Kampung Giam is right off the edge of the Penrissen road. It is also pretty nearby to Kampung Git and Kampung Benuk. The villages of Kampung Giam Lama are connected by a long suspension bridge and they both share a same ancestral root. The Giam villages have their own unique attractions to wow visitors that include a rich cultural heritage, a complex cave system, a series of gushing rapids, as well as its own waterfall.
Where it All Started
Kampung Giam Lama
In the 1900s, a group of people from Bung Ko, joined by another group from Sebayat/Gigi formed the village “Kampung Boyan“. However, in the late 1930s, many women died at labor due to the lack of medicine. Seeing this, the Tok Kampung or village chief brought the villagers out and settled at Giam river. There they built a new longhouse and a Ceremonial House. The name Giam actually derived from the Bidayuh word for rapids.
The second White Rajah of Sarawak, Sir Charles Brooke actually built a bungalow at the top of a small hill near Kampung Giam which was dismantled prior to the Japanese invasion in 1941 by the villagers. In 1990 the longhouse was finally dismantled to give way to individual houses.
Kampung Giam Baru
The name of the village basically mean new Giam village. This is due to the fact that in 1976, a huge flood broke out in Kampung Giam and a lot of low-lying houses were submerged. Soneg anak Sorat then led the affected households to Pedu hill and the area beside Jalan Penrissen. Together they formed the new Giam village.
What can you expect to find in the villages of rapids? Here’s a thing or two for a sneak peek:
1. The magnificent Giam river
This Giam River is small stream that is also connected directly with the big Left Sarawak River. It brings so much difference in water temperature; very cold and clear water in Giam River compared to the water in Sarawak River.
Now that a dam is located upstream of Sarawak River, the water in Sarawak River can be very murky and dirty once they release the sediments from the dam.
2. Giam waterfall
Although the waterfall looks small in height, it is actually a very dangerous waterfall to be in. There is whirlpool under the waterfall. Some inexperienced swimmers has died because of the nature of the waterfall. It is still visited by locals frequently especially during weekends. But most of the time, people would avoid jumping straight into the waterfall. They would have picnic instead and just swim around the waterfall at Giam River.
3. Penot Cave
Penot Cave is a hidden cave located near the village. Both Kampung Giam and Git has access to the village via boat ride and jungle trekking. It is only 100 meters in length but it still looks amazing.
Source: History of Bidayuh in Kuching Division, Sarawak by Dr. Chang Pat Foh