The Kelabit Highlands
Bario, Ba'Kelelan, Long Seridan, Long Llelang and the Penan Settlements.
Bario in the Kelabit Highlands of Sarawak is also a favourite optional trip for those keen on jungle trekking; with no roads in or out of Bario, you have to go as everyone else does - on foot! The cooler climate and hilly landscape combined with the friendliness of the people make this a memorable trip.
Rice padi fields Longhouse visit
High up in the mountains, beyond Mulu and close to the border with Indonesian Kalimantan lie the Kelabit Highlands, named after the predominant tribe in the area.
There are no roads in and out of Bario and many of the other villages, only jungle trails. Distances are measured in hours or days on foot; all luxuries like petrol ($15 a gallon!) or Coca-Cola have to be flown in by air. This is a rural air service operated at present by the Twin Otter aircraft of Malaysian Airlines.
Facilities are quite primitive by "modern" standards and the food is mostly rice and home grown vegetables. Wild boar is hunted and eaten most days when in season. There are superb walks in and around Bario (you will meet almost everyone if you stay a few days!) and good jungle trekking to nearby Kelabit villages and Penan settlements. Reckon on 4 - 8 hours walking per day, if going to other villages and longhouses, some of it inevitably in rain and mud. But the climate is so much cooler (around 22 to 25C in the daytime and quite chilly at night). Sometimes the odd night has to be spent at jungle shelters en route if the distances are too great. We can supply suitable (rubber) walking shoes for the slippery paths.
Choice of treks:
4-day Bario Valley (easy) £220
Arrive 11 am at Bario, to lunch at Plateau Lodge. Afternoon walk round Bario Asal, Arur Dalan and Ramapuh A & B. (why A & B ??) Day 2 - early start for Pa Lungan. Lunch along the way; arrive mid-afternoon. Early supper of local forest foods at Supang's Canteen (she will explain each dish in detail!!). Day 3 Return at leisure to Bario (4 hours). Day 4 Free am until flight back to Miri.
7-day Bario Valley and Loop (hard) £300
Arrive 11 am at Bario, to lunch at Plateau Lodge. Afternoon walk round Bario Asal, Arur Dalan and Ramapuh A & B. Day 2 Early start for Long Danau - a seven hour day through pristine jungle and over crystal clear streams to the longhouse; overnight at longhouse with local food and entertainment. Day 3 Continue to Pa Dalih - one of the prettiest and oldest settlements in the Highlands. Day 4 Trek to Ramudu and stay at the longhouse overnight. Day 5 Start trek back towards Bario, via Pa Berang and Pa Main. Overnight at jungle shelter. Day 6 Return to Bario and afternoon/evening rediscovering the delights of "civilisation"! Day 7 Free am until flight back to Miri.
4-day Bario to Ba'Kalalan (medium-hard) £220
Arrive 11 am at Bario, to lunch at Plateau Lodge. Afternoon walk round Bario Asal, Arur Dalan and Ramapuh A & B. Day 2 Early start for Pa Lungan; stop for lunch at Supang's Canteen. Afternoon continue to Long Repung and overnight at site of abandoned longhouse (abandoned when the authorities forced the inhabitants to move closer to Bario at the time of "Confrontation" ). Day 3 Continue through the hills, skirting Kalimantan and descend into Ba'Kalalan by late afternoon. Overnight Apple Lodge or Murut House at Ba'Kalalan. Day 4 Return flight am to Lawas and connect later in the day to Miri.
all treks include return flight departing Miri, meals and accommodation, and a good guide. (Single supplement £7/€10 per day.)
Bario Tales: (coming soon!)
The Puzzle of the Two Bridges at Pa Lungan
The last Three Horses of Bario
Running with the Buffalo
The Saga of the Hydro
Bario Asal Arur Dalan Longhouse
Road to Ramapuh
More info, from the horse's mouth - click here
Small in stature but big in heart - the Kelabit people.