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Culture Shock

Tour code: FD003

Activities Duration
Homestay and local life-style 2 days / 1 night, 4 meals
Rates - 4 or more participants Rates - 2 or 3 participants
RM 788 per person RM 888 per person

Are you ready for a challenging 2 days / 1 night cultural encounter with the Rungus People of Sabah? The Rungus people are probably the most traditionalist people of Sabah. Their life is simple, but not always easy: being subsistence farmers they leave early in the morning for the fields, where they plant rice and tobacco. Some go fishing or hunting. They return late, after the children have come back from school. Many Rungus still live in their typical longhouses off the beaten track on the Kudat Peninsula. A few still practise an ancient and extremely intricate animistic belief system. And Rungus parties are never to be missed!


Day 1 0900 hrs - pick up from your hotel in Kota Kinabalu. We will head north, over Tuaran and Kota Belud and depending on the day of the week we can stopover at the ‘tamu’ – the weekly market. We will for sure stopover at the market of Kota Marudu, where we will have lunch and buy a few provisions for our dinner with our host family: jackfruit, ferns and local herbs and spices (the offer varies with the seasons). Then we continue further north and take a little used road along the cost to an authentic Rungus Village. Our host family has a small, traditionally built house just next to one of the longhouses. Don’t expect too much – the house is simple, made from bamboo and palm thatch, no beds and blankets, no hot shower, toilets or electricity, only plenty of nice people!

Overnight: homestay
Meals: lunch (local restaurant), dinner (local)

Day 2 in the early morning we can go for some light jungle trekking and see what produce the Rungus plant in their fields. Later we’ll head back to Kota Kinabalu, with a stopover in Kota Belud for lunch.

Overnight: none
Meals: breakfast (homestay) and lunch (local restaurant)

what to expect:

The life in the Rungus village where we stay overnight is still ruled by the Bobolizans, the shaman priestesses of the local people. The inhabitants adhere to many taboos, of which you will not realise much and little is to be feared. You are invited into any longhouse, and with a bit of luck the gongs will be taken out in honour of your visit. It is expected that you dance to the droning of the ancient rhythms and amuse the local crowd! Locally fermented drinks such as palm beer will be passed around and it is not nice to refuse. There can be quite a few local drinks, except when someone has recently died. For 40 days one is not allowed to consume alcoholic drinks, and under no circumstances one can sound gongs. If we are lucky we can witness a traditional healing ceremony.

You are accompanied at all times by your guide who interprets and lets you know more about the intricate life style of the Rungus, but nevertheless this trip is not for the fussy or faint hearted, but for those who can take the culture shock and immerse themselves for a day in a way of life as old as human kind!

Related features on this site:
The Rungus Deutsche Version
The Shamans of the Rungus Deutsche Version
A Rugus Party Deutsche Version
Rungus Gallery  


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