Aside from Sarawak’s diversity in food, flora and fauna, the state is also reputable for its wealth in culture. Sarawak is home to 31 different ethnicities, each with their own abundance of different art forms. There is no doubt that visitors will be enamored by the performances, costumes, instruments and crafts as the heritage of Sarawakian ethnic groups cannot be found anywhere else. Therefore, it should be mandatory for you to bring some souvenirs back with you. We have curated a list of places where you can locate these knick-knacks to save you the time for the hunt.
We recommend you to visit the Sarawak Craft Council, a non-profit organisation endorsed by the Sarawak Government towards preserving Sarawak’s multi-ethnic cultures and traditions. If you have the opportunity to purchase any of their products, know that no other person will ever own a piece identical to yours as all their wood carvings, basketry, ceramics and prints are handmade.
The Sarawak Cultural Village is also a highly recommended stop to observe Sarawakian artistry as it only takes half a day to fully explore the live museum and get something from their retail outlet before leaving.
Moving on, you are sure to have unlimited options walking around the Main Bazaar along the Kuching Waterfront as this area is the hotspot for locals and travelers in search of traditional handicrafts. Apart from the usual keychains and fridgemagnets, you can also find more unique souvenir items such as beaded jewellery with tribal designs, traditional garbs, musical instruments and traditional artefacts such as blowpipes and cooking utensils, among others.
Experience the traditional way of life of the Chinese community at Kuching’s own Chinatown, located on Carpenter Street, a few minutes away from the waterfront. You can find antique traders here selling and showcasing the older way of life for the early Chinese community. This is also a hot spot for those looking to taste authentic Chinese Sarawakian cuisine such as Kolomee, Laksa, as well as many forms of confectionaries and spices.
Travellers who want to venture out of town to experience a different flavour of market and products can do so by visiting the Serikin (Weekend) Border Market located in a little village near the Sarawak-Indonesia border. The aesthetics of the merchandise here will vary from the ones you find in the shops mentioned before as they are influenced by both Sarawakian and Indonesian motifs. Make sure to allocate quite some time in your agenda list as there is much to shop around the market including musical instruments, leather goods, rotan furniture, textiles, local tidbits and many others.
Travel home with a few pieces to monumentalise your Sarawak getaway. With the diverse creativity and artistry of the various cultures rooted in Sarawak, we guarantee that there is something that will catch your eye within our list of recommendations. If you would like to read up more about Sarawakian culture, feel free to explore the content on our website https://sarawaktourism.com/.
Sarawak Craft Council
- Non-profit organisation endorsed by the Sarawak Government – preserve and showcase Sarawak’s multi-ethnic cultures and traditions woven through the diversity of the handicrafts.
- Feel special knowing that no other person will ever own a piece identical to yours – all handmade.
The Sarawak Cultural Village
- Half a day to fully explore the live museum and buy something from their retail outlet
- Unlimited options walking around the near Kuching Waterfront – the hotspot for locals and travellers in search of traditional items.
Main Bazaar Street (oldest street in Kuching) & India Street
- Abundance of Sarawak themed prints – keychains, T-shirts, caps, mugs and more.
- Blowpipes and beaded jewellery with tribal designs.
- Expect to make quite a few stops along the way – nearby to museums, restaurants and the famous Goldsmith Row.
Carpenter Street (Kuching’s Chinatown)
- Sell more items that feature Sarawak’s elements – hand woven fabric scarves, handmade rotan bags, accessories for traditional costumes, antique clay or wooden crafts.
- Sarawakian pepper, local spices, laksa paste, kerepek (crunchy crackers) and Sarawakian kek lapis (layered cake).
Juliana Native Handwork
- A recognised brand that has been producing souvenir, antiques and jewellery designs for over 30 years.
- Plaza Merdeka or Sarawak Textile Museum – browse through the displays of textile works indigenous to Sarawakians as well as the wardrobe items handmade from scratch and worn by natives inside the museum.
Serikin (Weekend) Border Market
- A little village near the Sarawak-Indonesia border
- Aesthetics of the merchandise will vary – influenced by both Sarawakian and Indonesian nations.
- Allocate quite some time in your agenda list – much to shop around the market including musical instruments, leather goods, rotan furniture, textiles, local tidbits and many others.