Rainforest World Music Festival 2018 – Tips & Advice For Beginners

If you’re planning to go to this year’s Rainforest World Music Festival or RWMF 2018 and this is your first time, we have some tips and advice for you to make your trip much easier. For those who have been to this festival, they know what to to do and what to expect, so this is purely useful for first timer. We will try to give as much as tips and advice as possible and as accurate as it can be for your benefits. Just note that all those tips and advice is not the most definitive ones. We’ll try to cover the best and the most important part.

Just to recap, RWMF 2018 will be held from 13th to 15th July 2018 at Sarawak Cultural Village, Damai, Santubong, Sarawak. This year it will be the 21st installment of the festival.

1. Book your accommodation very early, the earliest possible. This is because during the festival time, all the accommodations near the festival venue will be sold out and fully booked for sure. If those accommodations are fully booked, your next option is to book your accommodation in Kuching city which, will also on high demand during the festival weekends. Again, book early. Also, to get cheap ticket price, you need to buy it now until 30th April 2018 for the early bird sales period.

2. Plan your transport well. You can choose a few ways to go to the festival venue, the Sarawak Cultural Village. The venue is about 45 minutes to 1 hour from Kuching International Airport, depending on the traffic. Last year, Grab is one of the official transport partner for the festival and they might be their partner again this year. So download Grab app from the app store or play store and set your account up. Uber is not available anymore here as they’ve sold their business in SEA to Grab. There will be also a shuttle bus service provided from Kuching city to the event venue everyday during the festival. No information on that yet but we’ll put an update once it is available. This shuttle bus is not free by the way, you need to buy your bus ticket at the ticket counters at the pick up points.

You can also use taxi from Kuching city to the venue but it can be quite expensive. For a trip back from the festival to Kuching city, there might be no taxi available at the festival area so you might have to use shuttle bus. The concert in the evening normally ended quite late, it can last until after midnight. Going out of the festival venue after the concert ended will not be easy because the whole crowd of thousands of people will rush out to catch the shuttle bus. Be very careful at this point, you might get yourself injured in that rush or get pick pocketed. If you drive or staying at the accommodations near to the festival venue, wait for the crowd to thin out first before you go out.

3. If you plan to rent a car and you’re not staying at the hotel or resort inside the festival compounds, you cannot bring your car in. You have to park the car outside and it is quite far from the venue. There will be a shuttle van provided to pick you up from the entrance (where you will have to park your car) to the venue. Parking will be very limited and the safety of your car will not be guaranteed. You will park at your own risk. If you bring your car into the festival area without permission, your car will be towed to the outside and you might get summon.

4. The queue at the entrance gate of the festival venue will be very long, you need to be there very early especially for the main concert in the evening. Normally it will be better if you go to the venue during the day and stay until the evening. The queue during the day is not as bad as the queue during the evening so it’s easier for you to go in.

5. There will be a full security check at the entrance to the festival venue. They will check your bags and do body search. So make sure you didn’t bring anything that is prohibited. You might be denied entry if do so or those items will surely get confiscated. Outside food and drinks is not allowed to bring in to the festival venue. Animals, drugs, weapons and dangerous items is also prohibited. If you have prescribed medications, you might want to bring the letter from your doctor as a proof.

6. Wear comfortable clothes that is suitable for hot weather. You might want to bring an extra clothes as well. Bring raincoat or poncho because from our experience of going to the festival 10 times before, it will always rain on the second day during the evening. Unless of course if you don’t mind getting wet, which is also a fun part of the festival.

7. Use waterproof bag! This is very important to keep your valuables like phones, camera and wallet safe and dry. Like we said, it might rain during the festival. We’ve seen some people cry because their phones and cameras were wet and damaged. If you don’t have one and don’t want to buy the waterproof bag, use kitchen zipper bag to put your valuables. It’s not that reliable but that’s a must if you want to keep your belongings dry. We really recommend waterproof bag by the way, it’s really worth it and literally cheaper than getting all your valuables wet and damaged.

8. Don’t wear shoe if you can, wear flip flop or slippers or that shoes like Crocs’. Buy an extra flip flop just in case. Doesn’t mean that it is wrong to wear shoe but using shoe will not be convenient during rainy days especially at the main concert area. It will be very muddy during the rain. Plus, you might damaged your expensive Adidas NMD R1 during the concert. Wearing slippers or flip flop is not compulsory, if you really need to wear shoe and comfortable with it then just wear it. Ladies, don’t wear high heels to the festival, you’ll regret it for sure. You will mostly walk on wooden planks, grass and soil while you’re in the festival venue.

9. Don’t bring your baby or your infants or small children. The venue and the weather is mostly and most of the time is not suitable for them, it can be erratic at times. There will be a lot of people and the place can be very crowded especially at the concert area during the main concert. There’s also not much place to take cover during rain as well and the main concert site is an open area with no cover at all.

10. Bring enough cash to the venue because there’s no ATM provided in the area. We hope that this year there will be one at the festival area or venue. You need money mainly to buy food and drink and maybe also for emergency purpose. You might also want to buy the souvenirs such as the official t-shirt and other items being sold at the bazaar.

11. If you’re a foreigner, change your money to Ringgit Malaysia (MYR) at Kuching City. There are some money changers in the city center and you can easily find them using Waze or Google Map. There’s no money changer available at the festival area and credit card is not accepted by vendors. Make sure you change enough Ringgit Malaysia notes especially if you’re staying at the accommodations near or at the festival sites. We can’t recommend how much but RM500 to RM1000 per person should be enough for the whole weekend.

12. You can bring your own portable chair or mats. They can be useful for many reasons during the festival as there are very limited places to sit there. You will have to sit on the grass for most of the time you are at the festival venue.

13. Keep all your belonging very very safe, like your phones, wallet, money, camera, passport and other valuables all the time. All the years (that’s 10 years so far) that we have been to this festival, we never heard of any cases of theft and pickpocket. But it’s better to be cautious, aware and prepared.

14. Some people asked us if they can bring drone and do aerial video shooting at the festival. We are not sure about this but last year, we were allowed to bring our drone in but was stopped and prevented by the security inside the venue from flying it or taking any video with it. We’ll try to figure this one out and will post an update about it.

15. Bring powerbank to keep your phone alive because you might be at the festival area the whole day. Also you might want to bring extra battery for your camera. There will be no charging station provided in the venue. We really hope that this year they will provide one but they might charge to use it probably.

16. Get yourself some sunscreen lotion because the weather might be very sunny, hot, humid and dry during the day. Some people told us that they prefer the one with moisturizing effect to keep your skin protected better from the dry weather. That might be a good option.

17. If you’re easily annoyed and irritated by insect like mosquito or have an allergy of any kind of insect, get some insect repellent as well. The festival venue is surrounded by jungle. The setup is as if you’re in the rainforest so insect repellent might be handy.

18. Bring wet wipes and dry tissues for extra hygiene, especially if you’re planning to stay the whole day at the venue. We are not sure if you can bring any liquid hand sanitizer but it might not be any problem maybe. We recommend that you also bring some small towel or get the disposable one. It might be useful for a thing or two while you’re at the festival.

19. Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated during the festival. This is important to keep yourself healthy for the whole duration of the festival. Being dehydrated can be disastrous. Although there will be a medical team on standby, the hospital or clinic is quite far away from the venue. You can get drinks from the vendor and they have many stalls placed in different spots in the festival venue. You can find them easily. Just don’t drink too much alcoholic drink and get drunk, it’s bad for yourself, others and your safety. Also get yourself enough food throughout the day to keep your energy at optimum level. Since you cannot bring outside food in, you might not be able to bring powerbar or energy gel as well.

20. Lastly be careful of those trying to sell the festival tickets to you online or offline. They might be selling fake ones at higher price. Also, be careful of those trying to offer you a ride service to and/or from the festival venue apart from Grab, taxi, official shuttle bus and shuttle vans. Try to use only official or valid or legal transportation. It’s not worth it if anything bad happen, isn’t it?

Those are the things that we have for now based on our experiences and questions asked by some people who are planning to go for this year’s RWMF. If we have any more tips and advice, we will update it here as we go on towards the Rainforest World Music Festival 2018. We hope that those tips and advice will be useful for those who will be attending the festival for the first time. Also maybe for those who have been there once or twice many years ago and planning to go again for this year’s festival.


Just in case you’re still not sure about what this RWMF is all about, you can read our articles that we wrote about RWMF 2017 below:

  1. https://pansuh.com/rainforest-world-music-festival-2017/
  2. https://pansuh.com/eatof-park-asia-food-kitchen-rwmf-2017/
  3. https://pansuh.com/at-adau-rwmf-2017/
  4. https://pansuh.com/okra-playground-rwmf-2017/
  5. https://pansuh.com/ilu-leto-rainforest-world-music-festival-2017/

If you’re wondering on how you can get the ticket for RWMF 2018, you can read our article here: https://pansuh.com/how-to-buy-tickets-for-rainforest-world-music-festival-2018/. For more information and updates on the festival, go to their website at rwmf.net.

The most important tips and advice of all is…. don’t forget to take a lot of photo and video. You have to share it with your family and friends and of course, enjoy the festival!

Mathew Ngau (second from the left) is a living National Heritage and a Master of Sape. If they open their booth again at this year’s RWMF, you can learn about Sape. You can even learn how to play it from him. You can also order of buy Sape for yourself from them.

This article also appear in steemit.com at this link HERE by rodznocturne.

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