The Bario & Kelabit Highlands Food & Cultural Festival

A three day celebration of food, farming and forest heritage in the beautiful Heart of Borneo.

Just 50 minutes from Miri on the coast with MAS wings rural air service. For more information on travel, festival programme and accommodation please see below.


Pesta Nukenen Programme 2011

Thursday 21st July~ Setting Up Day at the Festival Site in Bario ~ Pesta Nukenen Bario Rice Farm Walk ~ Pesta Nukenen Longhouse Visit ~ Welcome events at Kelabit Highland Homestays ~ Highland Menus at Bario Cafes & Shops ~ Story Telling & Cultural Heritage Award Events [Dancing, Sape Playing].
Friday 22nd July ~ Day 1 of Food Festival - Local Trading Day ~ Fresh Wild & Farmed Foods from the Farms and Forests of the northern Highlands and Central Kelapang Area [tengayen, kikid luang, kikid kerid-kerid, nuba' laya', senape, labo senutuk and many more] ~ Guest Stall for Pesta Nukenen VIP Guests from the Kerayan Valleys of Kalimantan [FORMADAT area] ~ Traditional Highland Games [Blowpipe Competition, Tests of Strength, Jumping Competition] ~ Demonstrations of Traditional Arts from the Highlands [basketry and mat making].
Saturday 3rd July ~ ~ Day 2 of Food Festival - Grand Opening by Pesta Nukenen Guests of Honour ~ Judging of Festival Food & Stall Awards ~ Cultural Presentations ~ Cooking Demonstrations ~ Festival Feast and Cultural Awards Ceremony [in the evening].

Pesta Nukenen Activities for 2011

Bario Rice Farm Walks ~ learn about rice production with a 1 hour guided walk around a family owned organic rice farm, followed by a long house visit & tea.
Wild Food Walks ~ discover some of the common wild vegetables found on farms, streams in the forest. Three hour walk followed by cooking demonstration and wild food tastings.
Home Stay Supper ~ commission a special Pesta Nukenen meal at home stays and cafes in the highlands, made with Bario Rice & seasonal foods.
Long Distance Trekking ~ ask your home stay or official Bario Nature Guide Council guides about 2-6 day treks in the beautiful forest of the Kelabit Highlands in the heart of Borneo. Routes include : Bario-Pa Longan [2/3 day return trip] ; Bario - Ba Kelalan [4-6 day return trip] ; Bario-Pa Umor-Lembudud [transboundary FORMADAT walk 4-6 days] ; Bario-Pa Longan-Long Bawan-Lembudud-Pa Umor [transboundary FORMADAT walk 7-9 days]. Shorter excursions to Pa Mada, Pa Dali and other community settlements and longhouses in the Central Kelapang area can also be arranged in Bario.

Pesta Nukenen Accommodation & Transport

Bario & the Kelabit Highlands are home to community-based tourism. There is a wealth of clean family-owned home stays, lodges & longhouse to choose from, all accessible by foot or by hired transport [4WD] from Bario airport. For trekking advice, please talk to home stay owners. A selection of homestays, lodges and B&B accommodation is listed below.

Junglebluesdream Art Gallery & Home Stay ~

Leminan Lodge ~ ~ Tarawe's Lodge

Nancy Harris Homestay ~

Mustapha Lodge Email ~

JR Lodge aka Barview Lodge ~

JK View Lodge ~ Gems Home Stay ~

De Plateau Lodge ~

Batu Ritung Home Stay ~

Balas Home Stay ~ Labang Longhouse ~

Ngimat Ayu's Home Stay ~

There are twice daily flights to Bario from Miri airport with MAS Wings [the Malaysian Airlines Rural Air Service]. The flight is aboard Twin Otter planes and is a travel adventure in itself. For timetables and online bookings please visit

For more information about the beautiful forested interior of Sarawak in the Kelabit Highlands please visit For information about other destinations to explore in Sarawak, please visit

Pesta Nukenen recommendations for short trips in rural Sarawak : a 3-5 day stay in Kuching to explore the Waterfront, Museum, 7th Mile Market, Santubong and Bako National Park ; a day trip to Serian and rice farming valleys around Serian town from Kuching ; a 3-4 day stay in Miri with day trips to Bekanu town or Lambir National Park ; 2-3 day trip to Niah National Park.

Pesta Nukenen Bario ~ International Links

Pesta Nukenen is twinned with The Alde Valley Spring Festival in East Suffolk, UK []. Pesta Nukenen supports cultural exchange projects and the promotion of traditional arts from the Heart of Borneo and Sarawak, including basketry and mat making. In 2009 Pesta Nukenen supported Celebrating Sarawak ~ Fabrics, Foods & Forests a two week event in London UK held in association with Society Atelier Sarawak [], The Prince's School of Traditional Arts and The Alde Valley Food Adventures UK [] and Asia House.

For 2011, Pesta Nukenen is supporting the loan of traditional ranih, agag and kalang baskets from The Pa Umor Basket Collection and The Lembudud Basket Collection in the Heart of Borneo to Basketry ~ Making Human Nature, a three month international exhibition of basketry at The Sainsbury Centre of Visual Arts and School of World Art at Norwich UK []

International supporters and partners include / have included The Alde Valley Food Adventures UK, Spring Advertising and Design Ltd UK, Herringbone Design UK, the Livery Company of Water Conservators UK. Domestic supporters and sponsors in Malaysia have included The Resident's Office Miri, Sarawak Tourism, Petronas LNPG, mas-wings and the Sarawak State Government.

The History of Pesta Nukenen

Pesta Nukenen Bario was founded in 2006 as a community owned food and cultural festival. It was introduced by the management team of the multi-award winning E-Bario ICT centre with support from UPM, the Alde Valley Food Adventures UK and The Resident's Office Miri, receiving His Excellency TYT The Governor of Sarawak as its inaugural Guest of Honour.

Now in its sixth year, Pesta Nukenen is managed and owned by the Kelabit Highlands Kaum Ibu women's group for and on behalf of the Kelabit Highlands community. The Festival celebrates the unique food, farming, forest and cultural heritage of the Highlands - one of the last surviving intact traditionally farmed and forested highland watersheds in Sarawak and East Malaysia.

It seeks to celebrate this remarkable heritage at a time when the forested landscape and cultural monuments of the northern Highlands are at considerable risk from logging conscessions. It celebrates the food, farming and forest heritage of rural areas by promoting low impact community based cultural tourism and medium-long distance eco-trekking in the beautiful Heart of Borneo.

Pesta Nukenen works with support from Rurum Kelabit Sarawak, The Alde Valley Food Adventures UK, Sarawak Tourism Board, The Sarawak State Government and The Ministry of Tourism and Heritage.

For more information about Pesta Nukenen and international links please visit For more information about the beautiful rural landscape of Sarawak and the State's rich history, remarkable foods and beautiful national parks please visit

Thank you for visiting the Pesta Nukenen website. We wish you a wonderful day and hope to see you in Bario ! ~ ~ ~
Pesta Nukenen Bario is managed by the Kelabit Highlands Community with support from Rurum Kelabit Sarawak, The Alde Valley Food Adventures UK, Herring Bone Design Ltd, The Sarawak Tourism Board, The Sarawak State Government, The Ministry of Tourism and Heritage.