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Longhouses are the traditional communal homes for the Iban and the Bidayuh tribes. Constructed from timber and bamboo, they are built beside rivers for transport as there are no access roads into the jungle where these communities live, so visit to a longhouse is either by boat or hours of hiking! The longhouses are built high above the floor of the jungle, and each of the dozens of families who reside together have their own individual room for sleeping and storage. The main feature of each longhouse is the covered verandah known as a ruai that is used for the communal lifestyle of socialising, sharing meals, and celebrating events together. It is here in the ruai that guests sleep when visiting a longhouse.


Staying overnight in a jungle longhouse is a unique way to experience the tribal cultures that are at the heart of Sarawak.



The Ibans (or Sea Dayaks) migrated by boat from Kalimantan in the 16th century and built their longhouses beside rivers. Initially they clashed constantly with the locals and there are


Annah Rais Bidayuh

The Bidayuhs (or Land Dayaks) preferred to build their longhouses on the side of hills, living an isolated existence to the south of Kuching along Sarawak’s mountainous border with Kalimantan. They used to be headhunters and their longhouses always had a “head house” where the heads of enemies were kept and where the men performed [...]