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Rungus Longhouse

"The longhouse was very special, and very beautiful! Completely made of bamboo! And the roof of dried palm leaves. It is really special that the roof did not let rain through that evening .. luckily it stayed dry inside! There were all small rooms with 2 beds in them (read mattresses + mosquito net)!
In the evening we ate (and drank coconut) and a cultural show was performed. That was really bad for the tourists, so not really very special, but nice to see those people in their traditional clothing! Beautiful ... and we got to dance! Ha-ha, I went bamboo dancing and I was still able to do it a bit. Ha-ha, it's not that hard, but laugh !! Then to bed and up early in the morning!"

The Rungus community is known for their communal lifestyle. They live in longhouses with more than 10 families, who live under one roof. A traditional Rungus longhouse is built with completely traditional materials from bamboo stems, rumbia leaves, wood and beaten bark. To avoid floods and wild animals such as snakes, the house is lifted off the ground by poles. The posts are made of hard wood, such as bogil, belian ironwood, mangrove forest and manzalangan. They also used to breed pigs under the longhouse. The roof consists of dry palm leaves of sago or nipah and should be replaced every 3 to 5 years.
There are many taboos about longhouse. For example, the location of a new longhouse is chosen on the basis of signs such as dream, animals, weather and human behavior. If a python (which in local beliefs symbolizes death) appears at the construction site, they would not build the longhouse there. A turtle, on the other hand, is a beneficial sign.

Inside the longhouse divided lengthwise. So you have a long gallery left and right. On one side (left) are the living areas of the families and the other side (right) is the communal gallery. The "apad" is the communal gallery and the "ongkob" is the room area. The side where no families live is communal. The "apad" is the open space for work and leisure activities such as rice mashing and parties. The common focus is always on the large common area. The raised platform (tingkang) of the "apad" is a common working and sleeping area for older boys. The women of the family sleep in the room and the men sleep in the hallway.

On the right the "apad" and on the left the "ongkob"

When a couple gets married, they get a living area in the longhouse. When there is no more room in the longhouse, the longhouse is expanded to provide a new room for the couple.
Each family has its own section in the longhouse, often consisting of several rooms, including a kitchen and separate sleeping areas. The common focus is always on the large common area, where the different residents eat and socialize together on a daily basis. Here you will also find cultural performances with dance and music. You see musical instruments and other traditional objects in the hall.
The women of the longhouse make handicrafts: beadwork and weaving. Men are engaged in fishing and hunting with a spear.

When you have booked an overnight stay in a longhouse:

The longhouse where you sleep is no longer in use by the residents themselves. You have your own room where a mattress is placed on the bamboo floor and a mosquito net is stretched over it. There is a kind of cupboard where you can put your bag on and there is nothing else at all.
There is electricity in the rooms by the way. A maximum of 3 mattresses can be placed in a room. The shower (cold water only) and the toilet are shared.




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