Walking for six days with the Penans

Asia » Malaysia » Sarawak
December 18th 2006
Published: December 20th 2006
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Mat: After Mt Kinabalu Trace and I had 7 days before we had to fly out to Bangkok to meet up with Nicki. So we decided to book a flight back to KK from the Mulu National Park in Sarawak, and head there overland via Brunei and Miri (in Sarawak). After catching the ferry from KK and a bus, we spent a night and the next morning in the capital city of Brunei. We then shared a private car to Miri wit... Read Full Entry

Photos are below
Photos: 94, Displayed: 21


Where our tent had beenWhere our tent had been
Where our tent had been

Note the sulphur around the tent to ward off leeches, and the leaves for padding (we had no mattress of course)
Bellang with the deerBellang with the deer
Bellang with the deer

Prior to this I had offered a "reward" of RM5 for each snake, mammal, tarantula, or reptile that the Penans could find for me to photograph. This was good for everyone and hopefully promoted the importance of preserving living wildlife. You can not tell the Penans not to hunt, it just wouldn't make sense to them. Its a core part of their lives.
Robyn and BellangRobyn and Bellang
Robyn and Bellang

The Penan's names are not really "Robyn", "Allaan" and "Pedros" - that's just how they sounded to me and how I remembered them
Group photoGroup photo
Group photo

From the back - "Mum" Julian Peter Theo Salumaan Pedros Veno Allaan Bellang Robyn - Daniel took the photo

20th December 2006

Truly amazing
That is an inspirational account of your trip. Not many people would undertake such a venture - me included. So thank you very much for sharing it with us.
20th December 2006

U really have the gut to go in deep jungle. Not many Malaysian want to go there...hehehe unbelieveable. Anyway...nice photo u got there. except the dog photo.
20th December 2006

Always great to hear about adventures after you have sailed thru them successfully!! Amazing trip and photos, rather you with the insect life than me!! What an experience and blog site. Superbly done! Have a great Christmas!!
22nd December 2006

You've got to be there
Hi Matt, hannah, my daughter and I, spent a few great days with trace climbing the pinnacles while you were getting down and dirty in the jungle. I did a similar trek about 6 months agfo, Long Banga to Long Lellang. It was the hardest physical challenge of my life and I will never forget the rewards. The smiles on the faces of the children as i played with them in the river, washed their hair, wrote in the sand. We actually stopped in our guides village for a couple of nights so really got to know the little ones well. We had taken in plenty of tooth paste, brushes, school shirts, pens and balloons for them. We had a lot of fun with the balloons tho in some of the villages the children didn't seem to know how to smile and laugh. One particular village was very sad, no flowers or plants, scorched earth, no grass. We were lucky to make it out when we did. My feet had turned septic in 3 places and 3 of us came down with the runs. Another girl is scarred all up both legs from the leech bites, she got blood poisoning in the end. Every single one of us lost 7 lbs. and I swear my legs changed shape! Yes I'd do it again. Since returning to Brunei where I work I have set up a route for the Penan craft. I have bought goods from the orang Ulu who come down to the Rumah Sakit ( Sick Room) in Limbang and sell them onto freinds. I have also sent a couple of parcels back to NZ, one to Buana satu in K Road and another to a shop in kaikoura with the hope of forging some permanent routes of income for them. They are truly in a desperate situation. If you read this....could you send me the contact details of your guide Theo or any of the local guys? Great Blogg you guys, well done!
18th January 2007

Thank for sharing matt
Not many people willing to go deep into jungle just to experience what we miss "city". I must salute you for your gut in making the trip and sharing your experience here. It makes me feel ashame - even though I'm a Punan, I've yet to venture more than a few hours beyond my longhouse at Punan Sama, Belaga. One of this day I should try find some time to do what you did.
20th January 2007

Thanks for that Calvin!
7th May 2007

Hi guys, great blog. Hope you don't mind if I link to this on my website I'm building. I also have a link to it on our computer desktop! Don't take it down anytime soon!. Since your trip I've sent another 2 trips for Balang and both were really thrilled with it all. I still had your photo's on the lodge computer and thats what convinced them to go. Your work here will help Balang and the community for a long time to come. Thankyou. David, Highlands Lodge, Miri.
7th May 2007

Hi David, thanks for taking the time to email me about this, I'm stoked that I have helped slightly in getting some customers for the awesome Penan boys. It is a real adventure to head out with them. I will check on the blog to make sure I have put your details on it so people know where to go to contact Belang. If anyone is reading this and is interested head to the Highlands backpackers in Miri and track David down.
27th July 2008

good job
Hye Mat and Trace!! Im Noami..from Miri, Sarawak...Im still studying now Im 19th....Anyway, I was going through the google and searching for the Long Lellang pictures....My mum was from Long Lellang :) Its been ages I did not go back there hahaha..I just love all the pictures!!!!!! It really remind me of the village...I just wanna say thanks for the pictures!!!!!! So, are you planing to come back again hehehehehe :P
15th March 2016

Contact information for Long Lellang
Dear Mat. I just finished reading your wonderful article on trekking with the penans. I will be going to Sarawak and want to do something similar. I would prefer to arrange things myself but since there are no phones in Long Lellang, I won't be able to make arrangements that way. I was hoping that you might have some e-mail addresses of guides in Long Lellang (or Miri), that might be able to make arrangements for a guide in Long Lellang to go trekking with me. Again, great article! Sincerely, Cooper...
15th March 2016

Contact details
Hi Cooper, thanks for your message. Glad you enjoyed the blog, it was a special few days. If David still owns the Highlands hostel in Miri, he knows Bellang and may be able to help. Unfortunately, other than that I don't have any other contacts. : ) Mat

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