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FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

The Land of Wind - Bario, Sarawak

The town of Bario, located on the northern part of Sarawak, is not only the home of Kelabit and Penan tribes (both belonging to the Orang Ulu ethnic group) but also the source of  exotic food and crafts. Lying at an altitude of about 3,500 feet above sea level in the north-eastern corner of Sarawak is the famous Bario Highland. Bario is blessed with cool weather with temperatures that could go down as low as 11° Celsius. It has 14 villages with a population of 2,000 people.

Bario Sarawak

Image courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bario

 

The name Bario is a combination of the words ‘Ba’ and ‘Rio’. ‘Ba’ means paddy field, while ‘Rio’ means wind. The majority of residents in Bario is of Kelabit descendant, one of the minority Orang Ulu tribes of Sarawak, formerly known as headhunters and warriors in the past but now successful planters and farmers. Although the highlands are named after the Kelabits, it is actually home to many other groups such as the Penan and Lun Bawang. The Lun Bawang, who are the same group as the Lun Dayeh in Sabah, are the predominant people around Ba Kelalan in the northern part of the highlands. All of them are collectively known as the "Orang Ulu" or "People of the Highlands".

 

A gateway to Kelabit highlands is made possible by flying to Bario with MASWings from Miri.

 

Most of the area's accommodation is found in and around Bario, and it is the main starting point for treks throughout the area. You can go kayaking or immerse in the historical tales of the monoliths that dot the area. The place has incredible organic food such as the famous Bario rice and pineapple.

 

One of their annual events is the internationally known Bario Food Festival also known as 'Pesta Nukenen', held in July each year since year 2005. Nukenen means food in Kelabit. It was relatively small when it first began but now it has become larger, made popular with the fact that visitors could get the chance to savour the famous Bario rice and pineapple during the festival while taking in the wonderful highland setting.

The Land of Wind Bario Sarawak

 

The festival had grown larger in scale and included jungle-trekking packages, historical site visits and longhouse homestay experience. It attracted visitors not just from Malaysia but also as far Japan, England, Australia and Denmark. All visitors were pleasantly surprised to find that the local food that they savoured were not only cooked traditionally albeit using wooden stove, but also served on leaves and bamboos, making the entire experience refreshingly eco-friendly. Fish, venison and other hunted animals were also cooked in the mixture of various ingredients indigenous to Bario.During Nukenen Fest, various products – from crops to wild products to Orang Ulu crafts – were exhibited and sold at the E-Bario Telecentre.

 

It can get quite chilly in the evening so do bring a sweater. Daytimes are usually warm and humid, especially when struggling through thick forests while trekking. The rainy season is between October and February.

Pay a visit to Bario, Sarawak by flying with MASWings to visit the 'Pesta Nukenen'and experience the life of Sarawak inland.

Tags: Bario | Borneo Sarawak | Kelabit | Penan | Bario Highland. Orang Ulu | Best Kuching Hotels | MASwings | Lun Dayeh | Pesta Nukenen | E-Bario Telecentre |