Doleful-looking Tusan horse pile of rubble (Travelogue Day 6)

The horse stone before it collapsed in 2020. Photo credit: Bernama

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By D’Drift Team

MIRI, Oct 16: Could a pile of rubbles still carry tourism values to Tusan Beach that was once famous for its ‘drinking horse’ rock formation?

D’Drift Team, who had never seen the ‘drinking horse’ in real life, did not know its exact location, so we were unsure as we tried to identify any cliff that resembled what was left of the iconic symbol.


We thought the ‘leftovers’ would at least look like a horse, but no, there was none of sorts along the beach which was located about 40 kilometres from the city of Miri.

It was a saddening visit, really. Not for the fact that we did not get to see the ‘drinking horse’ with our own eyes, but for such a meaningful landmark to be gone in the blink of an eye.

If there were no stories to tell tourists there was once a drinking horse at Tusan Beach, Tusan Beach would just be a normal beach, truly.

It was on Feb 20, 2020, when the ‘horse head’ collapsed, believed due to heavy rain one night. After receiving the desolate news, many including Sibuti MP Lukanisman Awang Sauni rushed to the beach for verification. Devastatingly, the incident was true.

With the stunningly beautiful drinking horse head no longer there, only a pile of ruins was left lying on the beach.

Pile of rubbles of the collapsed horse head in February, 2020. Photo credit: FlyingAyam

It was only later that D’Drift Team looked up online to compare pictures that we knew for sure the pile of rocks we saw earlier was the horse’s remains.

Back on the beach, we had unswervingly determined that that was not it and we could have just been on the wrong stretch of the beach.

Without the head, the remaining rocks would carry no meaning as the ‘body of the horse’. But could Tusan Beach be given a second chance as one of Sarawak’s bustling tourist attractions?

The remaining rocks at Tusan Beach from afar today.

 

Sparkling ocean waters of Tusan Beach

The fallen horse was, in fact, not the only attraction at Tusan Beach where it was also known for its ‘blue tears’ offering, also called the ‘bio-luminescence’ that occurs when micro-organisms in the water interrupted by oxygen to produce bright blue light on the beach.

This unique phenomenon in Tusan Beach has been recognised as Sarawak’s own blue tears comparable with other glowing ocean waters with same luminous special effects like in Matsu Islands of Taiwan, Jervis Bay of Australia, and many other coastal beaches in Caribbean and Europe.

So there was no reason for Tusan Beach to be abandoned or forgotten after the horse was gone. There was a shaded building about 30 metres up from the beach where there used to be stalls serving food to tourists, but none were operational now.

Main entrance to Tusan Beach.

Even the rainbow stairs that led tourists down to the beach itself have been neglected and almost invisible among the tall grasses. D’Drift Team had to find a detour through a short rocky terrain, bushy lanes, and finally a slippery slope to get to our destination.

The unmaintained route to the beach was far off to the side of the main entrance, so one may need to look around for a bit before noticing it. We would have missed the opportunity to go down to the beach if we had not gone further down the road.

A short detour to Tusan Beach involving bushy and sandy lanes.

It was at about 3.40pm yesterday (Oct 15) when we visited the beach where we saw a young chap walking his dog under the scorching sun. What an unusual sight it was!

We were too curious not to ask the young man why he had to walk his dog at that hour. He simply replied that he had wanted to avoid the crowd which would start pouring in soon later.

Indeed, when D’Drift Team had finished with its expedition at the beach and was heading back out, cars were seen driving in. Apparently, Tusan Beach without its horse mascot are still being frequented by locals from nearby townships such as Bekenu, Niah, and even Miri.

 

What else in Niah?

Of course it’s the Niah Caves! And Bukit Kasut, and Gunung Subis – all within the Niah National Park vicinity.

Niah being a must-visit tourism spot for hiking and cave expedition enthusiasts, offers a variety of jungle and hiking trails where visitors could explore natural caves, sightseeing flora and fauna in jungles, and not forgetting to burn off some fat!

Despite how much fun it sounded, these places were not in D’Drift Team’s schedule this time around, so PASS!

View of the Niah cliffs from Niah Cave Inn in town.

 

Negative – Red bands only at C lines

Today was D’Drift Day 6, the day for D’Drift Team’s second Covid-19 self-tests using the Covid-19 Antigen Detection Kit, and phew! – all three of us tested negative. So, on all three of our test kits, the red band only appeared at the C line.

D’Drift Team members’ Covid-19 self-tests indicating all negative results.

Our first self-tests were on the day (Oct 10) before we embarked on the 10-day trip whereby all three were negative as well. The third and final tests will be on the last day before we return home to our families.

In view of unavoidable dynamic movement of the trip, this is vital to ensure the team not catch or spread Covid-19 as we travel, because better safe than sorry!

This practice is also strongly advisable to those who travel often from places to places. As Sarawak transitions into endemic, self-monitoring and self-testing among the people is important especially when we could catch Covid-19 without developing symptoms until it’s too late.

We hope that with dine-ins permitted, curfew lifted, borders opened, businesses resumed, the people will continue to eat safe, travel safe, and trade safe.

This morning, D’Drift Team woke up an hour earlier than usual to spare some time for the Covid-19 tests and also to get ready for a two-hour drive up to Loagan Bunut National Park.

By 9.45am, we reached the entrance to the national park which was another 20-minute drive into the site. The tiny roads were really snaky with sharp turns, so don’t speed and beware of incoming cars from the other side of the road.

For those who get car sickness easily, this will be a long, dizzy ride for you.

It was yet another fruitful afternoon until the evening at the national park where Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) park warden Anthony Chong brought us around the park which has the largest natural lake of 650 hectares in Sarawak.

One thing I have to say though – the food here is awesome! The canteen is operated by a local Berawan boatman Jalin Luta. In the afternoon, we were treated to fried rice, fried fish and eggs.

A simple meal, but yummy. Or maybe we were just too hungry? — Dayakdaily

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Travelogue, Day 2 – Headless coconut ‘pillars’ of Maludam

Travelogue, Day 3 – Pan Borneo Fury 1060 – ‘best’ coaster ride in Sarawak Theme Park

Travelogue, Day 4 – Spooky Mukah: Hanging coffins, burial totems and human sacrifices

Travelogue, Day 5 – A salty post-funeral cleansing ritual