the Penan’s staple food; after this has been used up, the family moves on. 

Visitors can watch blowpipe making or try blowpipe shooting with the Penans. Unfortunately no one is around the hut so we leave after a short visit to Penan Hut. Picture shown is not related to blowpipe! It is a monkey statue found beside the Penan Hut where husband find it interesting so he took the picture! 

Rumah Orang-Ulu


Last model house that we visit is Rumah Orang-Ulu. The Orang ulu are made up from a few tribes - The Kayan, the Kenyah, the Kelabit, the Lun Bawang and the other minor tribes.

The Orang Ulu typically live in longhouses elaborately decorated with murals and woodcarvings. Built on tall stilts around 30 feet high, the Orang Ulu longhouse is made mostly from hard ironwood and belian wood which can last for generations.

Climb this stairs that carved from tree trunk to reach the entrance to the Orang Ulu longhouse. Or you can use the normal staircase next to the building to reach there. ^^

At the veranda there is this very tall and heavy wooden drum.

Orang ulu are the most artistic of all the tribes with amazing designing skills show in the longhouses, murals and wood carvings. They are also well know for their Sape (traditional guitar) making, weapon crafting, intricate bead work and also tattoing.

Beautifully carved warrior Shield and vest (the white color piece on the most right is the vest made from animal skin). 

Tattoo & tools
Among Orang Ulu it is the high-ranking ladies who wear the best tattoo. A middle-class maiden may have a "bracelet tattoo" around her wrist; a Chief's daugther has her forearms, hands and leg tattoo with fine patterns that looks if she was wearing dark blue lace gloves and stocking!

The Cultural Performance

The cultural show held twice daily at 11.30am and 4.30pm at SCV's auditorium. The cultural shows highlights the various tribe dances of Sarawak. Don't miss the awards-winning performance if you visit SCV.  

The auditorium is full with audience with no empty seats! And it is air-conditioned (lol). 

I took some vidoes of each tribe's dance. I will share later after I compile it.

Compilation of all the dances and performance.


We had our late lunch at the Budaya Restaurant before we leave the cultural village.

They have the buffet style lunch with halal local dishes - you choose the dish you like and cashier will charge you according to what you pick. I have the rice with ikan pari (fish) and brocolli,, Sis's rice with squid and calliflower, husband's fried kueh-teow and Ayam Penyet as extra for three of us. Each dishes cost around RM8 - RM12 which is still consider reasonable for us.

Damai Beach

Opposite the Cultural Village is the beautiful Damai Beach. We take a walk for a while at this beautiful beach before we head back to Kuching. 

We walk through this long paver which leading us straight to the beach front.

 It's low tide in the afternoon. It is very quiet and seems like no beach activities here.

 Next to the us the buidling is Damai Beach Resort.

Photo with the giant hawk statue before we say goodbye!

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