If not for the GPS we would have been solidly lost trying to find Sarawak Cultural Village. There were no signs whatsoever until we were with a kilometer of the park and it took well over an hour to get there! As usual, we drove by a combination of braille and faith, liberally salted with u-turns and back seat wisecracks.
We wanted to visit Sarawak Cultural Village to give our kids an overview of the mosaic of cultures that populate the jungles of Borneo.
It’s well worth the trip.
This park is quite low key, and a perfect blend of teaching and exploration for kids of all ages. Around a central lagoon are a series of long houses representing each of the cultures of Borneo. Inside the long houses are locals from that people group, recruited from the outlying villages who are demonstrating the cooking, weaving, carving, or other arts and crafts of their culture. We sampled rice cookies, remarked on the similarity of the weaving frames to those we learned to weave on in Guatemala, and listened to women drum and sing in a language we didn’t understand.
The kids spent a half an hour practicing pounding out a beat with long bamboo poles while they danced between them, like we saw in the dance production put on twice a day in the theater near the entrance. They failed miserably at their first attempt blowing darts and cheered loudly when Dad succeeded in sticking his right in the soda can nailed to a tree for a target.
For me, the dance show was the highlight. I love the cultural diversity of dance around the world and it was wonderful to stand in the cool dark of the theater and watch the history of the island leap to life before my eyes.
If you make it to Borneo, it’s likely you’ll enter through Kuching. If you do, make time to travel out of town and spend a few hours learning about the life, history and culture of the tribal people who have lived here for thousands of years. It’s definitely worth the trip!
We took some pictures and some video to share with you, until you can make the trip yourselves!