Sarawak Festivals

Ever wondered why the numbers of Sarawak festivals that take place are aplenty? Malaysia is well known around the world for being a multiracial country, where various ethnic groups live together in perfect harmony. Sarawak is home to at least forty different ethnic groups!

Visitors from all round the world come to Sarawak to witness these festivals by themselves - like the Gawai Dayak. There are times when hotels in Kuching are fully booked.  The state government promotes these festivals because it is a way to help promote tourism in the state. 

Watching how people celebrate their respective cultures is the best way to learn about them. It is also exciting to take part in something new, something never done before or something thrilling.

Before you travel to Borneo, find out of which Sarawak festival you may experience while there. Check your holiday calendar and plan your trip in a way that you may experience more than one of these festivals.

As your Sarawak travel guide, here are some of the many festivals that you could experience while travelling to Borneo.

Hari Gawai

Gawai Festival
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The Hari Gawai or also known as Gawai Dayak is possibly the most popular of festivals in Sarawak.

This is possible because both the Iban people and the Bidayuh’s celebrate it. The Hari Gawai is a celebration of the harvest season.

On this day women and men dress in their beautiful traditional costumes. Delicacies are prepared to be served to their friends and family.

You will be entertained with traditional dances such as the Ngajat by the Iban. Some locals may even possibly offer you their favourite drink, rice wine.

The Hari Gawai is celebrated in late May or early June every year.

Kaul Festival in Mukah

Kaul Festival
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The festival Kaul is celebrated by the Melanau fishermen, where they sail miniature wooden boats into the sea, an offering to the spirits.

This is to please them, right before the fishing season.

Although most Melanau’s are now Muslims or Christians, this is a cultural festival that still continues to be celebrated, in hopes of better income in the fishing season to come.

The Kapit Raft Safari

Kapit Raft Safari
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This is an annual festival which dates back to 1996. Competitors’ rafting through the treacherous waters will be able to witness part of Sarawak’s amazing culture as well.

To top that off, competitors enjoy a one night stay at a longhouse, a local form of residence, which houses more than one family in each longhouse.

Competition and Culture in one go, a Sarawak festival for thrill seekers.

Mooncake Festival

Mooncake Festival
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The Chinese are the second largest ethnic group in Sarawak. Saying that, the Mooncake festival or also known as the mid-autumn festival is an important part of Sarawak culture.

Celebrated in the 8th month of the Lunar Calendar, which falls in September or October, every year, this is a colourful event.

Children and adults both are seen carrying lanterns of various shapes and sizes. It is a festival worshiping the moon. One of the best thing about this festival is the food, especially the mooncake, which is available is various flavours.


There are other festivals too, such as the Hari Raya Puasa (celebrated by the Muslims in Sarawak), Charismas and the Gawai Kenyalang. Mark your calendar now to witness some of these great Sarawak festivals.

More about Sarawak Festivals

  • Gawai Kenyalang
  • Rainforest World Music Festivals
  • Asian International Films Festivals and Awards
  • Ba'Kelalan Cultural and Apple Fest
  • Balleh-Kapit Raft Safari


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