Sabah Cultural Village – First Hand Experiences with Sabah’s Traditional Culture

by | Jan 12, 2018 | 0 comments

If you want an immersive cultural learning experience, it is best to visit a Sabah cultural village.  We’ve put this list together of some of the top cultural villages in Sabah.  These cultural villages make it easy to a first hand experience of Sabah’s unique and diverse cultures.  

Sabah is home to 32 recognized ethnic groups. Each one has their own culture and traditions, many of which are still practiced today.

1) Mari Mari Cultural Village

Cultural Villages tour in Sabah Borneo

A visit to Mari Mari Cultural Village will bring travelers a chance to go back into prehistoric Borneo, where travelers can witness the traditional houses of Dusun, Rungus, Murut, Lundayeh, and Bajau, which were built similarly as the descendants of the tribes that they represented. Located about 25-30 minutes away from the Kota Kinabalu city, Mari Mari Cultural Village is surrounded by tall trees and the silence of the rainforest, which provides a tranquil surrounding for travelers to feel relax while exploring Mari Mari Cultural Village. Apart from that, travelers will get the authentic experience of learning the history and mystical belief systems of each of these tribes by an in-house guide. Anticipate on the exciting activities there such as blow-pipe making, henna tattoo, traditional delicacies preparation, Montoku (rice wine) processing, traditional performances and more.

Visit Mari Mari Cultural Village.

2) Monsopiad Cultural Village

cultural Villagers in Sabah Borneo

Face your fear on listening to the fearsome tales of head-hunting in Sabah Borneo when travelers make a visit to Monsopiad Cultural Village, which is a living museum that is located just about 25 minutes away from Kota Kinabalu city. A visit to Monsopiad Cultural Village offers any travelers a glimpse of Kadazan (one of the major tribe group in Sabah Borneo) tradition and history. The museum is to dedicate the life of Monsopiad, the legendary warrior, and head-hunter for Kadazan people, as he became the villager’s protector when he successfully hunts down the robbers of the village and taking the robbers’ heads as trophies. One of the main highlights at the Monsopiad Cultural Village is the “House of Skulls”. Travelers will get to listen to the stories of Monsopiad’s battles and witness the 42 skulls collections exhibit there.

cultural Villagers in Sabah Borneo
cultural Villagers in Sabah Borneo

(Above): Soothing the sound of gongs played by local in Monsopiad Cultural Village. Photo by David Lim.

(Left): Monolith which invokes a dozen legends on Monsopiad. Photo by Steph_Pere

3) Borneo Cultural Village

Cultural Villages Tour in Sabah
The latest cultural village located at Papar, Sabah Borneo, offering locals and travelers to gain an experience on Sabah Borneo natives lifestyle and tradition. It is known to be the largest cultural village in Sabah Borneo that showcases more than five tribes’ traditional houses, such as Brunei, Chinese, Murut, Tidung, Bajau, Kadazan Penampang, and others. Almost all of the traditional houses are built from bamboo and palm leaves, create an authentic feeling to those who visit there. Apart from that, enjoy cultural show dance performances, traditional games, getting a henna tattoo and taste out the local delicacies.
cultural Villagers in Sabah Borneo
cultural Villagers in Sabah Borneo
cultural Villagers in Sabah Borneo

Photo of Borneo Cultural Village area. Photos courtesy of Borneo Cultural Village

4) Murut Cultural Centre

Cultural Village Tour in Sabah Borneo
To gain more in-depth about Murut tribe in Sabah Borneo, Murut Cultural Centre is the one that travelers should drop by for a visit for their Borneo day tours. It is located about 10 kilometers away from Tenom town, which is home to Murut tribe community and the main gateway to other areas within the Murut heartland. Going for a visit to Murut Cultural Centre enable travelers to understand more on the Murut culture and history, such as the unique architectural building, handicrafts, traditional music instruments and many other artifacts that are symbolic to the Murut culture and heritage. In addition, a yearly Murut celebration which is Kalimaran Festival is always held at the Murut Cultural Centre, which exhibits more on Murut handicrafts, traditional costumes, local foods, and games, etc.

5) Linangkit Cultural Village

Cultural Village in Sabah Borneo
Get personally acquainted with the Lotud tribe, one of the indigenous tribe of Sabah Borneo, when going for a visit to Linangkit Cultural Village in Tuaran for about an hour drive from Kota Kinabalu city. Lotud tribe are known for their skillful weaving especially for linangkit. Linangkit is a form of needlework and handmade decorative embroidery using interlacing knots, it is the unique traditions activity of the tribe. Apart from that, travelers can get to know the Lotud people daily activities, such as fishing, hunting, and making the traditional costume. Travelers can try on the traditional costume, participate in exciting handicraft-making, traditional food preparations, cultural performances, river cruising, firefly watching and more.
After going to one of these cultural villages in Sabah Borneo, travelers may gain new experiences and knowledge on learning the culture in Sabah Borneo. Travelers may not only capture some pretty photos, but they too capture a memorable experience that they can be shared with their loved ones back home!
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