Are you up for a blowpipe challenge this coming Danau Sentarum Festival?

5 things to do at Danau Sentarum Festival in West Kalimantan this October

Danau Sentarum Festival is an annual event organised in Kapuas Hulu District which was started in 2012.

The festival is aimed to promoted the rich culture of people in Kapuas Hulu, West Kalimantan particularly around Danau Sentarum.

This year, Danau Sentarum Festival will be held on Oct 25 to 28 at three different locations including Lanjak, Batang Lupar and Putussibau.

With the theme “Stimulate Cross-Border Ecotourism in the Heart of Borneo”, the festival was launched as part of 100 Wonderful Events Indonesia by Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia.

Danau Sentarum Festival 2
The Danau Sentarum Festival will spread out in different locations including Putussibau.

If you are heading to Danau Sentarum Festival this year, here are five things to expect during the event:

1. Join in the Danau Sentarum Cruise

During the festival, visitors are more than welcomed to join the Danau Sentarum Cruise which they will be taken on board Bandong boats to explore the lake.

It is a unique boat with the bottom designed by the Malays and the top designed by the Dayaks. The boat is used as both transportation and accommodation.

There will be two trips daily; one in the morning and another in the afternoon. Visitors should take this opportunity to observe the daily activities of people living in Danau Sentarum.

Plus, do not forget to bring your binocular just in case you can spot any birds along the way.

2. Watch traditional boat parade

Boats are important assets for the local communities of Danau Sentarum. Each tribes living in their area has its own unique traditional boats.

This year, the Dayak Tamambaloh tribe’s Parau Tambe boat by will lead the Traditional Boat Parade. The event will start from Lanjak town to Kedungkang, Melayu Island and Sepandan island, all around Danau Sentarum. 

It is definitely a sight to see with each boat will feature its own traditional music and dances. This activity will be held on Oct 27.

Fishing Danau Sentarum 8
An example of a Malay village at Danau Sentarum.
3. Enjoy the music of Sentarum Ethnic Music Festival
Iban Batang Lupar Kalimantan Barat 9
Dusun Kedungkang, an Iban longhouse of Batang Lupar district, West Kalimantan.

What do Kalimantan and its Malaysian neighbour, Sarawak have in common when it comes to music? The sape.

This Dayak traditional lute will be featured together with rebana, sitar, gambus with other musical instrument at the Sentarum Ethnic Music Festival (Lanjak, Oct 26).

This is a golden opportunity to hear and compare the different sounds of various tribes in Kapuas Hulu regency, West Kalimantan.

4. Watch the one-of-a-kind Arwana Super Red Contest

Heading over to Putussibau, the contest to be held over the course of the festival aims to promote the conservation of the ‘dragon fish’, the Arwana Super Red (Scleropages formosus). Also called Ikan Siluk Merah in Indonesia, this fish in its vibrant colours ranging from red to chili ted is endemic to Danau Sentarum and has a reputation as one of the most expensive fishes in the world.

5. Have some honey at Culture and Honey Festival
Danau Sentarum Festival 3
An example of traditional tattoo of a Kayan Mendalam woman.

Beside arwana fish, another special commodity from Danau Sentarum is its honey. The honey is traditionally farmed and harvested by the Malay communities of Danau Sentarum.

The event will see a parade of 2,000 people drinking honey from bamboo cups.

And the best part is the local people will be donning their traditional attires during this festival. The Culture and Honey Festival will be held at Lanjak on Oct 25.

Danau Sentarum Festival 4
Are you up for a blowpipe challenge this coming Danau Sentarum Festival?

Other activities include a blowpipe competition, carving contest, traditional tattoo demonstration, dragon boat and bidar boat races and many more.

For more information on Danau Sentarum Festival, contact the organiser here or here or download the booklet here.

Patricia Hului is a Kayan who wants to live in a world where you can eat whatever you want and not gain weight.

She grew up in Bintulu, Sarawak and graduated from the University Malaysia Sabah with a degree in Marine Science.

She is currently obsessed with silent vlogs during this Covid-19 pandemic.

Due to her obsession, she started her Youtube channel of slient vlogs.

Follow her on Instagram at @patriciahului, Facebook at Patricia Hului at or Twitter at @patriciahului.

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