Tucked away in a hidden corner of Sarawak, is a forest teeming with life. Its tall trees, elusive wildlife and ever flowing waterfalls fit any adventurer’s description of paradise. It’s called the Lambir Hills National Park.
Located about 45 minutes from Miri city, Lambir Hills National Park covers an area of 69 sq km and is composed of thick Dipterocarp forests full of flora and fauna. In fact, Lambir has been described as the most complex and diverse ecosystem in the world, simply because of the sheer number of species found there. The park also has eight stunning waterfalls, all of which can be reached through the network of trails which traverse the park.
The crowning jewel of the national park’s waterfalls definitely has to be the Dinding Waterfall. This waterfall is characterized by a thin trickle which pours off a steep natural wall, into a turquoise blue pool. Remote and enchanting, it can only be reached by a three-hour hike. Dinding’s waters are shallow and calm, definitely tempting for a swim!
On this hike to the Dinding Waterfall, I was joined by Kendary, who has been hiking the trails of Lambir for years. We started off along the Inoque trail, ready for a full day of hiking, picnicking and waterfall dipping.
As Lambir is characterized by numerous hills and valleys, the Inoque trail too follows a series of ups and downs along its entire journey. The initial part of the hike went steep uphill along a clearly marked trail. Trees along the trail were meticulously marked with colour codes and distance markers which make it almost impossible to get lost. Along the way we were in for many botanical delights, a huge Nephenthes with its Monkey cup outstretched, fiery orange Ixoras in a dazzling display, and a host of multicoloured fungi dotting the ground. The towering Meranti, Tapang and Kapur trees made us mere dwarfs in a forest of giants!
The latter months of the year bring rain to Sarawak, and Lambir is no exception. It came as no surprise that about ten minutes into our hike, the skies opened up and started pouring. Our raincoats came handy as we continued stomping our way through the misty jungle.
Midway through the hike, we came to a major stream crossing. While the stream is often a clear trickle which can be crossed without much difficulty, the torrential downpour of the day made the humble stream a murky deluge. Fortunately for the both of us, the park wardens had recently installed a wooden bridge across the river which brought us without even getting our feet wet. We continued our way up and came to a junction where the trail went in two separate ways. To the left, the ongoing path went to the Tengkorong and Pancur Waterfalls while to the right, the trail continued on to our destination, Dinding Waterfall.
An interesting fact is that all three waterfalls flow out of the same river, Sungai Liam Libau with Dinding being the most upstream waterfall. After a short rest at this point we continued right and followed the trail as it went steeply down to the Dinding Waterfall. Kendary and I found the downhill descend a rather technical one as the rain and steep slopes made it a more tricky scramble. The trail became steeper as it got nearer and finally lo and behold, between the towering trees, we saw the amazing cascades of Dinding pounding down into the pool below. The rains made the waterfall double in size and the usually blue pool, murky brown.
Nevertheless we were not disheartened as the sandy picnic area beside the waterfall was still inviting for a lunch break. As the rain ebbed away and sun’s rays started shining again, we enjoyed lunch, gazing at one of Sarawak’s best kept secrets. Rain or shine, visiting the Dinding Waterfall is definitely in the list for any waterfall addict!
How to get there?
- You can take a taxi or express buses to Lambir Hills National Park from Miri City.
- Park Entrance Fee is RM10 per person.
- A round trip to Dinding Waterfall and back to Park HQ takes about 6 hours.
What to bring?
If you plan to hike, bring;
- A pair of sports shoes
- 1.5 liters of water
- Packed lunch