Where do we even begin when it comes to Bako. Though it is one of Sarawak’s smallest National Parks, it is definitely big on beauty. Tucked in the south-east corner of Malaysian Borneo, this 2, 727 hectare stretch of primary forest is where every type of vegetation found in Borneo gathers in one place. Bako National Park is within easy reach from colorful Kuching City. An hour journey by road takes you to a village nestled by a river, where you hop on a longboat to zip up stream and arrive to your final destination in most adventurous fashion. Great for day trips but best enjoyed slowly-- something you will soon realize once you see the dramatic rock formations burst into scene as you are approaching the national park.
Bako welcomes you with seven distinct ecosystems—each with its own flora and fauna. Therefore, trails threading through the splendid pockets of lush rainforests are often full of surprises; wonderful forest walks lead to secluded beaches, jungle hikes usher you to steep coastal cliffs offering huge vistas overlooking the South China Sea. It also packs dense mangroves, waterfalls, peat swamp forests, mixed dipterocarp forests, heath forests and grasslands. All of which thrillingly different from the rest of the predominantly flat Sarawak coastline and can be explored by the well-maintained network of nature trails – from easy forest strolls to full-day jungle treks—plenty enough to keep a trekker properly occupied.
However, if it’s not the jungle foliage you’re after, the already intoxicating mix of coastal scenery and teeming rainforests is made even greater with the abundance of wildlife found in the area. As long as you keep your noise down and your eyes peeled, every turn of the head will reveal Bako’s true colors. If you’ve always wanted to see the famed pot-bellied primate of Borneo, you’re at the right place. With approximately 275 rare proboscis monkeys in the area, these fellas can often be spotted swinging between tree branches near the visitor area or lounging with their troupe amidst the dense mangroves. Another interesting feature in Bako National Park is the biggest resident mammal, often seen wandering around with bearded chins, minding their own business and absolutely unfazed by your presence-- it’s got to be none other than the Bearded Wild Boars of Bako. The very handsome “old world” monkey known as the Silver Leaf Monkey is also prolific in Bako, but these shy creatures will pee on you if they feel threatened, fyi. Other common wildlife sightings include flying squirrels, flying lemurs, small-clawed otters, hairy-nosed otters, tarsiers, slow loris, audacious long-tail macaques, mouse deers and resident as well as migratory birds.
A short but steep climb through cliff vegetation. Takes about 30 minutes. Offers excellent views of Telok Assam, overlooking the South China Sea and Santubong. Proboscis monkeys can sometimes be heard crashing amongst the trees, looking for leaves to feed on, especially early in the morning.
One of the best trails to for spotting proboscis monkeys, which are often seen during early mornings or late afternoons. The trail leads you through cliff forest before reaching a small secluded beach, perfect for lounging in ultimate serenity.
This trail climbs steeply and require you to hang on to tree roots to keep your balance. But once you reach the top, you are rewarded with mind-blowing views of Bako’s coastline. This adventurous trail takes first takes you through swamp forest and then a flat section where proboscis monkey are sometimes seen.
An excellent trail for spotting proboscis monkeys, and only a mere 45 minutes from park HQ. Here is where you should keep your eyes peeled and listen out for any possible strange grunting noises or the crash of vegetation. If it is your lucky day, you may see a harem of proboscis monkeys
Great for seeing the giants of Bako rainforest. This trail takes about one and a half hours to complete and ends at the park boundary. It is not frequent by trekkers because it is somewhat secluded.
Telok Pandan Kecil & Telok Pandan Besar
One of Bako’s most popular trails. It ascends the lush hills overlooking Telok Assam, reaching a plateau sheltered under scrub vegetation and continues along a sandy path lined with carnivorous pitcher plants. Shortly afterwards, you reach a cliff top and rewarded with stunning views of the secluded bay below and the handsomely fashioned sea stacks off the shore. A 10 minute descent through cliff vegetation ushers you to one of the best beaches in the park. Whilst swimming, watch out for monkeys who steal unguarded bags. The Telok Pandan Besar trail ends at a cliff top with vies of the beach below.
Lintang trail is yet another popular trek. This trail bring you through nearly all of the vegetation types found in Bako. The section between Ulu Assam and Serait also makes for a good spot to get acquainted with some Proboscis Monkeys. The Bukit Tambi viewpoint is a short detour off the main trail.
The Tajor trail passes scrub and padang vegetation and ends with a steep climb down to a small beach.. The Tajor trail will also lead you to a refreshing water hole, the Tajor Waterfall. The waterfall is quite small (and best after heavy rain) but it has a beautiful jungle setting and a small dip pool. From the park HQ it takes about two and half hours to reach the waterfall.
This trail branches off the Tajor trail and leads you to the rocky Rhu peninsula, a small headland where you can see wave-cut platforms and rock pools. From the park HQ, it takes about two and half hours. From Tajor junction, it takes 45 minutes.
Thread through padang vegetation and swamp forests, connecting the Lintang trail with the Bukit Gondol hill walk. From Lintang junction to the base of Bukit Gondola is about one and a half hours.
This semi-circular loop trail passes over Bukit Gondol, the highest point in Bako at 2660 meters. The top of the hill offers excellent views of Pulau Lakei and Muara tebas. The loop trek takes about 45 minutes.
This trail is actually a short cut for those who do not wish to climb Bukit Gondol. Although it is very short trail it offers the opportunity of seeing fresh water swamp forest. The most dominant species in the area is Jelutong, a type of softwood used for making pencils.
This trail connects Bukit Gondol with Tajor and passes some mighty rainforest giants. It passes along the slopes of Bukit Keruing, the second highest point in Bako. From Paya Jelutong to the Tajor Waterfall takes about one and half hours.
A full day trek. From the park HQ it takes about three and half hours to reach the end of Telok Sibur trail, first following the Tajor trail to the waterfall. Continue along the main trail for another 45 minutes until you reach a junction and the start of the Sibur trail. After a very steep 45 minutes descent, a walk through the mangrove and a wade across a river you finally reach the longest beach in Bako.
This is Bako’s long distance trail, six or seven hours from the park HQ to the small beach at Telok Limau. You pass through rich rainforest, scrub land and swamp forest, cross small streams and climb a number of hilly sections affording excellent views of the whole Muara Tebas peninsula. You can camp at Telok Limau and return the next day or arrange for a boat to pick you up.
Being so far from the park HQ, the Telok Keruin trail is rarely used. It is usually done as a side trek from Telok Limau. From Telok Limau, the first section is a 15-20 minute climb through the forest until you reach a scrub section. You must then trek for another 25 minutes before you reach the Telok Keruin trail. Shortly after the junction the trail descends to an area of scrub vegetation. Look out for pitcher plants that line the side of the trail. There are four short side-trails which lead to the Bukit Keruin lookout, a small rock pool, the Muara Tebas lookout point, and the Tanjung Keruin and Tanjung Po viewpoints. The last section of the trail is a very steep descent to a mangrove forest. The trail then continues through the mangroves. Look out for the marks on the tress which show the way to the deserted beach – one of the best in the park.
This small island has a superb white sand beach. The National Parks department has a small guard house located on the island. Trips to the island can be arranged with your boatman. There are some mysterious rock paintings just a short walk from the beach.
Nature lovers, behold. Today your journey to Sarawak’s oldest national park consists of 2 awesome parts.
First, a scenic 45minute drive to Bako Fishing Village. Second, hop on a 30 minute boat cruise along the coast and cooling sea-breeze to reach Bako National Park. *HEY, one important note though, as you are on the boat cruising through the wild, keep your arms inside the boat at all times as you will cruise by plants covered fully in thorns.
Arrival at Bako National Park, register and head on over to the Park’s Information Centre to get all the deets you need. Get straight on some trails through the mangrove forests, keep an eye out for mud skippers darting across the waters and bright blue fiddler crabs with their one giant pinchers.
Keep a keen eye for your wildlife sightings! Shimmy down the trails and spot Proboscis Monkeys, Bearded pigs, silver leaf monkeys and other Borneo primates.
|Includes||Hotel Pickup & Drop off, Land Transportation (Seat-In-Coach), Return Boat Ride, Meals as Stated, English Speaking Guide, Entrance Fees to Bako National Park|
|Excludes||Beverages, Any Items Not Mentioned|