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Batang Ai Jungle Adventure

Updated: Feb 29



Kuching - Batang Ai: Depart Kuching by air-conditioned van for the Batang Ai Hydro Lake. The first stop is the colourful farmers’ market in Serian town, with time for shopping or a coffee break in one of the many cafés. Continue through rural Sarawak, enjoying the distant mountain scenery while passing paddy fields, rubber plantations, and the occasional longhouse. Visit a pepper garden to learn how this valuable spice is grown. Lunch is at Lachau Bazaar, where local Iban farmers come to sell their produce and handicrafts. After lunch, we enter the Iban Heartland, with longhouses every kilometre or so along the road. Less than 2 hours later, we arrive at the Batang Ai Jetty, where we can freshen up before boarding our native longboats for a 60-90 minute journey across the vast hydro lake, then up one of the tributary rivers, negotiating fast-flowing rapids before arriving at the longhouse jetty.

We enter the longhouse, where some 20 or more families live together under one roof. Most people will be going about their daily business, mending fishing nets or winnowing rice on the outer verandah (tanjong), and if we are lucky, one of the ladies might be weaving an exquisite pua kumbu. We will spend some time viewing the longhouse and its surroundings before enjoying a splendid dinner of fresh native produce, cooked by our multi-talented guide and his enthusiastic native helpers. After dinner, we will be officially welcomed by the longhouse chief (Tuai Rumah) and entertained with music, cultural dances, and rice wine (tuak), along with many photo opportunities. Overnight in the longhouse, which offers basic accommodation and facilities.

Lunch and dinner are provided.


Upriver Trek & Jungle Camp: After breakfast, our hosts will conduct a blowpipe demonstration, and we will be invited to join in. We then board our longboats to explore the upper reaches of the Batang Ai river system, some of the best-preserved rainforest in all of Borneo. After cruising through shallow rapids enclosed by steep tree-lined river banks, we arrive at a beautiful jungle waterfall, complete with a pebble beach formed by river erosion, known as a kerangan in Iban. We disembark to bathe in the river and explore the riverbank and the jungle surroundings while our guide and boatmen prepare an al-fresco lunch from local ingredients. After lunch, we trek through the pristine rainforest, keeping an eye open for wildlife and unusual plants and learning how the Iban use the jungle for their everyday needs. We arrive at our jungle camp site in the late afternoon, and our guide and his local helpers set up our camp and prepare a jungle feast including jungle ferns and manok pansoh of ikan pansoh (chicken or fish steamed in bamboo tubes over our camp fire). After dinner, we take a short night walk through the jungle to see and hear all the nocturnal creatures, then sit around the campfire listening to tales of headhunters and jungle spirits. Overnight in the jungle camp.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided.


Batang Ai - Kuching: After breakfast, we will trek back to the river to board our boats and return to the longhouse. After some brief goodbyes, we then depart by longboat around mid-morning to retrace our journey. En route, we will make one or two stops to view wild orchids and several species of pitcher plants. Lunch will be served at Lachau Bazaar, with some extra time at Lachau for souvenir shopping. We should arrive back at our hotel in Kuching by late afternoon.

Breakfast and lunch are provided.


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