The Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV), also known locally as Kampung Budaya Sarawak in Bahasa Malaysia, is amongst some of the most popular destinations and attractions in Kuching, Sarawak. Located at the foothill of Mount Santubong, 35 kilometer away from Kuching City, there the indigenous people of Sarawak, the land of the hornbills, are just a 45 minutes drive away, as Sarawak Cultural Village is like a living museum inhabited by many tribes namely Malays, Chinese, Iban, Bidayuh, Orang Ulu, Melanau and Penan.
Let’s talk about Sarawak Cultural Village history. First of all, its owners are the Sarawak Economic Development Corporation, or SEDC. The village formation was inspired by the tourism industry in 1960s. The idea came naturally due to the uniqueness of the house architecture in Sarawak by the indigenous people, as well as thanks to the area’s beautiful, green and fresh natural scenery. A 17 acres area was put aside to build the village. It is believed that the cultural performances in the village garden in the 1970s were the driving engine to the opening of the Sarawak Cultural Village in 1989.
One of the interesting items at the village is the many traditional wood houses with original architecture, one style for each tribe. This list is not extensive: Bidayuh Longhouse, Iban Longhouse, Penan Hut, Orang Ulu Longhouse, Melanau Tall House, Malay House and Chinese Farm House. At those houses you are able to experience the unique lifestyle of these tribes: Malays weaving Songket (a silk or cotton fabric belonging to the brocade family of textiles of Malaysia), Iban cooking Kuih Jala (a traditional bite-sized snack from Sarawak), and the Orang Ulu making their Sape (a traditional lute). Other than this, you also get a chance to see these tribes making their special handicraft, like the Terendak (a conical hat made of Melanau palm-leaf) and the Tambuk basket from the Bidayuh.
In the Dewan Lagenda, you can attend an authentic cultural performance which lasts about 45 minutes and includes songs, dances and entertainment that revolves around the history of Sarawak. Come early in order not to miss this spectacular show. It usually takes place on mornings at 11.30 am and afternoons at 4 pm, two shows per day.
Another attraction at the Sarawak Cultural Village is the amazing Bidayuh bamboo bridge. You do not need to worry about safety, and you will enjoy the journey from start to end. I am the living proof: I am Bidayuh, and used this kind of bridge to cross big rivers. Yet here I am, still alive!
And apart from traditional wooden houses, cultural performances and bamboo bridges, the Sarawak Cultural Village also organizes exciting activities and big yearly events like the Rainforest World Music Festival and the World Harvest Festival. I have attended both of these exciting events, and I guarantee you that they are well worth it!
Nowadays, many of the traditional tribes of Sarawak leave the forest and migrate to the city due to civilization and modernization. This is why I believe the Sarawak Cultural Village is a great project to keep up the culture and the traditional practices, keeping these tribes from extinction. If Kuching is on your traveling plans, don’t miss a chance to visit this village, where you can see Sarawak in one day. I’m pretty sure you will enjoy your visit.
If you go to Sarawak Cultural Village, do visit the surrounding area too. Sarawak Cultural Village is neighbouring places like a golf club, hotels and a lovely beach, and near there you can engage in activities like jungle trekking, a walk to a waterfall and a superb meal in a seafood restaurant.
Entrance fee to the Sarawak Cultural Village is 60 Malaysian Ringgit for adults and 30 Malaysian Ringgit for kids 6 to 12 years old. Kids below 6 enters for free. To reach Sarawak Cultural Village from Kuching, you can hop on the City to Damai Shuttle, hire a taxi or enquire in a local tour agent.
For more info: http://www.scv.com.my