The Treasures of Bako National Park

Trip Start Aug 02, 2007
Trip End Aug 12, 2007

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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Sunday, August 5, 2007

This haven for nature lovers is only a 1-hr bus ride from Kuching on public transport (I think it's the yellow bus 6A) to Kampong Bako, a quiant little village where boats depart frequently for Bako National Park HQ.. The RM47 boat ride is not cheap if there's only 2 of you but fortunately, there were 2 other couples so there was a different pricing (RM9 per person).. A pleasant 20min boat ride allowed us to take in the views of the distant Mount Santubong as well as a preview of the cliffs and mangroves of Bako before we disembarked at Telok Assam, a good 5min walk to the park HQ due to the low tide..

Tanjong Sapi - 0.5km (30min) 
After a quick registration at the reception, we deposited our bags at the luggage deposit (it was too early for the 2pm room check-in) and set off for a short hike to Tanjong Sapi.. Wah! Though it's the shortest trail, it's probably one of the steepest.. we were literally climbing the entire hike.. up, up and upper! I doubt I was mentally prepared for such a strenuous climb (I thought it was nice and casual like Macritchie) but I think the older Imp had it worse.. hee.. The end point had a nice little shelther with a breathtaking view of Telok Assam where we also took a break catch our breath (get the pun? haha)

Park HQ (Chalet B) - 0.1km (2min) 
I share the same sentiments of the Bako accommodation with many other travellers - TERRIBLE! Ok la, the rooms were not that bad considering the price paid though a little run down and the bedsheets didn't seem very clean, but the toilets and kitchen facilities were simply abominable! Very poorly maintained and everything seemed very dirty.. yuck yuck! I hope the park authorities do something about this!

Park HQ (Canteen) - 0.04km (a few seconds)
I dunno why some travel guides say the food here is cheap.. maybe it is for European standards but definitely not in Malaysia! And the food was nothing to rave about.. Even the bottled water sold was of the reversed-osomosis kind, which Imp complained tasted weird.. unfortunately, they are the source of food in the vicinty so it's either forking out the cash for bad food or starving.. unless you want to bbq the resident family of bearded pigs that often makes an appearance at the Park HQ (though I highly do NOT recommend it)

Telok Pandan Kecil - 1.5km (1.5hrs)
This trail takes us over a whole range of vegetation types, from the mangroves at the far end of Telok Assam, through tropical rainforest, across dry scrub vegetation atop a plateau, traversing even more scrub vegetation with the occassional pitcher plant dried up by the intense heat before reaching a cliff overlooking the lovely Telok Pandan Kecil.. if only it wasn't so darn hot, the hike would have been so much more enjoyable! Bad Imp was too hot and tired to climb down to join other hikers frolicking at the beach below so we just made do with the beautiful scenery from above before making our 1.5hr journey back to park HQ..

Telok Assam - 0.1km (0.5min)
Evening was spent just strolling along Telok Assam.. enjoying the sunset and taking pics of the occassional poor hermit crab that ended up in the bad Imp's clutches.. very nice indeed! It would have been better if we could have gone swimming but the receptionist warned that it was jellyfish season, i.e. swimming not recommended.. Furthermore, the hundreds of friends / relatives of Imp's 'tortured' hermit crabs might avenge them the moment we hit the water so we just stayed on land till it was time to head back to the canteen for bad food.. *shudder*

Telok Paku - 0.8km (1hr) 
To avoid the afternoon heat, we departed for the Telok Paku trail early the next morning.. the reward was not only a cooler and more pleasant trek with many silly photos but a glimpse of dozens of mudskippers skipping about in the morning high tide at Telok Asam mangrove.. we must have grown fitter cos the journey seemed much faster than 1hr before we arrived at the little deserted cove beach.. Once again, no swimming, only appreciation of the natural beauty that surrounds us.. 


And that brings us to the close of Bako National Park trip.. :)
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