Kota Kinabalu: Visiting Mari Mari Cultural Village


Kota Kinabalu: Visiting Mari Mari Cultural Village
Day two of our visit in Kota Kinabalu, we started with an enjoyable trip at Borneo Reef World and nearby islands, Palau Sapi and Manukan. In the afternoon, our group went back to Pacific Sutera Hotel to freshen up and prepare for the next agenda, Mari Mari Cultural Village. There, we had an unforgettable encounter with the 5 different ethnic tribes, how it was and as it is! 

We left the hotel around 5:20 and reached the village around 6pm, travel time took us about 30 minutes. It was getting dark and raining when we started the tour. I realized I might have problems when taking photos but on the brighter side, I could enjoy the tour more just listening and observing. Then again, I was reminded that I am also here to document the experience thus I needed at least a nice photos.  


The village operates as a museum with it's primary purpose which is to preserve the Borneo ethnic culture. They share their history, culture, and tradition with you so that it is not forgotten.

Oh, how can I forget it, where I had my first tattoo done at the village by one of the tribesmen. I tried to ask him what the tattoo means, I guess he was too shy but he said it has something to do with famously feared headhunting tribe Murut.



Kota Kinabalu: Visiting Mari Mari Cultural Village

The tour provides a real experience of the Borneo culture, the ways and lives of indigenous ethnic groups. 



Kota Kinabalu: Visiting Mari Mari Cultural Village
Dusun house
We visited each tribe's traditional house and participated in some house activities such as cooking. The tribesmen demonstrated starting a fire from bamboo tree and the making of blowpipe. 


Kota Kinabalu: Visiting Mari Mari Cultural Village
Kota Kinabalu: Visiting Mari Mari Cultural Village
Kota Kinabalu: Visiting Mari Mari Cultural Village
Kota Kinabalu: Visiting Mari Mari Cultural Village
Kota Kinabalu: Visiting Mari Mari Cultural Village
Rungus Longhouse
Kota Kinabalu: Visiting Mari Mari Cultural Village

Mari Mari Cultural Village features 5 different ethnic tribes in one village. They are the famously feared headhunting tribe Murut, the rice farmer Kadazan-Dusun, the Rungus tribe, the hunters and fisherman Lundayeh and the Bajau


Steps of making a fire from bamboo tree without using a lighter. 

making a fire from bamboo tree
making a fire from bamboo tree
making a fire from bamboo tree
making a fire from bamboo tree

The tour lasted more than two hours. From reception or assembly area we proceeded to Dusun house then the Rungus longhouse, Bajao House and finally Murut longhouse


Kota Kinabalu: Visiting Mari Mari Cultural Village

Perhaps, the most exciting part of the tour is our encounter with the Murut tribes. We didn't know they were hiding from the trees when suddenly they came out and surrounded us. Although we were instructed what to do when we reach the Murut longhouse, still the experience was different. Perhaps the timing added more excitement.  Overall, it was a unique and meaningful experience, as if we're really in the olden days



Kota Kinabalu: Visiting Mari Mari Cultural Village
Kota Kinabalu: Visiting Mari Mari Cultural Village
Wedding Ceremony Set-up
At the end of our journey into the past, we reached the performance hall

Kota Kinabalu: Visiting Mari Mari Cultural Village
Performance Hall Mari Mari Cultural Village

Here's a short video of the Mari Mari Cultural Dance Performance. 





Food has always been part of the tour, we enjoyed traditional and even fusion cuisine for dinner. I will not go more detail on food since I will write a separate post featuring featuring the food we had in Kota Kinabalu, so stay tuned. 


Elevated abaca platform as tribal Trampoline


Elevated abaca platform as tribal Trampoline



Mari Mari Cultural Village offers three (3) tour schedules everyday, 10 am, 2pm and 6pm. 



Zest Air now brings you to Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur so I would suggest including Kota Kinabalu in your travel list.  




If you like this post, join me on my journey through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram






**This is part of the Kota Kinabalu Series. 

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