Batang Ai National Park is a vast expanse of growing tropical rainforest that continuously supports many rare and protected species of animals. Located in Sri Aman Division of Sarawak state, Malaysia. The national park is surrounded by an artificial lake, established for the Batang Ai Hydroelectric Scheme. The surrounding lake of 24 sq km is well fed and fed by tributaries of the Ai River.
About Batang Ai National Park
Although failing to get facilities to maintain the national park, the administration of the national park as well as the local community is trying its best to preserve this rich forest dominated by dipterocarps. Home to hornbills, gibbons and orangutans, this beautiful establishment is the epitome of peace and tranquility.
The Iban are the inhabitants of the national park, who live in traditional longhouses. This ethnic group, once an admired group of headhunters, has long been living in long houses in flood waters. If you are planning a trip to Batang Ai National Park, be sure to visit their centuries-old traditional houses. Conservation projects, funded by the government and led by NGOs in Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, are trying to preserve the wildlife in the national park.
Read suggestions: Turtle Island National Park: A guide to spotting the best wildlife in Malaysia
Things to do in Batang Ai National Park
Being accessible only by boats, a visit to the park makes it an experience full of exclusivity and excitement. You get the impression of a huge picturesque artificial lake creeping into the depths of the forest. The interior is a haven for orangutans, gibbons and hornbills.
Although there are no proper provisions for visitors in the national park, there are walking trails around the forest area. You are taken by one of them to an ancient cemetery. Trekking through hilly terrain with brief stops at jungle camps, you will observe the survival measures adopted by orangutans, considered one of the best apes in the world.
The centuries-old traditional longhouses are one of the major focal points of Batang Ai National Park. These peculiar longhouses are actually micro-villages, with apartments linked together and a long common communal gallery. Living in long houses is still practiced among the rural Iban people. Many of the resorts offering accommodation are also based on the traditional longhouse getup, giving you the Ibans experience in the jungle.
Read suggestions: Malaysian Cuisine: 10 Dishes That Will Let You Taste The True Taste Of Malaysia!
3. Local culture
The lives of the Iban people can be explored in depth by remembering their simple agricultural life. Once famous for headhunting practices, the Ibans now thrive on the common practices of hill rice cultivation, fishing, pepper cultivation and selling of various rainforest products. Most tourists come as part of organized tour groups, details of which can be obtained from the Visitor Information Center located in Kuching.
The clear flow of water gushing from the tributaries of the Aye River, tranquil waterfalls, breathtaking expanses of rainforest teeming with wildlife, and the vivid culture of the Iban people all combine to make a trip to Batang Aye National Park, a bliss forever worth taking.
How to reach Batang Ai National Park
Batang Ai National Park is headquartered at the headwaters of Batang Ai and Baya River. The park is well connected to Aiman Batang Ai Resort by private jetty services (and no public boat services). The park is resting in peace amidst the artificial lake of Batang Ai Hydroelectric Project, away from all the hustle and bustle. To reach the park headquarters one has to cover a distance of about 15 kilometers by boat ride over the river.
Jetty services are available exclusively for private use, which must be booked in advance. Arrangements are available from tour operators at Aiman Batang Ai Resort and nearby. It takes up to 2 hours to reach the park headquarters. The boat trip takes one hour to cross the hydroelectric lake, and another hour to climb the surging Batang Ai River. When the water in the river becomes low, you may have to push the boat to places where it gets stuck. The crystal-clear stream all the way to the park headquarters will ensure that your experience in this lush green abode remains mesmerizing.
The nearest airport you can find is Kuching International Airport, which is 275 kilometers away from Batang Ai. The airport serves the entire south west region of Sarawak. The airport shares its runway with No. 7 Squadron of the Royal Malaysian Air Force. Major airline carriers such as Air Asia and Malaysia Airlines operate flights to this destination regularly.
Read suggestions: 7 Scary Places in Malaysia That Will Scare You!
where to stay
There is no accommodation facility available in the national park. All the resorts and lodges are located in Batang Ai, away from this undisturbed land. Tourists are required to make their own arrangements for sufficient food and beverages for their visit to the national park and obtain permits for any means of photography and filming.
Permission can be sought from the National Park Booking Office. Apart from comfortable resorts, there are also lodges and jungle camps that serve national park tours and activities.
1. What about Sumpa Lodge?
It is a short walk from the long houses of the Iban community. The boat ride takes 90 minutes to reach the lake.
Read suggestions: 5 Activities That Make Up the Heart and Soul of Night Safari in Malaysia
2. Lubbock Butcher Wilderness Camp
Nanga Sumpa is about a 30-45 minute boat ride away from the lodge. This gives a better view of the banks of the Lalang River, an area considered to be a common ground for orangutans.
3. Aiman Batang Ai Longhouse Resort
Comfortable accommodation is well provided at Aiman Batang Ai Longhouse Resort. The resort is set up in the style of a longhouse typical of Sarawak, situated on the lake shore. It blooms profusely with native plants and flowers. There are guided walking trails and canopy walkways around the resort right near the resort.
Read suggestions: 14 Top Festivals in Malaysia to Witness Its Vibrant Culture and Rich Traditions
4. Iban Longhouse
They are located in the Lemanak River and allow you to immerse yourself in the Dayak culture of the Iban community. You can of course stay overnight, there are dormitories equipped with mattresses available for those interested.
Other details about Batang Ai National Park
Time: All days – 8 am to 5 pm
read ahead: 6 Villas In Malaysia That Are Perfect For An Escape With Your Loved Ones
While the best time to visit Batang Ai National Park is the month of June, this is also the time when travelers get a chance to be a part of the annual Gawai Dayak festival. So what are you waiting for? End your wait, and browse some of the best Malaysia tour packages with TourTravelHotels, and enjoy the beauty of the jungle.
People also read:
Are you looking to book an international holiday?
Book memorable holidays on TourTravelHotels with 650+ verified travel agents for 65+ domestic and international destinations.