A one-night stay in the Lemanak Iban Longhouse offers a magical experience for visitors into Sarawak, who probably had never sensed the feel of traditional way of life before. During the visit there, visitors can experience the atmosphere of the Iban traditional life, taking pleasure in their food and delicacies, and of course enjoying the friendliness and welcoming arms of the people in the longhouse.
For the trip, visitors should be prepared by bringing with them a small travelling bag, some personal toiletries, a torchlight, a raincoat, slippers, a pair of trekking shoes, basic First Aid kit and insect repellent.The Lemanak longhouse can only be reached by land route from Kuching, and this fortunately would add in extra delight for visitors, providing them with the opportunity to view the many colourful sights and wonders along the way.
A trip to Lemanak starts at 8.15am, where visitors gather and being welcomed by the accompanying guide at the hotel lobby, before proceeding to the first stage in the journey – a 30-minute drive to the Semenggoh Orang Utan Centre.
Here, visitors can peek for themselves on the intriguing, but interestingly wonderful primates Orang Utan during their feeding time at nine in the morning. With they sometimes displaying amusing antics to the curious visiting onlookers, the feeding time for these Orang Utans is the best chance to see these delightful creatures.
After Semenggoh, the journey to Lemanak continued through rural Sarawak, where visitors can enjoy the sights of the locals’ economic activities, such as pepper gardens, cocoa plots, rubber plantations, rice fields and oil palm groves. A few stopovers can be made along the way too.
One of those stops is at the native wet market in the Serian town, where the locals sell an array of jungle produce, a wide range of fish as well as vegetables. The place offers visitors with the chance to buy some of the produce as presents for their eventual hosts, the Ibans in Lemanak. Plastic bags to accommodate luggage during the longboat trip to Lemanak later on can be bought in Serian too, and of course, lunch can be enjoyed in this small town, about 65 miles from Kuching.
Once the visitors reach Lemanak River, a local Iban, who would man the longboat for the 45-minute boat ride through the tropical rainforest to the Lemanak Iban Longhouse, will greet them. On arrival at the longhouse, visitors can refresh and relax themselves on the ‘ruai’, the common veranda for the longhouse, while mingling with the Iban hosts, who most likely would serve a welcome drink of ‘tuak’, a local wine made from rice.
Dinner will be prepared in the meantime, and the hosts will marvel visitors with their traditional dance performances. After all the festivities, visitors can enjoy a peaceful slumber to cap a tiring but interesting day, far from the noise and troubles of the cities, despite the basic facilities of only foam mattresses and mosquito nets.
The next day will start with a breakfast in the longhouse, after which visitors can witness a demonstration of blowpipe by the locals, during which they can join in and try their ability in this traditional skill of the Ibans. After that, they can enjoy a short walk in the jungle, with lunch being served en route. Lunch will be of bamboo cooking, a traditional style that can involve the visitors themselves in the preparation.
Once the delightful lunch is over, the travel back to Kuching can start, during which visitors might start to feel a sense of belonging towards the Lemanak Iban Longhouse, despite the short stay there. The many interesting activities, enjoyable food and the openness of the people would surely create beautiful memories for visitors, who cannot be blamed if they promise themselves they will return there one day.