Bako, Home of the Proboscis Monkey

Trip Start Feb 23, 2006
Trip End Jun 24, 2009

Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
Where I stayed
Bako National Park HQ

Flag of Malaysia  ,
Sunday, July 20, 2008

I'm sitting in Bako National Park right now. Although it has been pissing down rain for the last couple days and the trails are a mess, it difficult to really complain about it raining while visiting a rainforest. It wouldn't be a problem except that I don't have the proper shoes for the venue. For the first time in a long time, I wish I had my waterproof boots for this trip through the oldest rainforests in the world. My $5 Big W shoes aren't even water resistant much less waterproof. They don't even have laces so I'm sliding all around in them as I try to dodge the puddles and streams running down what were once the trails. But even staying out of the water doesn't do much good for keeping you dry when it's pissing down rain to begin with. I decided it was best to put on my board shorts and quick dry shirt and not worry about getting wet. It was still raining pretty hard when we got to the beach, but about 10 minutes later, it cleared up and the sun came out. All of a sudden there were monkeys jumping around everywhere! There were a couple guys sitting out the rain squall in the shelter that had given up on seeing any monkeys when I spotted a proboscis monkey in the trees. Then there was another and another 'til the jungle was just teeming with monkeys leaping from tree to tree with no fear at all. Then I saw one that seemed to have a lot of problems making the jump from one tree to the next. He must have sat in the tree for 5 minutes contemplating the jump before he got up the nerve to do it. The chicken monkey was great because normally they are too fast to capture, but this one sat in a clearing between 2 trees so I could get a few photos of him and video his leap of faith. Of course, it's still at quite a distance so that the pictures and video are not that great in quality.

Up close, these monkeys look a bit strange. They have 2 prominent features, a long protruding nose (proboscis) and a permanent woody. I'm glad we got a chance to see them because it was the main reason I came here to Bako National Park. Later in the afternoon, we spotted a large male proboscis near the pier and tracked him all the way back to HQ. I haven't looked at my pics yet, but I think I got some better shots of this one as he was a lot closer. This guy was definitely camera shy though because he kept turning his back to us and always managed to move just before I got a clear shot of his proboscises or is that proboscii?

The one thing you have to be careful of is the Macaque monkeys. These are a particularly cheeky bunch of monkeys and they have no qualms about relieving you of any of your food. One monkey smelled Doritos in a backpack and just sauntered into the HQ, opened the backpack, took out an open bag of Doritos and ran off spilling them everywhere. Another guy saw a chocolate muffin sitting in front of a girl and jumped up right passed me trying to take a picture of him, grabbed the muffin and sped off into the jungle. They are hilarious until they come after your food. They walk in all casual until they are within striking distance and quickly relieve you of whatever you have. Trust me their striking distance is a lot farther than you would think. When we ordered chicken wings, C and I had to take up opposing positions in order to fight off their 10 pronged attack. I had to backhand one that got too close. Don't mess with my Chicken wings!

On our second day, we did a circular trail around the park that took about 4 hours. It's not that long of a walk, but the trails were in such bad condition that I had to slowly pick each step along the way. C kept saying things like, "so far it seems pretty dry" just before we ran into a swamp like trail. and "there aren't very many people on this trail today" just before we ran into a very loud group of Dutch tourists that just stood all over the lookout blocking the view until I had to excuse myself to take a picture. I'm not sure she has that concept of Jinxing things. After awhile, I think she might have been doing it on purpose. I'm like why don't you just say, "hey, we haven't broken any bones yet". I wanted to take a trail through the mangroves, but my Spidey senses started tingling and we turned back short of the bay. Apparently, they lose a tourist or two every year to crocodiles, but no one felt the need to warn us of that little tidbit of information.

Strangely enough, we had been warned that the food was pretty bad. They weren't kidding. The food here at the Kerangas Cafe pretty much sucks, but at least you don't have to pack all your food in and out by yourselves. They have 4 bed dorms that you can book out for 42RM or 15.75RM/bed. C had booked a bed, but I just showed up and waited for a cancellation. Apparently, someone booked out a whole room and didn't show up because C and I got the room all to ourselves both nights. The bathrooms are not too nice especially since the power was down all the first day. I didn't really have much of a complaint, but we met a couple families from Calgary that had to leave because their children refused to stay there. Spoiled kids, how are they going to go backpacking when get get older? So tonight, we have the entire hostel to ourselves (4 rooms, 16 beds). It's pretty shocking especially when you consider that I couldn't get a booking for even 1 bed. I had planned to stay here for about a week, but with the weather being as bad as it has been, I'll probably leave tomorrow. Unless you are planning on trekking all the way to the far side of the park, Teluk Limau, you really only need to stay 1 night and you can see much of the park's best trails. I had planned to trek out to Teluk Limau and then catch a boat to Pulau Lakei to stay on the island, but they told me the accommodation won't be finished until later this year or next year. So I already have a reason to come back to Borneo.
Slideshow Report as Spam
  • Your comment has been posted. Click here or reload this page to see it below.

  • Please enter a comment.
  • Please provide your name.
  • Please avoid using symbols in your name.
  • This name is a bit long. Please shorten it, or avoid special characters.
  • Please enter your email address to receive notification
  • Please enter a valid email address


rcys on

Sorry sweetheart, my pictures can only be as good as the source material I start with. Don't worry scruffy face, I still love ya.

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: