Friday, June 27, 2014

Batang Ai Longhouse Resort- A Quiet Resort on an Island within Borneo Island

Lubuk Antu in Sarawak, a place unfamiliar to most Malaysian, even to many Sarawakians, houses a resort- Batang Ai Longhouse Resort. It is unique as it resides on a small island in the middle of Batang Ai lake, which is formed due the crave of hidroelectric power.

Batang Ai Longhouse Resort is located in Lubuk Antu, Sri Aman, approximately 280 km from Kuching, and 225 km from Sibu. We started our trip from Sibu early morning by car and reached the jetty near Batang Ai Dam in around 4 hours 30 minutes (with a stop at Sarikei). The trip was not too bad as the road condition was good. By the way, Batang Ai means Ai River.

 Map shows the location of Batang Ai Dam, and the route we took from Sibu. Instead of 3 h 7 min, we took around 4 h 30 min. We passed by Bintangor, Sarikei, Saratok, and Betong before we reached our destination.

The only way for us to travel through the huge lake formed by the building of the dam was using a boat prepared by the hotel management. As we visited the hotel during weekday in the middle of May, we were the only visitors of the resort, until joined by another group of several foreign visitors at dusk. We stayed there for a night, enjoying a calm, quiet, and full-with-greenery time, while listening to the orchestra played by nature. Ironically, it was at the middle of a man-made lake.

Panoramic view of Batang Ai National Park at the view point nearby the jetty. Click the photo to enlarge.

The transit boat is the only mean to reach the hotel. It operates only a few trips a day. The boat ride takes 20 minutes to reach the resort from jetty.

Nice view at the jetty.

The dam is located nearby the jetty.

Calm and picturesque view on our way to the resort.

Flooded for more than 25 years, the remaining of the trees can still be seen around the lake.

The resort is well-hidden behind the trees (upper left). The first message from the resort- no swimming in the lake (upper right). The resort welcomes its guests with stairs. Luckily, helpful porters were there to help us with our luggage.

The resort was built using woods. So we can see wooden lobby (upper left), wooden balcony with wooden chairs and coffee tables (upper right), and wooden walkway resembles ruai of a longhouse (lower left). There is a nice swimming pool too.

Panoramic view from the higher platform of the jetty. Click the photo to enlarge.

Panoramic view from the resort. Click the photo to enlarge.

We stayed in a very nice wooden-decorated room. The room was spacious.

As there was no other place for us to go for lunch and dinner, the hotel's restaurant was the only choice we had. The average price for a single meal was at least RM30. We tried several dishes at the restaurant, which most of them were delicious. Fried noodle with udang galah (upper left), Kuching Kway Teow (upper right), Sri Aman Mix (lower left) were good. The enormous freshwater prawn, udang galah surprised us. The complementary western breakfast was acceptable as well. However, Tasmanian wild salmon steak (not shown) was not impressive.

Group photo at the restaurant before lunch.

Photo taken on our way back.

The road connecting Batang Ai Dam to other part of Sarawak.

We found that Batang Ai Lake Recreation Park was beautiful. It is located on the another side of the dam. A short walk around the park promises great view, but beware of hungry mosquitoes.

A view on Batang Ai Lake Recreation Park from the entrance.

Two days one night trip to Batang Ai Longhouse Resort is enough. A prolonged afternoon downpour a few hours after our arrival trapped us in the resort for the first day. Else, we might join some of the activities such as jungle trekking, longhouse visit, or fishing. These activities were offered by the resort with fees, and arrangement needed to be made a few hours earlier. The next morning, we walked around to enjoy the beauty of nature and fresh air. We took the opportunity to swim in the nice pool before we left the resort at around 12 pm.

Frankly, that is definitely not a must-visit place in Sarawak. However, if you fancy about spending an extraordinary quiet night in the middle of an island within Borneo Island, you might consider to stay overnight at the resort. But remember, the resort can be full with visitors during weekends, school holidays, and public holidays. Visit the official website of the hotel for more information. The boat schedule is available in the website as well.

More about our experience in Sarawak are available:

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