Weddings at the Sarawak Cultural Village
 

by Paris Permenter and John Bigley


Borneo. Just the name of the isle carries with it the romance of Southeast Asia. Miles of virgin jungle cover the world's third largest island, areas that were once home to warring headhunting tribes.

The headhunting days may be long gone but the culture of this region's inhabitants lives on. The best place for an overview of the diverse cultures is the Sarawak Cultural Village, a living museum located near Kuching, the capital city of the Malaysian state of Sarawak. Along with its position as an informative attraction, this living village also serves as one of Asia’s most unique wedding sites.

Seven traditional houses showcase the cultures of the region at this center. The two of you can start your visit at the Bidayuh headhouse, traditionally a gathering place for tribal elders and warriors. A basket of human skulls, a reminder of warlike days, still hangs at the appropriately named headhouse.

More peaceful times are recalled at the Iban Longhouse, where women weave ceremonial blankets and a master woodcarver carries out generations-old techniques.

You can try your skill with a blowpipe at the nomadic Penan hut or taste biscuits made from the sago palm at the Melanau tall house. Taste the kuih jala or wedding rice cake. The sounds of the sape fill the air at the Orang Ulu longhouse. A traditional Malay house, built high on stilts, displays preparations for a Muslim wedding while a Chinese farmhouse explains how birds' nests are prepared to make the famous soup.

The two of you will have your choice between three of these sites with a Malay, Iban, or Bidayuh wedding package. Each of the packages includes use of the local clothing you’ll need for an authentic ceremony as well as a honeymoon suite at the nearby Holiday Inn Damai Beach, champagne breakfast, and more.

The traditional Malay ceremony takes place beneath a saffron, green, and red bedecked canopy within the traditional Malay home. The bride and groom don golden wedding outfits for the traditional ceremony on the second floor of the open-air home. For the Iban wedding ceremony, the bride wears a tall crown of silver while the groom wears a headdress of feathers. The traditional Bidayuh wedding ceremony brings a rustic charm to the ceremony, surrounded by bamboo mats and friendly smiles.

For more information on the Sarawak Cultural Village, see www.sarawakculturalvillage.com or email info@sarawakculturalvillage.com for more information on the wedding programs.


 


Husband and wife team Paris Permenter and John Bigley have authored over 20 guidebooks and also edit the FREE Lovetripper.com, a romantic travel magazine featuring worldwide destinations.


RETURN TO ROMANTIC GETAWAYS MAIN PAGE