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Hilton Batang Ai Longhouse Resort Sarawak

Batang Ai Hilton Longhouse Resort in Sarawak
The Hilton Batang Ai Longhouse Resort in Sarawak is the only Hilton Hotel in the world to have a traditional Iban longhouse design for the rooms.

This unique property is found deep in the Sarawak jungles and located next to the massive Batang Ai Lake bordering Kalimantan, which is about 5 hours drive from Kuching town and well worth experience.

I enjoyed visiting this place during my fieldwork in Borneo back in 2006, 2007 and again in 2012.

Surprisingly, not many people from Malaysia have actually been here to stay at this very unique Hilton Hotel and Resort here in Malaysia Borneo.

Update 2019 - The resort was taken over by Aiman Resorts several years ago, and in 2020, this resort is rumoured to be ceasing operations.

Hilton Batang Ai Longhouse Resort in Sarawak

Sarawak Hilton Longhouse Resort
Hilton Batang Ai Longhouse Resort welcome boat jetty
The Hilton Batang Ai Longhouse Resort is also unique because the scenic journey starts from Kuching (capital of Sarawak). It is a long and interesting drive considering that after Serian town, the highway leads back to the old one-lane main road.

A distance of 275 kilometres in total, I arrived here by noon, and the first thing you see is a little jetty building and a huge lake called the Batang Ai Lake.

 This, of course, is in the district of Lubok Antu, which is a tiny border town to Kalimantan, Indonesia.

'Where is the Hilton' I asked my guide Selvam, he tells me ', Ahh, patience. We wait for the boat'. So there I was, waiting for a boat, but to my surprise, a traditional Iban longboat arranged for this trip.

A journey in a traditional longboat to the Hilton Batang Ai, how nice, I thought. It took us about 20 minutes by longboat to reach the resort jetty.

Just so you know, the Hilton Batang Ai provides proper fibreglass boats for their customers.

Hilton Batang Ai Jettty
Arriving at the Hilton jetty
On reaching the main jetty, we are greeted by a long flight of wooden stairs leading up to the resort entrance.

I think it was a total of about 170 steps if I am not mistaken, and while heading up, still no Hilton insight.

Then on reaching the top, there it was - beautiful and absolutely quiet surrounded by lush tropical rainforest in the middle of Borneo. Every traveller's dream! 

  General notice

Hilton Batang Ai Wong Irup LoungeWong Irup lounge at the Hilton

The reception and the lounge area must have been some of the best I have seen in my life, considering how they use the Sarawak cultural items to theme the area.

Tastefully unique and absolutely different from the standard common hotels you see all over. When I was there, there was hardly anyone around except for the staff.

On asking where everyone was, the staff politely replied, 'everyone has gone out for some sort of nature adventure'. Wow... And here I was in the hotel asking a silly question. 

Hilton Longhouse Resort Batang AiHilton Longhouse Resort rooms

Walking around the resort area, I noticed how the Sarawak Iban Longhouse design is laid where all the rooms are located in one longhouse.

Exactly how the Iban people live in real life is similar and modern amenities like air conditioning, attached bathroom, coffee machine, and television.

There are a total of 11 blocks of longhouses with about 100 rooms available.

For business travellers, there is a conference area available and also a business centre. So imagine making a MICE trip here, in the middle of the Bornean rainforest. This would be very interesting for the westerners too. 

Longhouse ruai photoThe Longhouse ruai (veranda)

The longhouse ruai (veranda) is extremely clean and well-taken care of. If you manage to visit an actual Iban Longhouse, you will see that this layout is similar to their 100-year-old longhouses.

I take my hat off to the resort owners who have painstakingly adapted this concept into their business. Well done! 

Hilton Longhouse PhotoOutside the Ruai (veranda)
Swimming Pool at Batang Ai Hilton Swimming pool in a rainforest, how nice is that!

The resort has the basic amenities you will find at any other property like a traditional spa (Borneo Oasis Wellness Center), karaoke, swimming pool, tennis courts, table tennis, walking and jogging track and a children's playground.

However, because Sarawakian is inspired, there is a nice themed lounge in the main building called the Wong Irup lounge with a couple of pool tables that are all themed accordingly to the Iban Sarawakian culture.

For food, they serve international and local cuisine at an all-day restaurant called Nanga Mepi. Here, guests can savour the many unique Sarawakian food dishes. 

Visitors trying a Sarawak blow pipeTraditional blowpipe lessons

For nature and outdoor activities, there is quite a number to choose from. Start with nature walks in the tropical rainforest or book a fishing trip in the huge massive lake.

You can also rent kayaks and explore Batang Ai Lake. There are also sightseeing tours available and an interesting canopy walk behind the resort with a decent hike to get there.

At the resort, one can try their skills at using a traditional Iban blowpipe with the friendly hotel staff's assistance.

Batang Ai Trekking and Hiking Trekking at Batang Ai

A canopy walk right behind the Hilton is one of the places you will be visiting if you stay here. This is called the Batang Ai Canopy Walk, which is a decent and interesting one to try.

Since I was here exploring the place, I did my canopy walk with my trusted personal guide Selvam.

It was a nice short hike for about 10 minutes, starting with an uphill trek, then all the way in. You get to see many flora and fauna along the way, so if you are a nature lover, this would be excellent.

Jamit anak Ngumbang Iban Warrior Grave Iban Warrior Jamit Anak Ngumbang gravesite

Trekking through the Batang Ai rainforest, we came across a graveyard just before the canopy walk. According to legend, this tomb is about 120 years old, and it belongs to a popular Iban Warrior and Chief named Jamit Anak Ngumbang.

You see many mineral water bottles and tuak (rice wine) bottles placed on the head of the grave out of respect from the local Iban people who pass or live there.

Especially during the Gawai Festival, they will also bring items for the spirit of Jamit Anak Ngumbang here. 

After a good trek and visit to the canopy walk or skywalk, we headed back to the resort. The back roads lead you through a small pepper plantation which is the famous Sarawak Pepper.

These pepper trees grow to an amazing height of over 10 feet tall and are one of Sarawak's main produce. 

Photo of Batang Ai Lake Journey back through the lake

The journey back to Kuching, the same way in, same way out. We headed out using the Iban longboat, passing some magnificent views of the lake with dead tree stumps sticking out of the waters.

I would gladly come back here again to fully experience the natural Sarawakian rainforest surroundings at the Hilton Batang Ai. Something totally different from the normal hotels and resorts. (I did, in 2013)

Along the way back, we made a quick stop at Lachau Town, an Iban Trading Post, to savour a cup of Sarawak's famous Teh C Peng Special among trying the local Kolo Mee or dry noodles from the local coffee shop here.

On the weekend, Lacau town is thriving with a market activity where locals bring their wares to sell them. Something worth experiencing if you pass here on a Sunday.

This is one unique romantic honeymoon in Sarawak Borneo for honeymooners or newly married couples that should be considered.

But I must warn you that this is NOT your regular 5-Star Hilton Hotel. It is more of an exotic boutique cum ethnic-inspired resort that is totally out of the ordinary. Definitely, something to remember for life too.

Hilton Batang Ai Resort
Beautiful view of the longhouse behind the swimming pool
The Hilton Batang Ai Resort is apparently quite busy during the period of May till October. Also, the guest that check-in there is mostly Europeans and Americans with some Australians.

99% foreigners mostly so do not expect seeing local South East Asians there and a great place to escape.

The property is also a very child-friendly resort so check with them about the children's deals as there are quite a few available.

Also, you might want to take note as the nearest local shop is a 20-minute boat ride across the Batang Ai Lake and another 20 minutes to the nearest town of Lubok Antu.

You are in the middle of the rainforest when you come here, so please come prepared.

Aiman Batang Ai Resort
View of the swimming pool here
Address and contact for the Batang Ai Longhouse Sarawak;

Aiman Agro Park Sdn Bhd
Ground Floor, Sublot 15,
Riveredge Commercial Development
Jalan Merdeka
93050 Kuching
Tel: +60-82-412-10


Update: 2018 - The Hilton no longer managed this resort and was taken over by the Aiman Group, which eventually went through a third party local management. Now the resort is called Aiman Batang Ai Resort and is managed by the owners.

If you plan on visiting Sarawak Borneo and want to experience something out of this world by living in a remote area of Borneo, you should consider staying at the Hilton Batang Ai Longhouse Resort as this is a truly very unique experience for anyone.


Skinny R said...

i am staying in kuching but i never know got such a wonderful place.

4 ~ 5 hrs drive, tat's.. LONG.

Malaysia Asia said...

Hello Richard, thank you for the visit to my blog. Rest assured, you will be seeing a lot of postings on Sarawak and Sabah as I used to travel there a few times in the last 3 years.

Yes, it is really far. Actually, just before Lubuk Antu town :)

Ihsan Khairir said...

wow, I never knew about the longhouse style hilton!

is it expensive to stay there? any star ratings for the hotel?

Malaysia Asia said...

Hello Ishan, the hilton is actually a 3-Star rating. But the important factor is that it is an Eco-type resort which nature lovers pretty much enjoy. Not like the Hilton in KL kind of service. I think you get a more personal type service here.

Unknown said...

Wow, amazing pictures david. Great, i must plan to Malaysia. its wondrous.

Lavy81 said...

Hello, this is a great blog. I stumbled upon this because I am also going there in September - Im curious about the tours. Ill only be there for 1 day/1 night. Is it still possible to hire a guide for some day trips...?

Im also interested in exploring Malaysia.

Unknown said...

I have never been there but my next summer will be malaysia thanks for the information


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Malaysia Asia said...

Airgorilla, thank you. You must come here for a visit.

Lena, the best is to check the tour operators in Kuching. There are a number of them at the Waterfront which can arrange for all kinds of tours. Have a great trip there!

Sunil, you're welcome. Hope you have a great trip when you come here.


aly said...

Hey David! I stayed there last year, it was really beautiful. Did the Canopy walk etc, and had a very relaxing time. Loved the boat ride over in the sampan!

Malaysia Asia said...

Hello Aly, thats lovely to know you experienced the Hilton Batang Ai in Sarawak. I too would like to re-visit this place again. It's been too long.


Anonymous said...

hi david.. i was just wondering if you know when is the best time to visit hilton batang ai & surroundings?


Malaysia Asia said...

Hi there, generally, throughout the year is is alright. But personally from me, it would be best to visit during the Gawai Celebrations in early June. Otherwise, Year end is also a good time.

Anonymous said...

What about the weather? no rainy or monsoon season?


Malaysia Asia said...

Sarawak has the rainy season from November to February but I wouldn't really worry too much. Again, best visited before the Xmas seasons.

Anonymous said...

Hi mr david, is there any transport from the resort to batang ai national park, thanks

Malaysia Asia said...

Hi Anon, the resort is in the national park, so they organize trips around the park.