Malaysia is no doubt a dream destination but some parts of the country have been for a long time avoided because of the iban tribe also known as the headhunters, were still active. Welcome to Sarawak; a mysterious dense green jungle. Unlike what most visitors think, the headhunters are hospitable and generous people keen on sharing their culture. It’s time to go native folks!
To plan your trip to the head hunters make arrangements with the many available tour operators and set aside at least three days for an unforgettable trek through the rain forests. Kuching is the capital of Sarawak and a very fascinating town.here you will find the Sarawak museum, the Hong san temple and the kuching cat museum which has a huge collection of cats from all over the world.
To begin your Borneo visit, you will board a perahu (motorized, wooden jungle boat) from kuching, for an hour long boat ride into the iban territory. Along the way you will see overgrown jungle shores and hear the screeching monkeys and children playing. Once feared for their headhunting practice, the iban people now live in harmony with other people and their traditions from many years back still remain with them.
The iban people live in long houses which are basically houseboats and as many as 30 families can live in one house though in different quarters. Make sure to buy something along the way or carry some money because it is tradition to leave behind what you brought with you or a little money in order to appease the spirits and always wait to be invited before entering the longhouse. The village chief will usually invite visitors to view his gallery of relics from the tribe’s past and if you are lucky you might experience their authentic ‘miring ceremony’ conducted by a priest. Don’t miss to have a glass of the local rice wine ‘tuak’.
Before visiting the long houses, beware of what is allowed and what is not because they have a lot of rules. Don’t enter the long house without being invited and always remove your shoes at the door. Always accept all kinds of food and drinks offered because declining might be offensive. While seated, hide the soles of your feet because it is regarded as offensive for your soles to be seen. No matter how weird and simple it seems, women must keep both the upper and lower parts of their body covered while washing.
It will not be difficult to find companies charging between US$300-400 for a 3 days visit to the headhunters inclusive of transport to and from kuching, meals accommodation jungle walk and visits to the iban long houses.
If you are looking to mix things up and travel somewhere a bit more industrialized, then consider traveling to the Western part of Malaysia. This side is home to large skyscrapers and bustling civilians. Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia, and home to many up-in-coming artists and designers. If you search for rooms early, you can find many cheap Kuala Lumpur hotels available. It’s recommended to try each side of Malaysia, that way you get a complete feel of what this exotic country is all about.