Dayak cover - Borneo, Indonesia

Dayak People: Living by their rules in Borneo

However, not all of the Dayaks performed this headhunting tradition. Most of them just collected goods and were dedicated to farming, especially starting from the 19th century when the infamous tradition was drastically reduced under the influence of the Dutch Colonial Government.

Dayak throat tattoo – Borneo, Indonesia

Where Can you Find Them?

If they are not in their homes, having time together while performing rituals or storytelling, you will probably find them near the rivers of the inner area of the island. Chances that you’ll find them grow as you approach the Mahakam River since many of their houses are built in this area.

How Do They Look?

Dayak tattoo – Borneo, Indonesia

Dayak woman with the famous long earring holes – Borneo, Indonesia

Don’t be surprised to see them having large earrings and incredible tattoos, especially when it comes to women. The Dayak people are well-known traditional tattoo artists and they are able to paint your body into some of the most beautiful scenes, starting with the wild animals, herbs, and exotic birds, all the way to the various complex symbolic images.

Even though today anybody from the tribe can get a tattoo, in the ancient times, they were supposed to be deserved. Not anybody could have one of these wonderful tattoos. They had to earn it by showing their strength and bravery. Let’s not speak again about the ways they did it.

Usually, if they still dress traditionally, you can tell if a man or a woman belongs to the Dayak tribe – tattoos, long heavy earrings, pieces of fabrics with feathers that surround their bodies like skirts. Women also usually wear large collars and bracelets made of various natural materials – feathers, animal teeth, insect wings etc. However, a large number of younger members of the tribe may decide to go away from the community or the island because they want education or better life conditions.

Usually, the Dayak people are sincerely friendly and they can be very welcoming during the tourists’ visits, showing their various skills, so therefore, you don’t have to be scared of getting in touch with them, even if they start exaggerating by showing you their war trophies – skulls that belong to their former enemies. These skulls are usually more than 300 years old and the ones who collected them were their distant ancestors so don’t worry and enjoy your time exploring the Dayak’s culture since nowadays, they are really polite and thrilled to present themselves in the best possible way.