Monday, December 1, 2008
4WD adventure trail into Dayak Kalimantan
From the first blessing by the Kaharingan elder to the brilliantly coloured carved totem poles at the burial sites and the humor and drama of the 'Potong Pantan' or welcome ceremonials and dances, this 4WD expedition, with 20 cross country bikes and half a dozen vehicles, ventured deep into Dayak country, in the Gunung Mas Regency.
Over 3 days our journey took us from Palangkaraya to Tumbang Malahoi longhouse, then on from there to Tewah to visit the village of Tanjung Ujung for a traditional welcome. Later we boarded a boat for a ride to the turbulent canyon where the revered stone, the Batu Suli, soars overhead.
According to legend, the stone was kicked there from a great distance by an angry spirit, incensed that Satan had returned to Earth and was eating people. However the stone was blocking the river, so the fish appealed to the spirit to put the stone aside. The only way it could be raised was by levering it up with the flimsy ginger-like Suli plant.
Over roads that were mostly hard clay and boggy in the valleys, we encountered a broken bridge, hastily repaired by enthusiastic locals. The heat was intense, but did make the roads easier to pass. After leaving Batu Suli for Kulala Kurun we had a full tropical storm, with lightening flashing through the darkness and the road turning into a slippery soup.
On the final day, we walked by jungle trail to a pristine waterfall, said sometimes to be the haunt of the angels. Though none about that day, we did actually see evidence of sun bears!
The trip organiser, pictured in the jungle orchid garden, plans another trip next year to more distant longhouses.
If you want to join us on that or a similar adventure, look us up at www.wowborneo.com