Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Land of the hornbills unique crafts draw tourist

KUCHING: Sarawak is known for its diversity in unique handmade crafts, and the state’s symbol of the

Land of the Hornbills’ has become a major attraction to both local and foreign tourists.

Jalan Gambir and Main Bazaar Street, located in the heart of Kuching, are drawing most of the tourists from Japan and Korea who are keen to purchase pepper products in bulk to bring back to their country.

Foreign tourists also go for handicrafts such as the face masks featuring ethnic patterns and antique items as well as Borneo-style keychains, the Iban cotton cloth known as ‘pua kumbu’ and Sarawak batik textiles.

Sarawak Tourism Board media division manager Gustino Basuan said the Sarawak handicrafts reflected the culture of the respective tribes in the state.

“For example, handicrafts such as pua kumbu refer to the Iban culture and ‘sape’ traditional music instrument from the Ulu ethnic group… each pattern woven or carved symbolised the ethnic motives that are not available in other countries,” he told Bernama here.

A tourist who often visited Kuching, Khalid Ahmad, 43, from Perak, said he loved to buy products made of ‘Belian’ wood, such as spoons and spatulas as well as Sarawak batik, while a tourist from Switzerland, Diane Peter, 21, was interested in the Sarawak cultural diversity displayed in the wood carvings.

Meanwhile at the Sarakraf Pavilion in Jalan Tabuan, here, which serves as the art and crafts heritage centre, restaurants, homestays and the museum featured creative designs for woven products.