Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Opinion - Sarikei Tourism Drive: Ecotourism

Ancient civilisation? Think Egypt. Which city conjures up an image of a metropolis with mega landmarks among the desert? Think Dubai. So what is the value proposition of Sarikei to tourists? The immediate imagery that props up in the mind of a tourist about Sarawak is ecotourism and that's what Sarawak Tourism Board has been positioning in fairs and magazines. Sarikei should tap into this marketing campaign.

Sarikei Nyelong River Market, 2007

Tourists that come to Sarawak want to pursue a different experience from those going to, say, the casinos of Las Vegas or Macao. They want their senses to be excited by the Sarawak experience.

Sarikei buah isou wild durian, 2008

Imagine them walking through the native market of Sarikei and get wowed by the tropical fruits unknown to them, the weird vegetables like midin, the local pastries and the dried seafood from the South China Sea. It will be a photographer's delight to film natives with mouths red from chewing betel leave (sirih) and areca nut.

Sarikei sago grubs 2007

When Taiwan's Adventure King 冒險王 TV travelogue came to film in Sarawak, the novelty of eating fat and juicy sago grubs and making sago balls was a big portion of the show. Sago grubs are our superstars.

Sarikei (Enseluai, Sare) old longhouse
Source: Tuan Lokong

Another big attraction of Sarawak is the number of tribes. The Iban longhouse and culture has long been a fascinating tourist attraction. The design of the longhouse, the colourful costumes, the ngajat dance to the beat of the gong, the potent rice wine (tuak)...

Sarikei skulls in an Iban longhouse, 2006
Source: Fred (Pejalai)

..and the skulls from the world famous tales of the old head hunting days. Sarikei has its fair share of traditional longhouses - all we need is an improvement of roads leading to a few selected showcase longhouses. Tourists want to see the old stuff. I went to an old double storey longhouse in Selalang by a fast flowing river some years back. It was a cool experience.

Sarikei River mangrove swamp and air roots, 2007

Sarikei Primary Forest, Petelit, 2007

What about a trek through our evergreen flora where towering trees and shrubs fight for sunlight? And a boat tour to explore mangrove swamps and its diverse ecosystem?

Sarikei (Enseluai, Sare) mound among the rice field.
What creatures call this home? Ants? Crabs?
Source: Tuan Lokong

Sarikei (Enseluai, Sare)
Snake swallowing another snake

Source: Tuan Lokong

Sarikei (Enseluai, Sare)
Snake slithering away after the snake meal
Source: Tuan Lokong

What about our fauna? Let your imagination run wild.


nelson said...

regarding the swamps and snakes thingy, land and river safari? =)

apart from savouring tropical fruits and vege, we need to make the tourists to get themselves involved in the daily activities of sarawakians from pepper plucking to baking kompia. only then the wow factor is at the maximum and more of them will come.

Daniel Yiek said...

All good ideas. Stay tuned for part 3.

Tuan Lokong said...

Sarikei (Enseluai, Sare) mound among the rice field.
What creatures call this home? Ants? Crabs?

Yeah it was the "Termite Kindom". Usually an Iban Belief if this Mold comes out from under your farm house and had lifted your flooring. There will be a good and bad omen.

To know this is to get the "Manang" or Iban Witch doctor to perform ritual from there a pig will be slaughtered and the liver will diagnosed for good or bad omen. I had one last two years from under my Padi field Hut. I dare it and found out to be lucky the Witch Doctor said it was good. Anything planted on the land will make good returns. I planted Oil Palm this time :) and also Padi for the last time. The padi planted there lasted our family for two years and much was sold away.

Anonymous said...

Dear Daniel Yiek,

I am interested to visit the Enseluai, Sare old longhouse. Is it still there? Is the host accepts visitors at any time or only during Gawai ? Any way can contact them ?


Daniel Yiek said...

The old Enseluai longhouse has been replaced if my memory serves me right.

You can contact http://www.tuanlokong.com/

As for the TR. Nyuka, Lubuk Lemba at Bayong, I have contacted the younger generation of the longhouse and will blog about it again with contact# when I get it

Tuan Lokong said...

Haiya all my Friend... It has been long long time I did not drop anything here.

I guess, I may want to say something again after several years there are much advanture to share if of course you guys are interested. hehe.

I am currently in Sulawesi, Indonesia. This is a place I long to go and I am working here now. :)

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