19th April 2019 – Kuching to Bako National Park

We had an early start with the alarm waking us up at 6.30. After breakfast at the hotel we were picked up on two minibuses for the 30 minute drive to the ferry port for our trip to Bako National park. Bako has been a national park since 1957.

The jetty

The boat trip up the river to the coast took about 20 minutes, with the last bit slow going because of the low tide. We had to hop out of the boat at the shore to get to the beach!

Just about to land

After preparing ourselves for the hike, we had a briefing from the local guide, Sali. He explained that Sarawak is about the size of England but with only 2.8 million people. Bako NP itself is only accessible by boat and they have deliberately not changed this, by building a road, as it means that they can better control visitor numbers.

There are 5 animals to look out for especially in Bako; the proboscis monkey which is only found in Borneo, the bearded pig (like a large wild boar), macaque monkeys, silver leaf monkeys and the Borneo keel pit viper. We actually managed to see all five very close to the park entrance.

Bearded pig, near park HQ
Macaque near the park HQ
Map of the park

We started our hike around 10.15am and the rain started, gentle at first, but by the time were about 2 hours in it was hammering down. It did drop the temperature though and neither Ed nor I bothered with a rain jacket. Needless to say we both got pretty wet, although I think we’d have been just as wet had we worn jackets because of the humidity.

The silver leaf monkey
The first part of the walk was very steep…

The first part of the walk to us up a steep hill for about 30 minutes. Then, we walked along some trails, sometimes on wooden piers and other times on tree roots and sand. After a couple of hours we arrived at a cliff with a beautiful view overlooking a beach.

Fortunately the path levelled out
The view was good…
…But we were quite wet!
Pitcher plants

We retraced our steps and came to another look out from which we took some very steep steps down to the beach.

Fortunately it had now stopped raining. Here we caught a boat back around the coast to the park entrance.

The beach where we caught our ride back
Cobra rock formation

It was now time for lunch and so we had food at the canteen, washed down by a cold (ish) Tiger beer before checking into our rooms for the night. They are basic with four of us sharing, but it does have an ‘ensuite’, albeit with a cold shower!

Our accommodation

We had a couple of hours to relax before going for a much shorter walk around the camp at around 4.30pm. We walked along slowly and managed to spot a proboscis monkey, high up in the trees, which we watched for a long time, and got some good shots. We also saw some more snakes and another flying lemur.

Proboscis monkey
Horseshoe crabs travelling together

A quick change, to put on some long trousers and walking shoes before watching a fantastic sunset at 6.45.

Our evening meal looked very similar to the lunch menu! Chicken, fish, some rice and noodles but this time with some crinkle cut chips… Which were actually child and pretty disappointing. There was also no cold beer so we had to do with a soft drink (probably no bad thing really)

The final activity for the day was a night walk. By now it was 7.45 and still extremely humid and warm. We walked along a track into the jungle along a boardwalk.  It seemed to get even warmer we moved further into the jungle. We managed to see a few snakes, frogs and some insects and spiders. Eventually, after what seemed like ages, we turned and and retraced our steps. I was glad when we did as we seem to have done a lot of walking today in hot humid conditions. Just before going back to the room we returned to the jetty and were able to see some fireflys in the trees of the mangrove swamp.

At just before 10 it was time to head to bed, not before having a cold shower to wash the grunge of the day off. An early start in the morning in order to make sure that we get the tides before low tide!

A great first ‘proper’ day on tour!

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