Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sarawak Iban longhouse visit with a difference

With a 20-year success record, a community tourism project in Sarawak shows that responsible tourism is the key to sustainability.

Frankly, I’ve always shunned longhouse experiences touted by tourist brochures in Sarawak. Maybe it’s because the idea of showing up at someone’s house, intruding on the family’s space and expecting them to put on a “dance” for you in the name of cultural enrichment, just doesn’t seem right.

Then I read about an Iban longhouse visit to Nanga Sumpa in the remote area of Ulu Batang Ai in Lonely Planet’s Code Green, a book that highlights responsible travel destinations around the globe. Lonely Planet dubbed Nanga Sumpa “one of the best examples of village-based tourism in South-East Asia.”

Basically, this project embodies the principles of responsible tourism – empower the local community, preserve the local ethos and protect the natural areas.

So in September, I showed up at Nanga Sumpa with Wild Asia’s Dr Reza Azmi, a responsible tourism (RT) “evangelist” and photographer Rapaee Kawi to check out the longhouse.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Sarawak Iban longhouse visit with a difference

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