This living museum centres on seven traditional dwellings, including three tribal longhouses, a Penan hut, a Malay town house, a Melanau tall house and a Chinese farmhouse. It may sound contrived, but the SCV is highly esteemed by locals for its role in keeping their cultures and traditions alive.
At 11.30am and 4pm daily, a cultural show presents traditional music and dance. The lively Melanau entry involves whirling women and clacking bamboo poles, while the Orang Ulu dance features a blowpipe hunter.
The dwellings are (supposed to be) staffed by members of the ethnic group they represent. Signage, however, is poor, so if you don’t ask questions of the ‘locals’ – who demonstrate crafts – the subtle differences in architecture, cuisine, dress and music between the various groups may not be apparent. At the Penan hut you can try a blowpipe, while the Malay house offers top spinning.
It may be possible to book workshops in handicrafts (eg bead making), music and dance – contact the SCV in advance. If you’re planning to get married, you can choose to tie the knot here with a colourful Iban, Bidayuh, Orang Ulu or Malay ceremony.
Hotels and tour agencies in Kuching offer packages (RM250 per person, minimum two), but it’s easy enough to get here by shuttle bus or private taxi. The SCV is located at Damai junction.