Monday, July 27, 2009

Bario, a pictorial summary

This is by no means an exhaustive account of Bario, The Kelabit Highlands. This is meant only as a short introduction to Bario that would hopefully bear fruit to all kinds of other subsequent possibilties for first time visitors to the area.

De-Havilland Twin Otter flight operates twice a day to Bario and back. Actual fly times depend on weather conditions and circumstances of a previous connection. On a good sunny day, expect smooth sailing with no particular major hassles. In Bario the temperature is cool, and the air crisp with freshness.

First important stop in Bario, the MASWINGS counter to confirm and book seats for your flight out of Bario. Failure to do so may result in dire consequences for those on a schedule, ie. a long wait back to where you came from. To those oblivious of timetable, it may afford you a few more extra days in Bario with a great excuse for the boss back at the office. Be mindful as well to the $10 Bario airport tax to fly out.

The only posh ride in Bario, another option would be a two wheeler in the form of a kapcai or enduro cross county motorbike. There isn't a single saloon car in Bario, get used to riding in 4WD either inside of one or outside at the back. Great opportunity to scan the landscape while taking in all the fresh air that Bario can offer.

De Plateau Lodge, a homestay/guesthouse located 20 minutes away from the airport, operated by Douglas, Munney and family. Wooden structure witha spacious living room and an extensive garden. Soon you'll find yourself attached to the gazebo next to the main house and the view outside from the bathroom window.

The living room which has seen numerous visitors from all over Sarawak, exudes an understated warmth. A small collection of local crafts and books scattered about for those curious for something to do indoors.

The simple dining area where guests are feted to Munney's home cooked meals. Expect plenty of fresh local vegetables and Bario rice. Bread is hard to come by in Bario, if you must have them pack some from Miri.

Douglas, enterpreneur and co-owner of De Plateau Lodge.

Lian, enterpreneur, homestay operator and guide.

Reddy, enterpreneur and guide.

Phillip, enterpreneur and guide.

Samuel, a Penan elder and guide from Pa' Tik.

Bucolic scenery which can be seen at every corner of Bario. This is along the main road to Bario Lama.

Bario Baru, the junction to Pa' Umor site of a salt lick where the famous Bario salt is made and the other fork the junction to Pa' Ukat and Pa' Lungan.

Paddy fields in Bario Lama. Kelabits and Penans from nearby converge to Bario to work the fields during harvest and planting season. Most of Bario's own sons and daughters work outside of Bario in places like Miri, Kuching and Kuala Lumpur.

Paddy fields in Pa' Ukat. Here harvesting and planting are still excuted the traditional way via gotong royong. Whole villages can be seen working the fields in turns in a communal fashion.

Do not expect a stewardess on your flight to Bario, the pilot himself might be making the kind gesture of offering sweets to passengers if his hands weren't too full with other important tasks.

For those first timers to Bario, it'll definitely not be their last. Once Bario gets into you, you will surely be back.

Malaysian Nature Society will be converging for a 3D/2N visit to Bario as part of a post-AGM trip for attending delegates. The National AGM itself will take place at Borneo Tropical Rainforest Resort, Lambir Hills on the 26th September. The Bario visit will commence 27th September, return to Miri 29th September.


  1. I like your blog and add it on Greenselipar blogroll.
    I am looking for volunteers to review and write about places and destination such as the De Plateau Lodge that respect the responsible tourism values. I won't be able to attend the MNS AGM on sept but I will be glad if we could discuss about links and further cooperation by mail or facabook.

  2. Hi Catherine, didnt see your comment! You can email me mnsmiri at yahoo dot com. I'll look out for u on FB soonish.