my Jungle Trip to ‘Suku DAYAK’ (part 1)


Late of July 2012 was an important time, as I got the chance to visit the real Suku Dayak (Dayak Tribes). It was a journey to the center of the jungle of Kalimatan (Borneo).

Bulan Juli 2012 adalah waktu yang penting buat gue karena bisa travel ke Kalimantan untuk mengunjungi Suku Dayak. WOW banget nih. Ada sebuah pertemuan keluarga besar Suku Dayak Kenyah yang dihadiri oleh lebih dari 4000 orang Dayak asli di Desa Long Noran, daerah hilir Sungai Mahakam. Gue bukan orang Dayak, tapi kenapa gue bisa ikut hadir di acara ini? Jawabannya sangat sangat pribadi. Yang jelas, gue punya nama Dayak sendiri yaitu Bungan, berarti bunga. 😀

There was a big gathering, attended by as much as 4000 Dayaks (from all over Indonesia and Malaysia) in the mysterious rimboe of this biggest island in Indonesia. The family related gathering is held every 3-5 years, in Long Noran, a Dayak village in the upstream of Mahakam River; which according to the ancient story, is the place where Dayak Kenyah tribe is originated. It’s a perfect moment for me to be there and be part of the event. I am not a Dayak girl, but I have An unofficial Dayak Name was given to me, which is Bungan, means flower.

So, let’s just say that this visit to the Kenyah Dayaks village, which by the way very famous with their art creativity – is very very personal to me 😉 We landed in Balikpapan and rented a car to drive us to Tenggarong, 3 hours away. In Tenggarong we saw the remains of the collapsed suspension bridge back in November 2011. It was quite scary to hear the stories of how many people are still missing until now from the moment the cables of the bridge snapped.

Untuk bisa sampai ke tujuan, gue terbang ke kota Balikpapan. Dari situ naik mobil kurang lebih 3 jam menuju Tenggarong. Dari Tenggarong, gue menyebrangi Sungai Mahakam naik kapal menuju Samarinda (jembatan yang putus di bulan November 2011 dan menjadi tragedi Nasional yang memilukan karena banyaknya korban meninggal, belum diperbaiki).


We crossed over the Mahakam River to the city of Samarinda, and from there we drove for another 8 hours into the jungle.  The view was varied. At some part of the ride, the jungle grew thicker with green walls rising on both sides of us. Sometimes we drove through some patches of open space that used to be filled with trees but has been cut out, creating a landscape of orange-brown soil. Sometimes we entered areas where they had been more recently planted trees. But mostly we passed by logging areas with the logging roads branching out from our path in every direction.

Dari Samarinda, perjalanan darat pun dilanjutkan masuk hutan selama 8 jam. SADIS. Pantat tepos banget!, tapi hati ya bahagia karena bisa melihat sendiri pemandangan hutan Kalimantan yang luar biasa buat gue. Sayangnya, sebagian besar wilayah hutan yang gue lewatin dalam proses penebangan. Mobil-mobil besar pengangkut kayu gelondong ada dimana-mana. Gue harap semua pohon yang ditebang itu akan digantikan dengan penanaman hutan baru.

Mobil kitapun berhenti di satu kampung kecil di pinggir sungai. Gue pikir udah sampe ya kan.. ternyata belum. Perjalanan dilanjutkan dengan menaiki perahu motor kecil (lebarnya selebar badan gue) selama kurang lebih satu jam, melawan arus menuju Long Noran. Haiyah. Pertama gue numpang pipis dulu di wc umum yang mengalir langsung ke sungai heheheh terus naik deh perahu yang menurut gue sangat membahayakan nyawa tersebut. Musti dibujuk dulu sama guide lokal yang mastiin bahwa semua akan baik-baik aja. Okelah kalo gitu. Yuk. Sepanjang jalan gue nggak bisa tenang, tapi nggak bisa pindah posisi banyak juga. Hanya bisa pasrah. Gue melewati kampung demi kampung, nelayan demi nelayan, dan akhirnya sampai di tujuan.


Finally we reached a small fishing village and our driver told us to continue our journey with ces (pronounced ‘chess’; a motorized canoe). Oh dear, I was so nervous, but we had this Dayak guy who owned the canoe with us, master of the jungle. So I went for it. It was scary. I held on pretty tight to the sides of the canoe while slowly but sure we went against the river course and arrived in our destination about an hour and a half later.

Welcome to Long Noran village!!

Long Noran Village probably is a quite modern version of Dayak Tribe community. They speak Indonesian Language fluently and their kids are sent to the nearest town for school. The “long ear” elders (the long ear tradition involves men and woman weighting their ears with heavy objects when they are very young) were not many to be seen anymore. The village is equipped with electricity (from 4 pm to 5 am) and the houses mostly have televisions.

Selamat Datang di Long Noran, Olive!!

Sebuah kampung Dayak Kenyah di pedalaman yang cukup modern. Banyak yang gue pelajari disini. Pertama, Mereka berbahasa Indonesia dengan fasih. Sebagian besar masih berbahasa daerah sih, tapi nggak ada yang terkendala untuk berbahasa Indonesia. Kedua, anak-anaknya (hampir) semua berpendidikan karena dikirim bersekolah di kota terdekat. Jadi bisa dibilang kalau sebagian besar anak-anak usia sekolah yang ada disini lagi liburan (atau bolos). Ketiga, orang-orang tua berkuping panjang yang menurut gue adalah khas dari Suku Dayak sudah agak jarang ditemukan. Keempat, disini sudah ada listrik yang cukup memadai, beroperasi dari jam 4 sore sampai jam 5 pagi – jadi beberapa rumah sudah dilengkapi dengan televisi.



today’s menu — ada yang bisa terjemahin?


SHY. Why so SHY?

Some of them have cell phones (even though it was really hard to get a signal – you have to stand on a higher ground, and not moving for several minutes to receive a momentary reception). Several long houses are already installed with indoor toilet; even most of the people choose their floating toilet. They seem to enjoy life in full swing down at the riverbank. The children with their parents laughing together while bathing, sliding on the mud, doing back flips while splashing their bodies in to the waters, and the ladies are gossiping while doing the laundry. They tried to persuade me many times to try bathing in the river, but I passed. 😀 I hope I was not considered rude by saying no to the activity.

Kelima, beberapa warga disini punya telepon genggam, walau sinyal sangat susah. Asli susahnya pake banget. Yang beroperasi hanya Telkomsel, dan itu pun kalo mau dapat sinyal musti naik di atas pohon atau mencari dataran tinggi. Habis itu, nggak boleh bergerak cukup lama. PR ya. Mending nggak usah telfonan kali ya…

Selanjutnya, gue liat kalo rumah-rumah disini (terutama yang cukup besar) sudah ada yang dilengkapi fasilitas toilet dalam, walau hampir semua warga tetap memilih untuk mandi dan beraktifitas di toilet apung diatas sungai. Mereka tampak sangat menyukai aktifitas di sungai itu. Sepertinya jadi salah satu aktifitas massal yang paling ditunggu tiap sore. Mandi, gosip, buang air, mencuci, tertawa-tawa, saling dorong, main lumpur, mancing dan sebagainya. Semua dilakukan di lokasi yang sama, saling berdekatan. Gue juga diajak mandi di sungai berkali-kali tapi gue menolak. Bukan kenapa-kenapa. Tapi…. hm, bingung mau jelasinnya. Semoga dimaafkan ya…hehehe


One question I had when I first arrived, I wonder how so many guess staying there can fit into a small village which don’t have lots of long houses. I soon found the answer. On the first night, I slept alone, in a living room corner of the village Chief’s house around 10 pm (I slept early because I was very tired), and I woke up in the morning in the same living room, filled with maybe 20 other people sleeping on the floor, all over the place. They crashed everywhere from the porch up to the kitchen area in each house. Wow. Thank goodness I got my own little corner last night. A new day in the village, they told me that so many activities were already waiting. BRING it on people!

Little that i knew and in the next 2 days, i experience something that never happened to me before. (To be continued to ‘My Jungle Trip do Suku Dayak’ Part 2).

Masuk kedalam rumah dimana gue menginap, gue melihat ruangan yang lowong. Hanya ada meja kecil, sebuah kursi panjang, televisi, dan di dinding terpajang foto salah satu anggota keluarga pemilik rumah yang berpose di depan Tugu Monas. Gue dikasih pesan kalo nanti malam capek, langsung bobo di mana aja terserah. Wah.. dimana ya. Gue nge-tek satu pojokan di ruang tamu yang ada tikarnya. Malam pertama di Long Noran, gue ternyata kecapekan jadi tidur cepat  kurang lebih jam 10 malam. Besok paginya, pas melek, kaget minta ampun karena ruang tamu tadi sudah penuh dengan orang tidur sampe bingung mau jalan ngelewatin mereka. Bukan cuma di ruang tamu, di dapur, di teras, sampai tempat makan belakang banyak orang tidur. Ada kali 20 orang lebih. Untung gue nge-tek tempat…kalo nggak bisa tidur di pohon gue.

HA! Selamat Pagi Long Noran, aktifitas warga yang padat sudah menunggu gue hari ini!

Ternyata 2 hari kedepan di tengah-tengah suku Dayak ada beberapa hal terjadi yang bikin gue syok! Karena tulisannya udah kepanjangan, jadi bersambung ke My Jungle Trip do Suku Dayak’ Part 2.

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Adventure First, Explanation later – @shiningliv

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2 comments to my Jungle Trip to ‘Suku DAYAK’ (part 1)

  • romes  says:

    selamat anda bisa naik ketinting… meski dibujuk dulu. saya asli kalimantan mah udah biasa

    • Olive  says:

      pengalaman seru:)

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