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You get to Batang Ai via 'longtail' boats, and once there you will witness the distinctive lifestyle and experience the ancient culture of the local Iban people. With emerald green water surrounded by dense jungle, the Batang Ai reservoir is a truly stunning and unique sight.

The tips of treetops still emerge from the surface of the lake, a visual reminder of the valley that was flooded in the 1980s to create the reservoir.

Boat trips

Longtail boat trips upstream from the reservoir are a particular highlight and it is not unusual to come across a bend in the river partially blocked by boulders, forcing your Iban boatman to skillfully manoeuvre you around these obstacles before continuing upstream.

Local culture in Batang Ai

Iban tribesman with blowpipe, Batang Ai, SarawakOnce you reach the remote villages of this near-impenetrable jungle there is the chance to have lunch with local Iban families, visiting their longhouses, witnessing their distinctive lifestyle and experiencing their ancient culture.

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who's been there

Audley Travel specialist Josie

Start planning your tailor-made trip to Batang Ai by contacting one of our Borneo specialists

Suggested itineraries featuring Batang Ai

Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Batang Ai, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

Map of Batang Ai

Places & hotels on the map

    Places near Batang Ai

    Photos of Batang Ai

    Accommodation choices for Batang Ai

    We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Batang Ai. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.

    • Iban Longhouse, Lemanak River, Sarawak

      Lemanak Longhouse

      Basic

      This longhouse has not been set up for tourists. It is the permanent home of the Iban tribe and therefore you will probably sleep on the floor in the communal living area with a simple mattress and mosquito net as your only comforts.

    Ideas for experiencing Batang Ai

    Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Batang Ai, and which use the best local guides.

    • Iban tribesman with blow pipe, Batang Ai, Sarawak

      Iban Headhunters & Borneo Jungle

      Batang Ai

      The day is spent exploring the area by longboat and visiting the traditional longhouses of the Iban people. The Iban were notorious head hunters until the middle of this century, slaughtering their enemies and then preserving their heads to bring good fortune.