We found our way to this wondrous highland of Bario (3,200m ASL). Windy, cool and pleasant temperature with friendly people to match. This trip was all about the celebration of Kelabit food, farming, culture and forest heritage - The Bario Food Festival (Pesta Nukenen)
The passion of the Kelabits in preserving their heritage is exemplified by the fact that this was the ninth year it has been held and is looked forward to by, most importantly, those living in the Bario Highlands itself, a forested highland watersheds in Sarawak and East Malaysia.
The ingredients come straight from the grounds and more often than not, wildly grown. The sweetness and freshness of the cooking makes every morsel savouring.
The very versatile bamboo plant used as serving dishes
Dishes served in bamboo
The 'kelantang' has a fragrant after-taste to it. And porridge cooked over wood fire using Bario rice no less makes this dish a real delicacy!
Yam, smoked river fish, ginger flower and dried buffalo meat shreds
THE Elders of Bario
Beaded head gear is the fashion ‘de rigeur’ of the ladies.
A Kelabit lady with long ear lobes
Colorful beaded head gear
Still suave looking, isn’t he? One of Bario’s first batch of school teachers
Dance reflecting work life
But there’s more to Bario than just awesome organic food… like the sights that make the destination an eye candy… in all sense of the words
Kelabit warrior dance
What you see… the highest mountain in Sarawak – Mt.Murud (7,946 ft) and the twin peak of Batu Lawi (6,712 ft). Mt. Murud is the fourth highest peak in Malaysia.
MASwings Twin Otter
First, step on the brakes, then throttle hard, build up the kinectic energy, release brake and wheeeeeee… well, the last part up was made up. The de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 19-passenger utility aircraft is suited for operating condition such as Bario STOL* airport.
*Short Take Off and Landing
Landing is never more engaged for a passenger in a Twin Otter.
The sun can be harsh on the skin due to the thinner air. It, however, offers memorable gorgeous sunset.
Sunset in Bario
In the distance, shaped like a cut-out, like a gap in the ridge, is the ‘Kawang’. It is a practice to signify a significant occasion in the Kelabit community
Million dollar piece of real estate we say!
Remember your childhood art lessons of drawing interlocking mountains? Bario is alive with them. One can sing to their heart’s content.
Megaliths: objects carved into the stone, used in deference to the celestial beings in the old days. This one in Pa’Umor.
The Milky Way contains 200-300 billion stars, so dim that the naked eyes cannot distinguish individual stars but a band of arching over the night sky. At the right time, Bario with its low level of light pollution, with the right camera setting, you can capture this.
The highlands of Sarawak is a photographer’s haven if trekking is not your preference. We recommend at least four days during the dry season from June – September. The Milky Way can easily be seen also. However, the golden hue of ripening rice field only takes place December. And if you want to capture a completely different Bario landscape this will be a good excuse to return to the highland.
The 10th Bario Food and Cultural Festival (Pesta Nukenen) will be held from the 23th – 25th July 2015.
MASWings flies three times daily from Miri to Bario. The destination has a number of lodges, whose operators can tailor a programme during your stay with them. For more info logon to http://www.ebario.com/
Miri has direct flights from Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur. The airlines operating are Malaysian Airlines, Malindo Air, MASWings and Air Asia.