Mari Mari Cultural Village Trip
“Kota Kinabalu is famous all over the world for its rich cultural heritage”
This is a phrase I’ve been telling my clients many times but sadly, I myself have never been to visit or experience my own heritage. So one day, I decided to join a trip with my guests and visit one of the famous places in Kota Kinabalu where I can know more about our own unique Sabahan culture and ethnicity, and honestly I was quite excited I was finally visiting Mari – Mari Cultural Village.
We drove from Kota Kinabalu City with my three other guests name Victoria, Gemma, and Kelly, for about 30-40 minutes to Mari – Mari Cultural Village. We finally reached Mari Mari Cultural Village located deep in the countryside, away from the modern and developing Kota Kinabalu city.
As we were reaching, I could see the amount of tourist and local people coming to visit Mari – Mari Cultural Village as well. It was a total shocker for me as I never imagined it to be so packed with people of all ages. At the counter, we were greeted by the friendly in – house guides and we were split into smaller groups of four. Our guide, known as Nursey, was our cultural guide for that day.
We made our way to the hanging bridge above a beautiful small flowing river, which I managed to get a great panoramic view of the landscape. As we walked by, we stopped at the first house of the biggest tribe in Sabah;- the Kadazan tribe. The house was made from rattan and bamboo materials with a river flowing behind it;- my guests and I felt like we were transported back in time. Our guide was very informative whilst bringing us into the Kadazan ethnic house, and showing us how the Kadazan tribe lived and their daily routine life. I was quite surprised seeing the bed layouts of how families lived back in the day;- for a single lady, she will have to sleep above the parent’s bed. So every night, the single lady will climb up a rattan staircase that she later removes so nobody can go up, for added security.
We were given demostration in making the rice wine or in Kadazan language, it’s called as ‘’Tapai’. Like other guests, I tried the rice wine as well with my other three guests. We took a selfie before we took the shot. HAHAHAHA! Totally insane! The taste was different than other alcohol that I have tried, and a good experience to have too!
Then, we continued our journey to other tribe houses, all different than the other. What really caught my attention was the Lundayeh house. We were all told to stand in one line and before us, was a man in Lundayeh’s full attire, creepily staring at us from head to toe. The said man spoke to the person in front of the line (he was a Japanese tourist) who basically didn’t understood a word he said.
So our guide translated it for us, he was asking questions like,
“ Who are you?”,
“Why are you here?”.
Our guide told him that we came for a visit, in which he responded,
“Can you take care of your people?”,
“Ay ay” said our guide which meant yes in their dialect.
We were finally given permission to get into the Lundayeh house and while making our way into the house, we got the shock of our lives;- a really small and old Lundayeh lady was at the side of the door giving her blessings to all of us while we made our entry! I didn’t even realize she was there until I was close by! She seemed like a high priestess as I got closer to her, and I thought to myself, being that old, she might know some ancient magic!
Once we were done visiting all the tribe houses in Mari – Mari Cultural Village, we were entertained by several tribal dances which attracted my attention;- they were using bamboo sticks! This dance is called Magunatip dance. The dance was so enthralling and fun, they also wore different traditional attires, representing different ethnicities here in Sabah. It really made me realize how beautiful our culture is, and how we should all preserve it before it gets extinct.
Lunch you ask? I assumed it was going to be a simple lunch, but I was wrong. It was a huge buffet spread dude!! HAHAHA! We were super excited when we saw the spread because we were starving by the time the tour ended. We ate loads! There were so many different delicacies found and I was excited to find my favorite BBQ Chicken with spicy sauce there. DELICIOUS!! HAHAHA (yes, I get excited when it comes to food).
After lunch, we took the opportunity to take more photos before we left. My guests and I really enjoyed ourselves on this trip. The great hospitality of the in-house guide and how well informed they were of the tribes here in Sabah, Borneo, made the experience and money spent totally worth it! Can’t wait to visit Mari – Mari Cultural Village if I have the opportunity again.
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