Arts & Crafts ...

Malaysia has a wealth of traditional arts and crafts. Many villagers are skilled artisans, and they dedicate a great deal of time and effort towards creating these exquisite pieces. Handicrafts can be made of fabric, wood, bamboo and many more. They make excellent souvenirs.

In a homestay village, visitors not only watch but can also learn how the intricate Malaysian crafts are made. Various techniques are demonstrated and visitors are always encouraged to try their hand at creating their own souvenirs.


Malaysian batik is a world-renowned fabric. Batik is traditionally worn as sarongs by those staying in rural areas. With its attractive colours and beautiful designs, batik is making its presence felt on the international fashion scene. It is used by designers to create trendy apparels. Batik is also creatively used to make table mats, pareos, scarves and home decorative items. It is said that some of the best  batik pieces still come from the cottage industries found in rural areas and kampongs. Visitors will have the chance to watch how the batik is made, using either hand-painted or block motifs and coloured using dye and wax.

Pandanus mat

Found in most Malaysian villages, the pandanus mat or tikar mengkuang occupies a central location in the home. It is usually placed in the living room or the dining area and it is where the family gets together for meals.

These beautifully woven mats are made from mengkuang leaves. The leaves are stripped of thorns and split into equal-sized stands. They are then soaked, dried and dyed before they are ready to be woven into various items, such as floor mates, table mats and even baskets. Try your hand a weaving them under the supervision of local experts. It is also a popular handcrafted souvenir to take back home.


Homestays provide an ideal platform to watch how the local folk passionately turn a piece of wood into marvellous objets díart. Malaysian wood crafts bear intricate motifs and beautiful designs. As a tropical country, Malaysia has long been a sources of wood crafts. In fact, most traditional Malay homes are built with hardwood and boast elaborate decorative panels and carvings. Woodcarvings can also be found on may objects, such as the handle of a keris (a Malay dagger), wall hangings, mirror frames and many more. Donít miss a chance to watch how the master craftsmen create superb designs.


The states if Sabah and Sarawak have long been associated with products made of beads. In Sabah, the Rungus people are known for their distinct and elaborate beaded accessories, ranging from necklaces, earrings, belts and bangles. In Sarawak, beads make up an essential part of the localsí heritage. Colourful and beautiful, the beads are highly popular as souvenir items.

During a stay in the homestay villages, visitors can learn how the local crafts are made, or even take home some of the remarkable craft items as mementoes of their holiday.


Earthenware, pottery and ceramics are commonly found in the states of Perak and Sarawak. Perak is known for its labu sayong, a distinctly shaped clay vessel. It is traditionally used as a water receptacle. The water that has been stored in a labu sayong is said to be very cool and greatly refreshing. Some homestay villages in Perak offer a chance for visitors to watch how the labu sayong is made.

Sarawak pottery is known throughout the region. Boasting intricate designs and traditional craftsmanship, Sarawak pottery has a distinct and exotic look.


Village Pastimes:

Join the locals and indulge in various village pastimes, ranging from enjoyable indoor games to exciting outdoor activities. Try flying wau or the giant kite and watch the how villagers make gasing, or the Malay top, spin for hours! Malaysian villages offer an abundance of activities to keep visitors occupied and entertained. The children are always delighted to teach and play with you these traditional games.


Congkak is one of the most popular indoor games. A game for two players, congkak may seem easy at first but it can get quite tricky! The game is played on an elongated wooden board with two rows of holes carved into it. Marbles or seeds are used as tokens and the objective is to collect the most number of tokens. The local children would only be too happy to teach a curious visitor the rules of this addictive game.


Gasing or top-spinning is another interesting pastime. The gasing is carved out of tropical hardwood into a disc, with a metal spike running through its apex. A gasing is a huge (sometimes as big as a dinner plate) and can reach up to 7 kg in weight. The cord, made of rope, is neatly wrapped around the top of the gasing. It is launched with great force onto a landing pad and then immediately scooped up with a thin wooden bat and transferred to a metal receptacle. Join the spinners as they gather around to determine which top spins the longest.

Sepak Raga

Sports enthusiasts must try the sepak raga, a traditional ball game. Players from two teams stand in a circle and try to keep the rattan ball aloft as long as possible. The challenge is, players are allowed to use any part of their body, except their hands! The village youths will be glad to teach a trick or two to interested homestay participants.

Wau (Giant Kites)

Malaysia is renowned for its colourful giant kits called wau. Magnificent in size and design, the wau is testament to the artistic skills that coastal villagers possess. Homestay villages situated in the east coast states of Kelantan and Terengganu are good locations to watch this game.

These are but a few of the interesting traditional pastimes that await visitors. Exciting and enjoyable, these games provide an excellent opportunity for visitors to bond with their host families and develop lasting relationships.