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Batang Ai National Park Iban Adventure

The Iban are arguably the most well known of Borneo’s indigenous groups. This 3 day 2 night adventure to a traditional Iban longhouse in Batang Ai National Park will give you a firsthand opportunity to experience the unique Iban culture.

You will stay at a traditional Iban longhouse situated in one of Sarawak’s most beautiful national parks. The lakeside Iban village will leave you captivated by the scenery and the unique customs and history of the Iban people.

The Batang Ai Iban Longhouse Adventure will give you an opportunity to experience the natural beauty and rich culture of Borneo all in one excitement filled trip.

About the Tour:

This 3 day 2 night adventure deep into the Borneo jungle will take you into the heart of the island. You will be able to see, firsthand, the rural Sarawak lifestyle, where most villagers are farmers and many of the old ways of life are still maintained.

Your destination on this journey is the Batang Ai National Park, a large lake surrounded by protected forest. It’s a bit of a drive from Kuching, but once you arrive at Batang Ai and soak up the view of this immense turquoise lake, you will be glad you made the trip.

Upon arrival at the lake, you’ll meet your Iban hosts. You will board a traditional longboat and set out across the lake towards the longhouse on the banks of the lake. The journey to the village will take approximately 45-minutes. While shooting across the water, enjoy the views of untouched rainforest and if you are lucky, you might spot an eagle or a colourful hornbill flying overhead.

Once you arrive at the longhouse, make your way up the steps to the common area, or as the Iban call it: The Ruai. This is the place where the longhouse folk come together and relax after a day’s work.

During your time at the Iban Longhouse in Batang Ai, you will learn all about the Iban people from your local guide who will gladly explain all the history and culture to you. From tattoos to rice wine to headhunting, you will learn what makes the Iban culture unique.

Your guide will take you on a hike through the jungle in search of wild animals and colourful flowers and plants. You’ll experience the sounds and smells of the rainforest while your guide informs you of the different flora and fauna around you. A picnic lunch at a small stream is the ideal way to see how the native Iban prepare food in the middle of the forest.

About Batang Ai National Park:

The Batang Ai area has long been inhabited by the Iban tribe. Most of the area is covered in thick untouched jungle. Iban longhouses can be found scattered along the lake and the upper reaches of the various rivers that feed the lake.

Batang Ai National Park is home to a few thousand Iban. There are some twenty longhouses located in the Batang Ai Lake and its upper reaches,. The jungle provides most of what the indigenous Iban requires. Additionally, the jungle here is home to numerous animals, including the Malayan sun bear, orangutan, mouse deer and several species of Hornbills.

About the Iban:

The Iban people comprise the largest indigenous group in the Malaysian state of Sarwawak and they are arguably the most well known indigenous group of Borneo. Out of 2.7 million inhabitants of Sarawak, some 30% are Iban.

The traditional home of the Iban is the Longhouse, a wooden structure that can span up to a few hundred meters long. Within the longhouse, every family will have their own apartment – connected by a common verandah, or Ruai. Due to the remoteness of Batang Ai, most of the communities in the area are still live in traditional longhouses and still practice the traditional Iban way of life.

The main mode of transportation for the Batang Ai Iban is via the extensive river systems. Along the lakes and rivers of Borneo, they still use their traditional longboats. These boats are typically about a meter wide and some of these boats can fit up to thirty people.

The Iban tribe is historically for its headhuntings days of the past. For centuries, the various tribes of Borneo were at war together. During raids on other villages, the warriors would take human heads as trophies. Nowadays, Iban don’t practice headhunting, but many still maintain the traditional way of life, growing rice and living off of the bounty of the jungle.

Itinerary

Day 1 Kuching – Batang Ai

  • Pick up from Kuching hotel.
  • Transfer to Serian and visit the local market.
  • Proceed to a Chinese pepper farm for a short visit.
  • Drive to Lachau rest stop for lunch.
  • Continue to the Batang Ai Jetty.
  • Arrive at the Batang Ai Jetty and meet your Iban boatmen.
  • Hop aboard the longboat and set off across the Batang Ai lake.
  • Arrive at the longhouse and be welcomed by its inhabitants.
  • Enjoy a cup of tea or coffee while settling in.
  • Learn about the local culture and history of the Iban people.
  • Dinner and overnight at the longhouse.

Day 2 Batang Ai National Park

  • Wake up and have breakfast.
  • Hop aboard the longboat and float to a clear water stream.
  • Start trekking the jungle trails.
  • Learn from your guide about the flora and fauna in the area.
  • Reach a picnic spot and help your hosts prepare a bamboo-cooked lunch.
  • Enjoy your lunch while listening to the jungle sounds.
  • Hop aboard the longboat and head back to the longhouse.
  • Arrive at the longhouse and spend the rest of the day free at leisure.
  • Dinner and overnight at the longhouse.

Day 3 Batang Ai – Kuching

  • Wake up and have breakfast.
  • Hop aboard the longboat and head back to the Batang Ai Jetty.
  • Arrive at the jetty and transfer back to Kuching.
  • Lunch is served along the way.
  • Arrive in Kuching in the afternoon.

Related Tours

Sarawak National Parks & Jungle Experiences:

Experience the diverse cultures of Sarawak:

Learn More about Batang Ai National Park:

Learn More about the Iban:

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