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The diversity of Bako National Park

North of Kuching, at a peninsula in the South China sea, Bako National Park is situated. It is the oldest national park in Sarawak, and offers a rainforest with lots of wildlife, high cliffs, jungle stream and waterfalls, interesting (carnivorous) plant life, trekking trails, and beaches. A lot to see and do in a limited area.

View over the sea and jungle from a cliff in Bako National Park

The bus ride to Bako National Park is an easy one, followed by a speedboat ride from Kampung Bako to the park headquarters. From there, we have to walk further to reach our sleeping cabins. But, we immediately get to see our first wildlife: a flying lemur is sleeping at the side of a tree. It is a strange animal, it looks like a squirrel without a tail but with a membrane between its legs for flying. A little later we also spot a silver leaf monkey in the trees, and squirrels, macaques, and wild pigs are continuously walking around between the wooden plankways between the cabins. It's a good start, although we are almost attacked by two macaques when we come too close to one of their young. We also see a macaque steeling a can of soda from a tourist on the terrace, and conclude that we have to watch out for these monkeys.

After checking in at our cabin, and having a meal at the cafeteria, we decide to walk one of the trails in the park. There are many of those, but they are all connected to a round trip that passes all the different types of forest in the park. We decide to follow that trail today.

Hiking trail

we spot a Proboscis monkey through the treesThe Lintang trail starts with a walk way through the mangrove. Then it's up through the cliff vegetation. It doesn't take long before we hear the crushing sound, typical for the proboscis monkeys jumping from one tree to another. First, we can't see them, but when we arrive at a viewing point, we see a large male through the trees. We spy on him for a while, and see how he feeds from the leafs of the trees.

The path moves on up and ends at more or less flat terrain above the cliffs. The vegetation here is very dry and it's very hot here. We fasten our pace since we don't expect to see much wildlife here, and arrive in a more secluded area. There we have to ascend and descend again, but we also approach the water again, the favourite terrain for the proboscis monkeys. So we continue slowly, listening and watching in the trees as we hear a crushing sound. Exciting to search for wildlife this way, especially when you're successful. Close to the headquarters again, we also see some wild pigs from up close, and we wonder who startled the most, us or the pigs.

Restless Night

The night in Bako National Park is a restless one. Jungle noises and mosquitoes of course, but on top of that there is no electricity from midnight till 6 AM, so there is no fan and the heat and humidity are tremendous.

Carnivorous Pitcher PlantsOur second day in the park we decide to follow a trail to one of the beaches. We move through the dry terrain again, and branch off to an area where pitcher plants grow. These are carnivorous plants, although they don't seem to fancy our fingers. The trail leads us to the cliffs, with a beautiful view over the sea. From there, we climb down to the beach, until we have to stop for an enormous scorpion, passing where we would have descended to. A magnificent animal, but very dangerous, and we were lucky to see it before stepping on it. We arrive at a lovely beach, where we take a swim and start sunbathing, until we notice the sand flies, so we're off again.

Back at the headquarters we enjoyed the wildlife that lingered in the park. And at dawn, we went to the jungle to spot some more proboscis monkeys. We also notice a large group of silver leaf monkeys, so we go back satisfied with what we saw.

Bako National Park is a great place for easy wildlife spotting. Easy trails to bring you close to the animals, and even the possibility to spot them without leaving the headquarters. It comes with the inconveniences of the jungle, though: heat, humidity, mosquitoes and other biting bugs.

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