Bario Trail Run 2018 – The Tourist

On the week of the Malaysia day holiday 2018, concluded an event which I will remember and cherish deeply. I came across this rather low profile running event with lack of information and publicity. It was Bario Trail Run 2018. I was confused on the event name as there was Runner’s Wild 50KM which was held last year. This year its organized by the Bario community themselves for the sole purpose of promoting Bario as a tourism spot.

Curious as I am, I decided to find out more about it. That’s when I got in touch with Julian, the only contact number I can find. Not long after that, I decided to embark a solo adventure to the remote town of Bario, leaving the care of the furry pets to my wife.

This article is broken into two parts, first would be more on Bario tour and second will be on the race event.

Event Package

There were two options available:

  • Package 1: 13-16 September 2018 (Wednesday to Sunday)
  • Package 2: 14-17 September 2018 (Thursday to Monday)

I took Package 1 as the Wednesday flights from Kuching to Miri was cheaper and I have time to relax before the event day itself.

How do I get from Kuching to Bario?

It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. I took a flight from Kuching to Miri using AirAsia which cost about RM180.00 for two way and a flight from Miri to Bario through MasWings. The itinerary for Miri to Bario is included in the event package. So, you don’t have to worry about that part.

For now, there are only two flights a day from Miri to Bario / Bario to Miri. Unless special arrangement is made with MasWings, a 3rd flight is a possible. When you check-in your flight, you will need to weigh all your luggage, including your backpack and.. yourself. Yes, you literally need to stand on the scale. This is for safety purpose as the plane has maximum weight it can carry. So don’t be eating buffet party the day before your flight.

Twin Otter Plane (Miri to Bario)

If you ever wish to experience the Indiana Jones adventure plane, this is probably the closest you can get.

Your in-flight entertainment are the magnificent views outside the windows and maybe watching pilot working.

Day 1 – Arrival at Bario (13 September 2018)

The event organizer arranged transportation to fetch the us from the airport and send us to the homestay at Rumah Asal Bario. “Us” referring to 3 of the other participants I met at the airport or plane.

Once we reached our homestay, the owner showed us to our rooms. We stayed at Bario Asal longhouse which is an actual long house where the local families are still staying. Was informed it is the oldest longhouse in Bario, about 60 years old and consist of about 21-22 lots. The longhouse is not what I’ve ever seen anywhere in Kuching. It was interesting and unique on how multiple families live together under the same roof. Proud family moments, histories captured in photographs, certificates are placed along the wooden partitions leading to the common area where there is sofa and TV. Don’t ask me about the TV. I don’t think anyone has the time to watch TV.

Speaking on TV, yes Bario has electricity. Thanks to the installation of solar power energy not along ago. You can charge your phones and tech gadgets. If you need internet connection, don’t bother with anything other than Celcom. Only Celcom or Redone works there. I was using Redone (riding on Celcom’s telco) and it still works. You can get sim card at the local Bario market. Else, you can head towards the Pusat Internet and use the Wifi there. Need to pay RM5 for registration and use the Wifi throughout your stay in Bario. Be warned that the connection of Celcom’s 4G might not be perfect and available throughout the day. It goes on and off. It’s at the mercy of the weather. You won’t be much reception if its cloudy. On the bright side of it, you shouldn’t be sticking to your phone at a paradise like this.

We were served lunch at the homestay. Very delicious home cook food from freshly harvested ingredients. If you love vegetables, you will love the food there.

First meal at the home stay

Prayer Mountain

As part of the event itinerary, we were given a tour at Bario. Prayer Mountain being our first venue. Dennis our guide brought us up to the peak. The distance is 1.2km which takes about 60 minutes at a slow pace. The chapel is along the path which is about 0.8km away.

This is the sign at the foothill of Prayer Mountain.

Is the route to Prayer Mountain challenging? Not really, just need to take things slowly and you will reach the peak eventually. Wouldn’t recommend to climb if its rained earlier as some path can be quite slippery and muddy. Its all tree roots steps. No man made concrete steps. When you reached the top, you will have a panoramic view of Bario village and also an erected Cross which was done in November 2015. As what was told by the local, go up to the mountain to pray and all your problems will go away.

The view from Prayer Mountain

We had to descend shortly after reaching the top due to the rain. Didn’t have much chance to take more photos.

Day 2 – 14 September 2018

Fire woods used for the salt processing.

On the second day of the trip, we visited the Bario Salt Processing house. It is where all the famous Bario salt are being produced.There you will learn on how the Bario salt is made.

Day 2- Lunch

After we got back from our morning tour, lunch was already prepared for us. Very very delicious home cooked food. At 2.30pm, we will have our race briefing by Julian of Bario, the race director / event organizer. Rest of the details will be in second posting.