Last Updated On : Wednesday, February 01, 2017 02:37:41 AM
Batang Ai National Park
|CAMPING IN BATANG AI NATIONAL PARK
In the Sri Aman Division covering some 24,040 hectares is the
Batang Ai National Park. Gazette in 1991, it shelters many protected animals
within its extensive wilderness. It also serves as a water catchments area for a
huge artificial lake, created by the construction of the Batang Ai
Hydro-electric dam. The lake extends up to the Engkari and Ai valleys, its wide
scenic expanse lending an atmosphere of peace and tranquility to the
surroundings. The main mode of transport is by river-fast flowing and reflecting
the forest canopy in its crystal clear waters.
• FLORA AND FAUNA
The terrain is rich in lush lowland mixed dipterocarp forests which is home to the Orang Utan. High on the endangered list, this primate is the largest among its kind and can grow to 1.5 meters tall and weigh 200kg! It makes a nest in the trees to sleep in at night. The Park also shelters many other protected species of wildlife such as the hornbills and gibbons.
• PLANNING AN ITINERARY
A few days stay is recommended for those who want to take in the beauty of the tranquil surroundings and acquaint themselves with the local culture.
The trip upriver can be most exciting in itself. Imagine cruising up fast flowing rivers with the trees drooping their leaves over the water's edge on either side. During spells of dry weather, when the water level gets low during the day, visitors alight to help push the boat upstream.
There are four marked jungle trails within the park for those hankering for a bit of adventure. In addition to the usual treks through mixed dipterocarp forests, these trails also go through old secondary forests and areas of active shifting cultivation. And to satisfy the "Indiana
Jones" in you, one trail actually passes through ancient native
Drop by the Iban longhouse and learn a bit about their traditional lifestyle. The Ibans are noted for their intricately fashioned handicraft items such as the beautifully woven "pua kumbu"; the "selabit", rattan backpacks woven in a variety of fascinating designs; rattan mats and gourds for collecting water.
There are no accommodation facilities within the park at present, but several longhouses outside the park area offer basic accommodation and the chance to experience first hand, a bit of the local lifestyle.
A longhouse resort, much further away, provides more luxurious
accommodation within a 'longhouse like' atmosphere.
The local Community Cooperative provides boating services for trips to and within the park.
Visitors are encouraged to utilize the Cooperative's services as the funds from this source are used for on-going development purposes.
• HOW TO GET THERE
The park is located about 250 km from Kuching city.
The journey by road from Kuching to Batang Ai Dam takes about 6 hours. The boat trip from the dam to the park station takes another 2 hours.
INDEX of Kuching City February 01, 2017 02:37:41 AM