At Home with the Iban Headhunters

Batang Ai, Iban Tribe Community 3-Day Rainforest Lodge Stay - Sarawak, Borneo

Prices from £398 pp

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Duration3 days / 2 nights (flexible)

LocationKuching - Batang Ai National Park - Kuching

Call us 01273 322398


Enter the dense green jungles of Sarawak and meet the once feared Iban tribe, also known as the 'headhunters'. Unravel the mystery of this remote location as you glide through the jungle in a wooden boat. Your accommodation is a basic room in a traditional longhouse surrounded by lush green plants and trees. During this trip, you'll meet the generous and hospitable Iban tribe who are keen to share their culture and traditions with visitors, giving you an insight into their way of life.

What's included

  • Accommodation – price based on 2 people sharing
  • Bus and boat transfers to and from Kuching
  • Jungle walk with guide
  • All meals

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Location map

Your day-by-day itinerary

Arrival in Batang Ai National Park

Over the next 3 days you’ll explore one of the more remote areas of Sarawak, the Batang Ai National Park. You’ll start your journey by minibus from Kuching, stopping at local markets along the way. After about 4 hours you’ll switch to a motorised wooden boat to go deeper into the jungle. You’ll glide past overgrown banks, with the sound of screeching monkeys echoing in the distance as they swing through the trees.

travellers on a boat to homestay

The Iban tribe were once feared due to their practice of ‘headhunting’. These days they are peaceful people who live off the land but their other traditions are still carried out today. They live in longhouses built on poles high above the banks of the river. Entire communities of up to 30 families live in these houses in separate quarters.

Learn more about the Iban Tribe, Batang Ai and the Nanga Sumpa Rainforest Lodge in our blog post, demonstrating how tourism can be a force for good.

You’ll stay with the tribe in one of these traditional longhouses, with a mattress on the floor and a mosquito net. On entering it is customary to leave a small gift in the baskets hanging by the door in order to appease the spirits. You must always wait to be invited into a longhouse by the chief. You may experience an authentic ‘Miring Ceremony’ lead by a priest where you’ll be welcomed with a glass of local rice wine.

staff member eating with Iban tribe in borneo

Guided jungle walk

On your second day your guide will cook you a hearty breakfast in preparation for the day ahead. You will set off to explore the area surrounding the longhouse where wild Orangutans are occasionally spotted. Depending on the water levels, you may also travel by longtail boat. After a couple of hours of moderate trekking, you will reach a jungle camp where your hosts will cook you a tasty lunch inside bamboo!

Guided jungle walk

Departure to Kuching

On your final day with your host family you will wake up to another home cooked breakfast, before going on a short walk around the longhouse to learn about their crops and way of life. Then you’ll say goodbye to your hosts as you head back to Kuching by boat and minibus, arriving late in the evening.

Departure to Kuching

Speak to our Borneo specialist, Miles

“I loved my first trip to Borneo so much that I recently returned to explore more! Best known for its orangutan, the island is full of adventure and variety. My customers often wow me with their wildlife photos, which makes me want to go back again and again!”

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