Batang Ai National Park
Located in the heart of Sarawak, Batang Ai National Park is an area noted for indigenous tribal culture, pristine rainforests and wildlife. Accessible only by boat along rivers twisting through impenetrable jungle, and across Batang Ai Lake, the National Park is located in an unspoilt area of rainforest which is the Iban tribal heartland.
Comfortable accommodation is available at the Aiman Batang Ai Longhouse Resort, built in the style of a traditional Sarawak longhouse on the shores of the lake, and set in gardens full of indigenous plants. A popular activity from the resort is to visit an Iban longhouse community in the area. Near the resort there are also many opportunities for guided nature walks, and experiencing the canopy walkway in the jungle surrounding the lodge.
The Iban are the largest of the 22 tribal groups in Sarawak, and were originally headhunters with highly successful military tactics which lead to their domination over all the other Sarawak tribes. They are a vibrant ethnic group who weave intricate textiles for their ritualistic warrior dances. The Ibans welcome visitors into their villages to see their longhouses, in which many families live together under one roof, where antique Chinese jars dating back hundreds of years and human skulls hang from the rafters. A day visit will provide an insight into the lifestyles and culture of the Iban community, but for an unforgettable experience we recommend an overnight stay at a rustic jungle lodge set beside an Iban village.
For those looking for more adventurous pursuits we can arrange trekking tours of various lengths through mountainous areas of the National Park where the Orang-utan still occur in the wild, staying in very basic jungle camps and Iban villages. On these longer treks there is the opportunity to witness how conservation measures have been set up with indigenous communities to ensure the survival of one of the world’s great apes.