Monsopiad Cultural Village in Sabah

Monsopiad Cultural Village in Sabah

Monsopiad Cultural Village is a traditional and cultural living museum in the district of Penampang in Sabah and is located just outside of Kota Kinabalu city. This place is very suitable for anyone who wants to learn about the Kadazandusun culture of Sabah and can be visited in just half a day.

Similar to the Sarawak Cultural Village but on a much smaller scale, this unique place is really worth visiting if you have an interest for Sabahan culture and heritage. The Monsopiad Cultural Village or MCV is also located about 16 kilometers from Kota Kinabalu city. It is recommended that you go with a tour guide so that he or she can explain everything in detail to you. 

Monsopiad Cultural Village PictureMonsopiad Cultural Village Gong welcomes you

The good thing is that Monsopiad Cultural Village works with most of the tour agencies in town who offer this tour package as a half day tour, so if you are interested, just inquire with them. As for me, I usually rent a car and self drive there. This way, I get to experience more along the way, provided that I have ample time on my hands too. 

Cultural Village grounds

The village also has four cultural shows a day seven days a week and the charges are RM45.00 for Malaysians and RM65.00 (2011 prices) for foreigners. Kids and students have lower rates. This includes a full tour, welcome lihing (rice wine) drink, cultural show and access to all areas in the cultural village.

Monsopiad Information
Monsopiad is actually a famous fearsome warrior and headhunter of the Kadazundusun poeple in Sabah and this cultural village is named after him in respect. He apparently beheaded all of these enemy warriors hundreds of years ago and there are a total of 42 perfect condition skulls on display. Currently the MCV is being looked after by the direct descendants of Monsopiad. How cool is that.

Traditional Skulls SabahHanging skulls on display

As you walk around the Cultural Village, you will see various huts with many different ethnic cultures. From ethnic musical instruments, bead working, skulls on display, weaving, souvenir shop and even rice wine making. So, the 3 or 4 hours spent there will be well worth it.

Cultural Show at Monsopiad The main stage area

The cultural show at Monsopiad is a must see for everyone visiting here. A small hall with benches and a custom stage where the musicians are located above the stage will entertain you with the traditional dances of the Kadazandusun people.

Kadazandusun Warrior SabahA Kadazandusun Warrior scaring the wits out of a guest

After some of the dances, the performers will come down and interact with the guest and you can have your picture moments here like the lady in the above picture. She was literally cringing in fear of the Dusun warriors who approached her. Look at her happy hubby clicking away while she feels like some monster is trying to eat her.

Kadazan Dusun warrior attempting to scare me

Anyway, they are performers and this was my 3rd time there so I knew what to expect as you can see in the picture above, a warrior tries to intimidate me while I keep clicking in front of his face. One thing I must say, these Kadazan guys really know how to put on a great show with their serious no-nonsense faces.

Here are the videos of the Sabah Traditional Dances from the Monsopiad Cultural Village

Kadazandusun People
Kadazandusun performers


When the show is over, the performers will post on the stage for your picture grabbing moment so digital lovers, go all out here! You can even go on stage and have your personal picture with them...at no cost!

House of Skulls SabahHouse of Skulls

After the main tour, your guide will then take you across the road to Monsopiad's house or the House of Skulls. This is where they store the actual Monsopiad parang (sword) and the 42 skulls he beheaded. The house is locked for safety reasons and the guide will give you the full works about Monsopiad while opening the door to the house.

Skulls at Monsopiad Cultural Village42 skulls in the House of Skulls

The beheaded skulls are strung neatly on a pipe on top of the ceiling together with dried palm tree leaves. They belong to warriors and robbers during that time who stood in his way while Monsopiad himself had a special strength or superpowers as some might say in him.

Orangutan carved skull Orang Utan carved skull

Inside the House of Skulls, you will also see his 3 foot long sword which he used in the battles, traditional jewelry of the Kadazandusun, head gears of the bobohizan (traditional priestesses) print documentation, pictures on the walls and an orangutan skull which has been intricately carved for rituals.

Kittens look for their mother

Scouting around the village, I saw a bunch of kittens living in one of the houses. I could not help but take a picture of them. All together looking out for the mother to bring back something to eat.

Moyok river SabahHanging wooden bridge across the Moyok river

There is also a beautiful man made traditional hanging bridge across the Moyok river leading to some local houses.

Monsopiad Moyok riverRestaurant view of the Moyok River

They have a nice small restaurant if you are interested in trying some of the local Kadazan food and drinks there. I would recommend trying the traditional lunch and a bottle of cold lihing (rice wine) while you are there.

Monsopiad Cultural Village Restaurant menu

Kadazandusun Food Traditional Kadazandusun food called Hinava

The food came and it looked, well kind of different. So, it was trying time in the video below.



Lihing Rice wineProcess for making Lihing or Li hing (Sabah rice wine)

Lihing or Tapai which is fermented rice wine is a popular drink of the Kadazandusun people. If you are a drinker and have never tried this, here would be a great place to do so. Trust me, it taste so nice, so different, so refreshing. They even sell these in plastic bottles for RM10 to RM15 per small plastic bottle so you can take away some for the night. They must be kept in a fridge before consuming. I took home about 5 bottles!

Sabah LihingLihing or Li hing, a rice wine for the Kadazandusun people

Map of Monsopiad Cultural VillageMonsopiad Cultural Village Area map

Above is a map showing you where all the attractions are. Remember that the best time to get there would be late in the morning and you can spend a good 3 to 4 hours there.

Monsopiad Cultural Village (MCV) Opening Times are - 9.00AM till 5.00PM

Getting to Monsopiad Cultural Village:
  • By public bus - You can simply take Bus Number 13 to Donggongon town in Penampang from the bus stations in front of City Hall or Wawasan Plaza in KK City. Fare is RM1.50. At Donggongon, board a minibus bound for Terawi and indicate your stop to the driver. Fare is RM1.00.
  • By taxi - You can also use any taxi to get there for RM35.00.
  • Self Drive - Renting a car and self driving is also relatively easy.
  • Alternative - You can also contact the Village for shuttle services.
Entrance Fees to Monsopiad Cultural Village;

• MYKad Holders;
Adults - RM45.00
Children (12 yrs below) - RM12.00
• Others;
Adults - RM65 (US$19.00)
Children (12 yrs below) - RM25 (US$7.20)
• Entrance fees include welcome drink and interactive guided tours of the village.

Monsopiad Cultural Village Address;
Monsopiad Cultural Village Sdn Bhd
Kg. Kuai/Kandazon, Penampang
P.O.Box 153 Tanjung Aru 89458
Kota Kinabalu
Sabah East Malaysia
Telephone: +6 088 761 336
Fax: + 6 088 761 680
Email: mcv@tm.net.my or info@monsopiad.com

Map to Monsopiad Cultural Village in Sabah

View Monsopiad Cultural Village in Sabah, Borneo in a larger map

For those into culture and heritage, there is also the Mari Mari Cultural Village which is in the other direction from Kota Kinabalu and about 30 minutes journey. 


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