Some of the first questions people ask us are:
- What is an ecovillage? What is Sumbiling Eco Village?
- How is your business an ecovillage?
- What makes your place different from all the other operators?
There is no short and simple answer to these questions, which is why we
have dedicated this page to explaining what exactly we stand for, what
we do, and how and why we do what we do. We felt the best way would be
to approach it based on the questions listed above.
So what is an ecovillage?
It is a small social community sharing the same ecological, social,
cultural or even religious values. Such communities arose as a reaction
to growing concerns among some in conventional societies about the
damage done by modern lifestyles to the environment and to traditional
socio-cultural values and also as a conscious choice to live with less
environmental impact. Ecovillages tend to be smaller clusters of human
settlement, numbers of people based on sustainability. These ecovillages
are typified by sustainable living features such as non-dependence on
fossil fuels for electricity and vehicular fuel, usage and storage of
rainwater, environmentally sound construction, with reused or
sustainable materials, and many more exciting ideas.
How is your business an ecovillage?
So how does Sumbiling Eco Village fall into the above
definition? Simple, we don't! Well, not quite anyway! But do hear us
out! We envisioned an ecotourism project which served to promote awareness
and cultivate sustainability - environmentally, socially, culturally and
economically. This was to be achieved through the operation of
close-to-nature stays in the rainforest, as well as various rainforest and
adventure tours, in cooperation with villagers who would share their
culture and way of life with visitors.
The project materialised as a joint-venture with the Ibans of Kampung
Sumbiling Lama, the second last village on the southbound Jalan Batang
Duri in Temburong District. The company provided the concept, funding,
planning and management of the project, while the villagers provided the
manpower, outdoors and cultural expertise, as well as suggestions and
ideas which proved invaluable to the continuing growth and improvement
of the project. From the start, a close relationship was forged between
the management and the villagers, and to this day, it is something we
are proud to tell others - that the villagers are an integral part of
Sumbiling Eco Village!
So, what's in a name?
to denote our location,
to signify our commitment to sustainable ecotourism, and our ambitious
goals to make our project a model for environmental care and development
of awareness and
as a tribute to the villagers who are such an integral part of what we
do, and whose well-being we strive to improve.
(Malay) - village. Also most basic administrative division
jalan (Malay) - road
What makes your place different from all the other operators?
Although, like everyone else, profitability is a main concern, we also rank the
well-being and development of the villagers side by side with it. We
also place a strong emphasis on ecological concerns, and are determined
to ensure sustainable ecotourism is our way and eventually the way of
others who follow suit in the industry. To sum up our objectives, we
have lined up the following goals:
Preserve surrounding natural environment
- Utilising small, wooden basic structures.
- No major construction designs.
- No air-conditioning or excessive comforts.
Living the 3 R's in our operations
(Reduce waste & wastage, reuse and recycle)
- Rubbish sorting.
- Reduction and eventual non-use of plastic bags, bottles, etc.
- New structures built with reused wood.
Promote use of natural alternatives
- Utilising alternatives such as rattan/bamboo instead of
- Leaves instead of melamine plates,
- Bug repellent from plant ingredients, and more.
Build self-esteem of local community
- Through their
involvement and achievements.
Involve local community
- Idea sharing, teamwork in operations.
Build pride in own indigenous culture & local way of life
- Through sharing with visitors, affirmation and encouragement
received by locals.
Create economic opportunities
- Work for local villagers.
Cultivate knowledge and affinity for indigenous culture & way
- Tours, stays and programmes expose visitors to the unique
culture, past-times and ways of the locals.