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The Sarawak Regatta: A grand celebration of tradition, unity, and diversity

Adapted from "The Sarawak Regatta: A grand celebration of tradition, unity, and diversity"

New Straits Times, January 16, 2024

Written by NST Hyperlocal

As longboats, each manned by 30 paddlers, slice through the Sarawak River, the regatta becomes a battleground for the coveted title of 'Raja Sungai' or 'King of the River' in the 'bidar' category. This fiercely contested event is not just a race but a symbol of pride, bringing communities, government agencies, and neighbouring countries like Brunei and Indonesia together.


The regatta extends beyond the river, enveloping the 1.3-kilometre Kuching Waterfront with a vibrant array of activities. Alongside the thrilling races, visitors can explore exhibitions and markets showcasing cultural crafts, local wares, and mouthwatering traditional delicacies.

From the "Brooke Swim" and raft tug-of-war to the spectacle of duck catching, the regatta's diverse lineup of events ensures there's never a dull moment. The waterfront transforms into a culinary haven, offering a plethora of Sarawakian delights from kitchen booths, providing spectators with a gastronomic journey.


Paddlers battle it out during one of the category finals of the Sarawak Regatta 2023. - Photo by Chimon Upon

Immerse yourself in Sarawak's cultural tapestry at the Craft Bazaar, where local businesses and artisans proudly display authentic 'Made In Sarawak' products. For those seeking a hands-on experience, workshops guided by experienced artisans offer the chance to weave and craft unique mementoes.

Step into a world of glamour and colour at the Peragaan Busana, a fashion event showcasing the works of up-and-coming Sarawakian designers. The regatta extends its reach to live performances, competitions like Kids' Talent Night, Festival Gendang, Battle of the Bands, theatrical plays, and native martial arts presentations, ensuring there's entertainment for every taste.


Photo from Sarawak Tourism Board


What started as a boat race has blossomed into a grand celebration of Sarawak's diverse ethnicities and talents. The Sarawak Regatta invites locals and visitors alike to partake in this cultural extravaganza, fostering unity, understanding, and an appreciation for the region's unique heritage. Don't miss out on the opportunity to witness this vibrant fusion of tradition and festivity — a true reflection of Sarawak's cultural soul.

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