Tourism Malaysia

Baram Regatta Marudi 2011



The Baram Regatta

The main objective of the Baram Regatta was to substitute for old bloody-feuds and to persuade the tribes to aid the government in keeping the peace.  To suppress fighting and head-hunting, the Resident of Baram, Charles Hose organized an annual race for the war-canoes of all the villagers to be held in April 1899.  All the longhouses in the Baram and Tinjar were informed.  They included the Kenyahs of the Baram, the Lirongs of the Tinjar and Madangs of the central highlands as well as a number of Ibans.


On 6th April 1899, about five thousand people from Baram and the Madang was encamped between the Resident’s bungalow and Fort Hose.  The Ibans took up quarters in the long row of Chinamen’s shop in Marudi town.  The Tinjar Lirongs arrived after sunset.  They were dressed in full war attires in their war canoes and on arrival the Lirongs rushed up the hill to attack the Kenyahs in a mock battle.  After the clash, everyone settled down quietly for the night.


On daybreak of 7th April 1899, all the people assembled in a temporary conference hall built with palm leaves.  The Baram chiefs sat on a long platform on one side of the hall while the Tinjar men on the oter.  The Resident placed himself in the middle.  The two parties exchanged messages and presents and the great boat race was announced to take place on 8th April 1899.


At daybreak of the regatta twenty racing boats from all the longhouses were brought to the starting point for miles upriver from the Fort.  Each boat carry between sixty t seventy men, sitting two abreast.  At the sound of a gun, the twenty boats leaped through the water.  Soon, two boats drew out in the front with a grand neck-to-neck race.  The winner was a crew of peaceful downriver folks who learned boat making from the Malays of the coast.  The crowds on the bank behaved in good humor and forgot their feuds in the interest of racing.


As of today the regatta, with all its attraction, was not just a mere celebration but beneath its glamorous facade the courageous young paddlers from all over Baram district will gather here in Marudi to competed in this thrilling 3days boat races. This BARAM REGATTA will always be remembered as the historic significance of the fiesta. 


Held once every two years, Baram Regatta, fills with excitement and celebrations, is a reflection of the Baram’s colourful past and carries with it cultural and historical significance. Colourful decorated long boats trying to out run each other in the Baram river, boasting the might of both the rowers and quality of their crafts.  For Baram Regatta 2011, the organizer has line out interesting program such as speed boat race, cultural shows, Baram Idol, beauty pageants, exhibitions and many more. 


So see you there!!


(Resources:  A Guide to Baram Regional Museum, Fort Hose, Marudi, Sarawak)

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