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Kuching Caving | Gua Sireh & Broken Jar

Located in Serian, Kota Samarahan Division near Bantang Village, Kuching, Serian road.

Gua Sireh is an important archaeological site in South Western Sarawak.  Excavation works have recovered pottery shreds and food debris as animal bones and shellfish.  The cave could have been occupied as early as 20.000 years ago.  Pottery was produced around 4.000 years ago.  At the same time domesticated animals (dogs and pigs) and plants (rice) were introduced.  One shred with rice temper was dated to around 3500 BP, which is a comparatively early found for rice cultivation in island Southeast Asia.

According to our guide Mr. James and supported by local guide from Bantang Village, Mr. Ekol, human burials with heads and iron objects were placed in the cave about 2.000 years ago.  The cave was used as refuge site and for birds nesting activities in recent time where birds nest collecting tools still can be seen.  Ancient charcoal drawing which is mostly found at the cave entrance, depicting human and animal motifs were drawn on 36 lineal meters of the interior walls.

The cave entrance are also used as place to cremated the warrior bodies, that why the above part of the cave entrance are blackish color (singed of burning activities).

The excavation area and cave painting at the cave entrance is blocked (fencing) and locked by Museum Department.  According to Mr. James, the key need to be retained from them because the padlock has been changed.

ITINERARY :

0840hrs – Pick up from STB headquarter lobby by KISTours Sdn Bhd. Using 2 4X4 vehicle to the caving venue. Along the way, Mr. James telling us brief history about Jalan Keretapi which is now known as Jalan Tun Zaidi Adruce. He’s also pointing to us some potential caving area that need to be explore along the way, starting from 12th miles to 10th miles Kuching – Serian road.

0915hrs – Stop for briefing at KISTours Sdn Bhd office at 10th miles bazaar.

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You will need the right equipment, trousers, boots, towels and shirts.

1030hrs – Depart 10th miles bazaar. On the way to caving location, our guide sharing with on the potential caving area.

1115hrs – Making a quick stop to purchase our ration (snacks drinks) at Taiee Bazaar.

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1130hrs – Reached caving location near Bantang Village.

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1140hrs – Moving in to the jungle path leading to the Gua Sireh.  It takes about 5 minutes walk from jungle path starting point to the wooden plank staircase, than 15 minutes to claim the staircase up to Gua Sireh entrance.

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Plants found along the path.

 

Staircase leading to cave entrance

Staircase leading to cave entrance.

1200hrs – Journey to darkness begin…going into the cave.

About 20.000 years old painting

About 20.000 years old painting.

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Cave Swiftlet

Cave Swiftlet

There are difference kind of creatures living in the cave, such as snake – Cave Racer Snake, bats, insects, catfish and etc.

Batu Raja

Batu Raja

The White Princess

The White Princess

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1425hrs – Our caving stop at “The Rapid”, which take us 2 hours 25 minutes to reached there.  We had our snack break here, before turn back to cave entrance.

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1450hrs – Depart The Rapid for cave entrance.

1540hrs – Reached cave entrance (going back is faster).

1600hrs2nd Cave – “Broken Jar”

The cave is relatively smaller chamber than the Gua Sireh.  This is where we were required to submerge ourselves in the water.  At some point, the water level was higher than my height and can be difficult even for good swimmer, but James and Mr. Ekol were very encouraging. They were really determined to provide us with an unforgettable caving experience hence despite acquiring Noise-induced hearing loss from my loud screaming, they still helped us go deeper into the cave.  James literally had to bring/carry us in to “inner room”.  The Chamber was short, only about 250 meters.  After seeing the inner room, we an option to either take the dry route to come out, or to go back using the same way we came in.

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Walking to the ‘Broken Jar’ cave.

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Entrance to thr ‘Broken Jar’

1745hrs – Depart to Kpg Bantang.  We return the equipment to our base (KISTours Sdn Bhd) at 10th Mile Bazaar after caving and finish with dinner at the local restaurant nearby (served no pork).

The attractiveness level of Gua Sireh caving is beyond expectation. The product have a very high potential to market as a adventure tourism product and because of close proximity to Kuching city, highly recommended for short adventure holiday destination seekers.

The overall organizing is good and the efforts concerning safety such as providing helmet, socks, boots and rope by the service provider are excellent.  The safety and comfort of land transport to the location was good too.  The involvement of local people is good, because the tours will bring us closer to the local community and the product nature.  This what the eco-tourism all about… giving back to the local community in the area and preserving the nature.

Prepared by:

Deckson Bundak
Tourist Coordinator, VIC Kuching, Sarawak Tourism Board

Article source: http://sarawaktourism.com/blog/feed/

Payeh Maga Highlands, Limbang

Payeh Maga, which means swampy highlands in the Lun Bawang language, has three peaks.  They are Gunung Doa which stands at 570m, Gunung Tuyo (1,752m) on the east side and Gunung Matallan (1,828m), the highest peak, on the west quadrant.

Forest Department Sarawak had carry out a survey on the area’s avifauna and the survey showed Payeh Maga has over 180 bird species including 27 endemic bird species, comprising over 50% of the Bornean total.

Among the species endemic to Borneo  found in Payeh Maga are Bornean Banded Pitta Pitta schwaneri,  Black Oriole, Bornean Green Magpie Cissa jefferyi and Bornean Bulbul Pycnonotus montis. Bigger birds such as hornbills and eagles are often spotted soaring in the area as well.

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Located at the far northeastern of Sarawak, this area is already known for nature-based activities, particularly bird-watching. Payeh Maga is also situated within the Heart of Borneo (HoB) area of Sarawak. Many waterfalls and rock stream with high aesthetic values for nature-based tourism spots are also found in this place.

Payeh Maga, nearly two hours drive from Lawas town or about 70km through bumpy logging track is an important area for birds and other forms of wildlife.

Visitors to Payeh Maga normally spend a night or two at neighbouring Lun Bawang village called Long Tuyo before putting on their hiking and camping gear the next day. Long Tuyo is 7km away from Payeh Maga. With support from Forest Department Sarawak, villagers have built basic shelters, Camp One located 965m above sea level and Camp Two (1,590m), to cater for researchers who are doing work in this area.

ITINERARY

Day 1

Fly Miri to Lawas on Twin Otter and meet on arrival at Seri Malaysia Hotel. Proceed to Matalan Homestay by 4WD which journey will takes about 3 hours. Overnight in Homestay.

Due to flight cancellation from Miri to Lawas, our team have to re-arrange our itinerary and route due to limited seats available on the next flight.  On the next day Yusup and Amirul have to fly to Limbang and by land crossing Brunei via Temburong as passport were needed for this route. The other three have taken the direct flight to Lawas and bound to meet up in Lawas.

Upon arrival in Lawas town everyone managed to gathered and meet up in Seri Malaysia Hotel.

1600hrs: After boarding our bags into two of the 4WD, we then began to travel off track heading to Matalan Homestay.  From Lawas town, our 4WD journey will takes us about 2 hours to reach Matalan Homestay for our night stay.

Matalan Homestay is one of the homestay operators in Lawas district.

1800hrs: We were greeted by the host, Mr. and Mrs. Tom.  That evening we had delicious local home cooking of the Lun Bawang dishes.  Local hospitality at their best which certainly will bring good memories for everyone during their stay here.

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Twin Otter Turboprop (18 seater)

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ATR (50 seater)

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Hotel Seri Malaysia Lawas

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Meet the ground handler

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Heading to Matalan Homestay

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Matalan Homestay, Lawas

Paya Maga-lawas Local home cook
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Day 2

After breakfast, we start our journey by taking 4WD (30 minutes) to reach the starting point before trek up to Payeh Maga. Along the trails we will encounter wild orchids, Pitcher plants, mini waterfalls and birds. The trek will takes about 3 hours to reach camp 1. Suggested to leave behind our bags and ration so that we can travel light to reach camp 2 which is another 3 more hours.

Upon reaching camp 2, have an hour rest and to do bird watching activity. Another attraction nearby is the beautiful waterfall which is just 10 minutes away from camp 2. After exploring the area, then we proceed back to camp 1 for overnight.

0700hrs: Having breakfast and a quick shower for an early start of the day.

0815hrs: Leaving the guesthouse but before that we all make sure to bring along the packed ration and also to wear the best foot gear for our Payeh Maga treks.

The distance from our guesthouse towards the foot hill is about an hour. Unfortunately our 4WD couldn’t bring us to the actual site due to land erosion and the road is partly damaged.

0845hrs: It’s time to unload our bags and let the adventure begin!

The site encompassed the stretch of logging road from where the road begins a steep uphill incline past Gunung Doa (800m) to the base of the Payeh Maga plateau (1400).

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Day 2 Paya Maga

10.30hrs: Arriving to camp 1 and stop for 30 minutes for our lunch break. We leave behind our bags in camp 1 for we decided to trek up the Payeh Maga plateu only in a day trip.

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1100hrs: From Camp 1 we then proceed to trek up to Camp 2.  It took us about 3 hours to reach the summit, where we had an hour rest.  Some of us continued to visit the nearby waterfall.  Bird watching is recommended from this point.

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1500hrs: Return to Camp 1 on that same evening where we stay overnight and rest for the day.

Great food provided by our guides and everyone happen to sleep early for we need to have enough rest for the next day.

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Paya Maga-flora

Paya Maga-birds

Day 3

0600hrs: After breakfast we pack our things for another early start trekking for our return.

0900hrs: Reach our pick-up point as promised and by 4WD we are back to the road heading back to Matalan homestay. Upon arrival everyone went straight to the nearby stream for a refreshing swim and body cleansing from all the mud!

1000hrs: After extending our thanks and farewell, we then proceed back to Lawas town by 4WD.

1230hrs: Arrive Lawas airport to check in for our return flight to Miri and Kuching.

We really appreciate the kindness of our host, Uncle Tom and Aunty Mariana for their hospitality.

Getting there

Land – 4WD services can be arranged with Local tour operators whereby daily 4WD service can also be found operating between Lawas town and Ba kelalan.

Flight – MASWings currently operate regular Twin Otter turboprop flights to and from Miri and also with connection to Ba kelalan.

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Risk involved

Land – Road condition can be bad since the road is entirely logging trunk road and drivers need to be extra careful along the journey especially for those first timer.

Flight – Due to bad weather condition flights to Lawas might sometimes cancelled and this will delay the actual program.

Prepared by:

Mohd Amirul Bong Abdullah
Tourist Coordinator, VIC Miri, Sarawak Tourism Board

Article source: http://sarawaktourism.com/blog/feed/