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Issues To Do In Bakelalan

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Bakelalan What To Do
Here’s a listing of issues to do in Bakelalan, primarily based on precise experiences that I’ve completed through the years visiting this distinctive a part of Sarawak, which borders Kalimantan. 
Bakelalan is dwelling to the Lun Bawang individuals who stay 3000 ft up within the Maligan Highlands, which is typically known as the Kelabit Highlands. That is actually certainly one of Sarawak’s most hidden gem for a real tourism expertise. 
What To Do In Bakelalan


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Bakalalan Things To Do
The overall panorama view in Bakelalan

For these heading to Bakelalan, it is best to take be aware on what could be completed right here. To start with, Bakelalan just isn’t your on a regular basis business tourism vacation spot, however extra of a rural tourism vacation spot of Sarawak. 

There aren’t any lodges or business retailers, cafes or something you will discover typically cities or cities. Bakelalan is a highland village that has a inhabitants of round 1000 Lun Bawang individuals. Solely homestays, native run eating places and varied retailers are what you will see that right here. 
Bakelalan is ideal for anybody wanting a digital detox, escaping town life or anybody desirous to expertise the Sarawakian outside, tradition and heritage.

Bakelalan additionally include 9 villages, the place every of them are linked by strolling trails. So, beneath is the listing of what to do in Bakelalan, created from my experiences. 

1. Go to the Bakelalan Salt Manufacturing unit 

Salt Factory Buduk Bui
Locals with their Bakelalan salt at Buduk Bui

That is arms down a should for anybody who visits Bakelalan, the Buduk Bui salt manufacturing facility is a homegrown neighborhood enterprise that makes conventional Bakelalan salt. This village is the furthest from the primary village referred to as Buduk Nur.

Journeys listed below are often organized by your homestay or tour operator the place you’ll take a 60 minute experience through 4WD. As soon as on the salt manufacturing facility, you may be launched to the standard technique of salt making which dates again lots of of years in the past. 
The distinctive a part of the Bakelalan salt is that it’s processed from pure salt springs which have been within the village for hundreds of years.

There are literally three salt springs present in Bakelalan at Buduk Bui, Pa Komap and Punang Kelalan, the place Buduk Bui is the preferred Bakelalan salt factory to go to. 

2. Strive the Lun Bawang Meals 

Making ready the native Lun Bawang meals

That is one thing that you may be assured to expertise, which is a bonus in case you are a meals lover. The Lun Bawang meals is one-of-a-kind and really completely different from the overall Sarawakian meals that you will discover in Miri or Kuching. 

If you find yourself staying at any of the native homestays right here, you may be launched to conventional Lun Bawang delicacies, and it’s thought of a really conventional ethnic meals. A lot of the meals is natural, which is grown, farmed and harvested in Bakelalan.

Conventional Lun Bawang desserts

One of many signature dishes to strive is the Nubalaya, which is pounded rice wrapped in banana leaves. In case you are fortunate, you may strive the pickled fish or recreation meat referred to as Telu.

For Muslim vacationers, there isn’t any Halal meals, although possibly one or two households might have transformed to Muslims, and you would in all probability get it there. Or, simply carry your personal rations for this journey. 

3. Go Trekking or Mountain climbing in Bakelalan

View of Bakelalan from Pa Sarui Hill

If you find yourself right here, that is in all probability the primary exercise that you just wile expertise. Bakelalan has many trails which can be very attention-grabbing, and most significantly, uncooked.

These trekking trails are used primarily by the native for searching and even for touring to different elements of the highlands. 

Among the trails are comparatively straightforward, whereas others could also be just a little laborious. One of many trials I hiked was truly to a hill behind the village referred to as Pa Sarui.

Bakelalan Trekking Hiking
Trekking up a hill

The paths was straightforward firstly however obtained just a little laborious midway up with a complete time of about 90 minutes. The reward was wonderful, as you would see the complete village from the highest of Pa Sarui Hill. 

These trails have to be accompanied by an area information, as you don’t want to get misplaced right here. On a aspect be aware, the border to Kalimantan is simply kilometers away from Bakelalan, making this place one of many closest villages to Indonesia. 
4. Expertise a Conventional Lun Bawang Cultural Present

Ladies of Lun Bawang
Lun Bawang ladies in conventional costume for the cultural present

This may be organized by your homestay or tour operator, the place the locals can have a particular efficiency for you or your group. The Lun Bawang cultural present could be completed within the day or throughout dinner. 

At this efficiency, you may be launched to the standard tune and dance of the Lun Bawang individuals right here.

The Lun Bawang conventional dances embody the favored Hornbill dance, lengthy dances and single dances, that are accompanied by a Sape instrument being performed. 

The Lun Bawang individuals have been as soon as often known as fierce warriors and likewise head hunters, however now not are for the reason that flip of the century.

A conventional Lun Bawang dinner can be a part of this expertise, and for any first timer to Bakelalan, this isn’t to be missed. 

5. Chicken Watching in Bakelalan

Bakelalan Bird Watching
Among the highland birds

This passion and exercise has been round for a few decade, with solely specialist chicken watchers coming right here to finish their guidelines of Borneo birds.

To do that, it is advisable to interact a specialised firm that does chicken excursions to Bakelalan, and there usually are not many round. 

On my final journey right here, my itinerary was so crammed up, I didn’t handle to do that, however on scripting this in July 2018, I’m planning a chicken watching journey to Bakelalan this 12 months.

It’s stated that you will discover two endemic birds in Borneo in Bakelalan, and they’re the Dulit Frogmouth and the Black Oriole. Nowhere else on the island of Borneo can you notice them too. 

To not fear, as once I full my chicken watching right here, I’ll absolutely publish about it in my future postings. Sure, I’m an beginner chicken watcher with numerous experiences throughout Sabah and Sarawak through the years. 
6. Strive the Bakelalan Pineapples

Pineapples from Bakelalan
A Bakelalan pineapple rising within the wild

Sure, they’ve pineapples rising, however not on a business scale. You’ll want to ask the locals when is the season the fruits can be found, and I used to be fortunate sufficient to strive certainly one of them, which was on par with those I attempted on the sister village referred to as Bario. 

One of many locations the place you may see the Bakelalan pineapples rising is on the trek as much as PA Sarui Hill, the half when it begins to ascend, there are pineapples grown within the wild.

So in case you are fortunate, you will discover a ripe pineapple and eat it in your approach up or down the hill. To not fear as these pineapples are free for all, as a result of nobody needs to take care of them. 

7. See the Bakelalan Megalith Stones

The Bakelalan megalith stones. Photograph by Carolyn from Footsteps on the Fringe.

As any previous tradition has their very own myths, the Bakelalan megaliths are certainly one of them, and the very best half is you can truly see them. That is supplied you may have an excellent information that may clarify the tales behind these unusual stones present in Bakelalan. 

The Bakelalan historic stone monuments are seen at Lengthy Lemutut village, and there are just a few of them which carries their very own tales.

One of many extra common and simpler to get to megaliths is the Upai Semaring Range at Pa Tawing. Right here, 4 to 5 large boulders make up a cooking range space, because the legend Upai Semaring was recognized to be an enormous. 

If in case you have seen the Bario Megalith stones, those right here in Bakelalan are completely completely different, minus the carvings and purely fantasy or legend pushed. Nevertheless, an excellent information will share a really attention-grabbing story on them.

8. Go to the Bakelalan Waterfalls

One of many Bakelalan waterfalls. Photograph by Carolyn from Footsteps on the Fringe

In response to Kevin from Dayak Wanderer, there are two principal waterfalls in Bakelalan value exploring. They’re the Ritan Waterfall and the Pa Kumap Waterfalls. Each which require trekking and is usually a half to full day journey. Truthfully, I’ve not been to both, however plan to take action.

Pa Kumap Waterfalls in Bakelalan is the nearer one, which is just a two trek from the village, and could be completed in half a day.

The Ritan Waterfalls is the tougher one, which is about six to eight hours of trekking. Usually, individuals would take a 4X4 to get right here, because it saves numerous time.

I discovered that there are in truth just a few different smaller waterfalls situated in Bakelalan, however sadly as a result of hydro electrical dam undertaking, most of those waterfalls have shrunk in dimension, with little or no water.

9. Strive the Bakelalan Rice Espresso

Kopi Bera Bakelalan
Bakelalan Rice Espresso or Kopi Bera

This is among the most intriguing issues I did once I visited Bakelalan, attempting the native rice espresso. I’ve to confess, in my lifetime, I’ve by no means heard or rice being made into espresso till I visited this place.

They name this Bera Kopi or actually rice espresso made out of the Adan rice, which is among the highest grades of highland rice. The rice is fried in a pan over firewood, and sugar is added whereas continually stirring the rice to caramelize it just a little.

After the rice turns to a darkish reddish brown, it is able to be made into your common black espresso. The tactic is so straight ahead, put the rice in a cup, simply add sizzling water and stir. Sift it and your Bakelalan espresso is prepared.

10. Go to the Bakelalan Strawberry Farm 

Since Bakelalan stopped rising apples, some native farmers have resorted to rising strawberries because the local weather is rather more appropriate right here. The Bakelalan strawberries undertaking was initiated in 2015 and the farm is situated in Buduk Nur.

This personal farm is owned by native Purait Gatum or Tagal Paran (Pak Tagal) they usually open their homes and farms for guests who need to come and see his Bakelalan strawberries. You possibly can even purchase them recent from his farm.

11. Strive the Bakelalan Apples

A Lun Bawang woman holds the Bakelalan Apples. Photograph by Cinta.

Alright, this one is just a little imprecise however it is best to know that Bakelalan was as soon as the apple capital of Malaysia. Sure, they grew apples in Bakelalan,which was an incredible feat, contemplating that Malaysia is a tropical nation.

I used to be informed by an area that they stopped the apple farming a few years in the past as a result of manpower scarcity and climate modifications in Bakelalan.

Nevertheless, the excellent news is that a number of the locals just lately began to airplane apples in early 2018, therefore it takes a 3 to 4 years earlier than we will see fruits.

However there are just a few apple timber which can be nonetheless being grown in Bakelalan, however sadly, they aren’t nicely taken care of, and in case you are fortunate, they could be fruiting. Or else, do ask in regards to the different distinctive fruits that they develop right here like oranges, grapes and even persimmons.

12. Attend the Irau Aco Lun Bawang Pageant (Particular)

Lun Bawang Irau Aco Festival Lawas
The Irau Aco Lun Bawang Pageant held in Lawas. Photograph by Irau Aco FB Page

That is solely for individuals who are critically into the entire ethnic tradition. The most well-liked native competition is named Irau Aco Lun Bawang which is held on from the 31st Could to 1st of June yearly.

Referred to as a rice harvest competition for the Lun Bawang individuals, that is additionally along with the Gawai Pageant that’s celebrated throughout Sarawak. 

The Lun Bawang individuals have a good time this throughout Bakelalan on an area scale, however if you wish to totally expertise this on a big scale, the primary occasion will happen within the city of Lawas, which hosts the Irau Aco Lun Bawang Pageant. 
At Lawas, you will notice a Lun Bawang magnificence pageant contest referred to as Rurun Ulung and likewise the male warrior contest.

Guests can even discover the Ngiup Suling, which is an area conventional bamboo flute band, accompanied by an Angklung efficiency, which is a conventional bamboo instrument being carried out right here. 

Many different actions happen within the day and evening, therefore this is among the Lun Bawang festivals to not be missed when you love all issues ethnic.

When is the Greatest Time to Go to Bakelalan? 

Bakelalan Sunset
A uncommon sundown seen in Bakelalan by the airport once I was right here

For me, anytime is an efficient time as Bakelalan is situated within the highlands, the temperature is at all times cooling, and ranges from round 19°C and 24°C.

If you wish to see the gorgeous inexperienced paddy fields in Bakelalan, the very best time for that is from November to early December.

That is when the paddy fields are in full inexperienced coloration. On the finish of December, the colour begins to show golden yellow for the harvest.

Wet season in Bakelalan is from November to January, however with right this moment’s unpredictable climate, it may rain anytime. Different months, it’s typically dry season.

June is the harvest season celebration or Gawai, and can be an excellent time to expertise the native Lun Bawang harvest competition in Bakelalan. 

The best way to go to Bakelalan? 

Bakelalan How to Get There
A DCH6 Twin Otter plane operated by MasWings touchdown at Bakelalan airport

General, Bakelalan is among the actually wonderful locations in Sarawak which caters to a really area of interest breed of tourism.

On account of connectivity and infrastructure, this place just isn’t that straightforward to entry and right here is the easiest way to journey to Bakelalan.

Flights to Bakelalan – I extremely advocate you e-book a flight there and again, because it solely takes about an hour from Miri with a fast stopover in Lawas. There are solely three flights every week, Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

You additionally have to e-book nicely upfront when you plan to journey in teams of two or extra. There’s additionally a strict weight allowance for passengers, and often flights will take as much as 12 or 14 passengers, though they are saying it’s a 19 seater plane.

Bakelalan 4x4 Trip
4×4’s that journey to Bakelalan

4×4 to Bakelalan – That is the previous approach, and continues to be being utilized by the locals to move objects. Nevertheless, it is advisable to do that through Lawas, and thru a journey agent that makes a speciality of Bakelalan excursions.

The 4×4 journey will take you about 4 to 5 hours a method by means of logging roads, plantations and exquisite picturesque surroundings.

Additionally, you will expertise the well-known Bornean therapeutic massage on this journey. No, not that one, however the one sitting in a bumpy 4×4 for the complete journey. I did this!

Different Methods – Sadly, the above are the one two methods to go to Bakelalan. There aren’t any buses or trains for this expertise. Out of curiosity, I did a Google test for strolling to Bakelalan from Legal guidelines, and it will take you 31 hours non cease.

What Ought to I Carry To Bakelalan?

This needs to be added, if not guests will journey with their further massive baggage baggage, hair dryers, laptops and so forth. To start with, when you take a flight right here, they should weigh you and your baggage. So, simply carry what you want.

  • Trekking backpack
  • Trekking garments and footwear (I simply use Adidas Kampung)
  • GPS tracker when you plan to discover by yourself
  • Mosquito and bug repellent
  • Particular dietary meals if required
  • Snacks and junk meals when you should
  • Halal or vegetarian meals for particular wants
  • Digicam and chargers
  • A e-book can be a pleasant contact
  • A great perspective in the direction of the wonderful native Lun Bawang individuals
Ba'kelalan Sarawak
Gorgeous landscapes ready to be found in Ba Kelalan


If in case you have been searching for a particular vacation spot in Malaysia to discover, which is rustic and out of the bizarre, Bakelalan is the simply the right place to go to. Simply take into account that Bakelalan and Bario just isn’t your common vacationer vacation spot.

For these considering on the place to go to, you too can examine my travel to the Bario Highlands, which is the sister village of Bakelalan. I’ve visited each, the place every of them have their very own distinctive experiences.

Bakelalan Photos
A picture of what you may anticipate in Bakelalan

Bakelalan is appropriate for anybody who needs to expertise what actual tourism in Malaysia is all about. This location enables you to expertise what the native Lun Bawang highland individuals undergo on an on a regular basis life, which is good and easy.

There’s little to no cellphone alerts and WiFi obtainable, therefore you’ll almost certainly be disconnected out of your day by day grind. I name this a digital detox, which I consider is sweet for everybody, particularly when you understand how everyone seems to be simply hooked up to their smartphones and devices these days.

Up right here, you’ll embark on a novel expertise and study in regards to the Lun Bawang tradition, feast on the native meals whereas exploring the various issues to do in Bakelalan as shared above. 

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