10 Aug - 14 Aug 2009 Kapit

Malaysian Borneo
Sarawak aka Land of the Hornbills
Jalan New Bazaar 33
Hiap Chiong Hotel +6084797167 
Large and clean twin room with dinged-up furniture, air-con and unobstructed river view for MYR 35.- or US$ 10.- per night.
Indifferent staff.

Click below for an interactive road map of the Hiap Chiong Hotel in Kapit and for directions:

Visiting Fort Sylvia (named after Ranee Sylvia Brooke, the wife of Rajah Charles Vyner Brooke aka Vyner of Sarawak, the last White Rajah), a 19th-century CE fort whose whitewashed walls and ironwood aka belian shingle roof are home to a collection devoted to the life of the supreme chieftan Temenggong Koh ak Jubang, a successful head hunter and MBE (...awarded for local ‘hands-on’ service which stands out as an example to other people, at least according to the Queen's Honours System - honi soit qui mal y pense).

Sharing a private van (c. 10 km, 1/2 hour, MYR 3.- per person, one way) to Rumah Bundong, the tarted-up and heavily touristed version of a traditional wooden Iban longhouse, thus arriving (i) in the past, (ii) in the here-and-now and (iii) in the future of the family of the headman aka tuai rumah: (i) discovering in a hidden corner of the longhouse the family's fine collection of skulls from both ancestors and enemies, (ii) being invited to the family's home-brewed, slightly acidic and still young but very potent tuak and (iii) chatting with the headman's grown-up sons about their well-paid off-shore jobs for one of the multinational oil companies.

Taking the Khai Kiong express boat on the Rajang River downriver (one-way ticket in roof class, pure HuckFinn-like pleasure, for MYR 20.- or US$ 5.60 per person) back to Sibu, mourning en-route over the countless once so proud and mighty trees from the rainforest which were cut down without mercy and processed in the many factories and saw-mills on both sides of the river into plywood and wondering whether mankind has become a deadly disease for Mother Nature.
“Mother Nature may be forgiving this year, or next year, but eventually she's going to come around and whack you. You've got to be prepared.” 

Click below for more blog posts about longhouse visits in Borneo
13 Oct - 14 Oct 2009 Kudat
17 Aug - 18 Aug 2009 Nanga Mayeng
08 Aug - 09 Aug 2009 Nanga Bangkit
03 Aug - 06 Aug 2009 Kanowit
30 Jul - 03 Aug 2009 Sibu

Click below for a summary of this year's travels
2009 Map Konni & Matt 

Visit the Konni & Matt online albums and order high res travel photos 
Konni & Matt Travel Photos

Facing Borneo
© Konni & Matt

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