in , ,

Mari Mari Cultural Village in Kota Kinabalu

Apart from the beautiful sceneries, one of the reasons why we travel is to discover the culture, food and experience the local way of life. The feeling of being in an entirely different place is what excites most of us each time we travel. During our visit to Mari Mari Cultural Village in Kota Kinabalu, I noticed that the way of life of some of their local tribes are quite similar to some of our tribes in Mindanao. From food, colorful costumes and rituals, the Bajau’s from the Philippines has a huge cultural influence in Sabah being the second largest tribe in the island. Mari Mari Cultural Village

Making Fire with Bamboo

Mari Mari Cultural Village

This village is located inside a mini forest and it is situated twenty five minutes away from Kota Kinabalu City. Mari Mari Cultural Village is covered by greenery on either side. In this village, the cultural diversity is a matter of pride. This village is one of the most stunning living museums, which features five major tribal cultures of the Sabah Borneo tribes.

Cultural Dancers Cultural Dancers

From this village, we get the view of an ethnic culture and a clear picture of how people used to live in the olden days. Ethnic homes can be seen upon arrival at the village. This village shows the cultural lifestyle of the various tribes in the city where the majority of the population are naturalized citizens.

The Art of Making Rice wine The Art of Making Rice wine

We had an evening tour in the village. The silence of the rain forest and the wild beauty of tall trees gave us a refreshing feeling. There are english speaking tour guides in the village which are also descendents of the five tribes of the village. They are happily sharing the stories related to their village and their lifestyle. They also share how their ancestors lived and about their spiritual beliefs.

The Long House The Long House

Along with storytelling, one of the guides demonstrated to us how they hunt, cook and how they make fire in olden days. They also described the difference between the lifestyles of the various tribes in the island.

Traditional vest made from the bark of a tree Traditional vest made from the bark of the trees

The Mari Mari Cultural Village tour guides consider it as their duty and a great honour to preserve and spread the knowledge related to their village and its tradition to the tourists visiting them. The natives use traditional methods for cooking food and they also demonstrated to us how to cook food in bamboo shoots. They happily invite the visitors to participate in cooking.

Souvenir Items Mari Mari Cultural Village Souvenir Items

There are 5 examples of typical indigenous houses at the Mari Mari Cultural Village and each home was built by descendants of the tribes. You may leisure around for about 15 minutes to shop, take photos or just relax and enjoy the natural surrounding before transfer back to your hotel. One of the guides there also demonstrated how to make ropes, floors, vests etc. from the bark of the trees. They have their own special tools and knives for this purpose. ‘Jala’ is the name of the traditional cake of the Bajau tribes. They serve this dish to the tourists and to all the guests who visit their homes. It is really a sweet treat.

In Mari-Mari, you will learn and experience the lifestyles of 5 major ethnic groups in Sabah. The tour will end at the main hall wherein the guides will perform some of their cultural dances. After the cultural performance, you will be led to the Dining Hall to sample the local food. Mari Mari Cultural Village Tour can only be arranged via Tour Package. Walk-ins are not allowed as they schedule the tour by group. Tour Schedule: 10AM, 2PM, or 6PM Admission Fee:

  • Non-Malaysians RM 160-Adult and RM 140-person Children 5-11 years old
  • Malaysians RM 140-Adult and RM 110-person Children
  • Inclusions: Pick up from hotel in Kota Kinabalu, lunch/tea/dinner (depending on your tour schedule), English-speaking tour guide, Cultural Performance.

What to wear and bring:

  • Extra cash if you want to buy souvenir items
  • Hats/umbrella/raincoat in case of rains
  • Light or comfortable clothing and footwear for leisure walking
  • Mosquito repellent

Golden Suria Tours & Travel Sdn Bhd

Address :Lot 47, 1st Floor, Block G, Donggongon Square, 89507 Penampang, Sabah, Malaysia.
Phone :+6088 731355 / 731655
Fax :+6088 731455
Email :[email protected]

With the recent strategic partnership of Zest Air with Air Asia (, Zest Air flight tickets can now be booked online via Air Asia website. Now everyone can fly Zest Air ( to Kota Kinabalu using the reliable technology of AirAsia. Zest Air now offers daily flights to Kota Kinabalu at 9:35am from NAIA Terminal 4 (Old Domestic Airport) in Pasay City.

Written by Melo Villareal

Melo Villareal is the Online Publisher of He is an Accountant by profession who left the corporate world at the age of 23 to explore his beautiful country and the rest of the world. Today, Melo works as a part-time Social Media Manager for local and international clients. His full-time work focuses on discovering interesting culture, explore different cuisines and take memorable photos from local and international destinations he's visiting.

What do you think?


Mantigue Island, Philippines.Small round island with a white sandy beach photo via Depositphotos

Travel Guide: Mantigue Island Nature Park in Camiguin

Many temple in Bagan Area at Sunrise, Myanmar.

Sunrise at Bagan, Myanmar