The Longhouse in Sarawak

One of the many exotic experiences we can offer our clients is a visit to a longhouse in Sarawak, be it a daytrip or an unforgettable overnight stay with the Ibans.

DAY TRIP – Annah Rais Bidayuh Longhouse
OVERNIGHT – 2Nights Iban Longhouse Experience

There are over 4,500 longhouses in Sarawak inhabited by members of more than 20 distinct ethnic groups. The best known, and the easiest to visit, are the longhouses of the Iban.

The Ibans are famous for their handicrafts, and you are bound to see weavers, woodcarvers and blowpipe makers at work. You can try your hand at blowpipe shooting, visit the rubber and pepper gardens, and go for a walk in the nearby forest, learning about the different plants and their many practical uses. Depending on the season, you may witness rice threshing and rice pounding, but whatever time of year you are sure to be shown the skulls hanging from the longhouse roof.

The Ibans lead relatively simple lives. They gather food from the jungle, fish and plant their own vegetables. Try holding a conversation with the Ibans and you will find them a warm people. Greet them in their own language with Nama brita nuan or “How are you?”.

Older men prefer to be addressed as bapa and older women, ibu. The elderly folks are illiterate and can only speak the Iban language. But those aged between 30 and 50 would have had primary education and speak Iban and Bahasa Malaysia.

Here are some tips for visitors when visiting a longhouse.

  • If you want to see traditional costumes and rituals, you should come on an organised tour with cultural performances included, get yourself invited to a wedding, or turn up during the Gawai Dayak harvest festival (1st & 2nd of June).
  • Do announce your presence and seek consent from the elder before entering a longhouse.
  • Do remove your shoes before entering.
  • Do not enter the sleeping quarters without prior permission from the respective families.
  • Do not walk over a person who is asleep.
  • Do not walk directly across the longhouse as this will cause bad spirits to take away wealth from the longhouse.
  • Do not enter a longhouse under construction as it is believed to bring bad luck.
  • Do accept the local wine ( made from fermented rice ) offered by the longhouse folks because it is believed that visitors who do not pause will take away their wealth from the house with them.
  • Do not touch the skulls in the longhouse.

Contact us now to experience living in a longhouse to understand the culture of the people and their traditional lifestyle!