Monkey Business!

Trip Start Oct 13, 2010
Trip End Feb 22, 2012

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Flag of Malaysia  , Sarawak,
Thursday, April 28, 2011

After two days in Kuching, I went to visit the Bako National Park. It's one hour away from Kuching by public bus (costing around RM3) but only reachable by boat - boatmen are waiting at the bus terminal. The cost of the boat trip is by boat, so I found some other tourists to share the ride with. First impressions were that this place is really beautiful - the boat docks in the mangroves, trees that are sumberged in clear turquoise water, and all around is thick jungle. I had booked a bed in the hostel style accommodation, four beds in one dorm. Monkeys were guarding the room and the entrance to the bathroom! These monkeys can be vicious and steal your things so beware!!

After lunch I went on a hike to the beach with the same people I shared the boat with. We had just started the walk when we came across a Probiscus monkey sitting right by the path, in the mangroves. The Probiscus monkey is the reason I came to Bako - it only lives here in Borneo, and it is one weird looking monkey!! It has a big floppy nose and ridiculously long arms. We were so lucky to be able to watch him at such close proximity, as he picked and ate plants at lightening speed. Absolutely gorgeous! It was a beautiful hike though all kinds of terrain - jungle paths, scrambling over roots of trees, boardwalks over the mangroves, sand and rocks, ending up on the cliffs overlooking a tiny little beach. But soooo hot and humid! We climbed down and enjoyed the beach for a while but the huge jellyfish put me off swimming! On the way back I was all alone when a pretty green snake literally crossed my path, so fast I barely saw it. I saw another in the trees outside the canteen, along with a gigantic lizard of some kind that looked like a dinosaur, but moved before I could get a photo.

The only bad thing about Bako was the canteen food, where everyone has to eat. I have heard that they have just moved to a new canteen with better food but when I was there they served up the same lukewarm rice and noodles and stale cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner, every day, no exaggeration.

The next morning before I got up early to see the Probiscus monkeys as they hang out around Park HQ and in the mangroves before it gets too hot, foraging for food and swinging from the trees :) I also came face to face with the other creature of Bako - the Bearded Pig who likes to wander around camp!!

In my dorm I met another girl from England called Marianne! Despite the face neither of us really liked the fact that someone else had our name, we travelled back to Kuching together and spent a fun evening at the huge Weekend Market, where we sampled all kinds of sweet treats. I really enjoyed these two days - Bako National Park is a fantastic place, well organised with easy to follow trails and the amazing fact that if you stay the night you're pretty much guaranteed to spot the rare Probiscus monkey which makes it all worthwhile.
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