Sightseeing in Brunei: A Visit to an Iban Longhouse - Vikingess Voyages

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Sightseeing in Brunei: A Visit to an Iban Longhouse

For the second half of our day trip to the Ulu Temburong National Park we went to visit the house of a local Iban tribe called a "longhouse". As the word "longhouse" indicates this is literarily a long house. Once upon a time it started out just as one small building ment for a single couple, but as the younger members of the family got married they would add a small house of the exact size and shape next to their parents/relatives' house, thus making the house grow longer and longer with each new generation. 

Above: An Iban Longhouse
The picture above shows the Iban Longhouse we visited. The traditional longhouses of the Iban tribes used to be built in a simple style, but more and more of the longhouses are becoming modernized, and nowadays it is common that they come with both running water and electricity.
Above: The corridor connecting the various families living inside the longhouse
When you enter the longhouse there's a long corridor connecting the houses of the families living there so that they all can gather easily but also have their own private life. It sort of reminded me of a school where each of the classes have their own room that use in private for the lessons while still being able to socialize with kids from other grades in the break time.
Above: The sultanate has a strong position in Brunei, and it was interesting to see that there was a photo of the royalties inside the longhouse
From the corridor we were escorted into the living room of the head of the longhouse where we were given a warm welcome. As you probably know Brunei has strict laws prohibiting the locals from consuming alcoholic beverages, but the Ibans have a traditional sweet rice wine called 'tuak' that is produced for own consumption and used for festive events. Inside the longhouse they kindly offered us to try and taste a small cup each as a welcome drink, and I think it tasted somehow like sweet sake
We also got the chance to put on a traditional Iban clothing called kain kebat (ceremonial skirt), which you can see in the photos below.
Above: We had a fun time trying out the beautiful traditional attires.
Above: It is forbidden to use Brunei coins to decorate the traditional attires, so the Ibans had instead used Malaysian coins for this dress.
Above: A collection of Iban weapons on the wall.

I have decided not to post too many pictures from inside the house since it after all was a private home. Visiting the Iban longhouse and trying out the local attire and rice wine was however one of the highlights of our trip to Brunei, and I would not hesitate to recommend it for anyone considering a visit to Brunei!

That's all for now, but hopefully my series of posts about Brunei can be of help to some of you out there considering a visit!

 Basic Info
  • The Ulu Temburong National Park
  • Tour Operator: Borneo Guide

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Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below
- Anette

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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