Belaga is a small town on the Rejang River in Malaysia's province of Sarawak. Whilst the village can be explored in well under an hour, most visitors arrive in Belaga in order to explore the many longhouses as well as the interior of Borneo. There are a few tour operators which are established in the town, however the town is very well connected with the tribes-people and finding a local guide shouldn't be very difficult.
Most people arrive in Belaga by boat from Kapit (and further downstream, Sibu). Boats leave from Kapit at 9am and cost RM30 (5 hours) except when the water level is too low and the express boats can't get pass Pelagus rapids. It is a very scenic boat ride, and if you are in need of some fresh air the boat roof is a good place to take in the jungle river banks. Express boat interiors are usually air-conditioned to a point of freezing which makes the ride on the roof much more convenient option. Just remember that the sun in Borneo is fierce even though it's cloudy. Rejang river is an easy ride most of the way and the only notable rapids are those of Pelagus. Just follow the locals, if they stay on the roof you should be safe as well.
Depending on the river level the trip down stream may only take 4 hours (RM30 and leaves at 8AM) There is a boat heading to Bakun Dam from Belaga (RM10.00, 1 hour and leaves approx 3:30PM)
Belaga has a tiny abandoned airstrip a few kilometers downstream from the village.
The long, windy and unkept logging road from Bintulu or if you are dropped off at the Bakun Dam turn off on the highway appox 40kms north of Bintalu, there are many 4X4s heading into Belaga. Wave one down - they will take passengers if they have room (4 - 5 hours depending on road conditions, RM50 per person - personal car hire requires min 2pax). This can avoid backtracking by boat to reach Sibu in order to get to the coast. Jeeps normally leave early at 8am, but since they can be commissioned easily, they are flexible. Speak to your guide or one of the shops which advertise land transport.
Belaga is small enough to walk around in twenty minutes. For trips further afield, hire a longboat for a ride up/down river.
Longhouse tours are split up into the following categories:
One excellent tour operator is:
Prices as at January 2008 are listed below (all quoted in Malaysian Ringgit), although with some haggling discounts will be found.
Most of the longhouses in the area will sell locally made souvenirs, such as beads, necklaces and sometimes even traditional clothes and items. There isn't much on offer in Belaga village itself, aside from some old coins and op-shop variety items.
All of the restaurants in Belaga are of a comparable quality and price. Take your pick or ask a local.
There is a good selection of cheap accomodation in Belaga.