Longhouse in Labi sees record number of tourists
THE Mendaram Besar Longhouse in Labi is closing in on 500 visitors this year, an all-time high across any three-month period since it officially opened for tourists in 2001.
The head of the longhouse’s women’s bureau, Hensona Munah, said yesterday that the growing popularity through word of mouth and positive feedback have contributed to the longhouse attracting 440 people from January to March this year.
The number has surged this month owing to a visit by 200 people from the British Garrison in Seria and their dependants as well as a group of students from Curtin University in Sarawak.
Hensona said the longhouse has matured over the years in administering its visit and homestay programme, keeping better track of finances and refining how their cultural activities for guests are packaged.
The longhouse, located an hour’s drive from the intersection in Sg Liang, now prices day visits at $3 for adults and $1 for children, but meals, cultural demonstrations, historical briefings and visits to nearby areas are all separately charged.
Signing up for a night’s stay will cost as low as $28 per person for groups of 25 and above and as high as $55 for those in groups between five to nine.
The fee for a night’s stay is inclusive of food, cultural activities and a tour, with all 10 families of the longhouse playing a role in administering the programme.
“Over the years, we increased the activities (and the number of longhouse residents involved) because we realised that was what people made the trip for. They want to learn about how it genuinely is like to live in a longhouse,” said Hensona.
The bulk of this year’s guests have only made day trips, but she added that most expressed an intent to return to take part in more cultural activities such as weaving and cooking.
The Brunei Times