Journey into Sarawak

February 22, 2012 by

Day Trips, Things To Do, Tours & Activities

Hut in the Sarawak Cultural Village. Photo courtesy of Ben Sutherland via Flickr.

Hut in the Sarawak Cultural Village. Photo courtesy of Ben Sutherland via Flickr.

The Malaysian melting pot of Kuala Lumpur is the very definition of fusion. The cross-pollination of countless cultures and ethnicities combined with a massive economic boom has rendered modern Malaysia an almost psychedelic assemblage of humanity. If you want to explore the real roots of regional culture, however, it pays to leave the bright lights of the big city behind and head out into the jungle.  There are few better places to undertake such a journey than the state of Sarawak in the Malaysian section of the Island of Borneo.

The obvious place to start is the world famous living museum that is the Sarawak Cultural Village (aka the Land of The Hornbills). Accessible via a 30-minute drive from the nearby city of Kuching, the traditional structures at this 17-acre village feature activities and artifacts designed to expose visitors to various ethnic cultures, including the Iban, Bidayuh, Orang Ulu, Melanau and other tribes. For travelers with limited time, the many tours and tour groups that are available here offer a chance to enjoy an authentic exposure to the culture in as little as half a day.

Those lucky enough to have more time and resources at their disposal may want to explore deep into the island interior to visit isolated tribal villages and remote pockets of humanity which maintain traditional methods of subsistence, cooking, and celebrating community. Iban communities in particular are excellent destinations for trekkers, as they are both welcoming to outsiders and culturally intact. This is because many young Ibans expose themselves to outsiders when they venture into more populated areas of the country for education and work, and also tend to return home for holidays and retirement.

Note: it is highly inadvisable (and largely impossible) to undertake such a journey without the services of a qualified guide.

- John Reality

Planning a trip? Browse Viator’s Malaysia tours and things to do, Malaysia attractions, and Malaysia travel recommendations, or book a private tour guide in Malaysia for a customized tour!

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