Things to do at the Rainforest World Music Festival

RWMF Things to do

As the Rainforest World Music Festival takes place during the second weekend of June and at the main venue of the Sarawak Cultural Village in Santubong, there are several things that you can do around the Santubong area that require some walking to the many exciting and fun places. 

This list of things to do at the Rainforest World Music Festival is based on my recent years of visiting the music festival here in Sarawak and will cater to anyone visiting the event.

You should also know that the RWMF takes place in Santubong, about an hour's drive from the central city of Kuching.

Things to do at the Rainforest World Music Festival

Activities include tours, trekking, hiking or plain sightseeing, suitable for singles, couples and even families with kids.

Some can be done quickly, while others may take half a day. The list is in no order below;

Bidayuh House RWMF Workshop
A sting workshop is being conducted during the day at the Bidayuh House.

1. Attend the RWMF Workshops

The Rainforest World Music Festival workshops are noticed as they highlight some unique classes involving cultural and traditional music.

Some classes discuss traditional musical instruments, while others may involve traditional dances or even special showcases. These workshops are held around the Cultural Village and at various traditional homes.

Special music showcases are held in the auditorium, and each of the workshops is an hour long, which starts late morning and till the afternoons. Check with your event schedule on the timings of each of the workshops.

Craft Bazaar RWMF
The craft bazaar during the music festival here.

2. Visit the Craft Bazaar

The craft bazaar is one of a kind and features Sarawak's many traditional and ethnic crafts. Various tribes showcase their beadwork and weaving skills in traditional instrument making. 

This bazaar is held at two places, one at the bottom of the Melanau Tall House and the other at the traditional Malay House in the Sarawak Cultural Village.

You can purchase traditional jewellery and other local souvenirs here, which are pretty affordable. The craft bazaars usually open just before lunch till about 10.00 pm.

Traditional tattoos are being done at the Borneo Traditional Tattoo Expo.

3. See the Traditional Tattoo Expo at Damai Central (The previous year's event)

The Borneo Traditional Tattoo Expo occurred at the Damai Central building opposite the Sarawak Cultural Village.

This is also the 4th time that the tattoo expo will be taking place here in Sarawak, and the uniqueness of this expo is that the focus is on the traditional and ethnic tattoo culture, art and techniques.

See local and international tattoo artists working live during this expo; you may even get one for yourself here.

Update: This was a previous year's event; each year, a different event will occur at Damai Central.

Santubong Damai Beach
Damai Beach in Santubong.

4. Hang out at Damai Beach

Damai Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the Kuching area, and it is here that many locals and tourists come to visit.

There is one main public beach area where Damai Central is located. The beach stretches for about one kilometre and is shared with the Damai Resort.

One of the best things is catching the Sarawak Sunset from the beach by hanging out at one of the local bars or cafes. You can visit Damai beach at any time of the day.

Santubong Irrawaddy Dolphins
Irrawaddy Dolphins are seen at Santubong Village.

5. Look for the Rare Irrawaddy Dolphins

Around here at Santubong, visitors can go for a tour and look for the rare Irrawaddy Dolphins, spotted around the main river mouth, river estuaries, and shallow coastal areas.

They are usually spotted outside the fishing villages, and one of the hot spots is around Kampung Santubong. Tour operators run these tours to spot the Irrawaddy Dolphins, and if you are fortunate, you can even spot the Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins.

These tours take you on a boat cruise and a visit to the Satang Island National Park and operate in the mornings. The price is around RM215 per person, and a minimum of two to go.

Wildlife Cruise Santubong
Santubong Wildlife Cruise - Image from Borneo Adventure.

6. Try a Santubong Wildlife Cruise

A more nature adventure is to try the Santubong Wildlife Cruise, where you can see crocodiles, Proboscis monkeys, birds and other mangrove wildlife.

This cruise usually starts around 4.00 pm and ends just after sunset. This is because most wildlife is best spotted in the evenings, and when night falls, your cruise will also take you to see the amazing fireflies around here.

This is also done with a tour operator; you can contact your hotel about this. Some tour operators package the Irrawaddy Dolphin sighting with the wildlife cruise too. The price is around RM225 per person.


Mount Santubong Map.
7. Climb Mount Santubong

For the serious adventurer, Mount Santubong is one of the fun mountains to climb, and this can be done in a day, depending on your fitness level.

Mount Santubong is also 810 meters (2657 feet) high, and the total distance from the park entrance to the summit is 3.5 km.

This climb is also rated for moderate to advanced climbers, and the price per person is around RM250, which includes lunch, bottled water and an English-speaking guide. The minimum is two people to climb, and you need to contact a tour company or the hotel to arrange this.

Sarawak Sultan Tomb
The tomb of the only.

8. Visit the Tomb of the Only Sultan of Sarawak

Just five kilometres from Damai Central is the Tomb of Sultan Tengah or Makam Sultan Tengah, where Sultan Tengah was the first and last Sultan of Sarawak and is buried here alongside his family.

An excellent place for anyone who is into the history of Sarawak Borneo. You can take a walk here to visit this historical spot.

Santubong Gold Club
Damai Golf and Country Club in Santubong - Image from CanonReflex.

9. Go for a round of Golf at the Damai Golf and Country Club

If you are into golf, you are in luck as the Damai Golf and Country Club is one of the best and the only ones in the area.

This 18-hole golf course was built and designed by Arnold Palmer in 1996 and is 72 par with a total length of 6318 meters. This is also the first international course in Malaysia built by the legend Arnold Palmer.

The uniqueness of this course is that there is a Mountain Nine and an Ocean Nine course which makes this very interesting for golfers.

Green Fees:
  • 9 Holes Mon-Fri - RM60, Sat, Sun, PH - RM90
  • 18 Holes Mon-Fri - RM100, Sat, Sun, PH - RM160
  • Buggy - RM60, Caddie - RM50
  • Email info@damaigolf.com or call +6 082 846088

Santubong Trekking Trails.

10. Trekking at the Santubong National Park

Taman Negara Santubong is the main national park where you can explore by going for a hike or trek at the Santubong National Park.

Trekking here will let you explore the beautiful rainforest treks and visit some beautiful waterfalls in Santubong; there are two main treks, the basic one and the summit trek, which is for advanced trekkers.

The treks are free of charge, and one should follow the directions carefully. The most basic hike here will take you up to two hours.

Batu Bergambar Santubong
Picture Rock in Santubong - Image from Peter Lee.

11. Visit the Unique Picture Rock (Baru Bergambar)

This fascinating stone is about 15 minutes from Damai Central and is located at Sungai Jeong. The area has 10 carved sandstone boulders with anthropomorphic etchings and some with geometric designs.

The largest and most famous of these carved boulders is the Batu Bergambar (Picture Rock) which depicts the figure of a human on a boulder.

History also claims that this unique carving was made 1,000 years ago. Best to engage a local tour guide to bring you here and explain the history of this place.

Diving in Santubong Sarawak
Scuba diving in Santubong, Sarawak - Image from Sarawak Tourism Board.

12. Go Diving and Snorkeling in Santubong

Yes, you can! Many have yet to learn this, but you can do scuba diving in Kuching and Santubong. One of the leading dive operators is Aquabase, located near the Damai Puri Resort and Spa.

The diving season in the Kuching area is also from March to October, while there are snorkelling trips for beginners, leisure diving, and advanced diving for macro and shipwrecks.

Aquabase Dive Center, a PADI centre, also offers an introductory diving course, a licensing course and daily diving trips. To dive into Kuching, head to Damai Puri Resort and look for Aquabase.

Map to Santubong.

You should engage a tour company and use their local tour guides for some of the visits and tours mentioned above.

Most of the hotels in Santubong can arrange this for you, and as visitors here, it is always best to go with a tour guide as they speak the local language and can share accurate information with you.

As for first-timers visiting this unique music festival, you should also note that there are several things to do, and you can also check out this list of what to do in Kuching if you are staying in the city area during the festival.

Drum Workshop RWMF
Kids participating in one of the drum workshops during the RWMF.
Conclusion

During the day, you can easily explore the Santubong area to do some of the things mentioned above, as some are free while others require booking a tour service.

If you are looking for a place to stay, you can check this list of hotels in Kuching for the RWMF, as it highlights all the accommodations ranging from budget to luxury.

You can contact the hotels or guesthouses directly to book your stay. The RWMF is held in Santubong, about 60 to 80 minutes away from Kuching via car.

Overall, the RWMF will take place from Friday to Sunday, and you will have some free time to move around Santubong to experience some things to do at the Rainforest World Music Festival. The RWMF is at the Sarawak Cultural Village, so see you there.