Annah Rais longhouse, a hidden cultural gem in Sarawak
Last Update: 10/12/2018
By Lynch Cowan
KUCHING, Dec 10 (Bernama) – The Annah Rais longhouse near the Sarawak-Kalimantan Indonesia border in Padawan is one of the last surviving longhouses of the Bidayuh community with its dwellers still observing age-old tradition and culture.
It is located at the end of Jalan Puncak Borneo, about 50 kilometres from here, a journey that will provide visitors the opportunity to enjoy the rustic scene along bumpy roads lined with pepper farms and orchards.
The 120-door longhouse in Kampung Annah Rais has proven to be a popular tourist destination, where visitors can watch villagers making handicrafts, harvesting the pepper crop and experience the process of producing pepper, including how the peppercorns are dried along the longhouse's verandah, which is called “awah”.
Sarawak is currently the main producer of pepper in the country, and it is hardly surprising that "Sarawak pepper" has become a household brand, even for foreign visitors to the state.
A tourist from Perak, Mohd Ashraff Akmal, 31, said he was impressed with the Annah Rais longhouse, believed to have been built eight generations ago, because of its unique traditional design and strong wood structure.
“The villagers here are hospitable and I will surely come back and bring along my family for my next visit, besides promoting the place to my other friends in the peninsula,” he said when met by Bernama here today.
While at Annah Rais, Mohd Ashraffe said he also had the opportunity to watch the longhouse folks produce Bidayuh traditional beads and other traditional handicrafts which were sold for additional income.
Meanwhile, Kenek Sarus, 53, a handicraft maker, said she also accepted orders from tourists who visited the longhouse to make traditional handicraft products for them to bring back to their hometowns or countries as souvenirs.
Near the longhouse is the Annah Rais hot spring where a fee of between RM5 and RM15 per person is charged for those wanting to dip or soak in it. Soaking in the hot spring is said to help the body and mind to relax.
Visitors can also have picnics at the hot spring with facilities such as barbeque equipment provided.