Ethnic Bidayuh accounts for about 8 percent of the total Sarawak population. They live mostly along the water catchments of Sungai Sarawak and Sungai Sadong. Ethnic Bidayuh is somewhat similar to ethnic Iban (the latter used to be known as Dayak Laut while the former was known as Dayak Darat). The Bidayuh are less dependant on the ocean for their daily living as compared to the Iban. Nonetheless, both ethnic tribes possess almost identical longhouses, except that for the Bidayuh, the longhouses hold less significant importance in the community living.
The Bidayuh ethnic group is further divided into smaller sub-tribal communities such as Jagoi, Biatah, Bukar-Sadong, Selakau and Lara. Most of Bidayuh longhouses are built along the hill slopes of Sarawak's interiors and their main activities include rice farming, fishing and arts crafting.
At the main entrance, one will enter a pavilion-like circular structure made of mostly bamboos. This structure, connected to the longhouse by a wooden plank, is known as Baruk which functions as the congregation place for the Bidayuh warriors. The Baruk's interior is filled with weapons, gongs, wooden masks and other personal effects. There is a raised platform right in the middle of the Baruk. If you look straight up from the platform, you will see human skulls hung from the roof top. Somewhat eerie, yes. And according to the lady inside the Baruk, those human skulls are real and they were once the enemies killed by Bidayuh warriors.
The longhouse is actually pretty decent. The internals are quite similar to other longhouses you can find in the cultural village, with the exception of an open-top sprawling veranda made of bamboo floors which I thought was quite nice.
Another feature that worth a mention inside the longhouse is a demonstration of artistic bamboo carving. I recalled seeing the delicate procedures on educational TV many years ago. The middle-aged artist who was at this section explained that only special types of bamboo are suitable for this dying work of art. The finished bamboo products will certainly make excellent stationery holders or beautiful wall decorations.
As real as it can get to this legendary head-hunting tribe.