~ The beauty of nature lies in its imperfections ~

Thursday, April 09, 2009

4x4 Drive KK to Ba'Kelalan 31 Mar - 7 Apr

This is our first off road drive.

Journey started in Kota Kinabalu where we met Malcolm, Eunice & Mel Jr. Driving from KK to Lawas was on road, before we changed to off road tyres at Lawas. Here, Eunice gave us a short briefing of the day's drive.

From Lawas to Merarap was gravelly roads. It rained along the way & vision got really bad. What was more worrying was the road we're going to be the next day.
Arrived at Merarap Hot Springs Lodge to spend the night & we were greeted by a little kitten, probably 2 mths old, which we adopted as Ah Meow during our stay. She would follow us wherever we went & was especially attentive during meal times. The lodge is located amongst forest & next to gushing rapids. A couple of hot spring pools were in the compound for visitors to soak in the 40 degree water.
Next day's drive was Merarap to Ba' Kelalan. This section was on logging trails, followed by mud tracks. And MUD it was. Apparently, it's been raining for a few weeks already plus many vehicles have been traveling in & out of the area, so the soft ground was totally turned over & over like cake mixture! Yup brown chocolate mousse cake...

Mel digs his arm into the mud to hook the tow rope on.
A bit of shovelling will help the front wheel get out.

An interesting log bridge...
Arrived at Ba'Kelalan Apple Lodge in the evening. Ba'Kelalan consists of 9 villages,in the Bario highlands of Sarawak. They have apple & mandarin orange orchards & also a couple of vanilla trees & vegetables. Paddy fields produced their special Ba'Kelalan rice, which was served during lunch time... fragrant & chewy texture, in between glutinous rice & regular polished rice. The grains were smaller than thai rice too. Opposite the lodge is the local air strip. 19 seater planes from Lawas & Miri arrive 2 times a week.
The airport:

The view of the villages from the hill top:
Taken with the lady of the Apple Lodge:

1 comment:

mrlazy said...

those muddy roads caused by illegal loggers? hopefully not caused by 4x4 adventurers

yeah bario highland rice is one of the best I ever tasted. can't wait to go back kuching to buy again

surprised there is vanilla tree, i only knew vanilla is an orchid