Along the road between Serian and Lemanak there are interesting 'fields' of pitcher plants - from the tiny to some quite large, these carnivorous plants trap and then devour insects. Ask your guide or at your accommodation for the best stops along the road - you can also see large 'forests' of pepper growing and some beautiful wild orchids.
Just 2 hours south of Miri, Sarawak lies Niah Caves, one of the largest limestone caves in the world. It was in these caves that the oldest human remains in South-East Asia were found.
Niah Caves are in the Niah National Park which charges only a token entrance free of about RM20 which the park management uses to maintain the pathway from the edge of the jungle to the mouth of the main chamber.
The 3km walk is best done in the early morning when it's cool and it's best that you wear slip-proof shoes as the moss covered planks can get a little slippery.
Be sure to bring a torchlight (a small one will do) if you want to explore the caves properly. And of course, your camera! Refrain from taking flash photography in dark caves as it adversely affects the locals who collect swallow bird's nests inside. There is a Painted Cave a little further up the path where you can study some pre-historic drawings.
The visit to the caves should only take you about 5-6 hours and it does get a little strenuous at times climbing those stairs. All the paths are well marked with signs and distance markers. The park also has comfortable chalets at the entrance of the park at reasonable prices should you get too tired from the trek.
The landing at Long Terawan is pretty good sized since people who take longboats to Mulu use it (like me), along with local fishermen. See also my Transportation tips about the Long Terawan to Mulu Park headquarters trip. There is a shelter where the longboats land and a couple of commercial docks upstream.
Long Terawan is a Berawan longhouse on the Tutoh River. The Berawan people are a subset of the Kelabit tribe. Berawan can be found from the Bario highlands all the way down Mulu and into the Ulu Baram area. Long Terawan is another large longhouse that no longer has very many people except at rice harvest time. Many former residents now live and work in Mulu.
Nuh's brother, Ding, has a door at Long Terawan and a house on the Melinau River near Mulu. He provides longboat rides between the two. See one of my Transportation tips on how to get from Long Bedian/Tenyoh Rimba to Long terawan. I was only able to spend a couple of hours at Long Terawan but they included a very enjoyable tea and durian break with Nuh's family and friends. Actually I like durian a lot. These local durians were small but very tasty, and did not even smell as much as some do. See also the video of Nuh cutting open a durain with his parang.
"Doors" are like huge two-story townhouses. They are occupied by an extended family. The large room when you first walk in is used for rice storage. An even larger common area (partially open air) in the middle has the living and dining areas. There were bedrooms both downstairs and upstairs. Besides a regular kitchen, there was a wood fire cooking room outside in the back.
There is a longhouse generator for electricity and some doors have their own backup generators. The longhouse is fortunate to have a quality drinking water system. The bathrooms and other out buildings are in the back. The door where I stayed had running water toilets and a cold water shower. It also had "bucket bath" room.
The Kayan longhouse, Long Atip, is located in a remote spot on the Apoh River, a five hour drive from Miri. At 98 "doors" (families), Long Atip is the longest longhouse in Sarawak. See also a videoclip.
When you go to Long Atip by road, to get to the actual longhouse you must cross a suspension bridge over the Apoh River and walk maybe 100 meters down a path. If you bring any supplies, you must handcarry them across the bridge but then the path is paved so you may use a cart after that. See also a videoclip.
Long Atip is facing the same trend as other longhouses, i.e., most people are moving into the cities except during the rice harvest. Their large school is supported mainly by Australian funding and teachers but now only has 22 students. Some families keep their kids in the longhouse school when they are young to live at home and learn their culture. When they get older, they attend school in Miri or other cities.
The Trans-Borneo highway crosses the Tinjar River at Lapok. The bridge was built by an Australian team. Lapok is named after the corresponding longhouse but is mainly a logging camp. It does have some new government buildings. The turnoff to Loagan Bunut National Park is just 10 minutes east.
We started our journey in to the National Park from the Hilton Bantang Ai longhouse. Our vehicle was a small, narrow longboat with a motor on the back. We travelled across the Bantang Ai lake and then up the Ai river. This was a much more frightening experience than I had expected. The river was very choppy and our boat rocked alarmingly as we battled our way up stream through the rapids. Huge piles of floating logs barred our way on occasions and the boatman had to navigate his way through the flooded forest, skimming the tops of the submerged trees. By the time we arrived at our destination, my knuckles were white (literally!) from holding on so tightly. My husband, on the other hand, thought it was great fun! I think it depends on your perspective!!
Our guide took us on a 2 hour walk in to the National Park. You will need plenty of water, and maybe some sort of walking pole (or a stick) as there is lots of walking uo hill. We didn't see much wildlife, but it was a 'satisfying' experience. Lunch cooked by our boatmen by the side of the river made the trip special.
Borneo is one of the last places on Earth where the extremely endangered Orang Utan still roams free. The most famous Orang Utan Sanctuary is located in Sepilok, in the State of Sabah. But there is also a similar sanctuary near Kuching, called Semmenggoh. Orang-utans live in a semi-wild state while their acclimatation periode before their reintroduction into the jungle. You can visit the place at the feeding times, but it is not guaranteed that the orang-utans will appear on that particular day. As a matter of fact, we did not see any on the day we went there in spite of the desperate calls of the people that left the food for the apes.
We did see some gibbons and others species of apes, however. And, if you ask, the chances of seeing an orang-utan in the wild are virtually nihil.
A must when in Sarawak. Visiting or even staying at the local Iban Tribe Longhouse. This longhouse is located at the Lemanak river which is about 4-5 hours drive from Kuching.
Speak to the local tour companies for more details about this. A once in a lifetime experience one should not miss. Watch the Iban do the tribal War dance and drink the local rice-wine, Tuak. Careful as one too many will knock you out.
Also, if you go on a package, some local Iban Food will be prepared. As in the picture, Chicken and rice are cooked in a bamboo, traditionally :)
You can also try out the local hunting weapon called the 'blowpipe'. It's actually quite easy to use and after a few tries, you'd be shooting sharp!
Unexpected! I could just join them dancing around during Gawai Day. This is such unique activities. Entering local native tribe of Bidayuh isnt that hard. Peoples there are friendly. During their gawai celebration, people happy drinking liquer, beer. all night long. Sounds of music hearing is so nice.
This is also consider visiting longhouse in Benuk for Bidayuh tribe.
Gunung Mulu National Park is Sarawak's largest national park. A visit usually includes
The Deer Cave, The Eagle Cave, The Clearwater Cave, and possible The Pinnacles. The mammals here include the Sun Bear, Slow Loris, Yellow-throated Marten, and several species of civets.
Casual visitors are more likely to see Macaque, the Grey and red leaf Monkey, and Bornean Gibbons. Forest birds offer the ultimate challenge for serious birders. They do not exactly come out and perch in front of you.
Unlike the days of old when you had to endure three hours on dusty gravel roads, it’s now a fairly easy drive along tarred roads, taking around one and a half hours. Though only single lane there were long straight stretches and traffic was light when we went on a weekday.
To get to Sematan, take the Batu Kawah road and follow the signs to Lundu/Sematan. It’s impossible to get lost as there aren't many major junctions on the road to Sematan. Just stick to the main road, ignore minor roads and follow the signs at the few major junctions
Perfect. We had interconnecting non-smoking rooms and a fantastic view of the river. Marshall at the...more
We were looking forward to a weekend at the Miri Marriott. The hotel is undergoing a renovation so...more
Jalan Kampung Nyabor, P.O. Box 1762, Sibu, Sarawak, 96008, Malaysia
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Couples