Bako National Park is one of Borneo’s oldest National Parks. It is easy accessible and one of the best places to spot the endangered proboscis monkeys. Another unique thing about Bako, is that you can find 7 complete ecosystems here. But to be honest, we didn’t really care about that. We just wanted to do some hiking and see the proboscis monkeys!
From Kuching we took bus number 1 at 9 am which cost 3,5 Ringgit per person. This bus dropped us at the harbor from were small boats for 4-6 persons bring you to the Head Quarters of Bako National Park. A one way boat trip of 15 minutes will set you back 20 Ringgit per person. Which cost the same as an entrance ticket.
When you want to stay the night in the National Park, you have to book your accommodation upfront. You can do this online. There are different choices and of course, we choose the most cheap option. We slept in the dorm, for 2 nights. This was the first time we did this, and it wasn’t really that bad. It only costs 15 Ringgit p.p.p.n. so our expectations were low. And that was good because it’s all really basic. The rooms have 4 beds and 2 fans and it is hot! There are 2 toilets en 2 showers for 4 rooms (16 beds) but it works. Even though the beds aren’t really that good, you will probably will have no difficulties falling asleep after a long hot day of walking around in the National Park.
For food you can go to the headquarters. There is a restaurant there, and the food isn’t that bad. It’s the same, 3 times a day but it’s oké. Just bring some extra snacks and you’ll be fine. But do watch out in the morning when eating breakfast. The cheeky macaques stole our bread! And they did the same with our tuna and crackers when we were eating them outside our room. After that we just ran away from them, cheeky basterds!
Be prepared to walk a lot, to sweat even more and to really enjoy the nature and the animals at the National Park. Even though there are some beaches that are easy accessible, swimming wasn’t recommended because a crocodile was spotted. We’ve heard that it was a year ago so swimming should be save but you don’t want to be that person that didn’t listen and got bitten by a croq.. We did several walks and trail number 6 was our favorite. The walk is nice, it is not to difficult and the view you get at the end is truly amazing. Don’t expect to see a lot of animals around the paths, at least we didn’t see a lot of them. We only saw some proboscis monkeys from a distance at walk number 1 but to see the animals, you just need to stay close to the bungalows and the headquarters. And that is not because of the food there. Well the macaques are there for that reason, but the others aren’t. At least, not for our food.
We saw a big group of silver leaf monkeys, some with babies. We just sat down and watched them. Right next to the head quarters, hanging in a tree, we spotted the green viper. These snakes are really poisonous even though they look quite harmless. And they are really beautiful. The bearded pigs walking around are funny to see and they scare away the macaques so keep them as a friend! In the beginning we were wandering why there was a pile of tiles next to the headquarters but after seeing the pigs we realized this used to be a path.
But the most amazing en beautiful encounter was the one with a big male proboscis monkey. He was sitting next to the beach, under or really low in the trees, eating. We were able to get up close to about 3 meters. Really awesome. These animals are so weird and because of that really beautiful. We told before that their nickname is Dutch Monkey because of the nose and the belly (not a big compliment) but they do move like humans. It wouldn’t surprise us if a zipper openend up and a human came out of a costume. While sitting almost next to him, he moved every now and then to a new spot to keep on eating and he wasn’t bothered or impressed by us at all. A really special moment, which was finished with a beautiful sunset!