International Dragon Boat and Sarawak Regatta 2019: What to Know and Expect

For two consecutive weekends, some of the world’s and nation’s best crews are going to paddle their way along Sarawak River in effort to prove their might for two big year-end festivals: Sarawak International Dragon Boat Regatta 2019 (Oct 25-27) and Sarawak Regatta (Nov 1-3). With thousands of spectators expected, Kuching waterfront will be filled with a mixture of outdoor splash, food and grit.

If you are planning to attend one of these regattas, here are the things you should know:


(1)  Sarawak Regatta’s history is deeply rooted in unity

Did you know that Sarawak Regatta was a sport promoted by Sir James Brooke to settle racial dispute? Some time around 1872, The White Rajah of Sarawak promoted Regatta as a much peaceful alternative compared to headhunting when it comes to settling the differences between each tribes. Proving one’s strength through sportsmanship worked out just fine back then.

Because of this, Regatta has become a much-anticipated annual sport. And just look at how much we’ve progressed!


(2)  The eye-dotting ceremony is crucial to the start of any Dragon Boat Regatta

Just attend any dragon boat race at different parts of the world, and you will witness one thing in common: the eye-dotting ceremony. According to the Chinese, dotting the eye of the dragon heads will bring the dragons’ spirits come to life. This combination of eye dotting and rigorous rowing action is important to ward of evil spirits. Folks cannot miss this momentous occasion on the morning of Oct 26.


Now that you know a little bit of history behind these two races, here are few things you can do before, after or in-between races for a meaningful experience:

  • Plan your transportation arrangement
  • Jalan Main Bazaar and Jalan Gambier will be closed from Oct 26 to Nov 3 to ensure the smooth-sailing of these two events. To save yourself from traffic congestion and hassle due to road closure, you can either park at designated parking lots on the left side of Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Poliklinik Jalan Masjid and Jalan Khoo Hun Yeang.
  • Best advice? Use public transport such as Grab, Taxi or Bus so you do not have to worry about the traffic and where to park your car.

  • Soak in the action
  • The main attractions are of course the races themselves. With IDBR this weekend and Sarawak Regatta on the following weekend, you can expect the riverbank to be crammed with crowds from around the world.
  • However, here are a few spots you can try for the best viewing experience other than the stretch of Kuching Waterfront: Darul Hana Bridge and Gersik Village.
  • But if you don’t mind the full and raw Regatta experience, stand anywhere along the brim of Kuching Waterfront, just like anyone else.

  • Explore Kuching Waterfront
  • It’s not only about Regatta. For two weekends, Kuching Waterfront will be alive from morning till at night, jam packed with various activities and exhibitions. Expect sale on artisanal products, street food, live music performances, fashion shows, craft demonstrations and so much more. You will never be bored!


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