Malaysia: Sarawak

Bario and the Kelabit Highlands


The Kelabit Highlands



January 29, 2013

Dear Friends, 

The Kelabit Highlands is pleasant place and a good way to end my visit to Sarawak. 

The flight on the De Havilland Twin Otter 19 passenger airplane from Miri to Bario was short and comfortable.  The views were excellent and I could watch the pilots at work at the controls. 

There was one “fascinating” moment.  As we approached our destination and before we began our descent, I noticed that the very nearby mountaintops on the right and on the left were higher than the flight path of the plane.  Later, when I encountered the pilots at the airport café, I mentioned my observation to them.   They smiled. 

The Kelabit Highlands are picturesque and the villagers are hospitable and generous.  The children are children – rambunctious and curious.  Even the chickens are colorful.


Kuching to Sibu

Kuching to Sibu



January 18, 2013 

 “A flying coffin.” The editor of my guidebook takes macabre delight in using that expression from time to time.

 Undaunted, I spend most of the five hour ride from Kuching to Sibu on the outer deck of the small ferry boat. 

Down the Sarawak River - some colorful spots.  East across the South China Sea … well … it’s The Sea.  Up the brown-yellow Rajang River – the shorelines are mostly jungle green.  

The cloud formations … that’s what caught my eye. 


Sibu and the Market




January 19, 2013 

Sibu is my favorite city in Sarawak (pop 255,000).

When I arrived I had lunch in the hotel dining room and had the best meal so far. 

I enjoyed a leisurely stroll down the Esplanade along the Rajang River. 

The Tua Pek Kong Chinese Temple invites my camera. 

The city is a mixture of old shop houses and modern buildings. 

At the end of the day, there’s always the Night Market - colorful, busy, and a bit exotic. 

For dinner, pig head anyone?  Chicken head?  Anyone? 

I chose the Halal chicken curry.

Kapit: Longhouse and Market




January 20, 2013 

I rode the express boat up the Rajang River from Sibu to Kapit, took a quick lunch of chicken and rice, and along with the driver, traveled up into the mountains for my stay in a traditional longhouse.

The scenery is lush but the longhouse was a bit “primitive” even for me, and it was pouring rain.  So after a polite visit we drove back to Kapit (pop 14,000) to a small but clean hotel. 

The next day we made a tour of the surrounding areas of town.  Of course, the local market is always entertaining. 

The driver mentioned that there are only two main roads here and neither of them goes to Sibu.   The only connection is along the river. 

After two days in Kapit, I traveled back to Sibu (pop 255,000) and my room, overlooking the river, in the new wing the four-star Kingwood Hotel. 

I must admit that as I get a bit older, I am also seeking a bit more comfort in my travels.  

Good thing they accept MasterCard here in Borneo!




Bintulu: Similajau National Park








January 23, 2013 


First, the obligatory stroll along the Kemana River.  Then, my patented visit to the Night Market. The highlight in Bintulu (pop 120,000), the Similajau National Park.   


The trek through the mangrove jungle foliage begins at the warning sign for crocodiles and, following the red dots, continues up and down hills of various steep grades along root-encrusted paths, across streams spanned by nothing more than a wooden plank or two.  


Niah National Park - The Trail

Niah National Park



January 24, 2013

Part 1. The Trail 

With mere words, can I describe a jungle?  It’s green of course.  And this particular jungle boasts an extraordinary variety of species and unimagined shapes and sizes of trees, plants and ferns.  So many shades of green. 

The “karst forest” is a surprise.  Along the well maintained and comfortable boardwalk of Niah National Park, I “discover” a collection of tall “rocks” that are slowly being surrounded, choked, and obliterated by the jungle growth.  “Is this a formation of an abandoned fort?” I wondered.  “Or maybe an ancient temple?  A miniature Angkor Wat?”