Experimental Tour 1
MTAC Sarawak in Awe of Tourism Potentials in Bau
NICHOLAS TIONG and FAREINY MORNI
5th August 2021
On 31st July 2021, Sarawak Research Society (SRS) and the community leaders of Bau district invited the officials of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MTAC) Sarawak to visit Bau’s historical landmarks, famous attractions and some lesser known sites. The purpose of the visit is to explore the possibility of increasing the promotion for Bau and discuss issues that may debilitate the interest of local and international tourists from choosing Bau as their preferred tourist destination.
Taiton Lorong 9 overlooking the rolling hills of Sleeping Beauty
Participants for this trip include Permanent Secretary of MTAC Sarawak Mr Hii Chang Kee, Principal Assistant Secretary Dr Suzy Lim Swee Yian, Principal Assistant Secretary Mr Nasir Bin Lariwoo, Administrative Assistant of Assistant Minister of MTAC Sarawak Mr Byron Chang Tun Leung, Chairman of Hwa Gong Bau Historical Society Pemanca Bong Jong Long, Treasurer Mr Lucas Lim Tee Kiat, Mao San Kapitan Chung Man Fook, Taiton Kapitan Phang Nyat Kiaw, Chairman of SRS Assoc. Prof. Dr Hiram Ting, and his research members.
The one-day event began at 9 a.m. and ended at 4:30 p.m. and is the first ever Experimental Tour, an initiative under Responsible Borneo (REBORN). Among the destinations visited are the historical monument known as the 12 Company Flag Pole in Maw San (or Bau Lama), the King’s Temple, rolling hills of Sleeping Beauty, Little Guilin, Double V Hole, Golden Stone Hole, Little Stone Forest, Tua Pek Kong Temple, Golden Hill, Tasik Biru and Life Liberation Area of Siniawan Swee Guk Kung Chi Yuan Ting.
Bau district has a great potential to become a tourist attraction. Most of these attractions are conveniently located nearby Taiton, an area that is famous for gold mines and has been gazetted as one of Sarawak’s national parks.
There have been efforts to promote Bau district through various media and activities to improve the number of visitors; however, majority of the visitors’ interest waned when they find the basic facilities at some of the destinations to be lacking. Besides that, there is evidence of neglect, some of the trails and routes lack maintenance and are overgrown with weeds causing some of the destinations to appear unattractive and unwelcoming. After a discussion with Mr Hii regarding the various problems facing the development of tourism in Bau, it is hoped that this matter can be conveyed to the Sarawak government and the relevant authorities as soon as possible so that major steps can be taken to tackle the issues.
12 Company Flag Pole (Pavilion) at Bau Lama
Dr Hiram said that “By working together as a collective and responsible unit, we can preserve our “green” and “gold”destinations using tourism as a vehicle of value creation. I believe Bau District can be developed to be an exemplar responsible tourism destination in Sarawak and a reference point for tourism development in other districts and rural areas.”