Mount Santubong

A festival like no other


Let’s just say that there was absolutely no way we were going into our Taming Borneo adventure and miss the highly anticipated Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF). If you’re a music enthusiast there’s no doubt you’ve heard about it. But if you haven’t, trust us, you’re going to want to read the rest of this entry, seriously.

Truth be told, we really didn’t know what to expect. Okay, we kinda did, but only from second hand experiences; reading travel blogs or hearing stories from our friends.

The only 3 things we were sure of were;

  • It’s an annual 3-day music festival, hosted by the Sarawak Tourism Board, at the Sarawak Cultural Village in Kuching.
  • It brings international acts together with local indigenous acts to celebrate the diversity of music in the heart of the Bornean jungle.
  • It’s a totally awesome festival you have to go to #YOLO

To sum it up in a nutshell, RWMF, gives you a perfect blend of cultural and contemporary musical performances, chilled festival vibes, good local food, an all-around great crowd and ambiance to party away the weekend. But we’ll delve further into the details below.

Putting the full extent of our experience into words is just not possible, you’ll have to watch our video series to find out how lit this festival really is!


The RWMF is usually held annually in the mid months of June, July or August (this year August) in the Sarawak Cultural Village, at the base of Mount Santubong, Kuching, Sarawak.

At its’ inception, RWMF was established in 1998 and drew a crowd of only 300 people. But now, it draws an annual crowd of about 20,000 a year, making RWMF a front runner in local and international music calendars!

The festival usually features approximately 20 local and international bands over the course of the weekend. The performances range from traditional, world fusion and contemporary music. Invited performers are specially curated by organizers to give audiences the musical ambiance in accordance to the creative direction of the festival.

RWMF has a format of afternoon workshops; promoting engagement between performers and attendees, while the main concerts are held at night, under the star speckled sky of the Bornean Rainforest.

Go crazy, no one will judge you!

Go crazy, no one will judge you!

Lastly, fun fact, if you’re an environmentalist, the RWMF also has a record for raising environmental awareness with its recycling initiatives, tree planting campaigns, and providing shuttle buses for festival goers to reduce carbon emission in the air. #winning


The festival runs on a world class level of operation, operating on tight scheduling and strict regulations, it still manages to hold energetic performances and engaging afternoon workshops. It was really easy for us to warm up to the energy of the music and the crowd.


The afternoon workshops have got to be the highlight of our experience. We participated in a drum circle and enjoyed a workshop called “The Breath of Life” showcasing delicate sounds of wind instruments in music. When the festival promises a “smashing weekend in the Bornean rainforest”, they deliver.

Besides the eargasmic performances, we had the pleasure to explore the village with vendors scattered around selling local dishes, art and traditional handicrafts. Of course, being the foodies we are, we treated ourselves to a variety of food and beverages sold at the festival grounds.

You won’t believe who we met at the Sapeh booth!

You won’t believe who we met at the Sapeh booth!

Overall, the festival definitely lives up to the hype and definitely sets the bar high for other festivals around!

A night to remember

A night to remember


If your schedule prohibits you from attending RWMF, don’t worry there are plenty of other great events that travellers look out for throughout the year in Sarawak. Here’s a few we find interesting:

The Borneo International Kite Festival

Borneo International Kite Festival is held in the town of Bintulu.  The huge windy open space of the Old Bintulu Airport that faces the South China Sea provides ideal conditions for consistent flight of a vast selection of colourful kites. The sky would be colourfully lit as thousands of colourful kites are flown at the festival, with the latest number being 2,500 diamond kites. The festival also holds a record in the Malaysia Book of Records for forming the longest arch kite tunnel of 500 metres.

You can expect 400 kiters from 25 countries participating in this festival with cultural and artiste performances being held in the evening.

Sarawak International Dragon Boat Regatta

This event is participated by nearly 70 countries around the world with over 50 million participants in Asia alone, particularly from China and Southeast Asia.  It was also adopted as part of the ASEAN Games 2010 in Guangzhou, China.

The Dragon Boat Race continues to be an important event in the tourism calendar of countries involved in dragon boat races around the world.  The event in Sarawak attracts global participation and promotes local tourism, thereby increasing tourist arrivals.

Borneo Jazz

Another highly anticipated music festival, the Borneo Jazz Festival is one of the longest running Jazz festivals in the region. There will be two nights of four performances each by regionally and internationally recognised jazz musicians.

If you have more questions regarding our Taming Borneo adventure, please do leave a comment in the comment section below, or start a discussion; tell us your personal Taming Borneo experience!

Also do follow along our adventure on our social media platforms:

Instagram: @MyTourismChannel or #tamingborneo  

Catch up on the latest episodes by clicking on the thumbnails below:

Sarawak : EP1

Sarawak : EP1


Sarawak : EP2

Episode 3

Sarawak : EP3

Sarawak : EP4

Sarawak : EP4

Sarawak : EP5

Sarawak : EP5

Sarawak : EP6

Sarawak : EP6

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Rainforest World Music Festival

Rainforest World Music Festival

It was a blast!

Wonderful music, interesting crowd, charming activities and many some-more during a new 14th Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) in Sarawak hold from 8 – 10 July.

Organised by a Sarawak Tourism Board, a RWMF is hold during a Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV), a pleasing 17 acres environment by a Santubong Peninsula with a pleasing backdrop of a famous Mount Santubong, it is a 45 minutes’ tour from Kuching city, a collateral of Sarawak.

SCV, a vital museum showcasing several racial communities of Sarawak, is ideal with a monumental vistas during a foothills of Mount Santubong, willing lake, pleasing flora, well-maintained walkways and generally an upgraded venue for a strain festival.

It is a ideal environment for a Rainforest World Music festival, listed as one of a tip 25 Best International Festivals by eminent universe strain magazine, Songlines. This creates a RWMF on standard with general strain festivals such as a WOMADA Adelaide, Australia; Chicago World Music Festival, USA; Forde Folk Festival, Norway and a Essaouira Gnawa World Music Festival hold in Morocco.

The strain festival was tailored to showcase a different operation of strain genres, with acts from internal and general groups such as Agungbeat from Sabah, Malaysia, Startijen from France, Pacific Curls from New Zealand, Mamak Khadem from Iran, The Blue Canyon Boys from USA, Lisa Haley Zydecats from USA, The Shin from Georgia, Eastern Europe, Ikswew from Canada, Frigg from Finland and Malick Pathe Sow from Senegal.

Other groups that achieved were Victor Valdez Trio from Mexico, Duoud from Tunisia/Algeria, Ilgi from Latvia, Kissmet from India/UK, Paddy Keenan Trio from Ireland, Leweton Women’s Water Music from Vanuatu, Joaquin Daz from Dominican Republic, Kamernga from Australia, Kamafei from Italy, Kenge Kenge from Kenya and Warsaw Village Band from Poland.

The heterogeneous brew of musicians combined pleasing strain that resonated via SCV during a unison performances and workshops.

The workshops were low-pitched sessions by a several groups hold during several venues during SCV such as during a Iban longhouse, Dewan Lagenda, Theatre and Lakeside. It showcased groups opening together in a opening by jamming sessions, where audiences could correlate adult tighten with a performers.

An area surrounding a lake was also designated to showcase internal food, souvenirs such as T-shirts, pivotal chains, bangles as good as locally done handicrafts. There were even stalls set adult for those wishing to get tattoos ornate with internal motifs. The laid-back environment was a strike with revellers to a RWMF.

Near a opening of a Sarawak Cultural Village was also a counter offered RWMF central sell that was a strike with music-goers who alive a stalls after any low-pitched opening to get copies of CDs, T-shirts and commemoration books of groups that achieved during a event.

Many were seen shopping CDs of a groups, and rushing to a workshops to get signatures from their favourite groups, as good as a mural or two.
The farrago of a festival, with a musicians and instruments used culminated in an enterprising unison where music-lovers from all ages converged by a foothills of Mount Santubong to listen to a low-pitched performances by a bands.

Performances started from 7.00 pm onwards compartment midnight. The initial night, a low-pitched festival kicked off with a internal favourite, Masters of a Sape from Malaysia that achieved on a side stage.

The categorical opening of a night started with Agungbeat a organisation of women gamelan players from Sabah, behaving their strain to a raptured audience. Other groups behaving on a initial night were Iskwew (Canada), Kamerunga (Australia), Victor Valdez (Mexico), Kamafei (Italy) and Frigg (Finland).

It was a second night that a organisation from New Zealand, Pacific Curls, behaving on a second theatre prisoner a audience’s courtesy with their charming and sharp-witted music. With normal Maori low-pitched instruments concomitant their music, Kim Halliday, Sarah Beattie and Ora Barlow, gay a assembly with strain evoking Pacific rhythms.

Their music, interspersed with jazz, Scottish tunes, resounding vocals and songs in a reduction of Maori and English had a assembly on their feet and moving to a beat. The startling appetite of a contingent serve escalated into frenzy and got a throng vehemence to a free-spirited beats. The many startling explanation was that Sarah Beattie, personification a violin, is profound and due in Oct though she was personification a low-pitched instrument like there was no tomorrow! Such was a appetite of this extraordinary and gifted organisation from New Zealand.

During a final night of a RWMF, an stirring opening came from a Kenyan organisation job themselves Kenge Kenge Orutu System with their normal Kenyan strain and theatre antics, they rocked a stage.

As guardians and masters of ancient tradition, a Kenge Kenge achieved a Opogore, a strain that harks behind to their low-pitched roots, Luo music, initial popularised in a 1960s. They use benga, a handmade low-pitched instrument same to a guitar to furnish strain that is both lovely and unfamiliar to a internal ears. Despite a denunciation barrier, a organisation managed to get a throng dancing frenetically with their upbeat tunes.

The prominence of a eventuality positively contingency be Kissmet, a spellbinding organisation rocking SCV with their alloy of Bhangra and stone strain effortlessly. Their spreading strain prisoner a assembly that gyrated extravagantly to a kick of a music. Singing both in English and Punjabi, followed by a beats of a bhangra music, audiences assimilated in a action. They really repelled with their charming costumes and turban, though mesmerized with their spreading rhythms.

This implausible low-pitched uncover culminated in a grand finale, where all a groups achieved on a stage. This brought many strain lovers to dance extravagantly to a beats. Though it was an burdensome night, it positively is one of a best performances a festival has seen.

The Rainforest World Music Festival using for over 10 years now, is not an eventuality to be missed. It has resolutely put Sarawak on a universe tourism map and towering a standing of a festival as an internationally acclaimed strain festival.

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