Picnic with the Penan is a unique travel option for adventurous tourists through some of the last intact forest in Borneo, guided by the Island’s only traditionally nomadic indigenous people, the Penan.
While many visitors to Borneo take in a longhouse visit, tasting traditional Iban or Kenyah hospitality, very few have the opportunity to meet the oldest and possibly most fascinating tribal group on the island, the Penan. Unlike these other peoples, whose history was as settled farmers, Penan ancestry stretches far back to when Borneo was covered in wild jungle, flush with wildlife and they were the island’s true nomadic hunter-gatherers. As a peaceful people, living deep in the remotest reaches of the jungle, they developed a unique culture and specialized, instinctive knowledge of Borneo’s animal and plant life. Today, they are still Borneo’s jungle experts and have fascinating knowledge and jungle survival skills to share with interested and adventurous visitors. Picnic with the Penan is a sustainably-managed and community-run tourism program which offers intrepid visitors the chance to trek though some of Borneo’s last untouched forest, learn about Penan culture, and see the jungle through Penan eyes.
To restore parts of the jungle that have been ruined by logging, the Penan peope set up a tree planting project. Young hard wood plants, like red moranti, grow in the Tree Nursery. Subsequently they are transported to logged parts of the jungle. New jungle is then restored and palm oil plantations are prevented from being started in the jungle.
If you like more information about our tree planting project, read more below (‘Community Focus’) and please contact us
Always Community Focus
Our programs are only designed to directly benefit the Penan communities through bringing in income and building skills, whilst keeping visits to manageable level. Unlike most other tour programs available, Picnic with the Penan is owned and run by the Penan themselves, through the mechanism of the Koperasi, or Community Management. This ensures that the program remains relevant to the concerns and aspirations of the communities involved. All other administrative work is done on a volunteer basis, so almost all the income from visitors goes directly to the communities. Indeed, during the tour, you will pay monies directly to the person providing the service. For example after a boat ride, you would pay the boatman a set fee. Therefore you can be assured that monies are going directly to the Penan people, to spend as they see fit. In addition, each visitor with Picnic with the Penan will be required to pay a set community fee. This fee goes into a fund which the Koperasi allocate to several projects which benefit the community as a whole. One ongoing project is a tree nursery and tree replanting scheme, which aims to grow important trees such as Red Moranti, White Moranti and Belian and replant them in degraded forest. Another is a development centre, based in Miri, which will provide training and act as a base for Penan living in the town. Through such projects, it is intended that Picnic with the Penan will provide long-term and ongoing benefits to the Penan communities.