Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bako National Park, Borneo

There were a number of travel agents advertising various trips to the Bako National Park for around 500 ringits (£100)  each. This included all travel, food and one nights accommodation in a basic lodge.  However on discovering that one could book the lodge separately at the National Park’s desk at the Information Centre in the Court House, we decided to make our own arrangements to get there and buy to food as we needed it.  As it turned out we did the overnight trip for just 150 ringits (£30)each, as we discovered that instead of a taxi we could catch a bus back to Kuching which cost just couple of ringits. 
On the 4th December we took a 40 mins taxi to the ferry dock to get a boat to the Park, which is situated on a peninsular at the mouth of the Sarawak River.  The park offers the chance to see native animals in wild.  At the ferry terminal we met a Dutch couple, also making their own way so we shared the cost of one of the small boats and a Guide between us.  As we approached the park and the open sea it was very choppy with the wind against tide, but the boat bounced off the waves at speed.

Sarawak River ferry dock to Bako National Park

Numerous trails at the Park
On arrival our first stop was at the Centre, a modern building with offices and a canteen.  We were able to leave our bags here before setting off with our Guide who initially took us on a path around the Centre where he pointed out some flying lemurs asleep in a tree and a green tree snake resting on a low bush
Our Guide

Flying Lemur

Green Tree Snake

The Bako National Park Centre

The trail, which took us a few hours to complete, initially led us along plank walks through the tidal mangroves and then along rocky, craggy tracks through the rainforest.  The park has many well-marked paths of varying lengths.  It was a very enjoyable trek made all the better because our Guide was able to point out all the flora around us.  He pointed out a wild bees nest –apparently these bees have no sting.
Alan on the trail

Small bees nest - only about 25cms long
However we didn’t see any animals on the trail, other than red crabs and mudskippers, until we returned to the path close to the centre.  Here we saw wild bearded pigs, macaque monkeys and the main attraction for me – the proboscis, or the long nosed monkey

Family of Bearded Pigs
Bearded Pig

Proboscis monkey

Alan had started to feel unwell on our trek and by the time we got back he was about all in!  We collected our bags and headed off to our accommodation
One of the chalets at Bako National Park

On approaching the chalet we were full of anticipation but the interior was very basic with torn lino on the floor and 2 small wooden beds – mine had a mattress with the springs poking out! There was no cooking facilities not even a kettle but there was a small, rusty fan attached to the ceiling. However when we arrived the electricity was off because they were working on the main power lines.  Alan collapsed on the bed feeling awful in the heat.  A couple of hours later the power was momentarily switched on again with a bang and one of the two overhead light bulbs fused!  It was another hour before it was finally turned on again.
The next morning Alan was still feeling poorly so we cut short our visit. As we left the views across the bay from Bako were stunning with the low clouds clinging to a small island and the macaque monkeys running across the beach.

Looking out from the Bako National Park Centre early morning

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