Friday, October 30, 2009

Day 15 / 16 From SIBU to KUCHING

KUCHING. Nothing beats after a hard 10 hours drive when we got invited by F & B Mgr, Mr Alphonso Lim for a cocktail party celebrating their new bar outlet. And living up to its name, " Kuchings Fountain " is postioned strategically along the streets for tourists to take a memorable shot on their visits.

Moving around town the following day to see the skyline of Kuching and looking for an insurance company to cover our 3rd party insurance coverage before proceeding into Kalimantan.

Kuching has about 700,000 within the city area and another 300,00 spread over a vast area.

Kargherita Hotel, 4 star, but comfortable and reasonable price at RM $ 172 nett, includes brakfast for 2. View from room over the far bank is pleasant. Buildings structures has a vintage look and are well painted , providing a scenic frontage for the hotel

Dinner at Margherita chinese restaurant for 2 nights at a row was inevitable because of rain. Otherwise the ambience along the coastal front was very well lit.

Our Pajero doing a final check at Mitsubishi worksop after 16
gruelling days. The car was in perfect condition for our 3rd leg into Kalimantan, Indonesia. Friendly Kuching did not levy any charge for the one hour service .
Plan is to go into Entikong, border of Sarawak and Kalimantan, travel south and hit for Singkawang- Michell's hometown

SIBU - day 2

SIBU. Beisdes the Central market, which is very vibrant, the beachline lined many other activities. ferry terminal with
water taxis, tongkangs, logging pontoons, and small
industries to support all these activities. A must to
visit the central market if you ever go to SIBU

Chinese temple and Churches in Sibu are majestic and they are quite a few surrounding the town. This chinese temple celebrates mid -autumn and is known to sting Red lanterns around the coastline linking to this temple.

This is a mission Methodist church
Rather hugh with proper accomodation and conference facilities besides the usual payer areas.

SIBU is also a container port and logging vessels are also seen along the harbour front.

The Christian cemetary has a unique Chinese culture as seen from the architectural layout. This looks a place for the rich and wealthy. Next to it are common burial grounds..


SIBU. With a population of just over 200,000, SIBU is well organised and developed. Visit to this town is quite enjoyable . The garden on left below is agift from the LIM clan, as would other ethnic groups in the other part of the state.

This picture tajen from Premiere Hotel gives a bird's eye view of the city and the coatal region on the left.
Churches and temples are well placed and yucked into the enclaves of the various races.
The biggest markey in South East Asia, Sibu's downtown central market is 400m long and 100m wide. The wet market is at the ground floor. The 1st storey is for hawkers food and shopping, while the 2nd storey is for offices.

More pictures of Sibu on next Blog

Thursday, October 29, 2009


From Miri to Niah Cave we passed thru Bintulu, a logging
area. Pic on left shows logs being transported via the riverline
The entrance to the cave proper is some 45 mins away from the Park HQ.Upon arrival, the picturetaken from inside gives afeeling of calm andtranquility.
The inside of the cave is extremely dark and would require a torch light to find your way around. Steps are pretty steep. Workers are also seen to be harvesting bird nests thru stilt that are erected from bamboos from bottom to top of cave which is at least 30m high.

Insside the cave, rocks formations and paintings done long time ago are part of the heritage that the cave keepers are trying to preserve.
This is the entrance as well as the exit to Niah Cave. 45 mins either way to the Park HQ

Into Bario

Pictures on the centre column shows the Dam project which provides electrical power to pump water for the village as well as the padi fields. Right picture shows our lounge area, specially created for 2 guests room

Our guide, James spotting a large mushroom twice the size of our palm

Neo Chian and I touring the hillside. Bottom left picture was where a leech got the better of me.
Rigth picture shows the developed area and a secondary school - 100+ students. Same as the primary school. They all learn English and Bahasa.Souvenir shop in our Longhouse and having a beer at the one and only cafe.


Arriving at Bario airstrip meant for only small aircraft like our Twin Otter, the air terminal is spartan but enough and pleasant for arriving guests. a few enterprising ones would offer transport services and home stay.

On the way, Oil Palm estates lined over the 45mins flight and beyond. From Sabah to Sarawak, IOI and Guthrie seems to be growing Oil Palms for extremely large quantities.

We decided to stay at " Bario Asal " longhouse meaning Original Bario which boasts of a 50 year old heritage. 2 little fellows were there at the airport terminal to greet us. Security was at ease as there were only 14 paxs to take care off.

The Bario Asal longhouse is about 100m long


BARIO. A village of only 800 + people, this place boasts of the best rice in Sarawak. Sticky like the Japanese rice, the mountain water and the cool environment, esp at night , the Bario rice are largerly owned by very senior citizens living in the inland jungles of Sarawak. We had to take a " Twin Otter " to reach there in 45 mins. Interestingly , all pax had to take their weight before boarding., subject to only 14 pax for the forward journey . The return journey can take up to 20 pax when the fuel has been reduced after the 45mins flight. Limited to 2 flights a day, few tourists visit this laidback village. By road it requires between 12 to 14 hours using the logging tracks, provided you don't get lost

We are among the Barios who are ALL Christians. SIB ( protestants), they have a church at every long house and a main church for special functions and during Xmas. Daily Mass is at 0530. Charismatic in nature, they have a band which are formed by the people from the respective long houses. The Australians were the ones who envangelise these people a long time ago

Seated nest to me is a friendly Bario.

More details coming up for next 2 blogs