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Mari Mari Cultural Village

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Mari Mari Cultural Village is a little bit amusement park, a little bit museum and completely manufactured tourist attraction. Yes, it’s every bit as cheesy as it sounds, but despite ourselves, we found it interesting and fun.

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The village showcases historical cultural traditions of five indigenous ethnic groups of Borneo: the rice-farming Kadazan-Dusun, Sabah’s largest ethnic group; the longhouse-dwelling Rungus; the Lundayeh, farmers of the interior; the Bajau, famously sea gypsies and cowboys; and the once feared headhunters, the Murut. Most modern day indigenous Sabahans live in contemporary houses and dress in Western clothes; Mari Mari Cultural Village aims to preserve their ancestors’ culture and provide employment for people.

Purely for tourism, but still interesting. Photo taken in or around Mari Mari Cultural Village, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia by Sally Arnold.

Purely for tourism, but still interesting. Photo: Sally Arnold

Rather than just turn up and look around, Mari Mari Cultural Village is more like an interactive show, and must be pre-booked. There are three daily start times, 10:00, 14:00 and 18:00, and each three-hour session includes a meal. The village is about 40 minutes out of Kota Kinabalu (one hour at peak hour) and the village itself and many tour operators offer packages that include ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 400 words.)


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