As you travel through Sarawak, you’ll notice certain terms cropping up repeatedly in the names of places, longhouses and other features. You’ll seldom encounter them elsewhere in Malaysia, so it pays to know what they mean:

Ulu From the Malay hulu, meaning “upriver”; when used before the name of a river, it indicates the region surrounding the headwaters of that river – for example, the Ulu Ai is the upriver part of the Ai River and its tributaries there

Batang “Trunk” or “strip”; used before a river name, it denotes that the river is the central member of a system of rivers

Long “Confluence”; used in town names in the same way as the Malay “Kuala”

Nanga “Longhouse” in Iban; many longhouses are named “Nanga” followed by the name of the river they are next to

Pa or Pa’ In the Kelabit Highlands, denotes a village

Rumah “House” in Malay; some longhouses are named “Rumah” followed by the name of the headman (if there’s a change of headman, the longhouse name follows suit)

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Malaysia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Living the good life in Borneo

Living the good life in Borneo

Life in the beautiful region of Sapulot is relaxed and uncomplicated, and the communities who live here want to keep it that way. They are inviting visitors to …

02 Jun 2016 • Ros Walford insert_drive_file Article
7 reasons why Langkawi is Malaysia's ultimate island escape

7 reasons why Langkawi is Malaysia's ultimate island escape

Looking to unwind on a tropical island somewhere in Southeast Asia? Then head to the island of Langkawi, Malaysia’s ultimate escape from the country’s frene…

09 Feb 2016 • Stuart Forster insert_drive_file Article
Quiz: can you locate these national parks?

Quiz: can you locate these national parks?

National parks are some of the world's most awe-inspiring natural places, taking in mountains, glaciers, waterfalls and forests (sometimes all in the same one…

02 Jul 2015 • Rebecca Hallett help Quiz
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month