The Batang Ai National Park is a massive cover of a burgeoning tropical rainforest that has been incessantly sustaining in many rare and protected species of animals. Situated in the Sri Aman Division of the state of Sarawak, Malaysia, the national park is well surrounded by an artificial lake, set up for the Batang Ai hydroelectric scheme. The 24 sq. Km surrounding lake is well nourished and penetrated by the tributaries of the Ai river.
About Batang Ai National Park
Although failing to obtain facilities to maintain the national park, the local community along with the administration of the national park, is doing their best to preserve this flourishing forest dominated by the dipterocarps. Home to the hornbills, gibbons and orangutan, this beautiful establishment is a symbol of peace and tranquility.
The Iban are the inhabitants of the national park, residing the traditional longhouses. Once an acclaimed group of headhunters, this ethnic group has been living in the longhouses from a long time in the flood waters. A visit to their age-old traditional homes is a must if you are planning a trip to the Batang Ai National Park. Protection projects funded by the government and led by NGOs of Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, are trying to conserve the wildlife in the national park intact.
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Things To Do In Batang Ai National Park
Being only accessible by boats makes the trip to the park makes it an experience filled with uniqueness and exhilaration. You get to perceive the colossal picturesque artificial lake, crawling deep into the forest. The interiors are the heaven for the orangutans, gibbons and hornbills.
Although there are no proper provisions for visitors in the national park, there are walking trails around the forest cover. You are taken to an ancient burial ground by one of them. Trekking on the hilly terrains with brief stays in the jungle camps, will let you observe the measures of survival adapted by the orangutans, which are considered to be one of the world’s best apes.
2. The Longhouses
The age-old traditional longhouses are one of the major focal points of the Batang Ai National Park. These peculiar longhouses are in fact micro villages, with apartments joined together and having a long common communal gallery. Dwelling in the longhouses are still in practice among the rural Iban people. Many resorts offering stays are also themed in the traditional longhouse getups, thus committing you the feel of the Ibans in the forest.
3. Local Culture
The lives of the Iban people can explored deep, by reconnoitering their simple agricultural life. Once renowned for headhunting practices, the Ibans now thrive on common practices of hill rice cultivation, fishing, farming of pepper, and in the sale of various rainforest products. Most tourists come as a part of the organized tour groups, whose details can be well obtained from the Visitor’s Information Centre, based in Kuching.
The clear stream of water spurting from the tributaries of the Ai river, the tranquil waterfalls, the mind-boggling spreading of the rainforest with the nurturing of the wildlife, and the vivid culture of the Iban people, all communally makes a trip to the Batang Ai National Park, a one to savor forever.
How To Reach Batang Ai National Park
The Batang Ai National Park is headquartered at the headwaters of Batang Ai and the Baya river. The park is well connected by private jetty services (and no public boat services) from the Aiman Batang Ai Resort. The park is away from the from all levels of commotion resting in serenity in the midst of the artificial lake of the Batang Ai Hydroelectric Project. It takes some 15 Kms upriver boat ride to reach the park HQ.
Jetty services are exclusively available for private usage, which needs to be booked well in advance. Arrangements are available in the Aiman Batang Ai Resort, and with nearby tour operators. It takes up to 2 hours in reaching the park HQ. The boat journey is one-hour ride to cross the hydroelectric lake, and another to ascend the gushing Batang Ai river. When the river is running low on water, you might have to push the boat at places, where it gets stuck. The crystal-clear stream all the way to park HQ will ensure your experience to this green abode remains a mesmerizing one.
The nearest airport you can find is the Kuching International Airport, which is 275 Kms from Batang Ai. The airport serves the entire southwest region of Sarawak. The airport shares its runway with the No. 7 squadron of the Royal Malaysian Air Force. Major airline carriers like – Air Asia, and Malaysia Airline, regularly ply flights to this destination.
Where To Stay
There are no accommodation conveniences available in the national park. All resorts and lodges are based at Batang Ai, away from this undisturbed land. Tourists has to arrange their own means of food and beverages, enough to suffice their trip to the national park and have to obtain permits for any means of photography and filming.
Permission can be sought from the National Park booking office. Apart from the comfy resorts, there are lodges and jungle camps, who serves for the tour and activities of the national park.
1. Nanga Sumpa Lodge
It is a short walk away from the longhouses of the Iban community. It takes a boat ride of 90 minutes to reach the lake.
2. Lubok Kasai Jungle Camp
It is some 30-45 minutes of boat ride from the Nanga Sumpa Lodge. It has a better view to the banks of the Lalang river, an area considered to be a common ground for the orangutans.
3. Aiman Batang Ai Longhouse Resort
Cozy accommodations are well available in the Aiman Batang Ai Longhouse Resort. The resort is set up in the style of the habitual longhouses of Sarawak, situated on the shores of the lake. It is well blossomed by the indigenous plants and flowers. Just near the resort there are guided walk trails and canopy walkways surrounding the resort.
4. Iban Longhouses
They are located in the Lemanak river and allow you to be subjected to the Dayak culture of the Iban community. You can surely stay overnight, with dormitories equipped with mattresses being available to the interested souls.
Other Details About Batang Ai National Park
Timings: All Days – 8 AM to 5 PM
While the best time to visit Batang Ai National Park is during the month of June, it is exactly when the travelers also get to be a part of the annual Gawai Dayak festival. So what are you waiting for? Put an end to your wait, and browse through some of the best Malaysia tour packages with TravelTriangle, and relish the beauty of wilderness.
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