If you only have one day in the Sabah state of Borneo island in Malaysia, choose the Mari Mari Cultural Village as your main activity! This all-in-one interactive village will let you taste the foods, hear the music and participate in the dances of the five largest ethnic tribes of Sabah, Malaysia! Watch this video for a glimpse into the magic of Mari Mari!
Part museum, part cooking class, part dance show, the Mari Mari Cultural Village is a wonderful combination of education and fun! During your visit, a tour guide takes you through mock villages representing the Bajau, Dusun, Murut, Rungus and Lundayeh tribes. Each house shows off their traditional foods, crafts and clothing.
Kuih Jala Recipe
At the Bajau House we crunched on sweet "net cookies" or Kuih Jala! Here's the recipe:
Mix together ingredients (rice flour, sugar and water) until you have a gooey consistency.
Pour this mixture into a strainer over hot coconut oil.
(Make sure to use a strainer with only a few holes. This will give the cookie its net design! In my Mari Mari YouTube video they used a punctured coconut shell, but any homemade strainer will do.)
After a minute of cooking the mixture, use tongs to fold into a triangle shape. This will reflect the true Malaysian recipe, as the triangle is seen as the symbol of unity.
Cook only a few seconds more and then carefully pluck the cookie out of the oil and onto a cooling board.
Let cool and enjoy!
Bamboo Tube Recipe
At the Dusun house, we spooned out delicious food from inside a bamboo tube! Here's the recipe:
Cut a ruler-sized piece of bamboo.
Line the inside of the tube with banana leaf.
Put ingredients into the banana leaf lining (chicken, potato, onion, chili, salt.)
Cook on an open flame for 15 to 20 minutes.
Let cool and enjoy!
Malaysian Murut Warriors
After filling our tummies with the tasty treats above, as well as rice wine and honey, we then explored the world of Malaysian warriors and headhunters!
Blow Dart Weapon
At the Murut House, we tested our aim by shooting the ancient weapon of the blow dart! The ingenious design allowed for Murut warriors to use the weapon as both a spear and a dart. After a demonstration we all took turns blowing out of a dart and onto a target (this was pre-Covid). The tour guide said my shot was "Pretty good!"
We wrapped up the day with a performance highlighting the music and dance of the five tribes. We were surprised at the end of the show by being invited to do the Murut warrior dance onstage! The dance, called Magunatip, or Bamboo Dance, is derived from the word “apit,” meaning “to press between two surfaces.” Murut warriors tested their agility by not getting trapped between clapping bamboo poles. Nowadays this dance is done in cultural shows all around Malaysia!
This attraction is perfect for all types of travelers: groups, families, couples and disabled. Find hours, location and pricing information below:
Travel and Visitor Information for Mari Mari Cultural Village
Jalan Kionsom, Inanam, 88450 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Morning Tour Session:
Afternoon Tour Session:
Adult: RM 175.00 | $41.82 USD
Child: RM 155.00 | $37.04 USD
Share your thoughts!
Would you dance with warriors? Or drink rice wine? Comment your answer on this blog post or on the Mari Mari Deanna Troy Travels YouTube Video.
Experience more Malaysian tours in my video series Mighty Malaysia on YouTube.