A Day Trip To Bako National Park
Bako National Park
Bako National Park is the oldest of Sarawak’s national parks, a verdant peninsula of accessible walking trails, beaches and wildlife.
The draw is the walking opportunities, which range from easy strolls to more challenging hikes. The park is small but very varied, it has nearly all the plant species found in Borneo growing within it and there are many creatures living within this abundantly green environment.
We headed there with the hope of seeing Proboscis Monkeys, but also to simply get away from the city and see some of Borneo’s marvellous nature.
Bako is a forty-five minute bus ride from Kuching, it feels like a proper adventure because you must get a boat to the park headquarters. It is pretty well organised, the tickets for the boat are purchased at the jetty then it’s a thirty minute journey away from civilisation to the wilds.
From the moment you climb off the ferry you are drawn into the forest along a boardwalk over the mangroves. We registered at the park headquarters, paying the entrance fee.
We didn’t have to go anywhere to see the Proboscis Monkeys, a species endemic to Borneo, they were happily munching on trees next to the HQ! It was amazing to be so close, to see them so easily: their extraordinary faces peering down at us.
They have big pot-bellies, a sign of their specialised digestive system, and large, pronounced noses. It’s not difficult recognising the sexes, the males have a rather obvious, rather red clue!
We took one of the shorter trails from the HQ, Chris was still having problems with his back. This turned out not to be the best idea, the trail was short but very up and down, with lots of climbing over jagged rocks!
We reached the end of the trail at Telok Pandan Kecil and took a boat to Telok Sibur, a bigger beach a little way around the coast, passing curious sea stacks. The boatman pointed all the rock formations out to us.
Both beaches are beautiful, with gorgeous views over the glassy ocean to Gunung Santubong, a mountain on the opposite peninsula.
Under closer inspection, the beach was alive with little creatures: the hermit crabs were most entertaining and mudskippers never fail to make me smile, such curious things!
Chris’s back was giving him a lot of pain so he re-hired to boatman to take him back to the park HQ.
We’d headed to the park and joined up with two guys we’d met at Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, so I joined them and some girls off the boat to do another trail through the park back to the headquarters
The trail took us through scrubby forest, an open path for a while where we saw many pitcher plants and mesmerizing lines of termite ants
Eventually we arrived at the mangroves where the ferry had dropped us off at the start, the tide had retreated in that time and now cheeky macaques were hunting for snacks in the mud.
I found Chris in the canteen, joining him for a plate of noodles before we caught a boat back to Kampung Bako, and a bus back to Kuching.
Bako National Park is definitely a must do from Kuching, the scenery is spectacular and the beaches are lovely. We saw quite a lot of wildlife and I think we’d have had an even better experience had we stayed overnight. There is accommodation within the park, near the headquarters, unfortunately with Chris’s bad back we decided not to risk it.
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By Rachel A Davis