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Kajo-worthy Festivals to look forward to in Sarawak

Depending on which part of Sarawak you visit, no trip is complete without catching one or all of its many festivals that show what a truly diverse place the Land of the Hornbills is.

If you are planning a trip to any part of Sarawak, just follow this Kajo-worthy check list on upcoming festivals.

  1. Kuching

One of the main highlight during the RWMF is the drum circle
RWMF is one of the most iconic festivals in Sarawak where the drum circle is among the event highlights.

As the capital city of Kuching, visitors can expect to see lots of festivals happening all year round there.

However, one of the most talked about festivals in Sarawak is the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) taking place annually at the Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV).

During the three-day festival, you will be surrounded by heaps of world music in the Borneo rain forest as you can attend music workshops during the day and the full on concert at night.

This year’s RWMF will take place from July 13th to 15th.

Other annual festivals in Sarawak happening in Kuching include the Sarawak Regatta, World Harvest Festival and the Blue Lake Festival in Bau.

  1. Serian

When participating in the Padawan Raftt Safari, participants are required to build their own bamboo raft
Participants are required to build their own bamboo rafts in the Padawan Raft Safari.

If you love rafting, then the Padawan Raft Safari is perfect for you to show off your rowing (and building) skills.

Held in Padawan since 2004, the bamboo rafting competition typically takes about three-and-a-half hours to complete.

During the competition, competitors cruise down the river from Kampong Annah Rais, Kampong Temurang and Kampong Danu.

Expect to be mesmerized by the surrounding lush green scenery while rowing down the crystal clear river.

  1. Sri Aman

Many would gather near the Lupar River to witness the occurrence of tidal waves during Benak Festival
Many would gather near the Lupar River to witness the occurrence of tidal waves during the Tidal Bore Festival.

Taking place at the Batang Lupar River, the Tidal Bore Festival or Pesta Benak is an annual event in Sri Aman.

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It is a natural occurrence due to the shallow river bed causing water levels to form strong waves heading upstream during high tide.

Held since 2001,  highlights during the three-day festival include longboat paddling competitions, tidal bore surfing and water sports.

  1. Sarikei

The iconic pineapple statue in Sarikei
The iconic pineapple statue in Sarikei

It seems fitting that Sarikei would host an annual Pineapple Festival, considering it is the main supplier of pineapples in Sarawak.

Dubbed the ‘fruit basket’ for Sarawak’s central region, Sarikei town is renowned for its diverse agricultural products, especially its pineapple, which is why it was appointed the town’s fruit icon in 1998.

Besides, the pineapple themed competitions and displays you’ll see at the festival, you can also top off your visit by taking a selfie by the huge pineapple statue standing at the waterfront.

First held in 2003, you can expect to see a variety of other local fruits on display such as durians, a local olive called dabai, bananas, pepper and even livestock.

  1. Sibu

Largest mural in Sibu located at the LHDN building (Photo credit: Sibu Street Art facebook page)
The largest mural in Sibu is located at the LHDN building (Photo credit: Sibu Street Art facebook page)

The hometown of kampua and kompia does not disappoint when among the artwork featured along Sibu Town Square during the Sibu Street Art Festival are these iconic dishes.

The festival features murals and graffiti art depicting the typical livelihood of Sibu people.

This year, the festival will be held from May 5th to 12th    

Other festivals worth mentioning in Sibu is the Borneo Cultural Festival.

  1. Mukah

Kaul Festival is a traditional festival of the Melanau people
Kaul Festival is a traditional festival of the Melanau people

Kaul Festival is celebrated by the Melanau community in Mukah. It is a religious ceremony traditionally held to appease the gods of the sea, land and forest.

While the majority of modern day Melanaus are either Christians or Muslim, it is still celebrated as a social-cultural festival rather than a religious one.

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Among the main highlights of the Kaul Festival is the Tibou ceremony, a 20-foot swing where young men wait on makeshift ladders to grab on to the swing and hold on for dear life as more and more people pile on.

  1. Bintulu

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The windy nature of the seaside town of Bintulu provides the perfect venue to host the Borneo International Kite Festival.

Held the first time in 2005, the annual kite fest will be held from September 28 to October 2 this year.

  1. Miri

Kelabit women donning traditional Kelabit costume and headgear
Kelabit women donning traditional Kelabit costumes and headgear.

For food lovers, Pesta Nukenen or the Bario Food Festival is one of the most anticipated festival in Sarawak.

Celebrated in the Bario Highlands, the three-day food festival showcases everything unique about the Kelabit people and their traditions.

Other festivals in Sarawak worth visiting in Miri include Borneo Jazz Festival, Miri Country Music Festival and Miri May Fest.

  1. Limbang

Buffalo race (Photo credit: Joan Blandoi)
Buffalo race (Photo credit: Joan Blandoi)
Buffalo race (Photo credit: Joan Blandoi)
Buffalo race (Photo credit: Joan Blandoi)
The buffalo race festival is an iconic festival in Limbang
The buffalo race festival is an iconic festival in Limbang

Apart from ikan tahai, Limbang is also famous for its buffaloes.

The Pesta Babulang festival is held annually by the Bisaya community in Kampung Danu and Limbang.

Highlight of this festival includes the buffalo race between teams from Sarawak, Sabah and Brunei and its beauty pageant.

Other note-worthy festivals in Limbang include the Lun Bawang Festival or Irau Aco.

Terong Dayak
My mother loves to remind me that I used to hate eating vegetables growing up every dinner time. Please follow KajoMag on facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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