Bako National Park

While talking with our hostel owner Wes in Kuching we mentioned that we might look at Bako National park whilst in the area. Wes suggested that we might want to stay the night there as the wildlife generally sleeps during the heat of the day and that morning and evening was the best time to get the most out of the island, and that he would waive that nights accommodation and seeing that a stay in the park was around the same price we decided to do just that. After a bus ride we were at the jetty waiting for a boat to take us the 20 minute journey up river and around a few bays to the entrance to national park. An elderly gentleman explained to us that once we got out of the river the ocean was rough today and there were big swells - after looking at our small boat we nervously agreed. At first sight of these swells our nervousness was justified, they must have been 2 metres high and breaking. After our expert skipper navigated the first few by slowing the boat down or turning us sideways we knew he had a lot of experience on these waters and sure enough he got us there in one piece and with only a few splashes making it on board.

captain

After making our way to the headquarters we paid our nights accommodation and headed for our room. On our way someone mentioned “careful, monkeys like plastic bags” and sure enough by the time we got to the accommodation building we had a small gathering of macaque monkeys following us. After a short trail walk we had dinner, watched the sunset and went to bed, the heat and humidity of a rain forest had taken it out of us and by 9pm we were asleep.

sunset

The next morning enjoyed some breakfast looking over the beach whilst we decided on which trail to take. We settled on the lintang trail (5.25km) as it was a loop and covered a lot of different terrain. Shortly after we were off armed with a camera and 3 litres of water. Along the trail we saw the rare proboscis monkey hunting for shellfish at low tide.

monkey

After that we headed into the dense forest. The humidity was intense you could feel it on your clothes and skin within minutes. At first we thought we had bitten off more than we could chew; as the day went on it got hotter and hotter, we soon realised that we were going to have to watch how much water we had on hand. The trail itself was beautiful with flora that had exploded no doubt due to the perfect glass house like conditions, and the sounds of the fauna all around us, the birds, the crickets and now and then the sound of monkeys breaking branches as they moved about.

forest pond

On the trail itself we saw some fauna including bearded pigs, giant ants, countless flying creatures and the biggest spider I have ever seen in my life, which had created a giant web right next to the walking path.

spider pig

Much to our delight we had made it out of the trail and headed directly to the canteen to get lunch and more water, after lunch we had a few hours to kill before the boat so we decided to re-hydrate and relax under the cool fans of the canteen while looking out at the beach. Before we left I decided to take a little walk along the beach and found some monkeys hiding in the shade of the trees eating fruit.

monkey monkey

After we got to the jetty and our skipper from the day before was there to meet us even though the swells were just as big as the day before our expert navigator kept the speed just right so we rode the waves in without any issues.