Visit Us in the Baram Peace Park
We believe Sarawak should be high on the bucket list of every adventurer! It is a spectacularly beautiful state filled with deeply rich Indigenous cultures, brilliant wildlife, and the oldest rainforests on the planet.
How difficult is travel to the Baram?
The communities we work with in the Baram region are keen to foster eco-tourism, but they are located well and truly off the beaten track. The travel can be strenuous, including many hours in a 4×4 vehicle on dusty bumpy mountain roads. Some of the more remote communities are not located on the roads, and require an additional boat ride and walk. We think that this is part of the fun, but it’s not for everyone. If you are comfortable with mosquitos, humidity, sharing a room in a longhouse or homestay, and very basic shower facilities (such as a bucket or a river), visiting these communities is truly an extraordinary experience.
Where would you recommend I visit on my trip?
Here are our tips for some unique places to visit where your tourism dollars will directly support Indigenous communities. You could visit all four of these communities on one trip over the space of about a week.
Visit the Penan in Long Ajeng
Here you can stay at a small guesthouse which you can access by longboat or on foot after a 5-hour drive upriver from Miri. The Penan villages along this stretch of the river are overlooked by the sacred and stunning Batu Siman mountains. The Penan are a traditionally nomadic Indigenous group famous for their deep reverence for and understanding of the rainforest. Long Ajeng has been fighting logging encroachment and set up a blockade in 2021.
Visit the Kenyah Jamok conservation area and agroforestry project
The Kenyah Jamok community of Long Tungan is located on the road, about 7-8 hours from the city of Miri, however at times this road is not passable, and you will need to take a short (and glorious!) longboat ride from the neighboring community of Long Siut. The further from town you get the thicker the forest becomes, so the extra hours upriver mean you will get to see some spectacular forest. With the Kenyah Jamok, you will get to learn how they protect their communal forest where no person is allowed to hunt or cut trees, and where gibbons and great argus are abundant.
Visit the Selungo Penan Tree Nursery project
The community of Long Kerong, on the Selungo River, is a 2-3 hour longboat ride from the logging road (depending on the water level), plus an additional walk. It takes about 8 hours in a 4×4 vehicle from Miri to reach Long Siut, where you start the longboat ride, so you may want to first spend a night or two in Long Tungan, which is closeby — or overnight at the homestay at the Long Siut junction. This community has been heavily involved in community organizing and activism aimed at saving the forests, including spearheading a tree nursery project. We highly recommend making the extra effort to get up the Selungo River to visit Long Kerong, as does TripAdvisor.
Visit the Nawan Nature Discovery Centre (NNDC) in Long Moh
Discover this community-led project that was initiated and designed by the communities of Long Moh themselves after getting inspired by many of the Indigenous-led eco-tourism and conservation projects in Sabah. The goal is to protect a piece of the jungle in their ancestral territories via a modest research-based center complete with a Food Forest, an edible jungle garden, and a river fish sanctuary. They passionately protect the delicate and powerful ecosystem that has kept this ancient forest alive while advocating sustainable practices. Contact them on Instagram to experience NNDC for yourself.
Bear in mind that private transportation (4×4 vehicle, longboat, and guide) is needed to access these places. There are flights to Long Akah that run a couple of times a week which cut out about 5 hours of driving, but you will still need to hire a driver and car to meet you there. You cannot turn up to these villages uninvited, and we highly recommend bringing food rations and cash with you. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can connect you with our local partners SAVE Rivers and KERUAN Organisation who can help guide and facilitate this.
And lastly, we recommend having a quick Google before booking hotels to make sure that it isn’t directly linked to the timber and palm oil industries, as many of the big hotels in Sarawak are owned by the tycoons who run these companies.