Heart of Borneo - The lost world of Bario

A few months ago, I wanted to set out on a rugged Borneo trip which would encompass the east coast of Sabah - from Tawau, Lahad Datu to Sarawak's Bario.

This came with a graphic plan of having to camp in the forest and sleep in the bus for a 12 hours treacherous ride.

Initially my goal was very simple. To do a Borneo trip. 

My friends from all over the world have expressed big interests to travel to these parts of the world, but every time they ask me anything I am left dumbfounded not knowing much about my own home / backyard but knowing so much more about other places.

It was also very hard to identify / relate myself as a fellow "Borneon" without knowing other roots, history and cultures. I barely even speak my parents heritage language let alone to talk about it.

Its own mysterious Bornean mythical charm enticed me to. 

So I started scribbling on all the possibilities on venturing to these oldest and dense "rainforests". Rainforests were the only thing I knew about Borneo. But annual leaves and time and my busy life did not permit me to do all.

(I am still hoping I could do it next time)

So I had to choose only one, and I chose Bario.

Few things that would leave a void in me sometimes; packing up and bidding goodbye to a place I grow so fond of-- is one of them. I always leave pieces of myself in the places I've visited or I always take pieces of the place along with me back home – however I look at it, I really think I am never the same person after a trip.

Have I become half empty or half full, I can't never tell. 

And Bario, did just that to me. 

For the benefit of everyone, I have attached a map below for you to locate and identify the places I have mentioned. Bario is in the centre of the top part of Borneo island. Credit goes to welt-atlas.com and the artist RB.

Bario is under Sarawak's administration, a state that shares this island with Sabah, Indonesia (Kalimantan), Brunei and Labuan. For many years we were under the North Borneo British administration until we were negotiated to join Malaysia.......

Why Bario? 

Many have asked us this question, and until today I can't quite say of one certain reason.  I was instigated by a few things; 

1) I've heard many "successful" people at their own leagues from all over the world originate from Bario. Even a Belgian we met at our homestay said the same thing. How would he know?

2) Their rice? It's so famous around Malaysia, but everytime I visualise this place called Bario when people are talking about the rice all I could visualise were ... paddy fields. I mean yes, the paddy fields are iconic ways to describe its famous produce, but surely there's more to it? 

3) It was the closest to my east coast expedition and my lovely Ingrid is based in Miri which is the main and only airplane terminal to go to Bario.

There were plenty of circumstances that made me gravitate towards Bario, but did I know anything prior to coming? No. Not even its exact location, and I'm fairly savvy with Geography. 

Like a white canvas, and an open book Yuen and I were opened to all possibilities in Bario. We didn't even have an itinerary... I wasn't sure whether that was wise, but every turn of event was possible because we didn't have one. 

And boy did I learn. Till next post!

Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.


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