|NOTE: After I returned home, I checked my backpack+tripod weight : 14kg! This trip was tiring and as difficult as Mt Kinabalu climb although without the oxygen and altitude problems.|
I have two main goals for this trip to the Borneo mountains. First, to see the sunrise. Second to see the Bidayuh 'special girl'. You will see if I have seen both.
Gawai is yearly holiday on June 1 &2 as harvest festival celebrations for Bidayuh/Iban in Sarawak and Kadazan/Dusun in Sabah. 1-2 weeks before this date, flocks of people would travel by air, then by road, then by river to reach their longhouses or villages to celebrate this festive holiday with families in the ethnic cultural ways in which they grew up. For modern social trends, most young inhabitants from these rural villages leave home after school to seek living, thus leaving the longhouses, villages and settlements [deserted, so to speak] with only the old and young ones. Only a handful of strong and capable villages would stay behind to help with strenuous activities and lives in the jungle farms, having to trek 3hours [each way because they are so physically fit] in the case of Kpg Semban to reach the tar-sealed road at Kpg Bungoh, a small trading post.
Having read about this place from the 3H runs, I joined the tough journey with Hoe and Evelyn at 6.30am on Gawai Day [this year it falls on Monday] and after breakfast, arrived and started out trek at 8am neat Kampong Bungoh. We stopped 45mintes at Kpg Bojong for a dip at the waterfall. Finally arrived 1pm at the football pitch, gateway to the village, when girls teams were playing final football matches.
How to get there? Take the road from Kuching city to southbound direction heading for Borneo Highlands. About 26km before Borneo Highlands resort, you will see a sign and turn left to Kampong Bengoh. It takes about 40minutes drive. There are 3 villages after Bengoh, namely Kpg Sait [1.5hr trek], Kpg Bojong [1hr trek], then Kpg Semban[2hr trek] mostly up steep hill to reach 3300ft. There is another village on other side of trail called Kpg Rejoi that loops to Kpg Semban but it is a longer route. Cellphone network available : Celcom and Digi.
Now I recommend things to bring:
a. cabbage, fruits, bread, buns, rolls, chocolates, biscuits
b. canned foods, candies, sweets, soap, gifts, toys
Due to H1N1 virus fear, there were 8 other visitors this year, besides 3 of us. On Day 2 we made a morning trip to waterfall which took 40minutes trek but had to cut short our fun there when it was 2pm and time to leave. Finally we left the village at 3pm and trekked until 7pm to reach Kpg Bungoh trading post, fully exhausted. Reached home by 8pm.
Day 1 : football matches, no sunset, night party and football prize awards
Day 2 : sunrise at 3300ft, waterfall
For serious trekkers only. If you are fit and wish to find this place somewhere deep in the jungle of Borneo, please message me and ask from me the contact person.