Sunday, 20 September 2015

Beginners' Guide to Bario

Bario is certainly one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited in my life so far. Being in Bario felt like I was a fairy tale land as the beauty of Bario was simply so mesmerizing. The air in Bario was the freshest I've ever breathed, people I met were friendly & kind, and everything there was just so fresh and exciting to me.

Bario should really be on everyone's bucket list of places to travel in my opinion. Here's a simple guide for those of you who want to visit Bario!

Where is Bario?

Bario is a small village in Sarawak located close to the borders of Kalimantan. It is located in the Kelabit Highlands and is home to the indigenous Kelabit tribe and it is a highland plateau situated approximately 3000 feet above sea level


1. Jacket

It gets really cold at night and in the morning in Bario, especially after a rain.

The thick morning mist in Bario. You can even puff white puffs from your mouth on some nights!

2. Comfortable Clothing

A typical hot sunny afternoon in Bario!
Dri-Fit clothes are highly recommended since you'll be on your feet most of the time in Bario.  It gets really hot in the afternoon too !

3. Crocs / 'Kampung Adidas'

'Kampung Adidas' literally translate to village's Adidas. It is a shoe made out of rubber, including the soles. The 'Kampung Adidas' can handle harsh terrain such as muddy grounds. And the best thing about a pair of 'Kampung Adidas'? It is really easy to wash!
The muddy grounds in Bario after an evening shower
You can buy a pair of 'Kampung Adidas' from any DIY or cheap Chinese shoe shops, or you can get them from the shops near to the airport in Bario for a slightly higher price.

4. Torchlight

Bario doesn't have 24/7 electricity supply so it is safer to always have a torchlight in hand.

5. Insect Repellent

Mosquitoes weren't really an issue during my stay in Bario. But I got some nasty bites from some other unknown insects when working in the paddy fields!

6. Sufficient Cash

There are currently NO ATMs in Bario so do make sure that you have enough cash on hand before flying to Bario.

Getting into Bario

There are two ways to travel to Bario from Miri. You can either opt for 

- A 12-hours 4WD Ride
Featuring an exciting and bumpy journey on a 4WD through the logging roads


- A 55 minutes MASwings flight

The fastest & simplest method to get to Bario is definitely by air. Featuring an exciting 55-minutes flight on a MASWing 16-seater Twin Otter plane!

My very first hand-written boarding pass! 
Free seating on board so do try and get yourself a window seat!
A sneak peak of how the cabin looks like!
Yes, you get to witness the pilots in action on the Bario-Miri MASWings flight! It is really exciting to see the take-off & landing procedures!

Make sure you keep your eyes peeled throughout the 55 minutes flight for an amazing view on the plane!
Photo Credit: Hliang
Spot the locals! It is really easy to differentiate between the locals and tourists on board of a MASwings flight .

Photo Credit: David
A we-fie with our friendly MASwings' pilot!

Do PACK LIGHT as the check-in luggage limit of MASWings is only 10 kg! But fret not, as you only need to pay RM1 for every extra kg after you exceed the limit. Do come in light so you can bring home more local products such as Bario rice and pineapples when you return.

What you need to know about Bario

Bario is also known as the Land of Thousand Handshakes

Because everyone is so friendly! Locals will smile and wave to you whenever you walk pass them.

That being said, do leave 10-15 minutes earlier whenever you plan to head somewhere

Because you'll most likely strike up a conversation with the friendly locals on the way.

Mode of Transportation in Bario: Walking, 4WD ride and Motorbike

You can travel around the entire village solely by foot (no pun indeed). People there are so friendly, you can hitch a ride on the back of a 4WD easily.

On our very first day at Bario, we took a walk around the village and it rained cats and dogs all of a sudden! A kind local offered us a free ride back to our homestay when he saw us running helter-skelter in the rain!

Bario is home to the World's best pineapples

So sweet so juicy so good. And it is only priced at RM2 per kilo!

Celcom is the only network provider in Bario that has decent line reception

Data is available occasionally. I managed to send and receive some WhatsApp messages (and once in a blue moon, a photo). But that's one of the best part of being in Bario - disconnecting.

eBario telecentre is the only place that has WiFi in Bario

But trust me, you really don't need WiFi in Bario. 

Food & Beverage in Bario

Kelabit food is the main type of food served in Bario

Read more about Kelabit food here! Hand-to-Mouth economy is practiced in Bario - the locals eat whatever they plant, hunt down or pluck from the jungle.

Canned drinks, canned food are considered a luxury in Bario

That's because these products are air-flown in to Bario. A can drink is priced at RM3 and a loaf of bread is priced at RM5 So expect to pay a little extra than usual if you're craving for some 'city staple' from the shops.

Your three meals are usually taken care of by your homestay host so food wouldn't be a problem in Bario.

There are also some shops/cafe near to the airport that serves more 'city food' like fried noodles. 
 Bario Laksa @ Joe's Cafe RM6

Photo Credit : Hliang 
ABC @ Joe's Cafe RM5

Where to Stay in Bario

There are quite a number of homestay acommodations in Bario. The current rate for a night stay in Bario Asal + 3 meals is MYR80 (as of August 2015)
Photo Credit: Iman
Photo Credit: Iman

We stayed at Sinah Rang Homestay @ Bario Asal Longhouse. Rooms were simple but really cosy and clean. Sinah Rang is also a really great cook! 

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