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Things to do at the Rainforest World Music Festival

As the Rainforest World Music Festival takes place during the weekend of 5-7 August and at the main venue of the Sarawak Cultural Village in Santubong, there are quite a several things that you can do around the Santubong area which requires some walking to the many interesting and fun places. 

This list of things to do at the Rainforest World Music Festival 2016 is purely based on my recent years of visiting the music festival here in Sarawak and will cater to possibly anyone who is visiting the event.

You should also know that the RWMF takes place in Santubong, which is about an hours drive from the main city of Kuching.

Things to do at RWMF

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

Some of them can be done in a short time while others may take half a day or so. The list is in no order below;

A sting workshop being conducted in the day at the Bidayuh House
1. Attend the RWMF Workshops

The workshops at the Rainforest World Music Festival are not to be missed as they highlight some of the unique classes involving cultural and traditional music.

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

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

The craft bazaar during the music festival here
2. Visit the Craft Bazaar

The craft bazaar is one of a kind and features the many traditional and ethnic crafts of Sarawak. Here you can see various tribes showcasing their beadwork, weaving skills to 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 and prices are pretty affordable. The craft bazaars usually open just before lunch till about 10.00 pm.

Traditional tattoo's being done at the Borneo Traditional Tattoo Expo
3. See the Traditional Tattoo Expo at Damai Central

The Borneo Traditional Tattoo Expo 2016 will be taking place at Damai Central building which is just 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 about 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 and who knows, you may even get one for yourself here. This event is held from Friday till Sunday (5.7 Aug).

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 also tourist come to visit.

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

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

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 which are spotted around the main river mouth, river estuaries and also along with the 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 extremely lucky, you can even spot the Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins too.

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

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 will have the chance to see crocodiles, Proboscis monkeys, birds and other mangrove wildlife.

This cruise usually starts around 4.00 pm and ends just after sunset. Reason for this is that 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 and you can contact your hotel about this. Some tour operators package the Irrawaddy Dolphins sighting with the wildlife cruise too. 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 persons to climb and you need to contact a tour company or the hotel to arrange for this.

The tomb of the only Sultan of Sarawak
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, who is buried here alongside with his family.

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

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, then you are in luck as the Damai Golf and Country Club is one of the best and the only one in the area.

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

The uniqueness of this course is that there is a Mountain Nine and also 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

Called Taman Negara Santubong, this is the main national park here 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's treks and also visiting some beautiful waterfalls in Santubong and there are two main treks, the basic one and the summit trek which is for advance trekkers.

The treks are free of charge and one should follow the directions carefully. The most basic trek here will take you no longer than two hours.

Picture Rock in Santubong - Image from Peter Lee
11. Visit the Unique Picture Rock (Baru Bergambar)

This very interesting stone is about 15 minutes drive from Damai Central and located at Sungai Jeong. The area has a total of 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 amazing 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.

Scuba diving in Santubong, Sarawak - Image from Sarawak Tourism Board
12. Go Diving and Snorkeling in Santubong

Yes, you can! Many do not know this but you can actually do diving in Kuching and here in Santubong. One of the main dive operators is called Aquabase and located near the Damai Puri Resort and Spa.

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

Aquabase Dive Center which is a PADI centre also offers an introductory diving course, license course and daily diving trips. To dive in Kuching, just head to Damai Puri Resort and look for Aquabase there.

Map to Santubong
For some of the visits and tours mentioned above, you are recommended to engage a tour company and use their local tour guides.

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 who are visiting this unique music festival, you should also take note that there are quite a 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.

Kids participating at one of the drum workshops during the RWMF

For those visiting the Rainforest World Music Festival 2016, there are a lot of things that you can do besides attending the festival.

In the day, you can easily explore the Santubong area to do some of the things mentioned above here as some of them 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. Note that the RWMF is held in Santubong, about 60 to 80 minutes away from Kuching via car.

Overall, the RWMF will take place from Friday till Sunday and you would have some free time to move around Santubong to experience some of the things to do at the Rainforest World Music Festival. The RWMF 2016 takes place from 5-7 August at the Sarawak Cultural Village so see you there.

1 comment

ZacheryZac said...

Thank you for this as I am headed to Sarawak rainforest festival and now I know what else to do around there. I will be spending 1 week in Kuching too.