Nestled in Sarawak’s remote northeastern corner, the mountains and rainforests of the Kelabit (keh-lah-bit) Highlands are sandwiched between Gunung Mulu National Park and the Indonesian state of East Kalimantan. The area is home to the Kelabits, an Orang Ulu group who number only about 6500. Also here are the Penan people, a seminomadic group whose members have not fared well in modern Malaysia as their traditional forest lands have been cleared away from under them.
The main activity here, other than enjoying the clean, cool mountain air, is hiking from longhouse to longhouse on old forest trails to witness and experience traditional lifestyles and meet the locals. Unfortunately, logging roads – ostensibly for ‘selective’ logging – are continuously encroaching and swaths of the highlands’ primary forest have already succumbed to the chainsaw.