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Sabah has a land mass of 76, 115 square kilometres and is the second largest state in Malaysia. From the coastal lowlands to the mountainous regions, these vast landscapes of Sabah are inhabited by as many as 70 ethnic groups and sub groups. This is according to statistics obtained by Sabah Museum. To really understand and be familiar with Sabah tribal people one would have to travel many miles, and this is also time consuming.
making vest out of tree barks
Thanks to Mari Mari Cultural Village. Now everyone can visit and experience the culture and lifestyle of Sabah's five largest ethnic groups at just one place and with ease. Mari Mari Cultural Village was established in November, 2008, and is located at Inanam district, which is only about 20 minutes away from Kota Kinabalu. A visit to Mari Mari Cultural Village is like taking a time machine and travel back in time to the prehistorical North Borneo. with the fast talking and detailed explanation of an experienced guide from the establishment this journey will surely leave visitors with an unforgettable encounter and a wonderful time.
Upon arrival at the entrance of the village, visitors will be given a short briefing on what to do and not to do. Next visitors will be ushered across a magical suspension bridge that will bring every one into this by gone times and homes of Sabah tribal people. Tranquility and serenity immediately fill up the air. In the midst of this, lust green forest hills confront the visitors and a small rocky stream cuts through the village, where the five tribal houses are: namely the Dusun House, Rungus Longhouse, Lundayeh House, Bajau House, and Murut Longhouse.
Each traditional house has its unique architectural style and was built by the descendants of the tribes they represent. Visitors are invited to venture into these traditional dwellings to learn, see, feel and experience the custom and the simple yet intricate lives of these tribal people (tribes).
Demonstration huts along the main houses show case the daily activities of old. From the simple task of cooking with bamboo to the complex and sophisticated process of making Montoku (rice wine), and from starting a fire without lighters or matches to the tedious and time consuming way of making vest out of tree barks, visitors get to experience all these and many others interesting activities.
One of the highlights of the tour is the visit to the Murut Longhouse. After greeted by the chief all visitors must go through a customary Welcome Ceremony before being allowed inside the longhouse. Do not be alarmed if one notices a few skulls (real ones) hanging on the ceiling, As Murut is one of the headhunters' tribes in Sabah, and these skulls are simply being handed down from generation to generation. The Lansaran, a traditional trampoline like floor, is built right inside the Murut Longhouse. With some demonstrations by the Murut youths, visitors are invited to jump in and have a go at it.
The last part of the tour is to be entertained by the many different traditional cultural dances. Varieties of dances are chosen from the many ethnic groups of Sabah, each has its own unique style, costumes and music. These dances include the very popular Magunatip dance or bamboo dance, where rapid foot works are a must in tempo with the many long bamboo sticks knocking against each other. Perfect timing is vital here. After some busy picture takings with the colourful dancers, visitors will proceed to the main hall, where a buffet meal is served. When the meal is over one can browse through the souvenir shop, where all the products are hand made. Then it is time to bid farewell to the villagers and Mari Mari Cultural Village, and take the coach ride back to the 21st century.
Mari Mari Cultural Village has three daily guided tours, at 10:00 am, 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm. This tour packages can be bought at various tour agents in the city. Each package includes return coach transfer, an English speaking guide, lunch or high-tea or dinner.
Adult : RM 150
Child (5 to 11 year old): RM 130
Adult : RM 130
Child (5 to 11 year old): RM 100
Traverse Tours Sdn Bhd
Lot 227-229, 2nd Floor
Wisma Sabah, Jalan Tuan Fuad Stephen
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia