Unforgettable Experience at Bako National Park

May 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Road Less Travelled

An overnight stay in Bako National Park, gives you a unique opportunity to view the natural beauty of the park, its abundance of varied and rare plant life, trekking trails, secluded beaches, waterfalls, jungle streams and plentiful wildlife. Though the reserved park may not be instantly recognized as a star attraction, but very few places gives you such a combination of natural beauty. Spread over 2,727 hectares at the peninsula of Muara Tebas, it is the oldest national park in Sarawak.

The trip from Kuching to Bako National Park by taxi or bus would bring you to the village of Kampung Bako. Then you take a 25 minutes boat ride through the South China Sea and you will reach the coast of Bako National Park. Telok Assam is the park’s headquarters, but from here, you would be in for a big surprise.

Over the years due to constant erosion, the coastline has turned into scenic stiff cliffs, sandy bays and rocky head-lands. The base of several rocks has been carved by nature into sea stacks and sea arches due to the constant flow of waves. Throughout the coastline, wonderful sandstones have been formed which features iron and pink patterns.

If you reach Bako National Park early in the morning, you may want to start off with a delicious breakfast of banana bread served in small containers made of palm leaves in the shape of a boat. Start off on a jungle trail by observing the numerous vegetation and plant species. You can find all the different types of vegetation found in Borneo be it Peat Swap Forest, Grassland Vegetation or Padang, Mixed Dipterocarp Forest, Mangrove Forest, heath or Kerangas Forest, Cliff vegetation and Beach vegetation within the park. In order for you to spot the different and varied vegetation, you would need to have a keen eye. Some of the strange plant varieties that could be found there include bladderworts, sundews and pitcher plants.

On the trail through the lush green vegetation, you can see some animals in their natural habitat such as 150 rare species of proboscis monkeys which are found only in Borneo, the Hairy-Nosed Otter, the Oriental Small-Clawed Otter and Borneon Bearded Pig. The best time to observe these animals is during dawn and dusk when they are most active. If you plan to stay overnight, you get a better chance of seeing the animals on their trail. Make sure that you walk silently and slowly in small groups or else the creatures will run away from you.

The park office’s surrounding area is the best place for observing silver leaf and long tailed macaque monkeys besides mouse deer, bearded pigs, plantain squirrel and common monitor lizards. Take care not to attract the macaque monkeys or else they would be emboldened to snatch food from you.

The olive green Common Water Monitor Lizard, the largest of its kind found in the region is another great attraction of the park. These lizards feed on carrion and can be found mostly around the boat jetty. Other varieties of lizards include Sun or Skinky Lizard, which are most commonly found lazing around the rocks on the beach. Green Crested Lizard is the most common species found throughout the park. Usually it is bright green in color but if it feels that it is in danger, it can change its skin color. Flying Lizards can be seen gliding through the air from their launch pads on tree trunks.

You can find numerous snake varieties most of which are harmless. You need to have a very keen eye as they are well camouflaged and would slide away at the slight sense of danger. The Grass Green Whip species is the most easily recognizable with its long snout, pencil-thin body and bright color. Paradise Tree Snake is another common species with black upper body and green spots while the underbelly is yellow with yellow-green-spots. Pit Viper the only poisonous snake found in the park has a triangular, flat and broad head.

Bird watchers would love Bako National Park as there are more than 150 bird species making it their home. The mangrove forests are the best place to observe birds. If you are really serious about watching birds, make sure to have a pocket guide and a pair of binoculars with you.

Mangroves and rock pools are the best place to observe small animals like hermit crabs and mudskippers. Nocturnal creatures in Bako National Park include palm civet, slow loris, tarsier, bats, mouse deer, pangolin and flying lemur.

You can opt for one of the 16 jungle trails where hiking and walking options are on offer. You can choose an overnight camping expedition or a full-day jungle hikes. If you take the Tanjung Sapi trail you can have great views of Santubong, South China Sea and Telok Assam but here you need to climb through steep cliffs and dense vegetation which takes about 30 minutes.

The Telok Paku is by far the easiest trail and takes about an hour. You reach a secluded beach through forested cliffs. You are bound to see different species of monkeys like proboscis, langur or macaque as you trek along the trail.

Ulu Assam passes through swampy forest where monkeys are seen at times dangling or swinging from trees. Upon reaching the top of this trail, you are rewarded with views of the wonderful coastline of Bako. The best trail to spot proboscis monkey is at Telok Delima. If you want to have a view of the park’s boundary, opt for the Serait trail which takes about half an hour. Though not used frequently and somewhat secluded, it provides an excellent view of the rainforests.

So if you love nature, birds and animals the Bako National Park is one of the best places to go adventuring into.

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2 Responses to “Unforgettable Experience at Bako National Park”
  1. Wayne Monroe says:


    I’m glad to find this site interesting as am looking for information related to my upcoming trip to Kuching. Thanks for posting up the video. I enjoyed a lot. Now I have one question in mind. How much is this bako trip gonna cost me?

    Wayne. M

  2. Sandy Kang says:

    hello wayne,

    the cost for the whole trip per person is rm240 inclusive of 1 lunch.


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