When you are next in Sarawak, get out of the tourism beaten track and experience true Bidayuh hill lifestyle! Located near to the Bengoh dam site, the real journey involves trekking uphill for about 4-5 hours, depending on your speed and stamina.
“It is quite a challenge for most people when it comes to visiting Semban village but the rewards are equally impressive! This is about the only village where ringed ladies of the ethnic tribe can be found in Sarawak,” explained Mona Abdul Manap, Manager Planet Borneo Tours and Travel. “When we were there in 2013, there were only eight ladies with the traditional rings around their forearms and calves left. In the past only the wealthy and beautiful ones were adorned with these rings, starting when they were around eight years old till they die. The dance performances by these ringed ladies are actually very captivating, slow, repetitive and almost trance-like but bringing about a deep tranquility for the audience. Guests are usually invited to join in the dance which often proved to be more difficult than it looks!” she added.
An experience in the heart of tropical paradise in Sarawak
Semban is also known as Village Above the Clouds, a name that is derived from the awesome view of the sun rising above the clouds in the early hours of the new day. Of course, this means that you will have to get up very early, trek uphill in the semi-darkness to the spot where the view is just heavenly. It is a sight that will never leave your memory as it brings about the majestic beauty of the rising sun to herald the dawn of a new day!
“Apart from the distance travelled to reach the village, there are other ‘hurdles’ to overcome along the way. These include seven bamboo bridges to cross the numerous rivers with two being hanging bridges with no supporting stilts below so they will ‘swing’ as you walk along!” she said with smile. “However, you will also be seeing the beautiful scenery of the river banks, forest and flowing rivers during the trip and these are just enchanting richness of nature.” According to her, the villagers take about three hours each way and they are very adapted at carrying packs of goods and necessities for their needs.
While in Semban, you will also visit Susukng and Petn waterfalls, short distances from the village where locals swim here too. When you think about how such beautiful sceneries could exist right in the heart of the dense tropical rainforest here, you will surely be thankful that you made the trip where most will never get to experience!