When I came back to the park headquarters after visiting Telok Pandan kecil, the tide started coming in at the mangrove forest along with a large number of Proboscis Monkeys. I managed to get this photo of a mother and her child clinging to her, so this is an excellent area to view them.
The one and a half hour trek to Telok Pandan kecil is one of Bako's most popular. It ascends the forested hills overlooking Telok Assam, reaching the plateau covered in scrub vegetation and continues along a sandy path lined with carnivorous pitcher plants before reaching a cliff top with stunning view of the secluded bay below the famous sea stack just offshore.
There are seven complete ecosystems which include beach flora, cliff vegetation, heath or kerangas forest, mangrove forest, mixed dipterocarp forest, grassland vegetation and peat swamp. Among the flora in Bako includes many species of carnivorous plants such as pitcher plants, sundews and bladderworts.
If you're heading towards Telok Pandan kecil and the Sea Stack, the first thing you'll come to is Telok Assam - the mangrove forest. You walk above the forest floor on raised walkways and when I came back to the park headquarters after visiting Telok Pandan kecil, the tide started coming in along with a large number of Proboscis Monkeys, so this is an excellent area to view them.
If you come to Bako National Park, you can't not take in a jungle trek. Unfortunately, I managed to bruise my toe after slipping on the mud when we had to walk across the water after our boat from Bako ran aground and so I couldn't do much in the way of any trekking. As it happened, I did manage (albeit rather painfully) to do the trek to Telok Pandan Kecil to see the sea stack but a friend of mine did the longer circular Jalan Lintang route which they did in about 3-4 hours. We only visited the park for a day-trip but got a very good taste and feel about it. The first part of the trek is uphill and a little tricky in places as you have to walk over tree roots. I've listed the different trekking trails here:
1) Tanjung Sapi (0.5km, approx 0.5 hr walking)
2) Telok Paku (0.8km, approx 1 hr walking)
3) Ulu Assam (0.8km, approx 1.5 hr walking)
4) Telok Delima (0.25km, approx 1 hr walking)
5) Serait (1.25km, approx 1.5 hr walking)
6) Telok Pandan Kecil (1.5km, approx 1.5 hr walking)
7) Telok Pandan Besar (0.75km, approx 1 hr walking)
8) Tajor (2.75km, approx 2.5 hr walking)
9) Tanjung Rhu (1.8km, approx 2.5 hr walking)
10) Ulu Serait (2.75km, approx 3 hr walking)
11) Bukit Gondol (2km, approx 4.5 hr walking
12) Paya Jelutong (0.8km, approx 1 hr walking)
13) Bukit Keruing (2.25km, approx 3.5 hr walking)
14) Telok Sibur (0.8km, approx 3.5 hr walking
15) Telok Limau (5.75km, approx 7 hr walking)
16) Telok Keruin (0.8km, approx 1 hr walking)
When you step off the bus from Kuching you'll find the river in front of you plus the some fishing village of Bako. Bako is a few kilometres south of the Bako National Park headquarters which you can reach by taking a boat. Bako itself only features a few dozen stilt houses and a mosque on a small hill.
Bako National Park is the oldest national park in Sarawak (established back in 1957) and is located at the tip of the Muara Tebas peninsula, which is at the mouth of the Bako and Kuching Rivers, about 25km NE of Kuching. It is characterised by steep coastal cliffs and rocky headlands punctuated by sandy bays. The result of millions of years of erosion has carved fantastic rock formations, sea arches and sea stacks which are coloured with iron deposits.
Covering an area of only 27 square kilometres, Bako is the smallest of Sarawak's national parks. Yet even with its diminutive size, it harbours a myriad variety of wildlife. There are 16 walking trails, all colour coded for easy identification that allow visitors a truly wonderful experience as they explore Bako.
There are seven complete ecosystems which include beach flora, cliff vegetation, heath or kerangas forest, mangrove forest, mixed dipterocarp forest, grassland vegetation and peat swamp. Among the flora in Bako includes many species of carnivorous plants such as pitcher plants, sundews and bladderworts. There are many types of animals at Bako. Perhaps the most distinctive is the proboscis monkey (which I saw plenty of running away from the sea when the tide was coming in), endemic to Borneo. There are presently only about 150 of them in Bako. Other animals include long-tailed macaques, monitor lizards, Bornean bearded pigs, silvered langur, otters, lizards, snakes, flyer lemur, pangolin, mouse deer, bats, tarsier, slow loris, civet cats, and over 150 species of birds.
Take a look at my transportation tips about how to get here from Kuching.
It is a very nice beach that you can swim. It is about 1.5 hours trek (2.5km) from Park's HQ. But only to the top of the mountain, not the beach. This beach is nicer than Panda Besar, which can't swaim nor access. You can get here by longboat.
Bako's extensive trail system is made up of 16 colour-coded jungle trails which offer a range of walking and hiking options. The fit and adventures can opt for full-day jungle hikes or overnight camping expeditions, whilst those who prefer to take it easy can opt for a relaxing forest walk.
Once you arrive the park headquarters, you will see a Map of treks and trails in Bako. In facts, all teh trails in the park are well marked with colors. For day trippers, ther are not much choices as you arrive at about 9-10am the earliest, then you have to return by 4pm so that you can catch the 5pm last bus back to Kuching.
Lintang circuit trail, which is about 4 hours from park's HQ back to HQ is the best route for day trippers. If you can afford to charter a longboat, you may additionally visit T Pandan Kecil, which has a very nice beach.
I stayed there for 2 nights so I could do a couple pof trails enjoy the best of the Bako national park.
We went in November and stayed in the park overnight. Although the accomodation was fairly basic the wildlife was spectacular including the proboscis monkey, monitor lizards, snakes to name a few. If possible try to spend a day or two here and stay in the park.
There are some good easy to follow trails and it is worth to doing a trail by day and by night. We had a guide and seemed to see alot more than some of the others.
There are some nice beaches at the ends of the trails as well.
To get to the park take a boat from Kampung Bako.
"Bako has a number of good, well-marked visitor trails (and maps at all junctions)." Well, that is what my travel guide says. Still, we got lost at some point, it must be the scorching sun causing us to lose our direction. A very nice lady from UK, who was trekking with us managed to find the trail and led us back to the right path. One of the trail extends over the sandstone plateau but beginning and ending in better forest near the sea. The coastline, north of Teluk Assam in particular, wave action has sculptured the richly coloured rock into bizzare shapes. Also, along the trail, pitcher plant are scattered all over the place.
Much to my surprise, Bako has some really nice beaches, though the sand is not as soft and sandy as those I had seen on the islands along the Peninsular. Still, it's nice. And you can get a good view of Santubong Park.
Many birds use these rocks as a base to build their nests.
Hard to believe, but bird nests are very appreciated in the Chinese cuisine, and Borneo provides a large number of this exquisite ingredient.
There are several well signaled hiking paths across the rainforest that will let you discover the biodiverstity that this extremely rich habitat host.
But beware of giant spiders that wait for preys on their webs exactly over these hiking paths.
Pitcher plants or Nephentes are frequent on the plateau of the National Park. There are a lot of different species, so a guided visit is very recommendable in order to recognise as many of them as possible and to get explanations about their specifities and feeding habits.