Lee (seated centre) after their courtesy call to promote the Heart of Borneo Eco-Challenge II . Also seen is the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture permanent secretary Datuk Ik Pahon Joyik (seated second right).
KUCHING: Registration is now open for the Heart of Borneo Eco-Challenge II that will take place on July 20-29.
Organised by Formadat, the Alliance of the Indigenous People in the Highland of Borneo, the challenge is not a competition but more of an ecotourism event that relives history, culture and stewardship of nature in the highlands.
“The event aims to promote the importance of conservation in the highlands and preserve its history, nature and culture.
“So the concept of treading lightly, take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints, is core to the organiser and participants,” Formadat said in a statement.
The challenge offers six trails to cater for the different interests of jungle trekkers.
For hardcore jungle trekkers, the 10-day, 9-night Heart of Borneo trail is recommended as the adventure starts with a journey from Sipitang in Sabah and ends in Bario, Sarawak.
The trail would challenge trekkers on a gruelling journey crossing neighbouring highlands of Long Semadoh, and Ba’Kelalan in Sarawak and Long Bawan, Kalimantan, on foot, boat and four-wheel drive vehicle.
“This is the longest trail that ends in Bario on the first day of Pesta Nukenen Bario Food and Cultural Festival,” the statement said.
Those who are pressed for time can opt for shorter trails such as the 5-day, 4-night Jungle Exploration trail, or 6-day, 5-night Chillaxing In The Highlands trail.
The Heart of Borneo Eco-Challenge II has received strong support from the state government.
Assistant Tourism Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin lauded Formadat’s effort to promote the event, which can become a niche ecotourism product in the highlands.
“I hope the highlanders would benefit from this event, particularly those who are operating homestays, working as nature guides, porters and transporters,” he said during a courtesy visit by the event organisers last month, which was led by Formadat national chairman Penghulu George Sigar.
Lee added that the Heart of Borneo Eco Challenge II would be promoted at Sarawak Tourism Board website.
Formadat is a trans-boundary, grassroots initiative that aims to increase awareness and understanding of the communities of the highlands, maintain cultural traditions, build local capacity, and encourage sustainable development in the Heart of Borneo without risking the degradation of the quality of the social and natural environment.
Those registering before April 30 enjoy an early bird discount.
For details, visit www.formadat.com, their Facbook page hobecochallenge or email firstname.lastname@example.org.