Monday, March 23, 2009

Bakun, Here I Come Again

Our boat driver was a friendly Malay man who did his work diligently.Mr.Tiong of Belaga Hotel introduced him to us. The discounted fee for chartering his long boat was RM200. The 20 km journey took us almost one and a half hour to reach the landing point just below the Bakun Dam.

At 10 am, the tropical heat was already quite unbearable. The small wooden boat cruised up the Balui river steadily, sometimes navigating through strong and swift currents.

Along the way we saw several huts with colourful carvings on top. These are the tombs for the Kayan/Kenyah tribes.They are usually located on the hills along the river banks.

This landing point is also the final destination for the express passenger boat which leaves daily from Sibu at 5.45am. The boat stays overnight here and it departs Bakun the next morning at 8 o'clock.

Security has been tighten up as Bakun Dam is now nearing completion. Any person without a permit is not allowed to enter the restricted areas. We just intended to pass by Bakun on our way to Asap and Bintulu, so we did not apply for a permit in kapit/Kuching.

I am putting up here another aerial photo taken in 2003 showing the Bakun Resort. The 100-room resort was previously owned and operated by Tan Sri Ting Pek Khing whose companies Ekran and Global Upline were actively involved in the early stages of construction of Bakun Dam.

If I am not mistaken, the yellow-roofed building seen in the above picture is one of the resort's buildings. Behind the resort is the gigantic dam,probably one and a half km from the hill top where I took this picture.

Close-up of the concrete faced rockfill dam (CFRD) which is 205m high and 750m wide at the top, making it the tallest in the world.

The gated spillways with capacity of 15,000 cubic meter per second.

This photo was taken in 2003 at the place exactly where the main dam would be constructed.I am perhaps one of the few private individuals who possess a good collection of photographs of the Bakun area as I had started taking photos as early as 1983 of the proposed Bakun Dam site.

Global Upline Sdn Bhd was awarded to build the RM60 million cofferdam after the completion of the RM400 million diversion tunnels by Dong Ah of South Korea.

The civil works, costing RM1.8 billion for the main Bakun Dam was awarded to Malaysia-China Hydro Joint Venture (MCH), led by Sime Engineering Bhd of Malaysia and Sinohydro Corporation of China.The targeted completion date was September, 2007.

An Engineer from Sinohydro, China. Sinohydro which also participated in the consctuction of the Three Gorges Dam in China, was established in 1950 and it has operations in Asia,Africa,North America,South America and Europe.

The early stages of construction....hundreds of machinery and thousands of workers were employed to clear the forests and level the mountains.

Children at a longhouse in the Asap resettlement area.

More than 10,000 Orang Ulu, mainly the Kayan and Kenyah were relocated to new longhouses like these in Asap and Koyan areas below the dam.

There were 20 units of double storey shophouses in Asap area, completed in 2003. The above and below pictures were taken in May, 2003 while the last one was taken just recently.Not much changes in 6 years except the paint on the walls has faded and many shophouses remain vacant until this day.

I am sceptical about enjoying cheap electricity at home once Bakun Dam is operational because the bulk of electricity generated will be for industrial purposes. But I do look forward to visiting the area again when it is ready to accept tourists.


Daniel Yiek said...

Amazing post...very insightful. I like the tribal pics. That pic of a native holding a radio is a classic!

You may want to disable word verification to encourage more comments. I hardly ever get spam in my blog w/o it. To be exact: 3 spam mails in 3 years.

-eiling- said...

My dad used to build dams like the one in Kelantan - Pergau Dam but I was too young then and I didn't get a chance to go to the site.

Philip said...

Daniel:That is a Sony radio..look quite old but the lady owner couldn't remember when she bought it.How to disable the word verification?

eiling:Your dad must come to Sarawak to build dams...there are 12 more to be built!

Daniel Yiek said...

Here's how:

Comments tab
Choose "No" for "Show word verification for comments?"

If you don't need to moderate comments, ie, the comments get published immdly, then

Choose "Never" for "Comment moderation"

I dont do "comment moderation" either because readers like to see their comments immdly and existing comments prompt more comments. I got only 1 hate comment in 3 years...I simply deleted it.

-eiling- said...

But he's now in Abu Dhabi. Lol..

Nelson said...

Energy investment by building proper dams with environmental damage minimised is vital for the future of sarawak & malaysia as a whole. But cronyism really kills everything.

Superman said...

I stayed in Bakun Resort before. No TV one...and the price is 3 star hotel price. so expensive. Nice to see the progress of the dam. Hope to see more of the main water reservoir area. I think the place I pee before already submerged by water. Not place to release that time as the resort is so far...

cc of Quaint Melody said...

Thanks for bringing us to places we otherwise would not have been. I learn something new every time I read your posts. :)

Philip said...

Daniel:Thanks for showing the way.

eiling: Is he also building dams in Abu Dhabi? or he is building palaces there?

Nelson:12 more dams have been proposed. Do we relly need so many?

Superman: I also stayed in Bakun Resort many times. If I am not wrong, they charged me RM100 a night.Aircon not cold due to the dusty roads nearby. I think much of the land above the dam has been submerged now.

cc:Thanks for being a loyal reader. Where have you been all these while?