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Bidayuh village stay – Meet Sarawak’s native Land-Dayaks

The Bidayuhs, often also referred to as Land-Dayaks, are an ethnic group which is native to West-Borneo and are concentrated in the South-Western part of Sarawak as well as in the northern part of the Indonesian province of West-Kalimantan. In Sarawak the Bidayuhs are the third largest indigenous ethnicity. The name ‘Bidayuh’ translates to ‘people of the land’ and is a collective name for several subtribes that share a similar culture and belief system. Their languages however differ greatly according to the areas of their origin and as a result the Bidayuhs often converse in English or Malay as a common language.
Traditionally the Bidayuhs were longhouse dwellers with an animistic belief system which attributes ancient spirits to many things in nature such as birds, animals, and plants and evolves around rice cultivation. In recent decades the majority of the Bidayuhs have abandoned longhouses for individual houses within villages and converted to Christianity, trying to adapt to the challenges of a modernizing era. However, many aspects of their traditional culture and social organization have been retained. Rice farming for example is still an important part of their culture and economy, many spiritual beliefs and superstitions persist and a strong sense of cooperation within the villages prevails, which originates from the communal longhouse lifestyle even if there are only few Bidayuh longhouses left.
Bidayuhs are well known for their warm hospitality and friendly demeanour. The fact that many Bidayuhs are able to converse in English makes it easy for visitors to communicate and connect with them. And since the Bidayuh villages are located in the rural areas of Kuching division, as well as the neighbouring divisions of Serian and Samarahan, it doesn’t take a very long journey to reach there. Thus, it is possible to venture on a daytrip from the city of Kuching to visit a Bidayuh village.
BORNÉO À LA CARTE is collaborating with several Bidayuh communities in different regions and besides offering comfortable daytrips, we also arrange exciting overnight stays for the more adventurous ones, longing to get a deeper insight into the culture and to immerse into the daily life of Sarawak’s native Land-Dayaks. During our tours you get to explore a Bidayuh village and its surroundings, learn about their culture and taste the native food. Local homestays in the villages provide accommodation as well as delicious home-cooked meals. You will also have the opportunity to join the villagers in daily activities like craft-making and/or farming or learn about the local cuisine while preparing meals for the family together with your host. Depending on which village you stay at, the tour may include a range of activities such as hiking, a refreshing dip in a nearby stream or waterfall, a visit of a local market, a river cruise and/or night walk in search of wildlife, or a relaxing bath in a hot spring. Just let us know your interests and preferences and we will tailor a suitable itinerary for you.
There are also a number of other tourism attractions to be found in the area of the Bidayuh villages, which can be combined with our Bidayuh village stays, such as the orang utan centre of the Semenggoh Nature Reserve, the night market at the old Chinese settlement of Siniawan (weekends only), the Silabur Cave, the caves of Bau (Wind & Fairy Cave) or the Sarawak Kiri river, which is a great location for kayaking activities.