Saturday, November 14, 2009

Limestone Hills of Tebakang

The limestone hills pictured below are located near the border town of Tebedu, south of Kuching. The area is known as Tebakang. Hill paddy or padi bukit is planted in a large area near the hills. This presented a very scenic photo op, unfortunately, I only had my pocket cam with me and it struggles in bright, high-contrast scenes. Even worse, the battery went flat during the outing so I couldn’t take many photos.



Limestone hills of Tebakang.


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One of the landmark hills of Tebakang.


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The same hill from a different angle.


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Hills and rice paddies. The rice plants are padi bukit or hill paddy and do not require much water to grow well.



Padi bukit or hill paddy are often planted in hilly areas, they do not require much water like normal rice plants.

Many villagers here still practice slash-and-burn farming. Plants such as elephant ferns and Nepenthes ampullaria pitcher plants are burnt to a crisp. Fortunately, this thick cluster of water-filled pitchers provided the main vine some protection from the fire and new shoots can be seen emerging from the center.


Sarawak has many limestone hills, the most prominent ones lie in the National Parks of Mulu and Niah. Gunung Benarat and Gunung Api are examples of limestone massifs located in upper Sarawak. Here in Kuching, the limestone hills spread from Bau to Serikin, from Padawan to Tebedu. One of the highest located near Kuching is Gunung Braang, which is extremely difficult to climb without risking falling and sustaining grave injuries!


Special tools are needed to scale the cliffs of some large massifs such as Gunung Benarat in Mulu. However, there are many other small ones that form scattered limestone outcrops throughout the farmlands from Bau to Serikin. Easy or hard to climb, all of them feature razor sharp edges that cut like a knife!


Limestone hills are also home to some very unique animal and plant species from butterflies to beetles, aroids to single leaf plants, orchids to begonias. Some also feature subterranean rivers and streams as well as huge chambers and endless cave passages.


Visit Sarawak to view some of the world’s most amazing limestone formations like the Pinnacles of Mulu!

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