Introduction to Mari Mari Cultural Village

Nowadays, people travel around the world to see the culture of a different country, to learn and experience various ways of life to gain knowledge and satisfaction. Through our cultural village, one can experience Sabah culture and tradition in half a day and experience the way of life in the olden days.

Mari Mari Cultural Village officially started operation in December 2008. This village is Sabah’s living museum which is located at Kionsom, Inanam, Kota Kinabalu Sabah which is only 30 minutes away from Kota Kinabalu city. The cultural village offers glimpses into the lives of Sabah’s rich culture with its distinctive houses, costumes, and traditional skills of five major Sabah ethnic groups in Sabah, Malaysia.

You can learn and experience the authentic lifestyles of five different tribes in Sabah by visiting the traditional houses, trying their food and drinks, and learning their survival skills and you will also get the chance to watch their traditional dances.

Be prepared to travel back to the times of ancient Borneo through the display of unique ingenious architecture and get acquainted with each village tribe as you enter their homes and experience rich culture. With the introduction from your friendly excursion guide, this excursion will not only be mere sightseeing but will be an educational experience.

Cultural information 

The 5 traditional houses in the village belong to the 5 major tribes in Sabah: The farmers and traders, Dusun and Rungus; the hunters and fisherman, Lundayeh, the cowboys and sea gypsies; Bajau and the famously feared Murut warrior.

The Dusun tribe is the first and largest tribe in Sabah, Malaysia and as farmers, rice has been an essential element in their culture and they believed in the spirit of paddy Bambarayon. With rice as their main product, they are skilled in making their own rice wine called Tapai and distilled wine called Montoku.

The Rungus tribe is the fourth largest tribe in Sabah and they live in a longhouse called Vinatang. This tribe is known for harvesting honey from stingless bees and their beading crafts called Pinakol. Their Pinakol is designed with colorful traditional motives.

The Lundayeh tribe shares a similar legend of origin with the Lundayeh community living in the Kerayan-Kelabit Highlands of East Kalimantan in Indonesia. Their burial tradition is rather different compared to the other 4 tribes. The deceased will be placed in an old and valuable Chinese jar and kept for one or two years. After two years, a feast will be done for the final ritual which is the permanent burial in the community’s burial ground.

The Bajau tribe originated from the islands of the Sulu Archipelago as well as parts of the coastal areas of Mindanao. Filipino Badjao has migrated to neighboring North Borneo (Sabah) and to this day, there are 2 types of Bajau: Land Bajau and Sea Bajau. Land Bajau is known as cowboys of the east, a fitting tribute to their equestrian skills whereas Sea Bajau is known as Sea Gypsies.

The Murut tribe is the third largest tribe in Sabah and they are one of the headhunters in Sabah that hunt the heads of their enemy in war to be brought back as a symbol of victory and strength. The human heads were used as a dowry to the Murut warrior’s future bride, showing their future in-laws that they are capable of protecting the daughter.


Transport to Mari Mari Cultural Village

Visitors may place reservations through our website or get a tour package from travel agents in Kota Kinabalu City to get their tour arranged. Other than that, you may also directly contact our official hotline to purchase the ticket.

Mari Mari Cultural Village is reachable by using taxis and e-hailing services. If you opt to drive by yourself, the location of our cultural village is accessible via the Waze app (Location: Mari Mari Cultural Village).

How to get around in the surrounding area

If you have not purchased a ticket in advance, our cultural village also accepts walk-ins. Upon arrival, you may buy the ticket at the counter. There are 2 sessions available daily namely 1000 hrs session and 1400 hrs session. However, it is advisable to inquire about availability with our hotline.

Our in-house guide will bring you through the village, visiting 5 traditional houses and experiencing their culture respectively.


What’s good to eat in Mari Mari Cultural Village

There are samples that are prepared traditionally as you visit each house in the village. As there are some wine tastings offered, you may opt out if you do not consume alcohol. The local meal is also served at the end of the tour served in a buffet. If you have any dietary requirements, it is best to relay the information during the reservation of your tour to allow us to arrange further.

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    Information about accommodation in Mari Mari Cultural Village

    Currently, the is no accommodation available in Mari Mari Cultural Village for overnight stays if you opt for spending a night in the nearby area. 

    You can stay at Homestay Desa Cinta Kobuni Inanam, a local homestay located around 800m from our cultural village. This homestay is a Community-Based Tourism that was built 100% by the skillful village community themselves and up to this day, it is still maintained and managed by the villagers with their best knowledge in providing authentic experiences. It is located in a Dusun tribe village at the hillside and along the river, surrounded by preserved flora and fauna. It offers 3 packages that provide a first-hand experience with Dusun people which are the day trip package, the 2D1N package, and the 3D2N package. These packages allow you to experience living close to the tribe and meals are also served in the traditional way.



    Best things to do in Mari Mari Cultural Village

    You will visit the 5 traditional houses with their traditional authenticity preserved both outside and inside each house. This includes the furniture, clothing, equipment, and materials used during the olden days.  

    This leisurely and educational activity is suitable for people of all ranges of age, from children to senior citizens, who take pleasure in learning through physical interaction and active involvement.

    As the village is located in a rural area that gets humid, it is advisable to wear light and comfortable clothing. You may also bring a portable fan to cool yourself for a breezy journey. If you are planning to visit the village during rainy days and are unable to postpone your visit, an umbrella or a raincoat can be handy at times like this. 

    There are demonstration activities in each of the houses and the performance hall. 

    • In Dusun House, you will get the experience to see bamboo cooking and winemaking. 
    • In Rungus house, you will see how honey is harvested back in the day and the useful survival skill of starting a fire. 
    • In Lundayeh House, you will see how vests and ropes are made from tree bark. 
    • In Bajau House, you will see how their traditional snacks and drinks are made.
    • In Murut House, you will get the chance to try their weapon, the blowpipe, and get on their traditional trampoline, the Lansaran. Finally, at the performance hall, you will see the traditional dances of the tribes and learn the dances with them.

    Another natural attraction near Mari Mari Cultural Village is the Kiansom Waterfalls, only 400m from the cultural village and it has 7 waterfalls inside the area. The first 3 waterfalls are only a walking distance from the entrance, and if you are feeling a little bit more adventurous, you may get to the rest of the bigger waterfalls through the jungle trails and forest bathing along the way.

    Not only you can marvel at the stunning Kionsom Waterfalls but also experience a fun trekking journey, perfect for both beginners and experienced adventurers alike! The place is open for walk-ins during the day if you would like to continue your nature escapade by going for a brief nature walk after visiting the cultural village.