Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Getting your groove on at the Sarawak Cultural Village

The Sarawak Cultural Village provided an ideal way to ease into Borneo. I don’t know about you, but I like to settle in before turning up the adventure. Whether it is hiking, traveling, drinking beer, running, any activity, I like to get my groove on first before really hitting it hard.

When my plane flew over Borneo after a a long commute to the airport in Kuala Lumpur, the last thing I wanted to do when I hit the ground was to hit a hot humid jungle and start trekking. I felt this same way the next morning. Therefore, I was glad that my first tour on my itinerary was the Sarawak Cultural Village.

The Sarawak Cultural Village was located about 45 minutes outside of the capital of Sarawak, which is Kuching. It was just me and a friendly couple named Trevor and Pauline from New Zealand on the tour. The village was located in the shadow of the beautiful Mt. Santubong. As soon as I saw the mountain I had an urge to break away and climb it. I had to fight with myself and remind myself to go easy.

The Sarawak Cultural Village consists of examples of longhouses, dwellings, handcrafts, and other examples of the seven main ethnic groups from the people that live in Sarawak. The seven groups consist of the Bidayuh, Iban, Penan, Orang Ulu, Melanau, Malays, and Chinese.

There are actually over 40 sub ethnic groups in Sarawak alone. It would be ridiculous for the village to try and focus on all 40, so concentrating on just the main seven is a good way to acclimate visitors like myself who need to be eased into the experience.

Each visitor to the Sarawak Cultural Village was issued a passport. You could then get your passport stamped at each section of the village pertaining to the individual seven ethnic groups. The passport has a one page section on each ethnic group with a little picture of each style of housing, so it is a tremendous keepsake. I of course kept mine in my fanny pack.

At one of the longhouses, we were greeted by a very attractive young lady. She invited us in and performed a beautiful welcome dance. It was mesmerizing, and I have the video on my phone and watch it almost daily. I am not sure what I enjoyed more, the dance itself or the catchy music in the background.

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