For those who want to discover the real jungle of Malaysian Borneo, take a trip to Sarawak and experience life in the tiny settlement of Long Tanid. For travellers in search of adventure, and a desire to get to know some of the indigenous people of Borneo, Lawas, in Sarawak, Malaysia, provides a great hopping off point for trips into Borneo’s heartland.
A Jungle Retreat
Long Tanid is a tiny settlement that can only be reached by four wheel drive vehicles after arriving by air, sea or land in the regional centre of Lawas. It is approximately a 90 minute journey from the ferry terminal at Serasa in Brunei.
After being picked, by a local guide, Long Tanid is reached by taking a right turn off the main road that goes through Sarawak towards Sabah, onto a 2 lane, muddy logging road. This road was built and is partially maintained by the logging industry and Petronas, the Malaysian owned oil and gas company, and is used regularly by both of these industries.
The actual distance of Long Tanid down this muddy track is about 120 kilometres but can take anywhere up to 5 hours driving in the rainy season, depending on the quality of the road. The journey is still not complete after arriving in Long Tanid, as all vehicles must park at the entrance to the village as the village itself does not have any roads going through it. Long Tanid is designed around a large, green village square, a patch of grass about the size of a football field, and certainly bears evidence of western influence, with its large church the dominant landmark.
Discover History and Nature in Malaysian Borneo
It is then a 40 minute walk to Lebaluh, (meaning stream in local dialect,) Highland retreat. This utterly charming and secluded retreat is actually a collection of small wooden cabins, with basic beds, and an outbuilding housing a cold shower and flushing toilet, camping for those who like a bit of comfort!
The owner of Labaluh Highland Retreat is Phillip and his wife, Yaya, a very friendly couple who welcome travellers as though they are one of the family. Phillip used to be a government worker, but recently “retired” to the jungle to see how his ancestors lived and set up Highland retreat.
He, like many of the guides for the area, come from the Lunbawang Tribe, known during British rule as “Murut,” and he, along with other villages, are a fountain of knowledge on the customs, traditions and history of the local area, and Labaluh Highland Retreat is a fantastic base from which to take guided walks into the jungle to see the flora, fauna and history of the Borneo rainforest.