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Belaga is a small town on the Rejang River in Malaysia's province of Sarawak. Whilst the village can be explored in well under an hour, most visitors arrive in Belaga in order to explore the many longhouses, as well as the interior of Borneo. There are a few tour operators which are established in the town; however, the town is very well connected with the tribespeople and finding a local guide shouldn't be very difficult.

Get in[edit]

By boat[edit]

Most people arrive in Belaga by express boat from Kapit. As of August 2022, there are no boats between Kapit and Sibu anymore, as there is a new road.

Boats to Belaga leave from Kapit at 10 am and cost RM 55 (seven hours) except when the water level is too low for the express boats to pass the Pelagus rapids. It is a very scenic boat ride, and if you are in need of some fresh air the boat roof is a good place to take in the jungle river banks. Express boat interiors are usually air-conditioned to a point of freezing which makes the ride on the roof much more convenient option. Just remember that the sun in Borneo is fierce even though it's cloudy. Rejang river is an easy ride most of the way and the only notable rapids are those of Pelagus. Just follow the locals, if they stay on the roof you should be safe as well.

Depending on the river level the trip down stream from Belaga to Kapyt takes five hours (RM 55) and leaves at 7AM, but you should be there half an hour earlier).

There is a boat heading to Bakun Dam from Belaga (RM10, 1 hour and leaves approx 3:30PM).

By plane[edit]

Belaga has closed down the airstrip a few kilometers downstream from the village Punan Bah.

By 4x4[edit]

Take the long road from Bintulu or if you are dropped off at the Bakun Dam turn off (in Malay: Simpang Bakun) on the highway approx 40 km north of Bintulu, there are many 4X4s heading into Belaga. Wave one down - they will take passengers if they have room (RM 70 per person - personal car hire requires min 2 passengers). It will be best to be around that intersection until max 1PM since the journey takes 4 hours depending on road conditions and it may get dark.

The road was rebuilt in 2021 along the last 30 km. It is fine, but alike a roller coaster, with impressive slopes and too narrow for trucks.

You can also try to hitchhike a vehicle heading south to Belaga, if they ask you money, take into consideration that the normal fare for 4x4 taking people is RM 70 so you can offer less. There are many vehicles passing by.

The road between Bintulu and Miri is being improved to become a speedway at medium term, reducing time to get Simpang Bakun.

4X4s normally leave early at 8AM, but this is flexible and they are easy to hire. Speak to your guide or one of the shops which advertise land transport.

Get around[edit]

Uma Daro, one of the 15 longhouses located in the Sungai Asap resettlement area, Belaga District, for people displaced by the construction of the Bakun Dam

Belaga is small enough to walk around in twenty minutes. For trips further afield, hire a longboat for a ride up/down river.



  • Treks and Longhouse tours.

Belaga is one of the best places to do trips to see the longhouses. Indigenous tribes are typically welcoming to tourists and very hospitable. Expect to be shown different styles of villages (old and new), as well as traditional costumes, dances, foods (jungle fern, wild boar), manufacturing methods, and local rice farms. Most of the children, when not at school are fascinated by Westerners and will tag along for the fun and games. Be prepared to take some gifts for the tribes people (mainly for the children) as a show of appreciation to their hospitality. These should be given to the chieftain who will later distribute them.

  • Belaga Regatta/Traditional games/Belaga Rainforest Challenge Trail. Every year from 23–27 July. Features all the indigenous tribes and longhouse people in a week long event of games and an inter-longhouse regatta challenge.


Longhouse tours are split up into the following categories:

  • Longhouse visits, and sleeping typically in the chieftain's house
  • Longhouse visits, jungle trekking and camping
  • Longhouse visits, short jungle trek followed by sleeping in the longhouse

Prices as of 2008 are listed below (all quoted in Malaysian Ringgit), although with some haggling discounts will be found.

1 pax 2-3 pax 4-8 pax 9+ pax
2D1N Longhouse 400++ 300++ 240++ 160++
2D1N Camping 440++ 360++ 280++ 200++
2D1N Trekking 420++ 340++ 260++ 180++
3D2N Longhouse 500++ 340++ 280++ 200++
3D2N Camping 560++ 400++ 320++ 260++
3D2N Trekking 540++ 380++ 300++ 220++
Longhouse Day trip 180++ 100++ 80++ 60++

In 2018, a homestay in a previous longhouse now turned village could be negotiated to RM100 per person.


Most of the longhouses in the area will sell locally made souvenirs, such as beads, necklaces and sometimes even traditional clothes and items. There isn't much on offer in Belaga village itself, aside from some old coins and op-shop variety items.

  • ATM (Three streets back from the river). The town has a Bank Simpanan National, with ATM. In case your card is quite sensitive, is better to withdraw money in previous cities before you run out.


All of the restaurants in Belaga are of a comparable quality and price.Take your pick or ask a local.

Shukri Corner, 200 m from the wharf, serves cheap and tasty dishes and drinks. Mobile +0148790348. Shukri can speak basic English.



There is a good selection of cheap accommodation in Belaga

Bakun Dam

  • B&B Worldwide Exploration, No. 4 Belaga Bazaar 96900 Belaga. RM18.
  • Hotel Belaga, 14 Main Bazaar, +60 86 461 244. One of the more popular places with backpackers, although not the best value for money. RM30-50.
  • Hotel Sing Soon Huat, 26-27 New Bazaar, +60 86 461 307. A cheaper, better alternative to Hotel Belaga. Behind the main bazaar so it's also a little quieter. Ask for the rooms on the second floor, as they are nicer. RM 60.


  • There is a small internet cafe inside the Malaysian Airlines office, although the prices are expensive and the speeds are very slow.

Go next[edit]

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