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Gawai Naik Dango Landak Part 1-Driving to Ngabang

Location : Kecamatan Ngabang, Kabupaten Landak, Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia.

Different tribes in different places of Borneo celebrate the thanks giving ritual after a good rice harvest in different ways with different names. The Kanayatn tribe of Landak West Kalimantan celebrates this ritual called ‘Naik Dango’ usually in late April, much earlier than any other tribes in Borneo. The ritual is essentially the offering of both cooked food and a bundle of freshly harvested stalks of rice to their God Jubata all carried out up in the ‘dango’ or rice silo which is a wooden stilted stand alone structure to prevent destruction from flood, fire and pests. Hence, the ceremony is called ‘ascending the rice silo’ or ‘naik dango’.

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Rice / Paddy silo

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To witness our very first ‘Naik Dango’ of Landak, we had to drive from Kuching crossing the border at Tebedu/Entekong to the town of Ngabang which was about 5hrs drive away. I had to bring along my original vehicle ownership card or ‘green card’ to present to the Sarawak Customs to prove ownership and given a document of their approval which I had to later show to 4 Indonesian authorities which comprised of the Customs, Transport Department JPJ, Police and an Insurance agent which cost me about RM70. If I had used a runner the whole process would have cost me perhaps, RM200! It was not that difficult to do and none of the officers indicated they would only approve upon bribery. Once approved, stickers of the JPJ and insurance would be issued and must be displayed on the windsreeen. Once all this was done, I had to get my passport stamped. Do note that any tinting of your car windows MUST be removed before entering Indonesia. Lately, the Indonesian Customs started using sniffer dogs to inspect all vehicles going through and this caused quite an uncomfortable queue.

The 30min drive to the nearest town Balai Karangan was the most pleasant in my twenty over years experience as the road was newly surfaced. We continued on the comfortable drive to Sosok 1.5hrs away where we had lunch and also to purchase an Indonesian Simpati SIM card for going online.

Ngabang town was slightly less than an hour drive away. Our immediate concern was to locate the venue of the event which we were fortunate to have a local chap willing to jump in and show us the direction. The venue Radakng Ala’ Landak complex looked grand from far. It was very busy with all the last minute preparations and rehearsals. We took a quick tour before rushing off in search of accommodation for the next 3 days.

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Rumah Radakng

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At the first floor of the Radakng

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With Dr Lukas of Landak Tourism office and tour operators.

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Event program

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Chatting with members of the organising committee

There were only 3 hotels available in Ngabang. The nearest option was Hotel Hanura with only the VIP rooms left but was too pricey at RM200, jacked up for the occasion! Hotel Dangau right in the heart of town was fully booked. The last option was Hong Long Hotel another kilometer away. The bathroom and blanket was stinky but we had no choice. Next…..street parade.

Exhibition Booths at Rumah Radakng

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