Iban Longhouse Borneo, Malaysia

We have often seen people on stilts entertaining crowds. But, houses on stilts! Have you seen them? These are traditional houses built raised off the ground on stilts. Quite a few places in the world have such houses; Borneo in Malaysia is one of them
(Pic courtesy Beehive Communications) 

The Dayaks and Ibans, native people of Borneo, live in such buildings on stilts. As you approach you will be amazed to see lengthy structures on stilts. These are home of the native tribes there. The houses are divided into public area along one side and a row of private living quarters lined along the other side. One obvious reason why these native people live in such houses is to avoid flooding.

While modernization is taking its toll and flattening the world, Malaysian Tourism has done well in preserving these traditional structures. Special touring packages are available where tourists get to experience their lives and daily chores. The whole area is not setup for tourists but it is a ‘real living world of the tribes’. You get to see twenty-two families, one-hundred and thirteen people as well as a few animals all living in a wooden building under one big tin roof. Each of the twenty-two families has their own room, a common open-space area, a deck and a piece of farmland somewhere near the longhouse.

(Pic courtesy Beehive Communications)

They do not live in total isolation from the world yet they have managed to preserve their identity. If you are there a courtesy visit to the headman of the longhouse and respect for their traditions and customs will be well appreciated. You will be provided basic necessities and simple bathroom facilities. You will be treated to tasty jungle food alternately you can even try your hand cooking the local way. Sing and dance the tribal way with Iban tribe celebrating “tuak” (rice wine), and sleep on floor under mosquito nets. It will be a unique experience to spend a night here and for those who are keen to know about tribal ways of life this definitely is a must visit place.

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15 Responses

  1. Sylvia K says:

    Sounds like a fascinating place, Indrani, wish I were still able to travel, I'd love to visit there! Love your captures for the day! Hope your week is going well!

  2. Amazing place to visit and explore!!

  3. Gary says:

    Great post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  4. natural life is wonderful . now we also get back everyday 12 hrs power break 🙂

  5. Fascinating post. Nice to note that native customs are encouraged and tourists can experience traditional living.

  6. Pietro says:

    Such an interesting place to see, Indrani.

  7. Leovi says:

    Excellent photos, delicious houses built in the middle of the lush jungle, I love.

  8. Great place to stay in. Sounds exciting.

  9. Joyful says:

    Wow, these are amazing. I've only seen them on television.

  10. Bikramjit says:

    I m sure if we respect other ways of living we will be welcome.. and also if we do it all the time then the world can be a beautiful place to live in


  11. I'm amazed that with tourists frequenting the area that they are able to maintain their way of life.

  12. George says:

    This sounds as if it would be a fascinating place to visit. I've seen pictures of houses on stilts, but have never known about the longhouses. Thank you for a very interesting post.

  13. Jeevan says:

    Interesting knowing about their living style and housing! Would love staying at such place.

  14. I have been to Malaysia and I plan to go there again. I would love to visit this awesome place 🙂

  15. I have seen houses on stilts in the Deep South here, but these images redefine stilts!

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