7-Day Headhunter's Heartland by Bike (BM7A)
- Duration: 7 Days (approx.)
- Location: Kuching -SriAman -Betong - BatangAi, Sarawak, Sarawak
- Product code: BM7A
An Epic Ride Into The Iban Heartland (7D6N)
Following the trail of the White Rajahs in the bygone era in their conquest to suppress the rebellious Headhunters, ride into the Iban Heartland of authentic long houses, interior waterways and rustic forts. This trip runs Kuching to Batang-Ai.
Explore on two-wheels into the heartland of the legendary Dayaks, once feared headhunters of Borneo. Navigate the remote interior riverways and ride the outback country lanes to travel among the Dayak people.
Discover how their history intertwined with 100 years dynasty of English's White Rajahs, in the 1840's , by visiting the historical forts built by the White Rajahs to defend against the warring headhunters and learn their fascinating legacy.
Along the trail, stay in unique Dayak longhouses to enjoy the hospitality of the tribal hosts and indulge in authentic cuisines prepared from nature's freshest ingredients. This one week trip is an amazing experience to live among the proud natives of Borneo -- an epic bike holiday for the heart and soul.
DAY 1 Arrive at Kuching, Cycle the Heritage Trail (12 km)
Arrive in the capital of Sarawak, the charming old town of Kuching. The group will meet with the tour leader in the late afternoon for a briefing on the tour, a chance to try out the bikes, and then we head off straightaway onto the heritage trail of the White Rajah. Enjoy a welcomed sunset dinner at the bank of the romantic Sarawak River.
Basaga Hotel / The Marian Meals: D
Pedal into history on this heritage tour of Kuching, the capital of Sarawak. Explore the Main Bazaar of the picturesque Old Town, and stop at the Square Tower, at the ‘stone jetty’. In the early days of the Brooke Rajah, this Fort and a nearby Court House were the full extent of government buildings. Cross the River in the traditional fashion, in a ‘sampan’ ferry deftly steered with oars, to visit Fort Margherita, built by Charles Brooke in 1879 and named after his bride. The Fort’s cannons were trained on the river, both a traffic route and possible source of an enemy attack. As it happens, the brickbuilt edifice has never been shot at in anger. After substantial renovations it is now a Museum of Brooke memorabilia.
DAY 2 Long Boat to Banting
After breakfast we start our journey into the Borneo interior. Visit two lively market bazaars along the way before reaching the outpost town of Pantu. We take a traditional long boat ride into a remote longhouses of Banting, accessible only by boat on crocodile infested river. Explore the local community with your local host and enjoy spontaneous 'longhouse hospitality' at its best, sharing simple traditional cuisine on the floor and dossing down under a mosquito net at night.
Banting Longhouse Meals: BLD
We make our first stop at Serian market, a great place to find every kind of fruit imaginable. Next stop, trading bazaar Lachau and a village-style lunch.The riverine adventure starts at Pantu, in shallow-draft longboats all the way to the Iban villages of Banting. Banting is an old rallying point of the Ibans who use the fertile lowlands for padi farming. The rocky hill by the river was a primitive fort; in times of danger the villagers found refuge here. The early Christian missionaries recognized the importance of the vantage point and crowned it with St.Paul's Church which, improved and renovated many times, has stood here since 1859. Enjoy the simple longhouse welcome - never mind what time visitors turn up, refreshments will be offered. Once you've been shown your quarters you're welcome to-stroll around the village, climb the hill to inspect the church, ask someone to explain the mysterious rock formations near the river, maybe drop in at the school, see people produce artistic handicrafts like mat-making and weaving, or wander off to the rice fields and vegetable gardens. The river here is famous for its prawns -- unfortunately, crocodiles like the tasty crustaceans quite as much as we humans do. Swimming in the river is NOT recommended!
DAY 3 Cycle to Fort Alice (51 km)
After a short boat transfer to a tiding outpost of Lingga, we ride up the majestic Batang Lupar River, bypassing longhouse villages, farms and paddy fields. If we are lucky, we can see the natural phenomenon of tidal bore roar pass us during our ride. We will reach the old town of Sri-Aman to visit the newly restored Fort Alice to discover how battles were fought during the warring era.
Seri Simanggang Hotel Meals: BLD
You'll set off by longboat for the Lingga bazaar, center of the lower Batang Lupar where you'll taste a coffee shop breakfast. In James Brooke's time, the township was ruled by two feisty Malay women of the aristocratic class who didn't shirk from donning male attire and joining their followers in warfare if the occasion demanded it! You'll enjoy an easy ride along the banks of the great river. A few hills in the distance enliven the landscape; make a couple of detours to have a look at particularly interesting longhouses. You'll pedal into the capital of the Batang Lupar, Sri Aman (formerly known as Simanggang) in time for lunch. You can't miss Fort Alice (1864) perched on a riverside hillock, commanding a good view of the river from where trouble might be expected to come in the old days... and it frequently did. Like all forts, Alice served for defense and security, as administrative headquarters, and as a prison - 'lifers' were usually incarcerated in Fort Alice.
DAY 4 Cycle (58 km) and Transfer to Ulu Bayor Longhouse
After a short river crossing, we continue another day of pleasant ride upriver to another old fort, Fort Lily at Betong. After a visit to Fort Lily, ride into the hilly interior. The Iban folks will entertain you with old tales and maybe a little rice wine at Ulu Bayor longhouse.
Ulu Bayor Longhouse Meals: BLD
After breakfast, you'll cross the river and pedal overland to the next main township, Betong, on the Layar River. You may get a chance to pay your respects to,a now very veteran warrior who was awarded the George Cross by King George VI; he lives in quiet retirement near his hometown Sri Aman. After a good stint of pedaling, you've deserved a good coffee-shop lunch in Betong! Visit Fort Lily (1855), built to fortify this 'outstation'. Lily has seen considerable action in the turbulent times when Iban chief Rentap challenged the Rajah; some of the cannon used in the skirmishes are preserved in the Betong District Office. From here cycle along winding road dotted with small scale pepper farms, rice fields and rubber plantations to reach the rustic old town of Debak. Your journey continues by car for 20 km on hilly terrain until you reach Ulu Bayor Longhouse. On arrival at the authentic century-old longhouse, you join the host for a tour of his farm enroute to a waterfall. Longhouse hospitality is from the heart, but the facilities tend to be fairly simple; be prepared to eat seated on the floor, and sleep on a mattress under a mosquito net.
DAY 5 Cycle (51 km) and Boat to Batang Ai Resort
After a quick land transfer, we take a pleasant ride passing through many more longhouse villages and small farms. We reach the Batang Ai Lake for a scenic boat ride into a longhouse style resort for a well deserved relaxation.
Batang Ai Resort Meals: BLD
Today you really do travel up country! After an hour trip in the van you'll cycle away from the trunk road, southwards, towards the Kalimantan border. Numerous longhouses along the trail makes the point: this is the Iban heartland. You'll make a side excursion up the Lemanak River; where the terrain gets hilly.-Pedal and pedal until you can literally go no further, and you'll reach a man-made lake snuggled among the hills. This lake supplies hydro-electricity to most of Kuching and West Sarawak. You'll embark on a lake craft that looks roughly like the 'African Queen' to cross the Hydro Lake to the Batang Ai Resort. Yes indeed, the cluster of longhouses bedded against the green slopes is a resort! Spend a leisurely afternoon and evening, recovering from the rigours of the trail.
DAY 6 Cycle (30 km) and Transfer to Kuching
In the morning, we depart early for more scenic cycling along the Indonesia border with Kalimantan. After lunch, we take the final land transfer back to civilization. We then enjoy our final meal together and celebrate the tour.
Basaga Hotel / The Marian Meals: BLD
Depart Batang-Ai early in the morning by boat and make a 30-minute transfer to a rustic small-town of Lunbo Antu. Start today’s 30km cycling trail on a country lane with terrain that is slightly hilly but with scenic mountain and forest views along the way. The trail is along the Sarawak border with Kalimantan, Indoensia. Lunch will be taken at Engkillili. After lunch we'll set off for Kuching. The return journey to Kuching is for relaxing, talking and singing, and re-living the adventure you've just enjoyed. Epic Headhunter's Trail is a trip to remember! Enjoy one last, glorious meal together at the Topspot Food Center in Kuching. It's where all the good food of Sarawak comes together. The waiters don't carry white serviettes over their left arm and the ambiance leaves something to be desired, but the food is, seriously, something to write home about!
DAY 7 Tour Concludes in Kuching
Today the tour concludes. For those who are not in a hurry to leave, the wildlife and adventures of Borneo awaits. For more information on these amazing adventures and other destinations to extend your holiday, please ask our team at the time of booking.
Transfer to Kuching airport for a flight home sweet home.
Please note that the above itinerary is subjected to change due to unforeseen circumstances. However, we will always do our best to adhere to this original itinerary.
Schedule Departure 2020
- 23 Feb – 29 Feb
- 31 May – 6 Jun
- 25 Oct – 31 Oct
- 22 Nov – 28 Nov
- 27 Dec – 2 Jan 2021
Schedule Departure 2021
- 14 Feb - 20 Feb
- 30 May - 5 Jun
- 24 Oct - 30 Oct
- 21 Nov - 27 Nov
- 26 Dec - 1 Jan 2022
Schedule Departure 2022
- 13 Feb - 19 Feb
- 29 May - 4 Jun
- 23 Oct - 29 Oct
- 20 Nov - 26 Nov
- 25 Dec - 31 Dec 2023
Contact Us:– If the Scheduled dates don’t fit your schedule, contact us to custom your tour to an alternative date. Or if you have a group of more than 6 pax, ask for our group pricing!
- Number of Days: 7 Days / 6 Nights
- Total Cycling Distance: 202 kilometers
- Biking Difficulty: 3/5 (Active) Paved roads and gravel tracks with some undulations. Some easy off-road biking.
- No. of Cycling Days: 3 full days, 1 half day
- Accommodation: As per itinerary
- Meals: As per itinerary
- Bike Hire: RM 460 / Bike
- Minimum 2 adults per order
- Minimum Age: 12 Years Old (on Schedule Departure)
Package also include: English speaking guide, accommodations and meals, airport transfer, support vehicle, helmet, rain ponchos, drinks & snacks, other non-riding activities as per itinerary and entrance fees. Free airport transfer for tours of more than 3 days.
All services stipulated above are subject to availability at the time of booking.These tours operate on the principle that you may be in a small group of other people.
Story of the Headhunters
Sarawak is where adventure lives. Join us for the trip of a lifetime, into Malaysia's largest state, all 48,000 square miles of it. Navigate the old highways of Borneo - the rivers -- and ride the outback country lanes to travel into Iban heartland. Until well into the 20th century, rivers were the highways of Borneo. Though supplemented by a modern road system today, riparian transport is still part of everyday life.
Sarawak used to be under Brunei suzerainty, but in the 1840s an English gentleman-adventurer, James Brooke, was awarded custody of the turbulent little province, and granted the title Rajah. The dynasty of the White Rajahs lasted 100 years; today Sarawak is part of Malaysia.
Discover traces of the White Rajahs, and see how they had to shore up their position by building Forts. Brooke era buildings are an important part of Sarawak's architectural heritage today, as well as interesting historical markers.
The Dayaks of Borneo, once feared headhunters, cling to their distinctive house form: the longhouse. They'll welcome you into this village of homes built side by side, linked by a long covered veranda along the front of the individual doors and covered by one huge roof.
Your route is dotted with longhouses, some pretty ancient, others new - modern building materials are used today, but the essential lifestyle of a village under one roof has not changed. For a few memorable days you'll be 'one of the family'. You'll enjoy spontaneous 'longhouse hospitality' at its best, sharing simple cuisine of fresh produce from farms and the jungle, eating your meals on a mat on the floor, and dossing down under a mosquito net at night.
Part of the "Fort to Fort" Project initiated by Ministry of Tourism Sarawak
How To Book: Done you research and ready to go on our exciting Bike Holiday in Sarawak Borneo?
1) If you see a tour you like, from the tour page, select from the calendar’s schedule date which you’d like to travel;
2) Input the number of participants (minimum number of participants is usually 2);
3) Click the ‘Check Availability’ button;,
4) If you are a single traveler, email us from the Contact page to see if there are other travel on the same date;
5) We will confirm go or no go within 24 hours;
6) Once a trip is confirmed you are free to book your flights and make other travel arrangements;
7) For the next steps we will need to know the names of the people traveling as well as extra details such as passport numbers, height and meal preference etc.;
8) To guarantee your place we require a 30% deposit;
9) Upon receiving the deposit, we will send you an information pack contains useful information such as joining instruction and packing list etc;
Balance of full payment is required to be settled before the due date depends on when the tour is confirmed;
10) Please check our General Booking Conditions section for more detail on Booking Conditions, Payment Procedure and Cancellation Policy etc.
11) If you are having any problems or just want to ask us for more details, please send us an email, or give us a call and one of our tour adviser will assist you with your booking.