Bakelalan – Lun Bawang Experience
You’ll spend your time here in the highland village experiencing the Lun Bawang way of life and trekking in the cool borneo highland air. The rich culture of the Lun Bawang and their excellent culinary skills will make you never want to leave.
About the Tour:
This three day adventure to the highlands of Sarawak will take you on the road less traveled. Due to its remote location, Ba’Kelalan is not often visited by travelers, meaning that it is an ideal location to get off the beaten path.
You will have to travel by small airplane across the interior Borneo to reach the enclave that lies at approximately 1000 meters above sea level.
Once you arrive at the small village, you will be greeted by your hosts at the tiny airport. A short drive will bring you to the guest house, where you will spend the coming days while exploring the surroundings. Check into your accommodation and relax while getting your bearings. Have a stroll around the village with your hosts and learn all about the culture of Orang Ulu and Lun Bawang people.
Your Lun Bawang guide will take you trekking along the trails in the jungle that surrounds the village. Together with your native guide, you will look for tracks of wildlife and there is a good chance you will spot some animals.
The guide show you how the community uses the forest to sustain their lifestyle. You’ll learn about the medicinal plants and the uses of the different plants for food, tools, and much more.
Your visit won’t be complete without visiting the farms where the Lun Bawang produce apples, rice, and other edibles. It’ll make you appreciate the delicious food that much more.
You’ll spend the evenings chit chatting with your hosts and sharing stories. Your experience with the friendly Lun Bawang people will undoubtedly leave you with lasting memories.
Ba’Kelalan is located in the interior Borneo highlands. This remote corner of Sarawak, lies only 4 kilometres from the Kalimantan (Indonesia) border. Bakelelan is some 1000 meters above sea level, making it a cooler area compared to the rest of Sarawak. Ba’Kelalan is made up of a small handful of villages, all of its twelve-hundred inhabitants belonging to the Lun Bawang people, who are part of the Orang Ulu ethnic group.
The name Ba’Kelalan comes from the Kelalan river and the term Ba’ which means wetlands in the traditional native language. With its cool climate, it is the ideal place for farming apples, mandarins and other fruits. Besides fruit, the people of the various villages also harvest rice and mountain salt, which is collected from the nearby hills.
Various weekly flights connect Ba’Kelalan to other parts of Sarawak. There is also a logging road to the area, which is only suitable for four-wheel-drive vehicles. The community is home to a primary school, a community centre and a small police station. Most of the houses are powered by solar panels or diesel generators.
About the Lun Bawang:
The Lun Bawang people are a colourful group, both in their culture, characteristics, and traditional clothing. Lun Bawang are found only in central Borneo and they live in Kalimantan (Indonesia), Sarawak (Malaysia) and Brunei. Traditionally, the Lun Bawang are farmers and raise animals such as chickens, pigs and even buffaloes.
The word Lun Bawang derives from the traditional language of the tribe and translates to “original people of the country”. They are closely related to the Kelabit, who live mainly in other parts of the highlands like the nearby village of Bario. The Lun Bawang are considered as some of the earliest settlers of the mountainous regions of central Borneo.
Before the Christian Missionaries of the Borneo Evangelical Mission arrived in Borneo, the Lun Bawang practiced animism. The animist belief system was heavily based around spirits of the jungle, omens, and had a strong connection to nature. Even though the Lun Bawang are predominantly Christian in faith, they remain closely connected to nature.
Day 1 Arrival Ba’Kelalan
- Pick up from the Ba’Kelalan airport.
- Transfer to the guest house.
- Check in and relax.
- Explore the village and surroundings.
- Dinner and overnight at the guesthouse.
Day 2 Ba’Kelalan
- Have breakfast in the guesthouse.
- Explore the trails in the jungle with your host and local guide.
- Learn about the flora and fauna found in the area.
- Return to the guesthouse for lunch.
- After lunch, walk to an apple orchard.
- Trek to Pa Sarui for a beautiful view overlooking the valley.
- Return to the guesthouse for dinner and overnight.
Day 3 Ba’Kelalan
- Have breakfast in the guesthouse.
- Relax at the village.
- Say goodbye to your hosts and leave Ba’Kelalan by flight.