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Murut Longhouse & Batu Punggul

Tour code: FD010

Activities Duration
Longhouse homestay and local life-style, native longboats, Batu Punggul climb, Tinahas Caves exploration, jungle trekking 3d/2n full board
Rates - 4 or more participants Rates - 2 or 3 participants
RM 2188 per person RM 2688 per person

This trip is an adventurous journey into the heart of the Murut country. The Murut are reputedly the last tribe in Sabah to have renounced headhunting! They are most formidable hosts, and well known for their week-long wedding celebrations during which cassava beer or wine in ancient jars is served. This trip is not for the faint-hearted, but for those who can rough it out for a couple of days and immerse themselves into an environment and life as old as human kind itself… this trip is a bridge between cultures, where you will be able to mingle with the locals and learn more about their life in the jungle of Borneo.


Day 1 0800 hrs pick up from your hotel/resort in Kota Kinabalu and leisurely drive over the Crocker Range to Keningau. Stopover at the Rafflesia Conservation area near Tambunan in search of the world’s largest flower. With some luck you will be able to see one of those amazing blooms! Lunch in Keningau, at a local restaurant, then onward journey to the Matiku Junction. From this point onwards we will leave the sealed roads and venture deeper into the interior of Sabah on gravelled roads, which will change into abandoned logging tracks. The condition of the roads depend very much on weather. During dry conditions it will take us around one hour to reach Labang or Tataluan; during rain it might well be three hours of exciting off-roading! When we arrive at the longhouse we will be greeted by the headman of the house, or his representative, and we will be given our sleeping quarters: travellers to longhouses are accommodated in the gallery of the house, a time honoured custom, and to sleep on the host provides intricately woven rattan mats. Dinner will be served during the early evening, followed by story telling and maybe a couple of sips of tapai (cassava wine) from jars.

Overnight: homestay
Meals: lunch, dinner (local)

Day 2 0900 hrs – The early morning in the village has an especially invigorating action on one’s soul, but this is for early birds only: watch as the sun rises gradually over the steaming jungle and disperses the morning mists. To-day we will take a boat to Batu Punggul. Here again, the duration of the boat ride depends very much on the weather. During dry conditions and low water levels there will be a lot of punting and even dragging of the longboat over the shallow river. As we approach Batu Punggul we will see this limestone outcrop towering some 70 meters above the forest canopy. Good weather conditions permitting we can climb the rock, but caution is needed and good foot wear. This is a limestone pinnacle with very sharp cracks and needles; however, when we reach the top we have an exhilarating view of wide expanses of jungle. After the climb of Batu Punggul we can explore the cave system under the Tinahas Caves, a rocky outcrop adjacent to Batu Punggul. The Murut collect birds nests from the caves, where there are also three endemic species of bats that exist nowhere else in the world. Later in the afternoon we return to the longhouse for late lunch, relaxing in the river, more story telling and finally lunch and again overnight in the longhouse.

Overnight: homestay
Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner (local)

Day 3 0900 hrs – we will have to say good-bye to the hospitable Murut. The road will again take us over Matiku to Keningau, from where we will take the Kimanis road over the Crocker Range. In the late afternoon we arrive back in Kota Kinabalu.

Meals: breakfast and lunch

What to expect: warm and friendly people throughout, but only very simple accommodation (in the longhouse gallery); breathtaking jungle in the Batu Punggul Reserve and adventurous caving – yet nothing that demands special skills; the climb of Batu Punggul is subject to weather conditions and fitness of participants: it is a very demanding climb!

Related features on this site:
Tina'uh - A Murut Wedding Deutsche Version
A Murut Funeral Deutsche Version

Batu Punggul is a limestone outcrop in Sabah's interior

Awesome caves!

A Murut lady harvesting the famous 'hill rice'

A Murut girl looking out of her longhouse

The gallery of a Murut longhouse prepared for a Tina'uh

Drinking tapai...!


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