Friday, November 14, 2014

Trip to Bario, Sarawak: Sheep Farm & Salt Spring

Here comes the final update for my Bario Discovery Trip! From Ngimat Ayu Homestay to Pineapple Harvesting,  I guess I have given you a rough idea on what to do in Bario. For the really adventurous, Bario is either the starting or the ending of the arduous 5 days 4 nights Bario-Ba'kelalan jungle trekking adventure.

Well, for a more relaxing trip, we have Ruran, the girl next to me who is a local Kelabit to bring us around the village in her four-wheel drive truck. Bumpy roads are unavoidable, but she has driven us far towards another settlement next to Bario for her family-owned sheep farm. 

 SHEEP FARM

Ruran's private Sheep Farm has been passed down since her grandfather's generation,
and now she is the only person taking care of the enormous herd of sheep!

The moment I step into this private hill area, I thought, "Are you serious, Ruran? The whole place belongs to you?" I wish we have such beautiful place in Peninsular Malaysia too! Here it is definitely not commercialized--- Not open for public visit ya.

Those with overgrown furs are older sheep, but they are all very human-friendly and don't shy away from us.

Look, the young ones are so cuteee!! 

I have always thought sheep loves eating grass, but now we are feeding them with Kelabit salt.
It gives more nutrients to them, according to Ruran.

Credits to Ruran who takes such a beautiful picture! Looking at this picture, it reminds me of Windows wallpaper LOL. I just couldn't believe that such beautiful scenery actually exists in our home country.

KELABIT SALT SPRING
After that, we change to rubber shoes provided by Ngimat Ayu Homestay and long pants for jungle trekking at Pa' Umor, another village located at the east of Bario which is only a few kilometres from the Indonesian border.

Our journey of 2km hike takes around 20 to 30 minutes. Perhaps the actual time taken for such a short hike should be lesser if we don't stop to take selfies and eat the wild fruits. 

We have to pass by a passing bridge in the jungle, thanks Uncle Larry for being our lead!

And finally we arrive at Lubang Garam Pa' Umor, the place where Bario Spring Roasted Salt is produced!

It is one of the best-known Bario salt springs, with a well in the wooden hut 
where the villagers extract the spring water containing brine (Salt solution).

The mineral salt water is boiled continuously for 24 hours in the barrel before the salt is extracted.

I can imagine the painstaking process of facing constant heat and smoke from the charcoal burning for days and nights although the natives usually take turn to look after the fire. All thanks to the buffalo which carries the wood from the jungle, the process is less burdensome. 

After 24 hours, the water will dry up, leaving the salt with slight moisture. Then the powdery salt will be dried it in the bamboo under bright sunlight to ensure it is completely free from moisture. That's why Kelabit salt is highly prized here!

Another unique thing about this cultural site is, you can leave your name onto the wooden walls,
by writing it using a piece of charcoal. I'm glad to leave my footprint here!!

The path of getting out of the jungle is more challenging because we take a shortcut which is only a 10 minutes hike but full of muds and bushes. Look at our shoes after the hike, it is probably best to describe the muddiness in the route we take. 

Yay! We're finally out of the jungle, and the mountain I'm pointing at is actually the peak of Gunung Murud! Can you believe how near we are away from the mountain? The weather here is super breezy and chilling, so this is probably my first sweat-free trekking in the jungle. 

That's all for my adventure in Bario!

Overall, Bario is a wonderful place for nature lovers and adventurous travellers. It never feels the same again after returning to the city. And I miss the people, food, picturesque scenery and most importantly, the experience that will never leave my heart!

More about my Kuching/Bario Discovery Trip:

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