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Bario, Miri, Sarawak trip @ 25 – 28 Nov 2011

December 3, 2011 1 comment

Fast Forward – Bario, Miri, Sarawak trip

Haven’t update the blog for quite awhile. Recently attended a trip to Bario. Incase you wondering, Bario is a Malaysian village located in the centre of the Kelabit Highlands in the north east of Sarawak, very close to the international border with Indonesian Kalimantan, and 3280 feet above sea level. It is the main settlement in the Kelabit Highlands (Wikipedia).

I’m honored to get asked to join the trip, a bunch of photographer, myself, and strangely, i brought smurf along. (One couple – husband and wife to be more precise, 2 guys, 4 girls and Smurf, 8+Smurf)

The plan is where we take a flight from Kuala Lumpur (KL) to Miri, then from Miri, we take another flight to Bario. I bought my flight tickets months ago online, as agreed, we fly Airasia from KL to Miri, and Malaysia Airlines (Mas Wings) from Miri to Bario. Same goes with the flight back to KL from Bario.

Airasia to and fro, KL – Miri flight cost me around RM500, while MAS to and fro, Miri – Bario flight cost me around RM250. Now i have to admit, initially i’m having doubts with the flight expenses, it is technically more expensive to travel to Siam Reap or any neighbor country destination.  Having doubt then? Now no more.

I brought all my luggage (A Crumpler’s Customary Barge and 6 Million Dollar man)to the office on 25th. Attended a briefing and left my office somewhere around 2.30pm in the afternoon, my flight was somewhere 7.30pm that evening. Having lucky to be approved for a half day leave, i get the opportunity to visit the nearby photography store for a final shopping before the trip. Obviously i knew what i needed, i packed a CPL filter and a new Sandisk Extreame SD card and moved on to KL Sentral. Managed to catch a bus which transit directly to LCCT (Low cost Airport, where Airasia Fly).

It’s a sleepy afternoon, so needless to say, i sleep the whole journey from Kl Sentral to LCCT. Upon arrived, as usual, i checked in my Customary Barge (its too big for hand luggage) and waited the others.

Fast Forward – KL – Miri

We flew from KL to Miri that evening and arrived at Miri somewhere 10.00pm. We checked in into a small hotel at Miri town to spend the night until tomorrow earning morning flight to Bario. Well, the night didn’t end there as we roamed the street for food. Surprisingly, Miri is not as Night going as we thought, most of the shop / restaurants close for business even on Friday night. Amazingly, there’s not a single Mamak Stall. Well, what can we say about different culture. I’m sure KL was buzzing every minute of Friday night. Finally able to found a restaurant that still open for business, and we served our-self plenty of Noodles.

Fast Forward – Morning at Miri

As you can see from the picture at our right. Miri do have an amazing sunrise with purple cloud. The air seems fresher and the sky seems wider. Too bad we’re rushing.

We didn’t even have time to take any breakfast as we rushed to the Miri Airport for our flight to Bario. We witness the sunrise at Miri that day throughout our journey from Miri Town to Airport. Amazing.

We are asked to stand on the weighing scales at the Miri airport checking counter to make sure that the plane does not get overloaded.

Since many of us haven’t consume any breakfast yet, we get our breakfast at the Penang theme restaurant at Miri Airport.  The nasi lemak ain’t bad, but suprisingly i can’t finish them.

Fast Forward – The Departure Hall @ Miri – Bario

Waiting patiently at the departure hall. Our plane from Miri to Bario is those 16 seater twin otter planes, which i have a picture upon touch down at Bario.

From what i read online, on normal days, when passengers are few, the plane will be full of goods get piled onto empty seats, along the aisle of the plane.

“The flight across from Miri to Bario is a wondrous sight. The birds eye view of Sarawak’s jungles below, the Mulu National Park demarcations, the Murud Peaks, Batu Lawi and the small villages + longhouses dotted around in remote parts of the upper reaches of Baram – all can be seen from the tiny windows of the twin otter.” (http://www.journeymalaysia.com/MH_bario1.htm)

Fast Forward – On the flight from Miri – Bario

 Fast Forward – Bario – Arrived – Touch downed

 Fast Forward – Bario – Blue Sky, Green field

 Fast Forward – Bario – This is where we stay – Ngimat Ayu’s Homestay

Fast Forward – Bario – Ngimat Ayu’s Homestay – Borrow pic from Angeline

 

Fast Forward – Bario – Green & Yellow

Fast Forward – Bario – Food

Fast Forward – Bario – More Sky @ Bario

Fast Forward – Bario – On 4WD

Fast Forward – Bario – Flora & Fauna

Fast Forward – Bario – More Sun & Sky

Fast Forward – Bario – How bout some Sheep!

Fast Forward – Bario – Ngimat Ayu’s Homestay – Sunset


Fast Forward – Bario – Sunset

Fast Forward – Bario – Light Painting @ Bario

Fast Forward – Bario – Sunrise at Mount Prayer @ Bario

Fast Forward – Bario – Church at Mount Prayer @ Bario

Fast Forward – Bario – Scott aka Apoi our Guide @ Bario

Fast Forward – Bario – More Green

Fast Forward – Bario – More Blue

Fast Forward – Bario – Red Church – Building in progress

Fast Forward – Bario – HornBill, Not Kill BILL

Fast Forward – Bario – Long House

Fast Forward – Bario – Last Night

So far, you have seen plenty of pictures throughout my journey at Bario. We visited the salt factory as well as the Penan Community. I didnt capture any picture on both occasion.

Now, back to the last night at Bario. After the long house, we spend the dinner with Scott aka Apoi at his family long house, we have dinner the traditional bario way, the fish was nice, can’t stress that enough. As always, there’s plenty of wild boar, I have like 3 bowl of rice. Sadly, this will be our last night at Bario.

Early morning the next day (28th), we woke up early and have a final breakfast, before Scott transporting us to the Bario Air Terminal. As mentioned in some other article online, we need to pay RM10 service tax per pax (FYI). Our flight back to Miri just on time. We said good bye with heavy heart. Come back again one day we should.

Fast Forward – Bario – Bario – Miri

One thing to note, our flight stop at Marudi before continue to Miri.

Fast Forward – Bario – Long House

We arrived at Miri somewhere lunch time. Our flight back to KL at evening 7+, so we have plenty of time at Miri until the flight. We have our lunch at one of the local seafood restaurant. Next stop, we visited The Old Lady (The first oil well).

Fast Forward – Miri – The Old Lady

Fast Forward – Miri – Seaside

Fast Forward – Miri – KL

We arrived at KL somewhere 10pm 28th.

Final Thoughts

This trip (2 days 2 nights at Bario, 1 day 1 night at Miri) cost me roughly RM1400 inclusive of all flight tickets as well as food and accommodation. With the same amount of money, i could probably get a trip at Siam Reap with longer stay. But no amount of money could substitute the experience of visiting Bario.

Time at Bario past so slow, as everything seems so relax and slow pace. The grass here looks greener, the sky here looks bluer, even the air here breath cleaner.

The hike to Mount Prayer to see the sunrise is definitely a challenge for me, and others who are not so used to hiking. Although i’m inclined to say that there’s always better place than Bario for sunset, but the experience of seeing sunset at Bario were enough to mesmerize me.

The trekking into the salt factory was not so appealing to me, mud is every where and the factory is mere a hut with plenty of log nearby with its source of salt well where the worker will burn the salt water with fire to get salt. It’s pretty hard work, that is the reason why Bario salt is so pricy. But in truth, visiting the salt factory is one thing that you could skip if you decided to visit Bario.

Now, for the Penan people, they are poor and living their own way. Our group brought some food, sweets as well as stationary for kids. It’s pretty heartbroken to see them being rejecting the modern civilization. It will takes more than food / sweets / stationary to educate them the importance of education, modernization for them. They may remain with their belief and culture, but they could have done it in a way that accepting education for their kids. I’m so sad that i don’t feel like taking any picture of their young ones who don’t even wear clothes in full.

Transport at Bario for us is either walk or 4wd.

Homestay – we stayed at Ngimat Ayu’s Homestay, with the host Scott, aka Apoi being real friendly and helpful to us. The stay were cozy, each night around 3hours of generator and electricity. It does make me realized what a waste we were back in City wasting so much electricity, while the likes in the rural area don’t have enough.

The bath were “refreshing”, it’s cool of course, but after a day trekking or hiking, it really takes away all the tiredness. I hard Scott gonna install water heater soon, but, imo, its not an issue at all.  Sleep wise, i spend the night at a room with 2 single beds. Pretty clean and cozy. Food, we have plenty of Bario rice, wild boar and some local traditional food. Not much to complaint.

Long story short – it’s a very good experience, money well spend.

For more of my Bario picture see here – http://www.flickr.com/photos/stephanchan/sets/72157628236844815/