Bako national park

Trip Start Oct 03, 2012
Trip End Nov 28, 2013

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Flag of Malaysia  , Sarawak,
Friday, June 7, 2013

Bako National Park isn't an island off of Borneo but may as well be one. It is a peninsula facing the South China Sea and cut off from the rest of Borneo by extremely dense, impassable and diverse jungle. Bako National Park is unique in Borneo and the World for hosting an unusually diverse number of ecosystems, wildlife and geology.

You can't come to Kuching or Borneo without visiting this strange place and it has been on our hit list before arriving in Borneo. Off the back of our recent bout of activity with Longhouses, Orang-gutans and Fairy caves we pulled together a group of 'the like-minded' from our hostel 'to do' Bako!

Going to Bako in a group has its distinct advantages for the well informed and we invoked our 'group privilege' after arriving on the 8am local bus from Kuching at the port entrance to Bako. The locals take you by speed boat around the coast to the National Park Centre situated on a large rather picturesque beach and takes about 30 minutes. There's no access via road or air!

Confusion and mis-understanding is the order of the day and is how profit is probably made here (off of the poor tourists). You can only be taken in groups of 6 by a designated boat and local boatman to Bako (which is fair enough). You could safely get 3 times more passengers in to each boat and the reason for the small number is all because of safety apparently. (There was no mention of any lifejackets...) Upon return you and exactly the same configuration of passengers, boat and boatman must arrive back at the port. If plans change and you decide to stay longer you must pay for a full journey back on a new boat, and make sure you are travelling with more than just yourself so that the (mounting) cost can be split. For the unplanned you'll be rinsed of your cash before you know it, as well as being penalised for wanting to stay longer or leaving earlier. Guys on a daytrip to Bako and travelling alone need to have a fat wallet if they can't get into a group. Anyhoo that's 'the system' and there's no choice (on top of the standard and well advertised difference in Tourist and Malaysian admission costs - we must always pay double or more!).

Gripe over.

What a morning though! Blue skies and searing sun. We landed at the beach and jumped into the shallow surf to check-in at the park office. The place was amazing - the beach is long curved and deserted and the jungle rises up from the beach on all sides - this is pretty much paradise on a stick! Greeting us around the Bako centre and on the beach were those cheeky little Macca's. They were scoping out everyone's bags for a sign of weakness, something shiny or food...they're quick and audacious!

Our dorms weren't available until 2pm so exploration was the order of the day and we all got cracking.

It's very hot and close to 100%252525 humidity even that early in the morning - so you can imagine that a hike will take its toll to the non-initiated. The views over Besar were totally stunning though looking out upon the China Sea and the volcanic terrain mixed with dense jungle.

The small cove called Kecil we eventually got to was too tempting and we descended to take a dip and take shelter from the searing heat of the sun.
On our return beaten some what by the heat we got our first glimpse of the elusive Probiscus monkey. Yep not only a really big nose but these guys sport a full on male erection all of the time - Nature can be cruel.

Not wanting to finish early and waste an opportunity we booked-in on the night walk into the jungle. Wow! The wildlife had come out to play - this is what we were lucky enough to see on just a 90 minute walk into the surrounding jungle (on top of that we had a massive thunder and lightning storm happening too - not for the faint hearted):

Scorpion (the one that glows...)
Flying lemur
Green viper snake
Giant stick insects
Hissing beetle
Green bark frog (poisonous)
Non stinging bees
Giant grasshopper
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