Just an hours drive outside of Kuching city is Annah Rais Longhouse. Home to over 70 families of the Bidayuh tribe the longhouse traces it’s origins back over 100 years.

I happen to visit only a couple of days after the Gawai (Rice Harvest Festival) so it was very quiet as I imagine people were nursing some very sore heads and many other family members had ventured back to their homes.

The first photo is the traditional bridge made of bamboo, as is the material for much of the longhouse. A fabulous versatile gift from Mother Nature.

The main longhouse stretches for over 100m (or so it feels) but it is connected to more longhouse by a concrete bridge over a picturesque river. The longhouses are connected by a bamboo walkway which is the main common area. Longhouses are extremely social places and with walls paper thin, everyone knows each other’s business. There are home run restaurants and mini supermarkets which caters for most needs.

Each Bidayuh Longhouse has a main head house. The area where the great warriors of the tribe would keep watch and sound the alarm if an enemy tribe approached. It’s also the place where the heads of enemies are kept as a sign of strength. The heads are smoked regularly to appease the spirits. Lucky for me I was considered a friend, not an enemy and that the practice of cutting off heads in not longer.