With July fast approaching now is the time to begin planning your Rainforest World Music Festival 2019 adventure in Sarawak’s capital of Kuching. The festival starts on Friday 12th July running over the weekend until Sunday 14th July. Enjoy your afternoons captivated by informative workshops and dance your way into the evening enjoying live acts by renowned musicians from Borneo and abroad. If you are looking to spend a bit of extra time in Kuching in the lead up to or post the festival there are a bunch of activities you can get involved in around the local area. Whether you are looking for some day trip activities or a multi-day adventure we’ll outline some programs to get you exploring during your stay.
Each year the Rainforest World Music Festival is held at the Sarawak Cultural Village, which is located on the fringes of Santubong National Park around 40 minutes from Kuching. The festival placed in the “Global Top 10” in the Transglobal World Music Chart’s (TWMC) Festival Awards making this a must see festival in 2019. Apart from live music there will also be a number of workshops that you can get involved in. Learn new skills in basket weaving, pottery and of course learn to play instruments such as the sape, a traditional version of the guitar.
We’ve got a couple of top pick locations for accommodation in Kuching during the festival. There will be a free shuttle bus for ticket holders sending attendees from town to the festival grounds making it a breeze to get about during the festival.
Our top pick accommodation is the Ranee, a stylish boutique hotel that has been designed elegantly in colonial style. The convenient location puts the Ranee at the heart of the city’s action sitting across from the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Building, an iconic feature of Kuching’s skyline.
This unique property was built in 1885 as a colonial bungalow and has become a labour of love for the owners with its intricate wooden fixtures and stairs, features that have been restored or salvaged over the years. The Marion is perched upon Kuching’s highest point providing panoramic views of the city. This property also has a pool, which is perfect for cooling off after a day of action at the festival.
If you are looking at staying somewhere a little more plush the Hilton or Pullman are Kuching’s premium properties. If you want to stay with a little extra comfort feel free to get in touch to make arrangements to stay at these properties.
If you are interested in getting active and seeing Kucing and its surrounds from a different perspective we have a number of cycling itineraries available. Whether you want to explore the markets of Kuching to experience the hustle and bustle of it all or go a little further afield to explore Kuching’s rainforest and old mines there is something to suit everyone.
There are opportunities to get yourself active with kayaking and rafting tours just outside of Kuching. These activities are suitable for the whole family or the adventurous traveller looking to see more than the city’s central area.
If you are looking for some wildlife encounters and nature exploration opportunities you can’t go past Bako National Park. It’s Sarawak’s oldest national park and is located at the tip of the Muara Tebas peninsula. You can embark on a day trip to the park or stay overnight, all depending on the amount of time you have to dedicate to the park. Bako is a fantastic national park to see proboscis monkeys and silvered langurs as there are several habituated groups. The park is also home to an incredible diversity of forest types containing almost every vegetation community found in Borneo.
Sleep under the stars and awake to a sea of clouds nestled amongst the banks of Benggoh Dam, the water supply for Kuching. This homestay experience will put you in touch with a Bidayuh village with nearby waterfalls to explore. Slightly off the beaten track the Bayan Atuh Eco Retreat offers breathtaking scenic views in a basic but comfortable homestay setting. The open-air accommodation will get you back in touch with nature stargazing at night from the viewing platform and witnessing a breathtaking sunrise over the mist covered Bengoh Dam. Explore the trails that follow agricultural land and forest in search of waterfalls and swimming holes.
If a day trip is not quite enough to satisfy your hunger for adventure you can stay overnight in Bako National Park to make the most out of your time and maximise the wildlife encounters. A day trip to Bako National Park means you arrive by around 9 am and leave by 4pm and doesn’t leave much time to explore. By staying overnight you can explore more of the national park and experience areas that day trip visitors do not often see.
If cultural immersion is more your thing a visit to a longhouse is often the highlight of a trip to Sarawak, offering a glimpse into the lifestyle of the various tribes who have for generations lived in the remote interior of Borneo.
While longhouses can be visited all over Sarawak, Ulu Ai is one of the best, known for its breathtaking natural environment and stunning scenery. Clean rivers, jungle streams, refreshing waterfalls and undisturbed tracts of rainforest allow you to combine a range of outdoor activities with your longhouse experience. The tourism programs at Ulu Ai offer a less intrusive way to meet the locals and experience their daily lives, while appreciating the beauty of the environment.
Sarawak is a pretty laid back place and very accepting with its multitude of ethnic backgrounds. All tolerances aside it is important to dress appropriately to respect the local people and their culture. It is important to use common sense here dressing appropriately and for the occasion. Whilst getting shirtless at a festival in your home country may be standard practice you might want to reconsider doing this at WRMF. If you simply respect the locals and their culture you will have nothing but a great time and leave with some fantastic memories. Borneo is a hot place, the tropical humidity can be a little overwhelming if you are not used to it so dressing in cooler clothing is going to make a world of difference for you. You can check out our packing list for a more comprehensive overview of the gear to keep you going in Borneo.
For more information and to buy tickets to the festival be sure to check out the official website for the Rainforest World Music Festival. Tickets have not been released yet but we will do another shout out on our social media when they become available where you can buy them directly from the event organiser.