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Exploring Niah Caves

Exploring Niah Caves

Niah

One of the must-visit caves in Sarawak that I had the opportunity to explore is no other that the world famous Niah Caves, which is located just two hours from the city of Miri in Northern Sarawak. The massive cave system is located in the Niah National Park, which is one of the top three national parks in Sarawak Borneo.

Niah Cave was once a trading cave, where traders from around the world would pay a visit to trade wares with the birds nest that was gathered by the locals from around here. The caves were also discovered by Alfred Russel Wallace in an expedition done back in 1855.

Niah National Park

The wooden stair climb up to the Niah Caves 

A hundred years later, couple Barbara and Tom Harrison made an attempt to excavate part of the Niah Caves and found some interesting discoveries. Till this very day, the Niah Caves are still being excavated. Scientific facts claim that the Niah Caves have been occupied since 40,000 years ago, and proof of human remains have been found here.

My trip to the Niah Caves coincided with a visit to the Patrick Libau Longhouse where the Gawai celebrations or Harvest Festival were held in June. It was my first time and the experience was something that I was looking forward too. From the longhouse, it was an easy trek for about 20 minutes to the cave entrance.

Niah National Park

At the Trader’s Cave, can you see the person in the photo?

Niah National Park

Remains of the traders outpost inside the cave

Trader’s Cave

From there, wooden stairs take you upwards into the Trading Chamber. This was where the Swiftlet Traders set up shop, and you can still see the remains of their wooden structures built into the cave walls.

The chamber is massive, with one side of the cave left open for more than enough light to come in. From the Trading Chamber, it was a short trek up into the main chamber of the caves. Here, I needed to climb a few flights of wooden stairs that had railings.

Niah National Park

Tom Harrison’s House inside the Great Cave

Great Cave

Arriving at the main chamber, Great Cave or Tom Harrison Chamber as I call it, you will be greeted by a house that was once lived in by Tom and his wife. The wooden home sits in one section of the cave entrance and has been preserved by the museum department. You are not allowed to enter the house though.

When looking into the main chamber, you see on your left, an area fenced up to about eight feet. This is where current excavations are ongoing by relevant departments. If you look carefully, you can see what has been dug up or what is in the process of being excavated.

Niah National Park

A fence surrounds the cave paintings at the Painted Cave

Painted Cave

Heading in another 150 meters will bring you the the star of Niah Caves, which is the Painted Cave. This section is also fenced up to preserve the amazing cave paintings discovered. The rock paintings also date back to some 1200 years old and some of them are in good condition while most of them have faded a little.

After attempting to take some photos, at the Padang Area, which is lightly deeper inside the caves, it was soon time to make that return back to the longhouse, as celebrations were still on going. In general, you can visit Niah for half a day, just to explore this fascinating caves.

Niah National Park

Part of the excavation area that is fenced up

Niah National Park

Some of the beautiful cave formations inside Niah Cave

If you are coming from Miri, you will make a stop at the Niah National Park office, where you buy your ticket in. From the park office, it takes about 40 minutes walk to the Trader’s Cave entrance. You will also be walking on a boarded walkway with the beautiful rainforest surrounding your journey.

The entire journey here is worth the visit, provided you love trekking, hiking, caving, nature and adventure. This would easily be listed as one of the main things to do out of Miri City, so if you are in Miri, do look up a tour company that organises trips to the Niah Caves.

___________________
Photos by David Hogan Jr

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A Visit to the Annah Rais Longhouse

A Visit to the Annah Rais Longhouse

A Visit to the Annah Rais Longhouse

As a frequent traveler, and especially all over Sarawak in the last 10 years, I have to admit that I have never been to the popular Annah Rais Longhouse. This is one of the most popular longhouses that a majority of travellers would visit and is sold by local travel agents.

I have been to traditional longhouses deep in the interiors of Sarawak, at places like Lemanak and Batang Ai, which are easily five to seven hours traveling, but not to Annah Rais in the main Padawan area. In October 2017, I finally managed to visit this Bidayuh Longhouse which is just an hours drive from Kuching city.

A Visit to the Annah Rais Longhouse

Everyday life at Annah Rais longhouse in Padawan

Some people claim that Annah Rais is on a more commercial side, due to the proximity being close to Kuching city, hence the dwellers here are more modern and up to date. This was one of the reasons that over the last decade, I choose to visit other longhouses in the remote areas.

Annah Rais village is predominantly Bidayuh, with an exception of cross marriages to other races. The village is estimated to be over a hundred years old, and has expanded in all directions throughout the century.

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseA local Bidayuh man goes about his daily chores at the longhouse

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseA wooden bridge connecting the main longhouse to the communal hall and football field

Ever since the tourism boom in Sarawak, the Bidayuh community here had turned this traditional home into one of the most popular tourist attraction just out of Kuching. Visitors from the world over are seen doing day trips here whole for those who want to experience staying here, there are 9 registered local homestay programs available.

Driving about an hour from Kuching, I made my inaugural step into this fascinating culture where you actually get to walk around and see the Bidayuh people going about their daily lives.

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseSkulls on display in a cage of the Skull House at Annah Rais

The massive longhouse is interconnected by a wooden or bamboo walkway, which is the main common area where families would sit around and talk and kids play. Annah Rais is so huge that it seems like one entire village is connected together with home run restaurants, grocery shops and the local homegrown products.

The first unique feature I came across was a headman’s house or skull house where I was intrigued by a collection of traditional skulls that were in a cylinder wire cage. I believe these were the invaders of the longhouse where the Bidayuh people caught and beheaded.

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseOne of three murals that Ernest Zacharevic painted at Annah Rais

Walking along the main route, two wall murals from world famous Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic is spotted on the walls of certain homes. He was invited to paint some of his murals here at Annah Rais in 2014.

At the far end of the longhouse, there is one unit called a Bidayuh Show House where I saw what a traditional Bidayuh home looked like back in the day. It displays simplicity and basic living by using natural resources.

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseLocal Sarawak black and white pepper sold here

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseFor those wanting to sample the local rice wine or Tuak, they are also available here

Souvenirs can be found sold by a number of homes, which are usually traditional Bidayuh items such as beads or woven baskets or mats. For fans of the world famous black gold or black pepper, you can buy the Sarawak black and white pepper in packets here.

And for those wanting to sample the famous local brewed rice wine or Tuak, this can be done here too. I also noticed that bottles are also for sale from some of the homes here at very reasonable prices.

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseOne of the older wooden houses at Annah Rais

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseAt the entrance, a glass of Tuak is served after purchasing your entrance ticket

Annah Rais is one of the most popular tour packages that can be booked from any of the travel agents in Kuching. Alternatively, many also use private taxi services to get here by them selves or even rent a car to self drive here.

For tickets, there is a RM8.00 entrance fee before entering the longhouse and I recommend you go before 10.00 AM. A glass of rice wine or Tuak is also served to non Muslims when you purchase your ticket.

___________________
Photos by David Hogan Jr

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Article source: http://sarawaktourism.com/blog/feed/

A Visit to the Annah Rais Longhouse

A Visit to the Annah Rais Longhouse

A Visit to the Annah Rais Longhouse

As a frequent traveler, and especially all over Sarawak in the last 10 years, I have to admit that I have never been to the popular Annah Rais Longhouse. This is one of the most popular longhouses that a majority of travellers would visit and is sold by local travel agents.

I have been to traditional longhouses deep in the interiors of Sarawak, at places like Lemanak and Batang Ai, which are easily five to seven hours traveling, but not to Annah Rais in the main Padawan area. In October 2017, I finally managed to visit this Bidayuh Longhouse which is just an hours drive from Kuching city.

A Visit to the Annah Rais Longhouse

Everyday life at Annah Rais longhouse in Padawan

Some people claim that Annah Rais is on a more commercial side, due to the proximity being close to Kuching city, hence the dwellers here are more modern and up to date. This was one of the reasons that over the last decade, I choose to visit other longhouses in the remote areas.

Annah Rais village is predominantly Bidayuh, with an exception of cross marriages to other races. The village is estimated to be over a hundred years old, and has expanded in all directions throughout the century.

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseA local Bidayuh man goes about his daily chores at the longhouse

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseA wooden bridge connecting the main longhouse to the communal hall and football field

Ever since the tourism boom in Sarawak, the Bidayuh community here had turned this traditional home into one of the most popular tourist attraction just out of Kuching. Visitors from the world over are seen doing day trips here whole for those who want to experience staying here, there are 9 registered local homestay programs available.

Driving about an hour from Kuching, I made my inaugural step into this fascinating culture where you actually get to walk around and see the Bidayuh people going about their daily lives.

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseSkulls on display in a cage of the Skull House at Annah Rais

The massive longhouse is interconnected by a wooden or bamboo walkway, which is the main common area where families would sit around and talk and kids play. Annah Rais is so huge that it seems like one entire village is connected together with home run restaurants, grocery shops and the local homegrown products.

The first unique feature I came across was a headman’s house or skull house where I was intrigued by a collection of traditional skulls that were in a cylinder wire cage. I believe these were the invaders of the longhouse where the Bidayuh people caught and beheaded.

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseOne of three murals that Ernest Zacharevic painted at Annah Rais

Walking along the main route, two wall murals from world famous Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic is spotted on the walls of certain homes. He was invited to paint some of his murals here at Annah Rais in 2014.

At the far end of the longhouse, there is one unit called a Bidayuh Show House where I saw what a traditional Bidayuh home looked like back in the day. It displays simplicity and basic living by using natural resources.

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseLocal Sarawak black and white pepper sold here

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseFor those wanting to sample the local rice wine or Tuak, they are also available here

Souvenirs can be found sold by a number of homes, which are usually traditional Bidayuh items such as beads or woven baskets or mats. For fans of the world famous black gold or black pepper, you can buy the Sarawak black and white pepper in packets here.

And for those wanting to sample the famous local brewed rice wine or Tuak, this can be done here too. I also noticed that bottles are also for sale from some of the homes here at very reasonable prices.

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseOne of the older wooden houses at Annah Rais

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseAt the entrance, a glass of Tuak is served after purchasing your entrance ticket

Annah Rais is one of the most popular tour packages that can be booked from any of the travel agents in Kuching. Alternatively, many also use private taxi services to get here by them selves or even rent a car to self drive here.

For tickets, there is a RM8.00 entrance fee before entering the longhouse and I recommend you go before 10.00 AM. A glass of rice wine or Tuak is also served to non Muslims when you purchase your ticket.

___________________
Photos by David Hogan Jr

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A Visit to the Annah Rais Longhouse

A Visit to the Annah Rais Longhouse

A Visit to the Annah Rais Longhouse

As a frequent traveler, and especially all over Sarawak in the last 10 years, I have to admit that I have never been to the popular Annah Rais Longhouse. This is one of the most popular longhouses that a majority of travellers would visit and is sold by local travel agents.

I have been to traditional longhouses deep in the interiors of Sarawak, at places like Lemanak and Batang Ai, which are easily five to seven hours traveling, but not to Annah Rais in the main Padawan area. In October 2017, I finally managed to visit this Bidayuh Longhouse which is just an hours drive from Kuching city.

A Visit to the Annah Rais Longhouse

Everyday life at Annah Rais longhouse in Padawan

Some people claim that Annah Rais is on a more commercial side, due to the proximity being close to Kuching city, hence the dwellers here are more modern and up to date. This was one of the reasons that over the last decade, I choose to visit other longhouses in the remote areas.

Annah Rais village is predominantly Bidayuh, with an exception of cross marriages to other races. The village is estimated to be over a hundred years old, and has expanded in all directions throughout the century.

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseA local Bidayuh man goes about his daily chores at the longhouse

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseA wooden bridge connecting the main longhouse to the communal hall and football field

Ever since the tourism boom in Sarawak, the Bidayuh community here had turned this traditional home into one of the most popular tourist attraction just out of Kuching. Visitors from the world over are seen doing day trips here whole for those who want to experience staying here, there are 9 registered local homestay programs available.

Driving about an hour from Kuching, I made my inaugural step into this fascinating culture where you actually get to walk around and see the Bidayuh people going about their daily lives.

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseSkulls on display in a cage of the Skull House at Annah Rais

The massive longhouse is interconnected by a wooden or bamboo walkway, which is the main common area where families would sit around and talk and kids play. Annah Rais is so huge that it seems like one entire village is connected together with home run restaurants, grocery shops and the local homegrown products.

The first unique feature I came across was a headman’s house or skull house where I was intrigued by a collection of traditional skulls that were in a cylinder wire cage. I believe these were the invaders of the longhouse where the Bidayuh people caught and beheaded.

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseOne of three murals that Ernest Zacharevic painted at Annah Rais

Walking along the main route, two wall murals from world famous Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic is spotted on the walls of certain homes. He was invited to paint some of his murals here at Annah Rais in 2014.

At the far end of the longhouse, there is one unit called a Bidayuh Show House where I saw what a traditional Bidayuh home looked like back in the day. It displays simplicity and basic living by using natural resources.

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseLocal Sarawak black and white pepper sold here

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseFor those wanting to sample the local rice wine or Tuak, they are also available here

Souvenirs can be found sold by a number of homes, which are usually traditional Bidayuh items such as beads or woven baskets or mats. For fans of the world famous black gold or black pepper, you can buy the Sarawak black and white pepper in packets here.

And for those wanting to sample the famous local brewed rice wine or Tuak, this can be done here too. I also noticed that bottles are also for sale from some of the homes here at very reasonable prices.

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseOne of the older wooden houses at Annah Rais

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseAt the entrance, a glass of Tuak is served after purchasing your entrance ticket

Annah Rais is one of the most popular tour packages that can be booked from any of the travel agents in Kuching. Alternatively, many also use private taxi services to get here by them selves or even rent a car to self drive here.

For tickets, there is a RM8.00 entrance fee before entering the longhouse and I recommend you go before 10.00 AM. A glass of rice wine or Tuak is also served to non Muslims when you purchase your ticket.

___________________
Photos by David Hogan Jr

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