Thursday, September 28, 2006

More photos of longhouses, Tatau River

These are photos taken of 2 longhouses that I visited. Note the modernised interior, i.e. aluminium-framed glass door and sliding windows with tint. Keeps out the sunlight in the early hours of the day I suppose. Most of the time in a longhouse, the "ruai" or verandah is where everyone gathers to socialise and to chill out. Boats with outboard engines are the main means of transportation here, other than speedboats and the express boat (express boats are like river buses which commute daily from one longhouse/village to another. You pay according to the distance you travel).

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Bintulu & longhouses in Tatau River

I was in Bintulu recently for a couple of days for work. FYI, Bintulu is an up-and-coming town in the central northern region of Sarawak, mostly noted for the established industries and factories that has been operating there for a number of years now. I was visiting longhouses along Batang Tatau ("batang" is river in the local Iban dialect) upstream of a little cowboy-ish outpost called Kelebuk (after a small stream that flows through it). We drove from Bintulu to Kelebuk (via the junction to Samarakan/Sg. Emas Road) which took us only about 40 minutes followed by a boatride upstream from Kelebuk. With the boat we went as far up as the confluence of the two tributaries of Batang Tatau, i.e. Sungai Anap and Sungai Kakus ("sungai" is also river in the local Malay dialect) and made some pit-stops at several longhouses, among them Rumah Rinkai and Rumah Suran ("rumah" is house in Iban dialect). The photo you see here is that of Rumah Rinkai. In another set of photos that I will upload later on you will be able to see that - for those of you who have been to traditional Iban longhouses before - these longhouses no longer have hanging skulls from the ceiling or the traditional handmade wooden floorings of wide, canopyless "ruai" or verandah. Most of the longhouses along Batang Tatau have managed to modernise themselves in the past 5-7 years due to transportation and nearby developments. If you want to see traditional longhouses, pay a visit to Sarawak Cultural Village in Damai, Santubong (30 minutes drive from Kuching City) or to the longhouses in Batang Skrang; these are especially catered for tourists. My dad's longhouse somewhere in Jagoi, Kanowit would be a modern one as well since they've got roads built due to oil palm plantations growing like mushrooms in that region. For more info on longhouses and those you can visit, go to the "Useful for travellers" link I have put up in my list. More photos coming up soon.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Kuching City and Sarawak River

The capital of Sarawak is Kuching City, located on the southwestern end of this largest state in Malaysia. Kuching City has a population exceeding 300,000 in year 2006 and is expected to grow up to 500,000 by year 2015. What makes this city very unique, among a host of other things, is that a river meanders right through the heart of the city, almost dividing it equally in half. The river, known as the Sarawak River, meanders through the city and flows west-easterly to meet another equally-sized river, the Kuap River. The photograph (source: shows a very famous and rather historically significant landmark along the river, that is the Astana, i.e. the official residential of the Governor of Sarawak. This building was built more than a 100 years ago by the "white rajahs" of Sarawak, the Brooke family. They came over (an English gentleman named James Brooke sailing in his ship, The Royalist) sometime in mid-19th century to the then younger Sarawak, landed here, loved the place, made some deals to take it over from a member of the royal family of the sultanate of Brunei (who apparently owned Sarawak then) and subsequently became "rajah" or king of Sarawak. Fantastic story for some, less fascinating for others.
Today, this river has become Kuching City's most celebrated and well-known sight-seeing location for both local and foreign visitors alike. With the construction of a beautiful esplanade along the southern bank of the river for as long as 1 km, completed in 1993, this has added much vigour to the peaceful settings of the river as it moves along down to the sea.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


This blog serves to provide the visitor with a quick information stop-over on Borneo, mainly Sarawak and Sabah in the northern and central part of the island of Borneo, Malaysia.