Thursday, July 4, 2013

Enjoy the Harmony and Togetherness of Dayak Tribe in Betang House, Kapuas River, West Kalimantan

When you manifest your adventure desires by down the longest river in Indonesia, then surely you will find Dayak longhouse. Betang houses is the heart of social structure of Dayak tribe also as a life mirror of daily activities of one of amazing tribe. 

Look at how Betang house which is routine issuing a puff of smoke and then it slowly disappear behind the tropical forest of Borneo. that's a sign of pulse of life still continue in the forest and in the side of Kapuas river. Mothers of Dayak tribe which has prepared coconut water which is used for great meal where the flavour and the scent of those foods will make your saliva out.

longhouse of Dayak tribe usually consists of 50 rooms with many kitchens so that it becomes one of the longest house ever built. Although the longhouse looks very simple but the fact is this house has incredible endurance because mostly it was built centuries ago.

Nowadays, there are some Betang houses stand solidly by using ironwood which well-known strong. Betang house usually built at the top of the pole as high as 5 until 8 metre, whereas to enter into the house, usually it use simple stair. Because of the stair is less sturdy so you must be careful when you climb it one by one.

Dayak tribe is Kalimantan's original tribe, the largest island also known as Borneo. Dayak tribe live in the plateau, jungle, and along the river side of this island. They're famous because of their skill to hunt in the forest and today Dayak tribe live as farmer, they produce forest product. They also skilled in weave and make wood carving. 

Longhouse or also called as Betang house
Longhouse also known as betang house or lamin. Generally, this traditional house is located in the river side and built at the top of sturdy pole to avoid of seasonal flooding. River has importan function for daily life because it has function as source of food and drink. Beside of that, the river also used as liaison to the outside world

Longhouse of Dayak tribe is a residence which inhabited by some core families. However, there is one porch which is used for meeting place, ritual, ceremony, culture shows, and also other general activities. The important things from the life in Betang house is value of togetherness by citizens who inhabit it. You will know that Dayak tribe is a tribe which respect to every ethnic differences, religion, or social background.

Dayak tribe must live in the chambers from a longhouse to make them more organized if one day soon there are joint activities or threats from the outside. 

Longhouse not only as a shelter but also in this house also as a creation place of harmony, closeness, and togetherness continuously between residents of longhouse. But nowadays some Dayak tribe prefer to live in the house smaller than a house which is inhabited by some big families. One of the longhouse example like I said above is in Putussibau where Putussibau is a plateau in Kapuas river. Longhouse here has 54 rooms which is inhabited by some families.

In that traditional house, every family is given a duty to take care of common security. Also each families must be involved in ceremony and ritual.

In this house also there's division of labor but it's more emphasized in team work. However, the differences is still seen between nobles and commoners. The leader is positioned in middle house, whereas the lowest caste is positioned near entrance.

In longhouse, every individual life in household are regulated systematically through mutual agreement which is placed in mutual traditional law where the traditional law which included about criminal cases or sharing food and also human strenght mobilisation to work on the fields.

In this traditional house you will feel the togetherness and brotherhood of Dayak tribe. If one of family member dead then the mourning period is absolutely enforced for one week for all residents. In that time, they don't use jewelery, not noisy, don't drink tuak (alcohol) and also they're prohibited to turn on the electronic tools

Longhouse or betang house are spread in every place, such as in the regency of Sunge Uluk Apalin, Melapi, Semangkok, Utik river, and also in Bukung regency. All of them are in Kapuas hulu or in the plateau of Kapuas. This longhouse have became Indonesian culture heritage and it's very important to protected its existence.


Mie Tiaw from Pontianak
There's chinese food such as Mie Tiaw in Pontianak which it has become unique culinary that must be tried. You can find Mie Tiaw Apollo in Patimura street and Mie Tiaw 72 in Antasari street.

There're many option start from Mie Tiaw Goreng and Mie Tiaw Siram and both are very delicious. The food like noodle is presented by beef, innards, eggs, and also blend of savory spice.

When you visit Pontianak, you can enjoy one of culinary snacks such as Pontianak fried banana. This food has became icon of culinary tourism over there with the uniqueness like the crispness of its banana where the crispness is made from special flour. The basic materials are banana kepok which is coated by flour, eggs, and it's fan-shaped.

The materials above is fried until its cooked and it can survive until 4 days, so it's suitable to be your food souvenir if you visit Pontinak. The fried banan will become more delicious if you add chocolate, milk, durian jam, blueberry jam, nuts, jackfruit, cheese, and many more.

What Kind Of Activities You Can Do ?

Enjoy the experience by touching the culture of dayak tribe through learn and fused with their traditional life and absorb their local wisdom. Betang house is a perfect place as a medium of learning and understanding the elements and philosophy of life from Dayak tribe.

In here you will understand the background, philosophy, and the deepest values which is continued by parents to the young generation of Dayak tribe.

Explore along the Kapuas river and the Embaloh river in the upper to see directly the long building in the river side. The residence of Dayak tribe looks like school building which long and consist of many chamber. Look at how the old buildings is sustained by the long poles where its lenght between 10 until 15 metre from ground level. The long poles is made from ironwood which not easy to weathered and it's durable for a hundreds years.

The buildings consist of three rooms. The first room called ruai or pandopo which is not limited by board wall. The first room is public room or common yard for play, chat each other, meeting, discussion, or do traditional ceremony. The second room is rooms for each head family which has been limited by board wall.

The buildings is made at high enough altitude from ground level by the only ladder and entrance. They make like this to avoid of flood and wild animal also threat of attack from other tribes. If you see the architecture model of Betang house, you can try to ask the meanings of every buildings model.

The Office of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture has declared that 5 Betang houses in regency of Kapuas hulu as cultural heritage. The cultural heritage is located in village of Sunge Uluk Apalin, Ngayau village, sub-district of Embaloh Hilir, in Melapi, sub-district of Putussibau in Semangkok, sub-district of Kedamin, also in the river of Utik and Bukung, sub-district of Embaloh Hulu. 

Betang house in village of Sunge Uluk Apalin is one of the oldest traditional house of Dayak tribe in west Kalimantan. The interior still native, both of the shape or building materials. betang house which is built 65 years ago consists of 54 rooms by the lenght of 286 metre, the pole platform from ironwood by the diametre above 50 centimetre and the height is about 8 metre. The location is close relative from Putussibau city, the mothercity of Kapuas Hulu regency, about one hour through road trip so Betang house in Uluk Apalin is quite crowded visited by tourists. you will be greeted kindly and it dosen't have to pay, just fill the guest book.

During the visit, you will be greeted by the citizens where mostly are old man by the polite attitude and friendly. You might also will be presented with tuak, a traditional drink from sticky rice and eat betel as a from of ritual to respect the local culture.

Everyday, the women looks busy to weave and the men are busy to sculpt the wood. See directly longhouse, explore Kapuas river and feel the pure kindness from Dayak tribe is incredible experiences that should be tried.

If you don't have a chance to visit longhouse, a replica of longhouse has been built for the visitors in the centre of Pontianak city, exactly in MT Haryono street. If you stand in and under this house, you can imagine how if you live in the longhouse together with some families and livestock which live under the home. If you interested, you can go to Saham village, about 158 km from Pontianak city. The traditional here has a lenght of 186 metre and a width of 6 metre, which is inhabited by more than 259 peoples.

Travel Tips

When you use boat to explore National park of Lake Sentarum or National park of Betung Kerihun, of course you stop in one of the house in the riverside. The longhouse here can't be found in any other place in Kalimantan because of the lenght of the longhouse can reach nearly 250 metre or even more. 

For the travel to Kalimantan hinterland, suggested you have to use the travel agency services. You can click Travel agent. The packet include transportation, accommodation, and dinner.  A number of travel agent also offer dinner with cultural shows in longhouse together with Dayak tribe. For more information about Dayak's daily life, please visit : You also can find the next information in

More information about Betang house of Dayak tribe and another Tourism objects in Indonesia, please visit Wonderful Indonesia
May be useful and Thankyou for your visit :)

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