Bako National Park attractive sandstone formations appear as pink and iron patterns on the cliff faces. Further inland, waterfalls tumble down into freshwater pools in a tranquil and idyllic jungle setting.
Sarawak’s oldest national Park was established in 1957 on a 2,728 hectare site, about 37km from Kuching. It is known for extraordinary variety and contrast in its natural scenery, habitats, plant life and its wildlife. Its most significant features include secluded coves and rugged rocky headlands with magnificent steep cliffs carved by weathering and erosion over millions of years. The sea spray, wave action and the wind have also carved out magnificent sea arches and sea stacks at the base of the cliffs, some rearing above the waves like a mighty serpent’s head.
FLORA & FAUNA
The lush vegetation represents 7 ecosystems ranging from the mixed dipterocarp forests of the lowlands to the desert-like scrub of the plateau. A common plant found in abundance is the Dischidea rafflesiana, a slender climber bearing both typical leaves and special expanded hollow leaves. Ants reside within these hollow leaves and leave their excreta as nutrients for the plant, perhaps in exchange for lodging! Others include sundew, bladderwort and the notoriously carnivorous pitcher plant. The Proboscis monkey (Orang Belanda) unique to the Borneo riverine forests is significantly present here. Easily distinguished by its enormous cucumber like nose, it is not uncommon to find the male of the species lording it over a harem of some ten mates or so! The silver langur with the punk-like hairdo are very shy primates, feeding primarily on leaves. Their young are easily distinguished by their bright orange colour. Other in habitants of the park include the long-tailed macaques, bearded pigs, leopard cats and giant lizards such as the tree monitor, water monitor and the attractively marked skinks.
PLANNING AN ITINERARY
There is so much you can see and do within this park.
- If birds are your “cup of tea”, try a spot of bird watching. A suitable place is Teluk Assam. With over 50 varieties reportedly residing within the park, you are bound to be able to observe the antics of a few.
- Go on night walks and you just might be lucky enough to spot a few nocturnal creatures as they come out to forage for food. That is if you are quiet enough and not be so indiscreet as to let your presence be known! Watch out for flying lemurs, mousedeer, civets and bats. It might be easier to croaking’s and also the equally uninhabited cicadas.
- There are also clearly marked jungle trails in a system covering some 19 miles throughout the park. This take you through the lowland forests and up the hills for fantastic views of the headland, bays and beaches below. This is a good opportunity for a close observation of the different species of vegetation. Check out how the tree roots do their bit towards checking erosion from the heavy rainfall!
- Trek up to the Tajor waterfalls for a leisurely picnic amidst the roar of the waterfalls and then take a dip in the irresistibly inviting cool clear waters. The trail ends with a steep descent to the beach.
- Get away from the usual crowd and camp at picturesque Teluk Limau. Then proceed to explore Teluk Keruing with its marvelously secluded freshwater pond – a heaven in the wilderness.
Park accommodation comprises two-bedroom chalets (three beds per room), two-bedroom lodges (two beds per room), four-bedroom hostels (four beds per room) and a well-fenced camping ground.There is a possibility that you may have to share the room with other people. If you wish to camp, please bring along your own tents.
Usually visited as a day trip destination, Bako National Park is about 37km by road from Kuching, Sarawak,s capital. From Kuching, it is a 45-minute ride by taxi or a Petra Jaya Bus (No. 6) to Kampung Bako.From here, the park is reached by a 30-minute boat ride from Kampong Bako Terminal. The National Parks Booking Office in Kuching issues permits and accepts accommodation reservations.