Before becoming a mom, I was very active in hiking and kayaking. Mostly hiking I would say, so when one day a friend suddenly proposed to visit Bengoh Dam, I knew I had to go: according to the many friends who visited the area, it looks like the famous Jurassic Park environment. How exciting! I can anticipate to my readers that my previous article about Bidayuh Bangles users, the famous ring ladies, is somewhat related to this article.
The story of Bengoh Dam
But let’s continue with my story. The Bengoh Dam was still under construction when I was a student in 2009, and I had to hike for about 7 hours to reach Kampung Semban for my Anthropology research. That village, along with the majority of the others in the area, as a result of the dam it has now been relocated to the new Bengoh Resettlement Site (BRS).
The Bengoh Dam project flooded the majority of the surrounding mountain area, as its final purpose was to supply water to the Kuching people. To be noted that Bengoh Dam is not an hydropower project: the nearest hydropower project is in Sri Aman, in Batang Ai.
As a result of the dam construction, the area had to undergo quite a chance. Water now covers the majority of the land, and the previous river has now become a massive lake. One of the most famous villages unaffected by the flooding is Kampung Sting, which has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area.
I decided to join my friends on this trip because I am a passionate traveler, and the Bengoh Dam is one of the newest tourist attractions here. Visitors are usually encouraged to visit Bengoh Dam in the morning, so I recommend you gather enough information and book the trip.
For those like us who live in the Borneo Height area, it takes a mere 30 minutes drive to reach the Bengoh Dam. We reached there at around 8.30 am, we listened to the short briefing conducted by our tour guide, then we boarded our boat at the small jetty and cruised through the man-made lake. The journey was breathtaking: we saw dying trees, mountains and small paddy farms. We stopped at a few tourist attractions to take memory photos.
We finally reached our first stop, Kampung Sting, from where we left on foot for the few minutes’s hike to the top. On the village ridge there is a spacious, one-of-a-kind bamboo structure. We sat there and amazed at the majestic scenery of mountains covered in clouds surrounding the lake. Clouds and mist were formed by the morning rain that day, and the area resembled China, and perhaps also Vietnam. It is such a nice and relaxing place, we allowed one hour for the early lunch there.
We were so eager to explore so we boarded the boat for the next ride and proceeded to the first waterfall: Pee’an (or ‘curtain waterfall’). It took us a good 30 minutes hike to get there, and then another 20 minutes to reach Susung waterfall, where the views are magnificent. During the hike, visitors usually come across a variety of flora and fauna, including pitcher plants, exotic mushrooms and many others. There’s also this one-of-a-kind architectural bamboo bridge. It had rained a bit earlier, and the path was slippery, so we needed to be sure-footed. I advise wearing proper trekking shows in case the path is challenging.
As we reached destination, I was amazed by the massive lianas that serve as a frame to the waterfall. We spent some time, enjoying the sight and taking shots, then returned to Pee’an waterfall, where we swam and soaked in the refreshing water until the rain caught up with us and the guide summoned us for the hike back to base.
The hike to Bengoh Dam was tiring, but we were all so proud of being able to reach most must-see sights in the area. The scenery is mind-blowing, the air is clean and the relaxation after the hike is guaranteed. I advise good shoes, raincoat, plenty of water, extra clothes and mosquito repellent, as well as a good guide!
Two are the tour options: a day-trip or a 2 Day/1 Night tour. If you are not from the area, we recommend the 2 Day/1 Night tour. Your overnight stay will be at a lovely, traditional homestay with Bidayuh features, where you can also enjoy local delicacies such as Ayam Pansuh cooked in bamboo with cassava leaves.
Let the alluring nature of this amazing destination transport you to another world.
Drive: Allow 1 to 1 hour and a half drive from Kuching town.
Entrance Fees: RM 5 per person
Location: Bengoh Dam, Kampung Bengoh, Borneo Height Road, Kuching
Attractions: Kampung Sting, Pee’an Waterfall, Susung Waterfall and boat ride
Trail: Easy to moderate
Hiking time: Around 2 to 3 hours, depending on your fitness level and hiking speed
Minimum pax: 2 people