Thursday, December 3, 2009

Up in the Kelabit Highlands : Bario - Part 2

My Day 2 in Bario started very early.

The day before, we had agreed to start our trek to the Salt Springs at Pa' Umor at 7 am, however the morning mist was so thick and cold; we decided to have a leisurely breakfast while waiting for the mist to clear up a bit. Just before 8 am, we left Ulung Palang after memorising the trek and its landmarks.
Align Center
View from the balcony at 7:00 am.

Half an hour's walk later we reached the 'town centre' and trudged on towards the airport, passing by the town centre, the clinic, and other homestays.

Turn right.

After walking for two hours along a dirtroad under the hot hot morning sun - Tai almost wanted to give up - we reached the village of Pa Umor, and rested at the MM Bridge. We had puffs and bread and tarap and water for refreshment.

This is the dirt road, which seemed to go on forever!

Resting at the Bridge.

Here we joined a group of tourists who had a local guide with them, so that made it easier for us going into the last leg of the trek. It was not as easy as we thought.

Follow the signboard.

Oh how much farther?

A few crossings like these.

Finally! Reached the salt spring at 11 am, 3 hours after we started.

The main salt spring at the hut where they source the water for the salt. There are other springs in the nearby grounds.

The water is boiled in the vessels, using firewood.

The guide, John Parson, explaining the salt making process.

The water is then poured into foot-long bamboo tubes, kind of like making lemang I thought.

Once hardened, the salt is taken out by splitting the bamboo tubes.

Freshly packed Bario salt. Organic natural salt. Cheaper to buy it here than in the shops.

For me, the salt spring experience was overshadowed by this fresh carcass of a honey bear they killed just the night before. My first time seeing a honey bear, and it was dead and cut up. Don't look if you can't stand goriness. The bear apparently attacked one of their dogs and killed it. And er, we were offered some barbequed/smoked bear meat. I took one small piece; it just tasted like any smoked wild meat. At that moment, I think I tried not to think of the bear; or maybe what I thought was that it would taste better with beer? That's kinda sick; sorry.

Look at its claws.

Poor bear. I thought of Pooh.

After resting a while, we started our journey back to Pa' Umor village ("One more hour of murderous walk!", so said one of the tourists). Since it was high noon and we were really really tired, we decided to call a 'taxi' to pick us up from Pa' Umor. Got back to the homestay at about 2:00 pm, just in time for lunch. Famished, we polished off the delicious nasi goreng and pumpkin soup, and rested for the rest of the afternoon.

Tired feet, in dirty adidas kampung; the best footwear for Bario.

We were invited to a longhouse party at Pa' Ramapuh that evening.

To be continued.


  1. Hi there, great travel blog you have here and thanks for joining my Travel-Links. By the way, I could not help but feel sad when I saw the Bear Picture..... such a damn same :(

    Malaysia Asia

  2. Hi David

    Thanks for the link :). Your blog is super-informative too, esp Laos, my future destination!

    I guess if we live in those surroundings, we need to be prepared for such unexpected attacks from wildlife and protect ourselves as needed; like our ancestors from way way before. Sometimes we've got to be 'cruel' to be safe? Something like that.

    happy days,