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The Heart of Borneo

The Orient Pandaw on the Rajang River, Sarawak, Borneo

Welcome to Borneo!

Armchair Traveller’s presenter Maria Visconti has spent a month in Malaysia  including a cruise on the Rajang River in Sarawak, home of the hornbill and orangutans. If this is not the ‘last frontier’, what else is?

Imagine casting off from Sibu with the sun just setting and rushing to the top deck to meet the staff and yes, drinks! The clink of glasses, the glint of brass, the sheen of the polished teak  decks, the wicker chairs, the aspidistras and that rich, green smell of the jungle wafting by…A leisurely  cruise on a purpose built riverboat that looks colonial but has all the mod-coms you have grown to expect.

Did I say leisurely? Well yes, the leisure comes after hours because there is adventure onshore  and once, the heart racing shooting of rapids from a smaller boat. Of course, if you don’t fancy that, you can stay onboard and relax.

A dawn expedition into a small tributary of the Rajang (on a wooden small boat) takes you close to village life as the men prepare to go hunting for wild pig with their dogs. This is quiet time on the water, the morning mists envelop the mountains in the background and all appears in a different light.

Shooting the Pelagus Rapids is exhilarating but not all vessels make it… here is one of the wrecks…

The Iban live in traditional longhouses and you can see them fom the boat but visits are also possible. We visited a few, some old some very new and we were always warmly welcomed by the locals. Some longhouses can be 2km long!

More to come, so stay tuned!

for more details see:

www.pandaw.com

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