Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My Hometown - Kapit, Borneo Sarawak Part 2

Fort Sylvia
One of the most remarkable historical monument in town, Fort Sylvia. Built in 1880, known as Fort Kapit was primarily built to prevent the Iban from migrating up-river and attacking Orang Ulu settlements. It was later renamed after Rani Sylvia Brooke , wife of Rajah Charles Vyner Brooke, in 1925. During the 1960s, the fort housed the District Office and the District Court House, and later the Resident's Office when Kapit Division was formed in 1973.

Kapit Town

Kapit comprises 15,595.6 KM and has a population over 100,000; Majority are Iban(Sea Dayak- native) and Chinese. It is the vibrant commercial and social center for the middle Rajang River catering to the longhouse communities and timber camps. Besides that, it is also an excellent base for exploring nearby longhouses or for arranging trips to the Upper Rejang and Balleh Rivers.

A traditional Hiap Chiong Kopitiam which famous with "Drunken Chicken Claw" and fried noodles. 
 Majority of the local Chinese running Kopitiam (Cafe), sundry shop, budget hotel and gold smith whereas Iban are into trading of handcrafts, Padi Huma (Hill Paddy), forest products (wild boar, deer meats, Civet, Dabai fruits (Sarawak Olive) -, etc), fresh water fish and van transporter.
One of the famous hotel in town, New Hiap Chiong Hotel, overlooking the Rejang river welcoming the arrival of express boat from lower river.

A view from New Hiap Chiong Hotel
The arrival of express boat from lower river. (A view from New Hiap Chiong Hotel)
Kapit is famous for fresh water fish such as Empurau, Tengadak and Semah Mahseer
(Tor Duoronensis) and Dabai fruit.
Empurau - one of the most expensive fresh water fish in Sarawak, USD265-350/kg.
Tengadak Sarawak, (Puntius Schwnenfeldii) - USD67-97/ kg

Most of the locals are having a more laid back pace of life. Local business started around 6.00am, tea break at 3.00pm and rested at 5pm; It comes to peak during Chinese New Year, Gawai (Dayak's Harvest Festival) and Christmas as most of the wanderers came back visiting family and friends.

Colourful long boats parked parallelly 2 weeks before Gawai Dayak.
Most of the Ibans came to Kapit to buy sundries and bring back to long house in the earling morning.
Securing long boat
Timber log is commonly used as a floating bridge.
Boat hut along the river 
River is getting busier with long boats, tongkangs and express boats.

An express boat is ready to depart
The activity on the river reached its peak in the afternoon and reduced after the last express boat reached Kapit around 5.30pm.
A fisherman is busy catching fish in the evening.
Enjoying a relaxing walk along the riverbank in the evening, watching the river flows and sunset is a great moment to calm and nurturing your soul.

A beautiful sunset beyond the river

The pathway to upper river.
The nature of the rainforest in Kapit is still in remarkable condition; It has some of the highest rate of plants and animal endemism. 

Some of the Ibans living by the stream.
A stream is the pathway to river

A lonely Radio Tower 
The moment before storm
A traditional long house 
The interior of the long house  where a few families living together

A friendly Iban elderly

The tourism board of Malaysia hasn't really introduce this beautiful town and its upper reaches to the eye of the world. Anyway, most of the travellers get to know this place through word of mouth; They are German, Swedish, American and OZ.