Mari Mari Cultural Village is our next Sabah trip destination after feeling upside down at Rumah Terbalik (Upside Down House). Mari Mari Cultural Village is about 25 minutes of driving from Kota Kinabalu city. The village is a big area in the jungle which aims to share the tradition of Sabah to the local people and the tourists. You can experience the lifestyle and culture of the many ethnic groups of Sabah. There are 5 different tribes which are Kadazan-Dusun, Rungus, Lundayeh, Bajau and Murut. “Mari” means “come” in Malay, so lets come come and experience the culture of Sabah tribes.
Before that, let’s watch a video of fire making by the tribes using bamboo. According to the guide, a girl cannot get married until she knows how to make fire using the method in the video. I guess fire is very important for cooking food and also for the heat during a cold day.
Learn about cultures and history of Sabah tribes at Mari Mari Cultural Village
Welcome to Mari Mari Cultural Village. You can see that it is in a tropical jungle and there are many tall trees. The weather is quite hot during our visit, so remember to bring an umbrella if you plan to visit this awesome village.
Our guide starts to explain about Mari Mari Cultural Village. He also showed us this map in case we get lost in the huge village.
Walking on the hanging bridge into the cultural village. Get your camera ready here because there are many interesting stuff to shoot.
Do you see the human skull? Murut ethnic is well known for headhunting and they will hang up the skulls for display. But do not worry because those are Made In China, according to our guide.
Our handsome guide in his traditional cloth explaining non-stop about the tribes of Sabah. I can tell that he is very passionate about his job in sharing with us about the wonder of the Sabah’s tribes.
Inside one of the tribe’s house. This is their traditional kitchen area with the cooking utensils.
Laupoh choosing some ingredients to be cooked in a bamboo later. This is the first time we try to cook a meal in a bamboo.
Mix up all the ingredients of chili, onion, garlic and some unknown stuff before cook inside the bamboo.
Cook a meal inside bamboo at Mari Mari Cultural Village
The ingredients in the bamboo are then cooked on top of fire. Anyone love barbecued bamboo?
We also get to taste the local tribes’ rice wine at in the cultural village. The wine taste is quite strong and the aroma is very fragrant. Don’t drink too much if you do not want to get drunk in the village.
One of the traditional long house of the tribes at Mari Mari Cultural Village, Sabah.
Another traditional house of the tribes in Mari Mari Cultural Village, Sabah. Visitors can enter into most of the houses here to visit the interiors and learn about the culture of the tribes.
This crocodile shaped place is used for drying up the skulls from the headhunters. Is there a real crocodile body underneath it?
According to our guide, the roof of this house can be opened easily. It can functions as a secret place to launch attack against invading enemies and also as a natural air-conditioner. Besides that, guys can also use the heavy roof to build their muscles.
Some beautiful handicraft made from rattan, bamboo and wood.
This vase is a container for the bones of a villager’s head who passed away.
The stairs to the Bajau house in Mari Mari Cultural Village, Sabah.
Learn about the tribes of Sabah at Mari Mari Cultural Village
We stop by at the pandan juice stall to try traditionally prepared pandan juice. The pandan juice is freshly prepared on the spot.
The boss pouring the hot pandan juice for us to try. It is so yummy and refreshing. Really a welcoming drink on a hot day at the village.
Our guide posing with the pandan juice’s boss. I think he loves cooking too besides sharing stories about Sabah’s tribes.
The old kettle used to cook the pandan juice in Mari Mari Cultural Village, Sabah.
This is a booth inside a Bajau tribe house for bride and bridegroom during a wedding. I remember this is the most colorful room among all the rooms in the cultural village.
Some gongs which are traditional instrument for the music of the Sabah tribes.
This is inside a Bajau tribes’ kitchen. The traditional cooking utensils are shown here.
A handmade colorful hat on display in one of the traditional house in the cultural village.
Laupoh preparing dinner using the traditional method, without gas or electricity.
In one of the village at Mari Mari Cultural Village, a grandma covered with dark cloth waiting to greet us. I’m not sure which tribe is she from and I do not dare to ask her.
Murut tribe of Sabah is well-known for their headhunters
Before entering the village, the village head will ask some questions. Remember to answer the questions carefully or you might be denied to access the cultural village.
The village grandma will use a broom to welcome you to Mari Mari Cultural Village, Sabah. The broom has the power to swipe away all your bad lucks.
This guy with a long sword in traditional warrior costume will jump out of nowhere and try to scare you. I’m not sure if the sword is a real sword.
Our guide explaining the sumpit (blowgun), a weapon used by the tribes for hunting animals and humans.
We all get the chance to try the sumpit (blowgun) to hit a target. It is not easy but I believe one can get good at the sumpit after practicing.
This is a Murut tribes’ house. The Murut is well-known for their headhunters.
A handmade decoration on the ceiling in the long house. There are many handmade decorations in the tribes’ houses.
Everyone also get a chance to be tattooed in the cultural village. The tattoo will last for 3-5 days or longer if you do not take bath.
A hibiscus (bunga raya) tattoo. Be careful after the tattoo is drawn as it takes time to dry up.
Get your tattoo made in this cultural village
The tattoo making corner. You can get your traditional tattoo made here in the Mari Mari Cultural Village.
A shield of the tribes for the war at Mari Mari Cultural Village.
Spotted this big spider in the village. Do watch where you are heading.
After visiting all the tribes’ houses, there is a traditional dance performance. You can also join the dance and they will be happy to teach you.
After the performance at Mari Mari Cultural Village, there is tea-time buffet. Food included are rice vermicelli, fried chicken, barbecued banana and potato.
They will also serve you the bamboo cooking that you have chosen for a light meal.
Is it worth to visit this Mari Mari Cultural Village for your Sabah trip? Yes, it is. You will gain the the experience and learn the rich cultures and history of the tribes in Sabah. The tour guide here is very knowledgeable as well and the performance show is amazing. Besides that, you will also go home with a nice tattoo.