By Sarawak Tourism Board on June 3, 2020
While travel in the country may be restricted at the moment, once it does open up, one of the destinations to surely put on one’s list for Cuti-cuti Malaysia is the biggest state in the country – Sarawak, the Land of the Hornbills. If in Kuching, do drop by the Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV), an award-winning Living Museum located just across the Damai Beach Resorts and Hotels. As Sarawak itself is such a vast land, visitors to SCV can experience Sarawak in just half a day by touring this 17-acre village which provides a glimpse of the culture and lifestyles of the diverse ethnic groups in Sarawak.
Take the opportunity to relive the daily lives of the various peoples of Sarawak, as there are models of houses for each main ethnic group in Sarawak, such as Iban, Bidayuh, Orang Ulu, Penan, Melanau, Malay and Chinese. Enjoy the experience during your visit where there is an enactment of their way of living with actors demonstrating daily traditional activities whilst garbed in traditional costumes. Take advantage of this unique chance to also witness their entertaining multi-cultural dance performances by SCV’s very talented dance group at the Village Theatre.
To give you a glimpse of this living museum, SCV, in conjunction with Sarawak Tourism Board (STB), starts off with a virtual tour of the different ethnic homes and short video clips by SCV. Video clips as per below link. https://scv.com.my/plan-your-visit/ethnic-house/
With a traditional built-up of axe-hewn timber and hays of leaves as roofs, experience an exuberant ambiance at the Iban Longhouse as one will be entertained with the sounds of drums and gongs being played throughout. Do not feel threatened by the interior, which consists of skulls being hung all around, as these carry tales from the past. Gain first hand experience of witnessing how the beautiful Pua textile is weaved and adorned. To learn more of the stories held in these four walls, have a sit for a chat with the longhouse elder. Adventurous foodies can enlighten their taste buds with samples of Iban local food like Kueh Chap and Kueh Jala, which are prepared hot and fresh on site.
The Bidayuh Longhouse consists of a round structure with bamboo walls and carvings surrounding the house, called Barok. It is connected to the longhouses resided by the Bidayuhs, which is a group comprising of Jagoi, Biatah, Bukar-Sadong, Selakau and Lara. It serves as a congregation place for the Bidayuh warriors and holds gongs, war drums, weapons and wooden masks. Experience a variety of rural activities by the people of Bidayuh such as sugar cane crushing, paddy pounding and winnowing rice, as well as delicate beadworks by the ladies to be worn as colourful accessories.
Surrounded with the rich greenery of nature, visitors can tour the Orang Ulu Longhouse whilst enjoying classical tunes of the Sape and Jatung Utang (stringed musical instruments) being played live. Witness the Orang Ulu ladies humming to these calming tunes while they work on their detailed beadwork. Other traditional musical instruments that are normally used can also be seen as they are hung all around the longhouse. Other highlights of the Orang Ulu Longhouse include art of body tattooing, Parang Ilang (fighting sword) and Kelireng (totem pole).
Unique in its own way, this ground-level Chinese Farmhouse is protected with verses, which are inscribed on strips of red paper and placed at the doorpost. With the roofing made out of leafs and walls finished with whitewashed sawn timber, this house has two main sections; main room and bedroom. The household shrine, which is the main attraction of the house, is located in the main room. An interesting addition to this house is most definitely the pepper garden, which can be sighted just outside the house.
Just like its name, the Melanau Tall House was built high up – up to forty feet above the ground. As the Melanau people used to live by the sea, being high up above ground level was a form of protection they had against pirates. The two-story house consists of a display of the tools and utensils they culturally use, which can be found on the first floor. Go up the second staircase and it leads you to the bedrooms. Don’t forget to take a break and snack on the Sago pearl and biscuits made right in front of you, while listening to legends of the demons and spirits there.
Suited for the hot climate, the front section of this wooden house comprises of floor level windows. This is to ensure some breeze when the area is occupied, which is commonly used by men for entertaining guests and official occasions. The house carries elegant details as even the stairs and window railings are decorated lavishly. Have a fun session and witness how the warm and friendly locals play their traditional games like Gasing (top spinning) and Congkak (a traditional Malay board-like game).
Built to last for a few weeks or months, these Penan shelters are usually situated near wild sago trees, which is a staple food for the Penan people. After the sago is used up, the families then move to a different location with more food supply. This explains why the Penans are also known as the forest nomads. In the Penan Hut, expect to gain first-hand experience in witnessing the art of blowpipe making as well as getting the chance to attempt blowpipe shooting with the Penans. According to the Penan warriors, “Do not blow from your mouth. Blow from your chest and your stomach.”