Location : Bakun Dam, Belaga, Kapit Division, Sarawak, Malaysia.
It was probably the most memorable part of our trip. Thanks to Alis for organising 2 young guides Desmond and Carmen to lead us to the most controversial dam in Malaysia.
Our guides Desmond and Carmen
This was as far as we were allowed to go
Metal overhead barricade torn down by thuggy logging company
We started off from Uma Bakah before 8.30am to make sure we could catch the action at the jetty where the twice weekly market (Wednesday & Saturday) would be held. The mountain were still covered with thick mist as we headed towards Bakun but by the time we arrived more than one hour later the sky cleared and the sun was burning hot, on the first day of the Chinese new year. Pretty rare. The carpark was already full and mostly double cabs were lining the sides of the inclined road leading down to the jetty.
Lots of fish lots of meat, wild wild meat! There were these bottles of greenish slushy stuff they called ‘budey’ which I suspected were undigested stuff from the deer’s intestines! Sounds yukky but the locals love it. If you cannot stomach it don’t come.
Bottles of budey a local ‘delicacy’
But of course there were other stuff like local honey, machette, durians, vegetables, coffee and tea too.
Parang for sale
The coffee lady from Uma Bakah
Heard that the buyers came from as far as Sibu, Miri and Bintulu in search of exotic fish and wild game meat which I do not have to list them. Let the photos speak and view at your own risk! Law enforcement agencies on wildlife are going to frown a lot.
We saw a similarly situation in the Kapit market as well. Life goes on. The locals need to survive and hunting has always been part and parcel of their survival. If anybody is bold enough to stop this, he or she will have to be bold also to provide another alternative to their livelihood. Besides farming/hunting and getting employed in the logging and oil palm plantations, most of these simple village folks do not have what it takes to survive in a modern environment. However, one Kayan Mr Luhat from Uma Belor stands out by going into tourism full time. Besides the homestay that he runs at Sungai Asap, he also has a floating house in Bakun dam for tourists.
With the Kayan floating house boss Mr Luhat
As I am writing, he is on the way to complete a resort on a little ‘island’ somewhere in the dam. When I met Luhat at the jetty with his guests, he told me he would be ready to take in more tourists soon. So guys, check out his page Belanum Bay Floating House after April. Next….Murum dam.