Experiencing Orang Asli lifestyle at Batek Jungle Hut

T.N.Alagesh

JERANTUT: Fancy staying at huts built by Orang Asli in Taman Negara? The huts, which are made of tree branches and bamboo, are similar to the ones used by the Batek, a nomadic tribe which still largely survive by hunting and collecting jungle products.

Since it opened late last year, Batek Jungle Hut in Dedari, Kuala Tahan, here, has been popular with foreign tourists. The community-based ecotourism initiative, which features eight huts, has attracted tourists from places such as Denmark and Holland.

Tourism and Culture Ministry Pahang office general manager Datuk Idros Yahya said visitors got to learn about the culture, language and traditions of the community.


Pic by NSTP/ courtesy of Pahang Tourism and Culture Ministry (Motac)

He said the Batek settlement near Sungai Tembeling was a major crowd-puller. Visitors, he said, enjoyed watching the tribesmen make fire without matches and use blowpipes.

“The Batek villagers in Kuala Tahan were told about the proposal last year. Some of them found the idea interesting and took up the challenge to prepare the huts. They were assisted by various agencies, tour agents and other villagers,” said Idros.

“The eight river-facing huts and separate bathrooms and toilets are solar-powered. The roofs are made of woven nipah leaves. Tourists have the opportunity to try boiled tapioca and other food.


Fancy staying at huts built by Orang Asli in Taman Negara? The huts, which are made of tree branches and bamboo, are similar to the ones used by the Batek, a nomadic tribe which still largely survive by hunting and collecting jungle products. Pic by NSTP/courtesy of Pahang Tourism and Culture Ministry (Motac)

“Each hut can accommodate four people. Guests pay less than RM50 per night. Many seem to enjoy their stay.

“Visitors can hike to Bukit Dedari and explore the nearby jungle with the Batek community. They can buy rattan bangles and other products sold by the community.”

Some 1,000 members of the Batek tribe live in Taman Negara. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd