Kudat Rungus Longhouse Experience | Maranjak Homestay
Now that you have safely climbed down from Mount Kinabalu, you can extend your stay in Sabah for another few days - if your budget permitted. One of the place that you can go and spend a few days with only a fraction of your budget is Rungus Longhouse. The Rungus people, a sub-group of the KadazanDusun community, are known for their longhouse, bead work and weaving.
Situated in the northern district of Kudat, the heartland of the Rungus people, Maranjak Homestay was developed by a family, which have come together for a community project to share their lifestyle and culture with visitors. The journey to Kudat (about 130 kilometers from Kota Kinabalu) will take about two and half hours, cruising the Land Below The Wind with rice field and magnificent mountain sight along the way. Maranjak Homestay began welcoming visitors to the longhouse in the village of Bavanggazo in 2002.
Each Rungus Longhouse (vinatang) measures 3 meters by 15 meters and comprises a long gallery or corridor (langsang sid apad), where socializing and community activities takes place, as well as several family 'apartments' (valai) each with own sleeping unit (tingkang sid ongkob), areas for cooking and working (langsang sid ongkob) and an attic (abai sid ongkob) and (abai sid apad). each family has its own valai. A typical longhouse has about ten valai, but larger ones may have fifteen or more.
Build on stilts, the Rungus Longhouse is always constructed on an east west axis to ensure a cool atmosphere throughout the day. Depending on the size of the house and the availability of materials, a longhouse takes at least three to four months to build in the traditional way. One of the best ways to become acquainted with the Rungus culture and their communal way of life is through a homestay experience in the longhouse.
The Maranjak Homestay contain 10 apartments (room) which are available for overnight visitors. Each rooms accommodates two people, and is provided with pillows, mattresses, mosquito nets, bed sheets, towels, blankets and slippers. A modern communal bathroom or traditional bathing facilities are provided for guests.
Traditional meals are prepared for breakfast, lunch and dinner, using mostly ingredients grown within the gardens surrounding the longhouse, such as tapioca and sweet potato leaves, ferns local herbs and village-reared poultry. Fish is caught in the nearby sea, whilst fruits are grown in their gardens and orchards. In the evenings, the Rungus people love to gather and chat about their day's activities over a drink or two of their traditional brew, and visitors are always welcome to join in these gatherings and sample the many version of their brew, which is made mainly from maize.
Maranjak Homestay have plenty of activities to occupy visitors. Demonstrations of traditional handicraft making are held for those staying overnight, and personalized handicrafts can be specially made to order.
You will be entertained with cultural dances and given the opportunity to join in the mongigol sumundai, mangatip-atip and the manaradan, well -known traditional Rungus dances, or learn to play their nose flute, the turali or the mongurunding, another traditional musical instrument.
Nature lovers can indulged in some jungle exploration with a guided jungle trek or two in the nearby forest area. There are also traditional games available for you and your family.
Weddings or Harvest Festival celebrations are wonderful occasions to participate in. When you book your visit, be sure to enquire if there are any weddings or celebrations taking place. These are excellent opportunities for you to see traditional ceremonies or rituals being performed and take part in their merrymaking.
If you are interested to find out more about planning a homestay experience, booking or tour package, please email us. Otherwise, read my post in Kinabalu Blog on 3D2N package trip to the Longhouse, Kudat city sightseeing and The Tip of Borneo excursion!
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