Travel Features > Up the Ulu

Visiting Longhouses

Longhouse Do's And Don'ts

Observing a few simple rules will ensure that your hosts enjoy the visit as much as you do.

  • Never enter a longhouse without asking permission first.
  • If you arrive unannounced, always ask for the Tuai Rumah or headman's apartment.
  • Never push away food or drink offered to you. If you wish to decline, touch the plate or glass gently with your right hand.
  • The Tuai Rumah or headman is a person of considerable importance. Always treat him with the respect his position deserves.
  • If invited to bathe in the river, always wear a sarong or a non-revealing swimming costume. Never bathe where members of the opposite sex are bathing.
  • If on an organised tour, always follow your tour guide's instructions.
  • Try not to distribute gifts to individuals, especially children. Instead, present gifts to the Tuai Rumah, who will ensure that they are distributed fairly throughout the community.
  • Remove your shoes if you are invited into a bilik (the individual family 'apartment') or any area where mats are spread out on the longhouse floor (e.g. the ruai).


Visiting Longhouses | Longhouse Do's And Don'ts
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