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Let’s get to know the Iban people who celebrate the Gawai

Most of Sarawak’s population comprise of the Iban people, which constitute one third of the people. Once upon a time, the Ibans are reputed as strong warriors of Borneo. Now, they are kind, humble and calm people.

The history of people living in Malay Archipelago is that the land they live on are called “Tanah Air” which mean “Land Water”, and the reason why it is called in such a way, is because the people live in both land and sea equally, meaning they are either fisherman, pirates, or explorers.

To examine the Ibans livelihood in the past, they love to go to sea most of the time, to work as fishermen, pirates and explorers thus they are called “Sea Dayaks”. In the earlier time, the Iban migrated from Kalimantan via the Kapuas River and decided to settle their homes at Batang Ai, the Skrang River, Saribas, and the Rajang River. The Ibans lived in longhouses consisting many rooms to house many families, creating a community.

The Iban women are best in weaving the Pua Kumbu which is a traditional multi-colour patterned cotton cloth, wooden carvings and bead accessories. The Ibans are known for their creation of sweet rice wine called tuak, served during festive times.

Nowadays, the Ibans practice Christianity and Islam. The Iban celebrates festivals such as the Gawai Dayak (Harvest Festival), Gawai Kenyalang (Hornbill Festival) and Gawai Antu (festival of the dead).

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Plan your travel to Mount Kinabalu to experience the mesmerising beauty!

Mount Kinabalu is the first place that would come to mind when planning your trip to Sabah, as it stand tall as far as the eyes can see, and it is also a place you can experience adventure amidst mesmerising Borneo Island. The Mount Kinabalu can usually be seen from far of its beauty before nine in the morning local time, after that time clouds will start to block the view of the mountain. It stands at the altitude of 4095 metres, making Mount Kinabalu the tallest mountain in Malaysia.

This mountain is a World Heritage site where you can find exotic flora and fauna. The Mount Kinabalu trek is 5-hour long route through spectacular landscapes to Panalaban. You can view a panoramic sunset view from the hilltop. #smartborneo smartborneo.com.my

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Get to know the popular Borneo textile, the Pua Kumbu

Pua Kumbu is a traditional cotton cloth admired for its patterned multicolour design and handwoven by the Iban people. The Iban wear this proudly for ceremonial functions. The technique into creating this textile is by combining ikat dyeing and backstrap loom weaving. The product would show unique motifs on the fabric and dyes that represent the story of Borneo.
Mordant dyeing is considered a ritual as it conveys moral and spiritual teachings on the finished textile. The creation of handwoven textile has been made by the women of Iban for many generations and considered as the most cherished cultural practice.
If you get a chance to visit the Iban longhouse, you may catch a glimpse of the Pua Kumbu being set on the extended wall.
The Pua Kumbu are also made into ceremonial garments worn during Iban rituals.
To see more heritage Pua Kumbu collections, you may visit the Sarawak Textile Museum or the Tun Jugah Foundation’s private collections, as they have a variety of textile being displayed. Tun Jugah provide studio spaces for students and artisans to learn and practice the art of Pua Kumbu weaving.

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Best Thin Rice Noodle Dishes to Eat While in Sarawak

What better way to travel than visit places and taste the delicious noodles at the destination. Why noodles you may ask? Well noodles have everything you need, soft silky noodle swimming in a broth that will invigorate you and taste that will remind you of the true Asian culture. Have you eaten Sarawak laksa before? The taste of the broth is definitely nutty and spicy and leaves a heavy after taste in the mouth. So what makes this Sarawak dish a sought after cuisine? Sarawak laksa is a famous noodle delicacy of the state. The noodle is called ‘bihun’ and it is made of vermicelli rice noodles. The broth is a shrimp-based soup made from ‘sambal belacan’, coconut milk, lemongrass, garlic, galangal and sour tamarind. The dish is later top with a generous amount of shredded chicken, omelette strips, prawns and bean sprout.

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The majestic Mulu Cave in Sarawak

Gunung Mulu National Park or better known as ‘Jewels in the Crown’ of Sarawak’s is one of the best nature can offer in terms of national park. As the largest national park, covering 544 sq km of rainforest with clear rivers streams. Mulu consist of three mountains, Gunung Mulu (2,376 m), Gunung Api (1,750 m) and Gunung Benarat (1,858 m). Hidden underneath these mountains are limestone caves considered best in the world.

Deer Cave is the world’s largest cave passage, Sarawak Chamber is the world’s largest natural chamber, while Clearwater Cave is the longest cave in Southeast Asia. These cave passages is over 200 km!

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Get to know The Melanau people, some of the best boat builders and craftsmen in Malaysia!

The Melanau people are one of the original settlers of Sarawak, or better known as ‘bumiputera’ of Malaysia. The Melanau traditionally live in tall houses. Now they live in kampung-type settlement as they have adopted Malay lifestyle. The Melanau language is a part of the Austronesia language. The Melanau dialect can be divided according to their four main settlements which is the Rajang area, the Mukah area, the Balingian-Tatau area and the Bintulu area.

In the earlier days, the Melanau used to practice paganism which is the believe of summoning spirit. Now, some of the Melanau have adopted the Islamic faith, while others hold on to Christianity, due to the ruling of Brunei in the past and also the arrival of the Brooke family in the past.

However, the Melanau maintain their traditional festival which is the Kaul Festival.

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