Borneo Eco Challenge – Open for Registration

ECO CHALLENGE

The Inaugural Heart of Borneo Eco Challenge

Registrations are open for the very first and much anticipated Borneo Eco Challenge. Participants can experience the allure of one of the most spectacularly beautiful places on earth first-hand, while creating awareness of ecological problems and supporting Malaysian tourism. The Eco Challenge is a fantastic opportunity for nature lovers to come into contact with the natural world in its full glory. By sleeping in the jungle in tents or sleeping bags and drinking boiled river water or rain, participants will enjoy time far away from urban comforts.

Over 100km of adventure

The Eco Challenge lasts seven nights and eight days and the journey starts at Ba’ Kelalan and finishes at Bario. Nature enthusiasts and adventurers will brave a great variety of terrains and endure highly diverse weather conditions. It is expected that weather will range between daytime temperatures of around 25 degrees Celsius and night time temperatures of under 10 degrees. Rain is highly likely during the hike.

Basic program

• Day 1 – Arrive at Ba’ Kelalan from Miri and settle in at one of the villages located 910m above sea level.
• Day 2 – The hike starts at Buduk Nur and finishes at Pa’ Rebata shelter. It should take around seven hours and features hills, heath forest and logging tracks.
• Day 3 – An approximately five hour long ascent on logging tracks will take participants to Lepo Bunga shelter where there are water tanks, toilets and a kitchen.
• Day 4 – This day brings a steep hike along belian planks to the hauntingly beautiful Church Camp, which is 2,100m above sea level.
• Day 5 – The descent to Long Belaban in Bario features a gentle walk through heath, moss, montane and riverine forests.
• Day 6 – The Hill of Coffins is more than 900m steep and this is where hikers will descend back to civilization at Pa’ Lungan. A feast of local delicacies awaits them that evening.
• Day 7 – The final day starts with a walk towards Bario. Depending on the weather, a boat ride is available on this day.

Tips for hikers

The first and foremost important item for every hiker is a pair of good hiking boots with ankle support. Boots should be slightly on the large side to accommodate swelling and should also be reasonably walked-in. To avoid the discomfort of getting gear wet, participants are urged to use a rain cover over their backpacks. It is also highly recommended that backpacks should be a maximum of 15kg and that a day-pack with basic provisions like water, insect repellent and first aid items is carried throughout the hike.

People in the heart of Borneo

The aim of the Eco Challenge is to promote the pilgrimage trail of the locals of the Malaysian Highlands. The challenge is arranged by FORMADAT (Forum Masyarakat Adat Dataran Tinggi). FORMADAT is an alliance of indigenous people started in 2004 by representatives and elders from Malaysian communities from the Highlands. These people are active in managing and conserving forests in traditional ways while ensuring that their methods are sustainable. The group’s credo is: ‘People in the Heart of Borneo’, which is the message these people hope to put out. Spokesperson and Chairman of FORMADAT Penghulu, George Sigar Sultan, implores hikers to enjoy the forests but also to keep them clean and original by taking nothing but photographs and leaving nothing behind but footprints.

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