Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Wonderfully Wild Adventures of Jungle Girl - Borneo, Part IV

I digressed a little by putting photos up of Sentosa Island, Singapore, however I remembered that I was still yet to write the final series of my Borneo adventure!

Now... where was I.... oh yes.....

After coming back from the nature walk up on Mount Santubong at around 2pm, I had a quick swim in the resort pool to cool down and a little bit of a rest on the hammock to replenish the energy levels. I then headed down to the Sarawak Cultural Village for the World Harvest Festival - where I was supposed to have been had i not gone for the walk! As it turns out, the festivities were only just starting so I look back in hindsight and am glad that I did not go any earlier - it would have made for a very long day!

The Sarawak Cultural Village is found on the foothills of Mount Santubong, 35 km away from Kuching. The website ( describes it as:

"[a] living museum [that] depicts the heritage of the major racial groups in Sarawak and conveniently portrays the respective lifestyle amidst 14 acres of equatorial vegetation. Here, it is possible to see Sarawak's ethnic diversity at a glance.

The handicraft is both bewildering and tempting, including the Kain Songket (Malay cloth with gold inlay), Pua Kumbu (Iban housewives textiles), Melanau Terendak (sunhat), Bidayuh tambok (basket), Iban parang (swords), Orang Ulu wood carving and Chinese ceramic."

Visiting this Cultural Village was definitely one of the highlights of my stay in Sarawak. It allowed me to come face to face with Borneo's culture in its entirety, from the famous Borneo longhouses that the native tribes built, to the way they cooked, the utensils the tribes used, to the celebrations that matter to them most. I spent much of the afternoon wandering around, visiting each of the longhouses and exhibits, including the Bidayuh, Iban, Orang Ulu and Melanau longhouse, a Penan hut and a Malay village house, and a Chinese farm house.

Hopefully, I am correct in my recollection of the differences between the tribes! Each tribe - Bidayuh, Iban, Orang Ulu and Melanau - has its own unique characteristics. Their longhouses are unique to each tribe as well as their methods of hunting and agriculture.

IBAN - For centuries the Iban, a tribe which lived near the rivers of Borneo, were feared because they practiced headhunting. Now that headhunting is banned, they have learnt to live peacefully as agriculturalists alongside their neighbours. Thankfully! They have their own traditional dance, music, textile-weaving, blow-piping, fishing and game-playing and spend more time exhibiting skills than the headhunting ones!

ORANG ULU - is a tribe which describes the collection of groups from the interior region of Borneo. These groups include the Kenyah, Kayan, Kelabit, Lun Bawang and Penan. They make up on 5.5% of the Sarawak population and are known for being the most artistic of all of the tribes. The photo above right is the Orang Ulu longhouse.

MELANAUS - Wikipedia states that "the Melanaus have been thought to be amongst the original settlers of Sarawak". Wikipedia also says that traditionally, "Melanaus were fishermen and still today, they are reputed as some of the finest boat-builders and craftsmen". The house in the photo on the right is the Menlanau Tall House.

BIDAYUK - This tribe is concentrated on the west end of Borneo and make up 10% of the population of Sarawak. Wikipedia says that the Bidayuhs are "well-known for their hospitality, and are reputed to be the best makers of tuak, or rice wine. they also do arak tonok, some kind of moonshine."

I spent a lot of the day with my camera to my eye, taking as many shots as i could before the festival crowds started to roll in, ready for the evening's events.

Enjoy the numerous photos that represent Borneo's culture - a culture that all Borneans maintain with pride - in both their dress and in the stories they tell.

Spice utensils

A wooden musical instrument in the New Orang Ulu longhouse.

Artwork in the Melanau Tall House

Wooden Carving in the Melanau Tall House

Traditional Light Coverings.


  1. Thses are pretty good. I love the houses and the craft

  2. Its a beautiful place. I love the abstract shots of the lamps, the mortar and pestle and the instrument.