Sitting close to the border of Indonesia, the national park of Batang Ai is tucked deep into the Borneo jungle. The area was flooded in the 1980s to create a reservoir, and you can still see treetops sticking out of the water.
Along the river, the Iban people – the famous head-hunters – live in their traditional longhouses. These remote villages are reachable via longboat, and you can meet the Ibans and learn about their fascinating, ancient culture. Up until about fifty years ago, the Ibans used to kill their enemies by decapitation before preserving their heads, which they believed to bring good fortune – hence their moniker, the ‘head-hunters’.
It’s not just the people that attract visitors to Batang Ai; there are also hornbills, orangutans and gibbons to spot in the dense jungle.
When to go
The best months to visit are between March and October to avoid the rainy season.
What to do
- Longhouse visits
- Trail hiking
- Longboat river cruises