Mari Mari Cultural Village, Sabah: Living the Olden Way

Mari Mari Cultural Village, Sabah: Living the Olden Way

Now you’ve probably heard of Mari Mari cultural villages, but you have no idea why you should visit them.

You have only heard how about the prehistoric times but not had a chance to live it in the past. The way of life in the past seems impossible to live and be happy with the limited options to do things, unlike the current times.

Well, this is the feeling that you get once you step in the Mari Mari cultural villages.

In the three hour visit, you get to interact with traditional homes of Sabahan ethnic communities – Murut, Bajau, Rungus, Lundayeh, and Dusun. All the individuals are descendants of one of the tribes.

A visit to the cultural villages gives you a chance to see traditional tattooing, blow-pipe making, fire-starting, and hear their mystical belief systems of each tribe. This tour can especially be fun for families.

You could also get to see a short dance if you are lucky. The village is only 30 minute east of Kota Kinabalu and you can book for transport from your hotel to the place.

Visiting the Mari Mari cultural villages also gives you a chance to see the Kiansom Waterfall, which is 400 meters from the village and can be accessed via foot or private transport.

The area has a great place to swim, and it is really a good place to cool off after a long day.

This is, therefore, not a typical-boring museum kind of tour.

It is an opportunity to experience Borneo’s traditional way of living – how they used to cook, hunt, and make fire long before electricity was introduced in their land.

Here is a summary of the 5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Mari Mari Cultural Villages

1. Best Place to Experience Culture and Tradition.

How much do you know about your culture and your predecessors? What were their beliefs, and what was their favorite activities? In what way are they influencing your way of life today? After visiting the cultural villages, you will definitely want the answers to this question.

During the trip, the guide will take you to the houses of each different tribe and let you learn their culture, lifestyle, and history in depth. You get a firsthand experience on how they start a fire with bamboo and use it for cooking, and blowing pipe to hunt.

2. Participate in the Cultural Activities

The tour package includes traditional food tasting, tea time, meal time, and local guide. You will have five friendly guides who are from each of the five tribes.

The guides are very jovial and willing to share about how tribes came into existence and what their ancestors were like. They will also teach you about the beliefs they had in the jungle and how they have evolved with time.

You will be thrilled by how different their food and tea is from what you are used to  in the busy world. Each tribe has their special traditional food, so prepare your taste-buds for adventure.

The best time is probably the chance to try some of their traditional activities like making fire from bamboo, blowing the Murut blowpipe weapon, and other light activities.

3. It is a Chance to Fully Immerse Yourself in Nature

When was the last time you were away from the busy city life? The traffic? Loud music? Hawking activities and busy schedule?

You may not realize this yet, but that life can be draining to your body. A break from all that noise would be a great way to reset your brain.

It is easy to think and have more perspective under the tall  trees and green grass with rivers flowing and birds singing than in the noise.

The quiet environment also helps deal with your fatigue, refreshes you, and makes you more productive at work.

This visit will, therefore, save you so many hours that you would have spent on projects as a result of tiredness.

Mari Mari Cultural Village traditional wear
Traditional wear

4. It’s a Relaxed and Sightseeing Activity

Most activities in Borneo such as climbing Mount Kinabalu and visiting the Danum Valley may limit your experience if you want to carry your kids in your vacation. However, Mari Mari cultural village visit is conducive even for kids as it is a sight-seeing activity. You can, therefore, walk around with them as you bond after long days at work as you discuss the exciting cultural activities.

It is also a good time to teach your kids about your own culture and what your ancestors believed to get to know themselves at a deeper level.

5. Visiting the Cultural Villages Helps Maintain the Fading Culture

Culture and tradition are slowly fading away, and the next generation may never have a clue of their roots. Only a few villages still live like people did in the old days.

Most of them have advanced and are now using electricity. The locals have, therefore, put so much effort in maintaining the villages, which is why visiting them is a way of honoring their work.

Besides the chance to showcase the beliefs, history, and lifestyle of their ancestors, it is also a form of employment to them. They perform best to bring you back to the historical times.

One Final Word

We do not have to live like the olden times, but understanding how our ancestors lived is essential.

It is not about being like them but mostly understanding why they did what they did and how it influences our beliefs today.

It is also a chance to be thankful for the transformation that has happened over the years, such as electricity to make life easier.

Most importantly, you learn their methods of calming themselves and dealing with challenges which gave them longer lives.


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