Bau Travelogue Day 3: Soothing sounds by sape maestro Mathew Ngau Jau, surrounded by nature at Badul Homestay

Mathew performing for the D'Diggers Team in his Lan E Tuyang homestay on May 20, 2024.

By D’Diggers Team

BAU, May 21: The Rainforest World Music Festival came early for the D’Diggers Team as professional sape performer Mathew Ngau Jau entertained us with a contemporary, Western-influenced style and later performed a Kenyah folksong titled “Lan E Tuyang” (True Friends).

It’s not every day that one gets to experience such a unique event firsthand, and we consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have witnessed the performance in the comfort of his homestay—Lan E Tuyang Homestay, which charmingly bears the same name as the Kenyah folksong that he had sung for us.

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Though initially sheepish to perform, Mathew soon exceeded all expectations, his passion evident in every flick of his wrist and every strum of the strings.

With eyes closed as he sang, his deep connection to the music was palpable, and the D’Diggers Team quietly listened in awe, captivated by the authenticity and emotion of his performance.

The 72-year-old emerges as more than just the world’s premier sape performer as he is also a trailblazer in the Singai, Bau area, being the first to open a homestay there.

His pioneering spirit continues within his family, with his niece Catherine following in his footsteps and opening her own homestay, Badul Homestay, soon after.

Mathew and Catherine’s homestays were the firsts among the ten homestays that formed the foundation of the Singai homestay cluster today.

Their establishments not only marked the inception of a cultural tourism hub, but also symbolised a profound commitment to preserving and sharing the rich heritage of the Singai area with visitors from all around.

Located 27km from the center of Kuching, Lan E Tuyang Homestay offers an authentic rainforest experience, with Mathew providing guests with traditional-style treehouse rooms.

Additionally, he offers seasonal classes and workshops, locally and internationally, to interested students who wish to learn the art of playing as well as making sape.

Badul Homestay, the forest’s homely retreat

A mere 2km downstream from Lan E Tuyang lies Badul Homestay, a farmhouse turned homestay operated by Catherine with the help of her husband, Oswald Bracken Tisen, who is also the former Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) Protected Areas and Biodiversity Conservation head.

Surrounded by the lushness of the forest, Badul Homestay offers a blend of nature and modern amenities, providing guests with diverse experiences.

These range from forest foraging adventures to the convenience of a hotel pool located just outside the rooms, ensuring a comfortable and memorable stay.

Guests can also partake in kayaking and fishing at the nearby pond, in addition to enjoying a guided night stroll led by Oswald, who has decades of experience in nature and its wildlife.

Besides that, various events are also held at the homestay such as workshops, school camps, and even weddings, which, according to Catherine, add vibrancy to their home.

Catherine (right) and her husband, Oswald posing for a photo by their Badul Homestay.
The hotel-style pool of Badul Homestay for guests to swim in.
A glance of the pond beside the homestay for guests to fish and kayak in.

She receives guests from all around the globe, including local visitors and foreigners from the bustling streets of Singapore, the vibrant city of Hong Kong, picturesque landscapes of the Netherlands, and the enchanting islands of Indonesia. With care and attention to detail, Catherine ensures that each visitor’s stay is a memorable and enriching experience.

“I remember the first guest of this homestay (Badul Homestay) was a Dutchman.

“Then there’s this Dutch family we accommodated. The children, especially the son, loves nature. He always asked my husband (Oswald) what activities they will be having on that day,” Catherine told DayakDaily with a smile on her face as she reminisced.

Badul Homestay features eight guest rooms and can accommodate to a maximum of 30 guests. It is perfect for weekend getaways, company retreats, celebrations and festivities as guests are welcome to have barbecue and throw karaoke sessions.

Those interested can contact Catherine at 016-860 2247 for inquiries and bookings. —DayakDaily

Once a farmhouse, Badul Homestay now plays hosts to travellers from all over the globe.

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