Cameron Highlands, Malaysia


Aborigine Villages

The aborigines (Orang Asli in Malay) have been living in the forests of Cameron Highlands long before other settlers arrived. With development of the Camerons, some aborigines have moved into government sponsored settlements near the forest fringes such as Kampung Sungai Ruil. Others preferred to move further inland into the forest of the Eastern Valley to continue with their old way of life. Whether in the settlements or in the forests, the aborigines have accepted some level of modernity. For example most no longer wear "forest attire" but modern clothes.
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Aborigine village, Cameron Highlands
Visit to an aborigine village

The homes at the aborigine settlement in Kampung Sungai Ruil may look like shacks to tourists used to living in modern cities. However, it is home and a functional village for the aborigines who live here. The village has a primary and secondary school, clinic, community centre and a shop. The homes have electricity and some even have satellite TV. Some of the villagers are involved in farming and some even work with the government.

Aborigine children, Cameron Highlands
Aborigine children

Beyond the government settlements, guided tours to an authentic aborigine village located in the forest are available as part of an eco-tour. Except for the modern clothes they wear, the aborigines here live a more traditional way of life often collecting produce from the forest and selling to the "outsiders". Their homes comprises mainly of huts made from bamboo and palm leaves and are often without electricity. A tour into one of these villages provides a glimpse into the aborigine way of life as well learn about the flora and fauna in the forest.

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