Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Things to do in Bario!

There are so many things you can do in Bario - the list is endless. Here are a few activities that me and my batchmates managed to squeeze into our busy 22-days schedule in Bario! 

A hand-drawn map of Bario village found in Dayang's homestay, Arur Dalan

Go on a Long House Tour

Common Area of Bario Asal Long House
Learn about the interesting histories of the oldest Long House in Bario Asal which currently houses 22 families with an experienced community guide!
Tetel (Fireplace) Area of Bario Asal Long House
The Kelabit long house is unique & different from the other indigenous long houses in Borneo. I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise so I'll stop elaborating here :P
Arur Dalan Long House

Nuba Layaq Demostration

Tepuq Do' Ayu preparing Nuba Layaq!
Nuba Layaq is a traditional Kelabit rice dish. It is basically rice wrapped in 'Daun Isip' , and it has a sticky and chewy texture like a 'ketupat' . The Nuba Layaq is a paddy field lunch staple as its dainty size makes it easy to carry around and the daun isip wrapping the rice can be used as your rice bowl.

The edges of the Daun Isip can be teared and folded to form a spoon, which saves a lot of effort washing dishes especially when you're in a paddy field situated far away from clean water source.

'Compressed Rice' is what I would call a Nuba Layaq - don't underestimate the size of a Nuba Layaq! It is actually really filling! One Nuba Layaq contains approximately 2-3 bowls of rice!

Indulge in mouth-watering Kelabit cuisine

Bario practices hand-to-mouth economy, where the locals eat whatever they hunt down or plant in their farm. All food on the table are fresh off the hook/stem/jungle!

Go on a Paddy Field Tour

Have an informative and in-depth tour conducted by the local community guide about the types of paddy planted at Bario. You might even stand a chance to get down and dirty and plant/harvest some paddy (depending on season)!

CERIA machine!
You can even learn about the differences between the yield and technicalities of hand-planted and machine-planted paddy!

Visit Tamu

Tamu, is a market held every Saturday morning in Bario town. It is basically a morning market where the locals would gather and set up their food and handicraft stalls. Take note that the 'town' in Bario is actually just a row of shops!

Mee Sedap / Instant Noodles with Fried Eggs RM5

Bario Laksa RM5

You can also buy handicraft items like hand-woven baskets, handmade bangles, local jungle vegetables, and groceries at Tamu.

Climb Prayer Mountain

The peak of Prayer Mountain in Arur Dalan, Bario has the most breathtaking view in the entire village. The trek up to the peak takes about 45 minutes to around an hour excluding breaks, depending on your stamina. The hike is short but strenuous due to its steep ascent.

Hike early and be mesmerized by the thick fog blanketing the villages below. Stay till the fog slowly disperse, and you'll have an amazing bird-eye view of Bario Asal and Arur Dalan villages.

Tips: Bring along some snacks to have a picnic with a breath-taking view at the peak! Don't forget to bring along a garbage bag to clean up after your mess, though.


No photos sorry as I didn't have any hi-tech DSLR with me in Bario. Free of light pollution, the night sky at Bario was amazing. You'll have to see it for yourself to believe it. We even saw a shooting star one night in Bario!

Go for a swim at the Hydrodam

Take a dip in the icy-cold hydrodam water on a hot afternoon. The water depth at the hydrodam can go as deep as 12m !

Play with a Daun Keladi (Taro Leaves)

Daun Keladi (Taro Leaves) are found almost everywhere in Bario. The locals feed the Daun Keladi to the pigs here. I am really fascinated by the Daun Keladi because of its waxy surface that repels water!

Fun Fact: You can use the Daun Keladi as a make-shift umbrella to keep your head dry when it is raining. 

Go on a Walk With Me Tour

Tepuq Do' Ayu showing the Si Ang flower to a tourist during her Walk With Me Trail

Tepuq Ribed unearthing a Tapioca during her Walk With Me trail
Get a hands-on experience of the daily life of the local ladies there!

Go on a Jungle Vegetable tour

A jungle vegetable used in cooking traditional vegetable porridge in Bario

Pick your own jungle vegetables and have it cooked for lunch!

Visit a Pineapple Farm

Go for a Jog

Jogging in Bario is definitely top on my list of things to-do in Bario as Bario has the freshest air around the region, and the scenery is so beautiful! My stamina was so much better when jogging in Bario compared to jogging back home in Kuala Lumpur. 

Last but not least:

Chill and relax

Our view from Sinah Rang Homestay's balcony. My favourite chill spot.
Enjoy the moment doing nothing. Enjoy the fresh cool air in Bario. Listen to the peaceful sound of wind blowing. Submerge yourself in the slow paced life of Bario. 

Of course, there's still so much more things to do at Bario! You can visit the Salt Springs, hike to other villages in Bario, hike to the waterfall and so on! Sadly, we did not have time to do these activities so this definitely calls for another visit to Bario in the future.  

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