We are proud of the work and effort by HUGS Project in promoting conservation-based tourism in Malaysia. To show our support to the 3C (Conservation, Community and Culture) project, we have published 2 out of 5 Malaysia’s hidden destination that will leave you in wonder. Pulau Banggi and Lubuk Yu is the perfect spot for explorer and adventurer. So, are you ready for the 3rd gems of Malaysia that will offer you a daring experience? Get your gear ready for a trip to Ulu Baram!
1) Pulau Banggi
2) Lubuk Yu
3) Ulu Baram
Named after Baram river, it is situated in a remote area of deeper Miri in the state of Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. It is the native lands to Orang Ulu group which included Penan, Kenyah and Kayan. This outback territory of Borneo is made of rugged land and lushly forested. So what is there to discover in Ulu Baram? well folks, get ready for an extraordinary adventure!.
Started in 2014, HUGS team lead by Laili Basir has conducted yearly eco-tourism trip to this region to allow nature lovers to explore Ulu Baram and the deeper sub-district of Kedaya Telang Usan. It is called the Lenjan Trip, an effort in uplifting the economy of the locals especially the Penan tribe. Some of the villages that cooperate in this program are Pos Ba Data Bila, Long Lamam and Long Kelu’an.
Apart from the green landscape of ancient jungle, Ulu Baram is home to few of the most beautiful waterfalls and river in Borneo. The twin Tekiwit waterfalls located not far from Pos Ba Data Bila is breathtaking. The water elegantly falls into a rocky pond leaving visitors in awe! How awesome it is to take a quick dip in the icy cold pond after an hour of trekking.
Venturing further into the rainforest, the 20M high O’Ong Babui Waterfalls will greet visitors. Also known as ‘the lost waterfall’ of Data Bila, the name itself reflects how mysterious the waterfall is. Around 2 hours trekking is needed to reach here, and trust us it is worth the sweat!
Few hours journey with 4WD (4 Wheel Drive) to the other side of the forest is the village of Long Kelu’an. The Kelu’an bridge is a starting point for 1 to 2 hours trekking to Be’e Bale Waterfalls. This impressive unspoiled waterfall stands at 10M high. The sound of water hitting the rock surrounded by thick rainforest is an experience you will never forget.
If you think that is all, oh my how wrong you can be. 3 hours extreme trekking into the virgin forest from Long Kelu’an village lies the most majestic waterfall in Ulu Baram, Nic Kulo. It is the only triple-mega waterfall in Malaysia! The waterfalls stand proudly at about 30M high. The water beautifully separated into three and flow into the Keluang stream which then makes it course to Baram river. It is undoubtedly the highlight of the journey.
This exciting trip does not stop there, HUGS Project also conducts an expedition to the rocky river of Sela’an. This 8KM river cruise near Long Lamam village provides you with a stunning view of paddy hill and geological formations along the river. It is a perfect time to gain some knowledge about our own Malaysian rainforest’ flora and fauna. Check out the video below by HUGS team:
On top of that, this program also offers visitors to enjoy the view of extraordinary limestone formation in this region. Namely Batu Tujuh Limestone Complex in Long Jeeh, Kedaya Telang Usan and Batu Siman Limestone Complex in Ba Data Bila. As the name reflects, Batu Tujuh is a limestone formation with seven peaks resembles a dragon back. It holds a unique view for those who appreciate mother nature.
Batu Siman with three peaks is tucked in thick rainforest and can be viewed from afar. Trekking into Batu Siman is not included in the tour. It is challenging and requires approval from the Sarawak Tourism council. It is said that no one ever reaches the top of Batu Siman due to its robust formation. For those who are up for the challenge, you can ask an experienced hiker from the Penan tribe to accompany you.
This exotic rainforest is now penetrated by logging and palm-oil industry. It is ravaging Ulu Baram and Kedaya Telang Usan of its wealth and HUGS Project is trying to put an end to this. Hence, eco-tourism is introduced. The trip in September 2018 was the second journey organized by HUGS Project leads by Laili Basir himself. It was an eye-opener of the real beauty of this place that has been hidden for so long.
The trip and expedition to Ulu Baram is part of the homestay program in Penan villages, one of it is Segah Selaan Homestay. HUGS project under the 3C program is promoting Penan tribe’s heritage and culture as a tourist attraction. The primary reason is to raise the income of the locals and at the same time preserving their unique way of life.
The fascinating activities in the cultural trip include observing the traditional hunting experience by using Blowpipe and Parang making (a type of machete). One more sight that will catch your attention is the Penan artistic dance and costume. It is an excellent platform to learn as much as possible about their culture and history.
The eco-tourism industry introduced by HUGS project also put forward the tribe’s local handy craft and workmanship such as the rattan-based products to the public as part of their additional income. Lenjan trip is a charity tour that brings along food supplies and donation to be handed over to the families and church in Long Lamam and Long Kelu’an.
In 2018, more than 90 families benefited from the charity tour. In 2019 charity tour, HUGS is focusing on finding the fund for school necessities for the Penan’s children. This includes uniforms, black shoes, school bags and of course, money for registration fees.
The trip will include a lot of trekking and 4WD riding. If you are up to it and want to join Laili’s team in 2019, the expedition to Ulu Baram and Kedaya Telang Usan will take place on January 17 to 22. The Usun Apau Expedition to explore the highest waterfall in Borneo will possibly take place somewhere in July. These tours give adventure seekers a chance to join the expedition and contribute to a noble cause!
As HUGS motto says “Increase Eco Tourism will Decrease Forest Destruction“, Kokonutlist encourage our readers and fans to join these trips. Apart from that, donation for the cause can also be made to HUGS Project. Contact details are as follow:
There you go the 3rd destination under the list of hidden gems of Malaysia. In support of the eco-tourism program, we know you could not wait for our next stop, so the NEXT and 4th destination on the list has been published! Also, do stay connected to our facebook page!