Just an hour from Kuching lies Sarawak’s oldest national park, Bako. As well as being one of the oldest, it is also one of the smallest and most compact, with 27 square km of seven complete ecosystems including beach and cliff vegetation, heath, mangrove, pete and mixed dipterocarp forests and grasslands – almost every type of vegetation found in Borneo in one small area.
Mangroves fringe the coastline and rocky headlands lead to secluded beaches. It’s a beautiful place. You can trek all day along forest trails and in total there are 16 walks to reach various landmarks – such as the gorgeous Kubah Waterfall.
If it’s wildlife you’re looking to spot, you’d be mistaken for thinking that you need to venture off the beaten track – however, you’ll find most of the greedy critters near to the main campsite where tourists are prone to leaving scraps of food. Wildlife you can spot includes gibbons, (very cheeky) macaques, silver langurs, the funny looking probosci’s monkey or bearded pigs.
The favourite of tourists is often the endangered probosci’s monkey, the male having a huge pendulous nose and a large pot-belly. Both male and female are covered in reddish-brown fur with grey limbs and a white tail.
Bako National Park is 37km (or approximately 45 minutes) away from Kuching. From the city take Petra Jaya Bus No. 6 to Kampung Bako (Bako Village). From here, you can take a 30-minute boat ride to the Park Headquarters as well as registering your arrival and paying your entrance fee. The boat ride is an exhilarating journey through mangrove swampland to reach the isolated park.