Among some of the unique birding adventures I have done is birdwatching by motorbike in Bario, Sarawak. Let me say that this was a surreal yet fascinating birding experience.
Therefore, this article was based on my experience here several years ago, and you should read this through before even thinking of doing this.
Bario Birdwatching by Motorbike
Firstly, Bario is a remote village in the Kelabit Highlands at the Pulong Tau National Park in northeast Sarawak. It is in the highlands, and the easiest way to get here is via a turboprop flight from Lawas or Miri in Sarawak.
If you plan to take a drive here, it will be one to remember as from the city of Miri; it will take you about five to six hours drive. And that is non-stop on a good day, so for me, I have personally done both as I have visited Bario several times.
Since I started birdwatching in 2007, I have been to Bario about five or six times, and only on my third time onwards, I start to pay more attention to birdwatching in Bario.
This is where I met Scott, a local who used to do birdwatching and bird photography. He has since stopped doing it, but I managed to convince him to lead me to the best area around Bario.
Scott also recommended using a motorbike as it was faster and easier to access some birding spots. Often, we would ride to an area, park the bike and then take a short walk to look for these highland birds.
Once, I did a trek from village to village, which took me six hours one way, and of course, I managed to do some serious birding along that trek from Bario to Pa’ Lungan village.
Bario also offers several types of bird species. They have paddy fields in the highlands where water birds are often spotted, montane birds due to the high elevation of 1000 meters above sea level, and sub-montane birds.
Birdwatching Photos in Bario, Sarawak
Below are random photos taken by me during my multiple trips to Bario since 2014. Please note that I have not filled out each description of the images as I will do it eventually.
When to go Birdwatching in Bario?
The best time is anytime, but take note that it can rain all year round, and the rainy season is towards the year-end in November and December.
I would avoid any Christian celebration period as a majority of the Kelabit people there are Christians. Holiday periods like Easter and Christmas are best avoided.
Bario is one of my personal favourite birdwatching destinations because of the untouched landscape and its far proximity from any town or city. The people and the landscape make this place surreal and comfortable for anyone who enjoys natural privacy.
Scott no longer does guiding for birdwatching, but I know someone else there learned about this. So my next trip here would probably be with a new guide in Bario.
You can also read one of my other articles on what to do in Bario for anyone heading here. Until my next trip for birdwatching in Bario, I wish all my readers to be safe during the pandemic and always be responsible when travelling.