Family-friendly Festivals

Celebrate! Summer’s most family friendly music festival is back in Sarawak

Last updated 9th May 2023

The award-winning Rainforest World Music Festival is back in Sarawak this June. Time to get excited and get your kids excited too, because this year’s event is lining up to be one of the most family-friendly yet.

What is the Rainforest World Music Festival?

Way back in 1998, a small music festival was born in Kuching to celebrate the traditional Sape music of Central Borneo’s indigenous tribes. And when we say it was ‘small’, we mean, tiny: that very first audience was about 300 dedicated world music enthusiasts.

But something definitely stuck and a combo of charming Sarawak Cultural Village, an authentic passion for world music and the music itself, was enough to turn a small gathering into a major global event. In fact, the festival has been listed in the Songline Magazine’s Top 25 Best International Festivals no fewer than six times.


Incredible energy of the Rainforest World Music Festival

Discover new world music and Grammy award winners

Now fast forward to 2023 and the 26th annual festival is taking place between 23 and 25 June. As always the venue is Sarawak Cultural Village in Kuching and we’ve seen the line-up and it’s sensational.

Over 190 musicians from 12 countries worldwide are slated to perform this year. Of course, some names you might recognise, like the Grammy Award winning Gipsy Kings featuring Tonino Baliardo from France, and Big Mountain from Jamaica/USA. However, part of the Rainforest World Music Festival’s appeal is discovering new (or new to you) music. So listen up for additions to your playlist from Indonesia, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Plus, as always, there’s a strong local presence, with performances by Zee Avi and Suk Binie, Aseana Percussion Unit, Tuku Kame, Buloh Bekocak as well as Orang Orang Drum Theatre and many more.


Orang Ulu Longhouse, Sarawak Cultural Village

Why the Rainforest World Music Festival is cool for kids?

So far so cool for parents, now what about your kids? For a start there’s the festival atmosphere. If you’ve never been before the first thing you’ll notice is how chill it is, everywhere. You even see musicians strolling around enjoying the vibe, dropping in on workshops, hanging out at food stalls and generally mingling and mixing with festival goers.

Unsurprisingly, kids find Sarawak Cultural Village itself very exciting. It’s the state’s only living museum, surrounded by dense, magical rainforest, and dotted with beautifully constructed examples of ethnic houses. So expect full child-size amazement when they set eyes on everything from graceful Chinese Pavilion to simple Penan Huts.

Older kids will definitely be into the music, but younger ones might need a different type of distraction. That’s covered by daytime workshops, cultural and craft displays, many of which are ideal for families. You’ll find plenty for children to get involved in and, again, the atmosphere is warm and friendly. Although, even when kids aren’t learning, making or doing, there’s so much for them to see, from colourful performers to other kids, lots and lots of other kids.

Please come hungry too, because you’ll also find stall after food stall keen to feed you and the festival is a chance for you to introduce your kids to new tastes as well as new music.


Borneo Cultures Museum, Kuching

Get a free RM100 travel voucher and get to know Sarawak

Coming to Sarawak for the Rainforest World Music Festival and not taking a look around seems like a missed opportunity. So the Global Sia Sitok Vacations Campaign is giving away free travel vouchers worth RM100 to non-Sarawakian to help them make more of their stay.

To claim your voucher, just download the Enjoy Sarawak app, sign up and it’s yours to spend at 140 hotels, restaurants and family attractions around Sarawak


Rhinoceros Hornbill, Sarawak

Come and explore the Land of the Hornbills with your kids

Sarawak is known as the ‘land of the hornbills’, and if kids ask why, here’s what to tell them. The indigenous Dayak people believe the Rhinoceros Hornbill – found all over the state – is really the spirit of God and it’s extraordinarily lucky to have one fly over your home. So that’s definitely something else to look out for if you’re planning to stay awhile. And you really should.


Floating Mosque, Kuching, Sarawak

Drop in on Kuching for fabulous food, cat museums and Proboscis Monkeys

Not only is Sarawak Malaysia’s largest state, its tropical beaches are some of the loveliest in the country: Damai Beach is one we can highly recommend.

If the line up of fabulous food at the Rainforest World Music Festival has whet your appetite, drop in on Kuching. The capital of Sarawak is a legendary food city and a gastronomic member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. That might not mean much to kids, but all the great restaurants and street food certainly will. Plus, Kuching is home to a Cat Museum, essential viewing for any young feline fans. And it’s also close to Bako National Park, which is only the best place in Sarawak to spot Proboscis Monkeys.

The newly opened Borneo Cultures Museum is another must-see in Kuching. It’s the largest museum in Malaysia, second largest in Southeast Asia and showcases Sarawak’s different cultures and ethnicities using a wide range of exciting interactive technology.


Dramatic caves, Kuching, Sarawak

However, as Malaysia’s largest state, Sarawak also acts like a vast natural playground for families. So don’t miss out on exploring its landscape of mountains and rivers, phenomenal rock formations and deep, mysterious caves. Plus, as home to 31 ethnic tribes, it’s a fascinating destination to learn about traditional cultures, customs and lifestyles too. And if you love the Rainforest World Music Festival, wait until you hear what else is happening in Sarawak, year round.

How to do the Rainforest World Music Festival 2023

How to get there

Sarawak Cultural Village is 40 minutes south of Kuching.

Free shuttle buses are available for tickets holders. Buses will run from Kuching to the festival on all three days.

A loop van service is also available, for a small fee, for festival goers staying in the Santubong area.

Several major Asian cities, including Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta, offer direct flights to Kuching Airport.

How to book tickets

Rainforest World Music Festival 2023 runs for three days from 23 – 25 June 2023.

One, two and three day Festival passes are available and adult ticket prices start from RM230. Children’s one-day tickets cost RM80.

Book now to take advantage of latest offers