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A guide to Rainforest World Music Festival 


July, 2017

Have you ever heard a music festival concert in the jungle? Well, I am sure you have heard of it and one of it would be in Malaysia itself! It is located in the Land of the Hornbills, Sarawak. The Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) is celebrated each year at the Sarawak Cultural Village in Santubong, which is the 45-minutes drive from Sarawak capital city, Kuching. In addition, RWMF is a 3-days jungle musical fiesta from various ethnic and folk acts from all around the world.

I got the chance to visit the festival for the first time in my life, and I could tell you that you won’t be disappointed to go there. One travel bucket list ✔

* Tips: An early preparation of buying the entrance fee ticket through online is a MUST to avoid from purchasing the ticket at an expensive rate.

This year, RMWF celebrated its 20th anniversary on 14th – 16th July 2017. Performances and workshops by world music celebrities were done in the morning. At night, the rainforest vibrates with folk and tribal music from various talented artists from around the world. This festival has attracted many music lovers from across the globe and enjoy the weekend of ethnic and traditional music surrounded by Borneo jungle.

RWMF is considered unique because it brings people together from all around the globe to perform and celebrate this musical festival. Moreover, it is suitable for singles, couples, tour group, and even families with kids to visit. However, there are some of the lists of things that you can do at the RMWF, and this is base on my recent visit to the music festival last weekend. I hope these list of things will cater to anyone who plans to go celebrate the festival next year.

Participate in the RWMF workshops

A guide to Rainforest World Music Festival
Learning to play the musical instrument.

#Funtimes at the #RWMF2017! Mini sessions were overflowing with people today.

A post shared by RainforestWorldMusicFestival (@rwmf.official) on

These RMWF workshops are not to be missed out when you are there in the late morning till afternoon. This is where you can see some unique classes that involves with traditional and cultural. Some of the classes may give you the opportunity to learn traditional music instruments, such as learn how to play the Sape; Sarawak’s traditional music instrument. Apart from that, other classes involve singing, interactive cultural dance, and short performances. The workshops are held in the traditional houses, you can check out the event schedule and time of each of the workshops that you can participate.

Try out the local traditional food

A guide to Rainforest World Music Festival
Traditional Kayan food
A guide to Rainforest World Music Festival
Lunch by the mini waterfall

No festival is complete if you did not get the chance to savor the traditional food. You can try out the food of the people of Sarawak; Bidayuh, Orang Ulu, Chinese community, etc. I got the chance to try out the traditional food from one of the indigenous tribe in Sarawak;- Kayan Tribe. The best part, I get to enjoy the food beside a mini waterfall! How cool is that?

Make a visit to the arts and crafts bazaar

The arts and craft bazaar is considered unique, as it features many traditional and ethnic crafts from Sarawak Borneo. Experience the various design of bead work, weaving skills, woodcraft, and traditional instrument making. You can also purchase some of the local traditional jewelry and souvenirs there. The arts and craft bazaar is held in two places in the Sarawak Cultural Village, one will be at the bottom of Melanau tall house, and the other would be at the Malay house.

A guide to Rainforest World Music Festival
Beautiful handmade Jewelry from beads at the bottom Melanau Tall House.

Check out the tattoo exhibition

A guide to Rainforest World Music Festival
Visit the tattoo exhibition during the 3-days RWMF.
A guide to Rainforest World Music Festival
You can also get yourself a tattoo too!

The tattoo exhibition is held at the Bidayuh Longhouse in the Sarawak Cultural Village. This is where you can see the creative work done by the tattoo artists, as well as requesting the tattoo artists to design a tattoo for you, either traditional hand poked tattoo or the non-traditional way. However, it is a bit expensive if you want to do tattoos there. However, if you want to get the experience of traditional hand-poked tattoos, then this is the chance for you to try.

Stay healthy in the Wellness Program

??? #yogalover #yoga #twins #rwmf2017

A post shared by weiwei (@tutuwei0207) on

This year, the Wellness Programme is the newest addition to the festival and perfect for those health enthusiasts. The Wellness Programme such as yoga, Zumba, and even body combats were implemented during the festivals. So, don’t forget to bring your sports attire for next year festival!

Have your own village tour

A guide to Rainforest World Music Festival
Bidayuh Tribe House
A guide to Rainforest World Music Festival
Ulu Tribe House

Apart from going to participate the RWMF workshops, you can also explore the cultural villages house. It is known as the ‘living museum’, as it was set up to preserve and showcase Sarawak’s cultural heritage. Take the chance to see the architecture building of the traditional house, and also understand the local lifestyle and cultures in the olden days. So, be prepared with a hat, face towel, sunscreen and comfiest shoes for you to explore the area.

Relax at Damai Beach

A guide to Rainforest World Music Festival
Relax and chill by the beach. Photo by : Izza Fara

Another best thing you can do during the RWMF is to hang out at the Damai Beach, which is one of the most popular beaches in Kuching. The Damai beach stretches for about 1km long. You can just go to the beach for a suntan, play around in the sand or even enjoy the sunset view from the beach.

Don’t forget to join the 1Drum Circle

A guide to Rainforest World Music Festival
Get involved in Drum circle to play the drums, percussions and more

This is considered the most exciting activity in the RWMF and you should participate it. 1Drum circle is led by the, as they provide an interactive drumming experience to all. Whether you are young or old, are welcome to sit in a circle and join in the joyous musical experience. You won’t need a skill or experience to play with the drums and percussions because there will be a facilitator who will guide the group in rhythms and rhythms-based activities. Feel free to choose whichever musical instruments or you can bring your own too and have fun!

Lastly, enjoy the night festival performance

A guide to Rainforest World Music Festival
RWMF Night Performance

RWMF main purpose is the music festival performance, listening to the traditional music from different countries around the globe would make your mind blown! My favorite would be the performance from 1511 0 Maliao Maliao Dance Troupe from Malaysia, too bad I could not take a video of the performance due to heavy rain that night. Check out the video below on how day tour of RWMF2017 looks like:

Although I spend only a day at the RWMF, it was all worth it! I will make sure I’ll be back there again next year! So, are you ready for next year’s festival? Feel free to read our other blog post entry on “Newbie Guide to Rainforest WOrld Music Festival (RWMF)“, so you can know what to expect for next year festival! 

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