Culture and Heritage
Sarawak, the largest state in Malaysia, is home to 27 ethnic groups. With 45 different dialects, each group has their own unique stories, beliefs, traditions and cultures.
You can meet people from the Iban tribe, known for their legendary headhunting customs from days of old. They have long since ceased headhunting, but they still maintain their rich customs, art, practices and language.
The Orang Ulu, or ‘people from upriver,’ comprise of different tribes such as the Kayan, Kenyah, Lun Bawang and Kelabit. Their exotic art and music has spread internationally, as seen in the growing popularity of the boat lute or sape. The sape has become the symbol of the Rainforest World Music Festival, one Malaysia’s largest music festival.
Entrenched in Sarawak’s history are the remnants of the reign of the White Rajahs, the Brooke family monarchy that ruled the Kingdom of Sarawak from 1841 to 1946. Traces of the Brookes can be found throughout the state, from physical reminders such as colonial buildings, preserved relics that populate today’s museums, and events such as the Sarawak Regatta, to the more intangible traces within the law and culture of the people.
Sarawak’s ever-expanding world-class museums, authentic hospitality, and a diverse religious and cultural trade, all form part of the cultural attraction.