Batang Ai Dam, Sarawak is just a normal hydro dam if you have never sailed accross its pristine water and step on the staircases of Batang Ai Resort (Managed by Hilton) – overlooking romantic sunset. That was perhaps the best I can describe, as I had not any high hope of getting fascinated by Batang Ai’s charm. Surprisingly, this place proved that it’s not merely a dam that store thousands of gallons of water, but a place where I mesmerise my 3D/2N visit very much.
A tour to Batang Ai, either you book with a tour operator or take a taxi means that you will depart in the morning and reach the destination by late afternoon. Make sure that you arrive at the Batang Ai jetty before 5pm for the last scheduled ferry transfer. If you take a tour package, you might be visiting the Semenggoh Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, half an hour drive from state capital Kuching. The chances too see orang utan is slim but if you are a diehard red ape fan, you will definitely spend every moment (limited to one hour) to wait for their special appearance in this forest reserve.
From Semenggoh, we had a leisurely one hour drive to the North East of Sarawak whereby we stopped at Serian town to explore it’s markets. We saw a lot of exotic fruits and food items for sale, some of them I’ve never seen in Sabah. About an hour drive from Serian is a small town called Lachau. We visited a nearby pepper farm (Sarawak is known for its pepper) before having lunch at a restaurant. It is compulsory to bring souvenirs for the longhouse community tomorrow, so we spent some time hunting for snacks as gift.
Next, we drove past scenic view of paddy fields, mountain range bordering Malaysia and Indonesia and a few wooden longhouses. Reached Batang Ai jetty around 5pm. What a place! I was standing in front of a huge dam surrounded by formidable hills. A ferry with a capacity of 30 transferred us along with a big group of tourists. We enjoyed the 20-minute journey before a long stretch of wooden building became more visible on a little hill. Greeted by friendly staff upon arrival, checked in, stunned by the dazzling sunset vista.
Batang Ai Resort Resort Managed by Hilton
I never thought there’s such a gigantic 5-star longhouse resort in such a remote area in Sarawak. There are two categories of room here – 88 standard rooms and 12 suites rooms. The rooms are cozy and tastefully designed with Sarawak’s cultural motives. The resort is made from hardwood, therefore smoking in the resort is not allowed. There is a spa called Borneo Oasis Wellness which accommodates 6 pax at one time, a gift shop, a pool, tennis court and fitness equipment.I really enjoyed the peaceful night here! I will share more about the resort and longhouse visit in Part 2.End of part 1
By Willie Ki
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