A Look at Bako’s National Park

I was in the middle of cleaning up my photos hard-drive this morning when I came across my Malaysia folder. I thought of taking you for a walk through Kuala Lumpur, but then I found the pictures of Bako National Park. I couldn’t resist from sharing my impressions of this amazing place.

Bako National Park

Bako National Park is located in the western part of Sarawak province, on the island of Borneo. The closest town is Kuching, the province capital, about 40 kilometers away. Bako National Park is the oldest national park in the country, as it was created in 1957. Although it only covers 27 square kilometers, it holds incredibly diverse and exotic wildlife, and I recommend you take your time to visit and stay for at least two days to discover the park at different times of the day and let Mother Nature surprise you. There are loads of walking trails, secluded beaches and refreshing waterfalls to explore.

Fauna and Flora

The astounding nature is obviously the main reason for visiting Bako National Park. And you won’t be disappointed: the principal attraction, the Proboscis monkeys, who’s protruding bellies compete with the huge size of their nose. Sorry, but I can’t help making a reference to Tintin, and the appearance of the Proboscis monkey in Flight 714.

But the Proboscis are not the only marvels to discover. There are all sorts of monkeys foraging in the trees, macaques out on the prowl for your biscuits and pic-nic, kingfishers, sea eagles and other vipers. This is not a zoo, all the animals are free, roaming through the forest, and for most of them it is up to you to go out and find them. But some also come close to the park rangers’ HQ, where you can stay in a bunglow or pitch your tent. Beware, close your window, zip up your tent, don’t walk around stuffing your face with sweets, crisps, or anything at all, because monkey criminality is on the rise! The macaques are total kleptomaniacs and very very clever. There also carnivorous plants around, but they are only a danger if you are less than an inch tall… although some of the pitcher plants are said to gobble up frogs as well as insects…

How to get to Bako National Park

The Bako adventure starts before you even get there. The only way to get there is by boat, after an hour (more or less) long bus (#6) or taxi ride from Kuching. The bus or taxi will drip you off at the Bako village peer, where you will pay the Park entry fee (20 / 7 Ringgit) and where you can hire a small boat to get to Bako Natinal Park (5 pple max. 94 Ringgit Round Trip). This is also where I found a tent for hire, as all other accommodation was full. It was not too expensive, not a great piece of equipment, but it did the job, kept the mosquitoes out.

The 20 minute boat ride is just perfect to get you in the mood for the park, as you pass beautiful scenery and will see the estuarine crocodiles cilling out on the way.

Once you get to Bako National Park, you can pitch your tent or rent a bungalow or a dorm room/bed. prices range from 40 Ringgit for a dorm room of 4 to 160 Ringgit for a 6 beds bungalow. The rooms are a bit stuffy and humid, but hey, it’s the tropics, and it is definitely worth staying overnight.