One of Malaysia’s largest protected areas, Batang Ai National Park is a 24-square kilometre tropical rainforest that is home to many endangered animals as well as orang-utan, gibbons and hornbills. Batang Ai National Park is located in Sarawak around 250kms east of Kuching and is accessible only by motorised longboat.Don’t Miss
The main reason for visiting Batang Ai National Park is to see its flora and fauna, with registered guides and park rangers taking visitors on one of its five trails.
The rainforest is home to orang-utan, gibbons and eight species of hornbills, as well as a wide selection of other wildlife. Many can be seen on one of the park’s five hiking trails, which range from nearly two to over seven kilometres in length. The Padalai trail is the shortest and easiest, while the Sium Trail is the most demanding and is where hikers will reach an elevation of 704 metres.
Travellers that are interested in culture can visit one of the local Iban longhouses and purchase some of their handicrafts as well as learn more about the way that they live. The Iban have also created their own cooperative to help conserve the park, Kooperasi Serbaguna Ulu Batang Ai.
The Batang Ai Longhouse Resort is the only place to stay in the area and has facilities like a swimming pool, tennis courts, a wellness centre and a playground. Tours of the Batang Ai National Park can be booked through the hotel, as they actually run the longboats that access the park and its trails.
Restaurants and bars
When on a tour of the park all food and drinks are provided. Otherwise, the only restaurant is located in the Batang Ai Longhouse Resort. The resort also has a cosy lounge on site to enjoy a peaceful evening after returning from a trek of the park. Visitors should make sure they try the local tuak (rice wine) or langkau (Iban whiskey).Shopping
The best shopping is in one of the Iban villages where women weave beautiful fabrics (pua kumbu) with intricate patterns. It is also possible to buy souvenirs in the resort’s shop, but items here will be much more expensive.