Mari Mari Cultural Village, Kota Kinabalu

The Mari Mari Cultural Village in Kota Kinabalu is a fantastic place to visit with kids. Set in the countryside outside Kota Kinabalu, the Mari Mari Cultural Village is set up as a living museum, designed to give an insight into the history, culture and traditions of Borneo life.

Mari Mari Cultural Village

I have to admit, I was a little reluctant to go to Mari Mari initially, thinking it could be boring at best – or horribly cheesy at worst. I was completely proven wrong though; it was insightful, interesting, educational – and fun.

The village is set up to reflect the lives of the five main ethnic tribes in Sabah – Kadazan-Dusun, Rungus, Lundayeh, Bajau and headhunter tribe Murut. Visitors are led through the village by a guide, with the opportunity to visit all the traditional houses of the five tribes, and learn a little of their daily lives along the way.

Learning Skills at the Mari Mari Cultural Village

We learned how to make (and drink!) rice wine, learned some traditional cooking techniques, how to start a fire using just bamboo, how to make clothes from tree bark, and got to sample some local snacks. Even scrambling into the longhouses via the precarious wooden ladders and exploring the rooms within was fascinating to the kids.

The highlight of the Mari Mari Cultural Village for us was the headhunter tribe village (once we survived the scary welcome!) Here we learned how to fire a blowpipe, joined in a fun game on a traditional trampoline and received henna tattoos.

headhunter village at the Mari Mari Cultural Village

The visit to the Mari Mari Cultural Village culminated with a display of traditional dancing, including the very impressive bamboo dance.

If you are visiting Kota Kinabalu with kids, I would definitely recommend the Mari Mari Cultural Village. It’s a great fun way to introduce them to the local culture and traditions.

Mari Mari Cultural Village dancers

We booked our trip to the Mari Mari Cultural Village through Amazing Borneo. You can read more about the tour on the Amazing Borneo website here.

Mum on the Move were guests of Amazing Borneo for the tour. This did not influence my review in any way, and all opinions expressed are honest, and my own.

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Mari Mari Cultural Village

1 thought on “Mari Mari Cultural Village, Kota Kinabalu”

  1. I went to one of these villages in Kuching and it was good fun. It is a great way for the kids to learn about other cultures.


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