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Bako National Park

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Malaysia : Sarawak : Bako National Park
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Proboscis monkey

Bako National Park [1] on the island of Borneo, is in Sarawak, a state in East Malaysia, and is home to the bizarre, obscene-nosed proboscis monkey. It is well worth a visit if you are in the area.

Understand

History

Landscape

Flora and fauna

Its beautifully dense rainforests and stunning beaches are home to many flora and fauna including the rare proboscis monkey. Try and spot them during low tide as they forage in the exposed Mangrove tree swamps. There are 16 color-coded jungle trails as well as lodges for overnight stays - which you have to book early. On the high ground, look out for pitcher plants. And beware of the monkeys, they are very clever and compulsive thieves!(don't forget to spot the boar!)

Pitcher plant

Climate

Bako enjoy a sunny weather throughout the year, but from late November to late January, the monsoon rain may spoilt plan for an outdoor outing. The hottest months are usually from June to late August, when the tribal farmer do their slash-and-burn land clearing before planting their padi, this has been blamed for the haze that envelop the regions and may cause health hazard. But since the government of both Malaysia and Indonesia had "ban" open burning, incidents of haze had been reduced somewhat.

Get in

A bus ride from Kuching to Bako Market takes about 45-60 minutes and costs 2 MYR each way. Buses leave to/from Bako about once every hour starting from about 7AM from Kuching and finishing about 6PM from Bako, but the schedule is not firm. You can get a daily schedule at the bus station 1 in Kuching (near the mosque) in the morning.

When you arrive at the Bako Market purchase your entrance ticket (10 MYR for adults for one entry). Then, board the boat to the park headquarters down the river estuary (~30 minute ride, 47 MYR per boat each way, max. 5 passengers per boat). Tell your boatman when you plan to return and he'll wait for you at the dock. Departure times might depend on the tides (boats do get stuck at low tide).

Fees/Permits

As of July 2008:

Adult single-entry: 10 MYR Child/Senior single-entry: 5 MYR

Rates for lodging vary considerably depending on level of luxury. Check in advance at the National Park information center in Kuching for availability.

Get around

See

A wide range of animal, bird and plant life including the Proboscis monkey which come to the mangrove swamp to feed early evening. It's close to the lodging area where covered sheds are built, go there around 4PM, take a book and wait till they come. Seeing Proboscis and other species here is a lot easier and more comfortable than going on a safari. You just walk along an elevated wooden pathway, perhaps 10 minutes from where the boats land.

You can also see the seastacks and a lots more.

Nighttime sightseeing hikes are sometimes led by park staff, and are also easier and more comfortable than ones done on a safari.

The seastacks

Do

Walks radiate from the centre offering a variety of difficulties in the heat and humidity and provide access to the habitats of the wide range of animal, bird and plant life in the park. The hikes are over some pretty rugged terrain for the most part, with lots of exposed tree roots and vegetation sometimes blocking trails that are less frequented.

With a little negotiation, a boatman will take you to nearby Palau Lakai, a small island just off the mainland. The views on the way here are spectacular and it's special to have an island to yourself for a day.

Buy

Eat

There is a local cafeteria that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner for about MYR$5.00-7.00. There are no cooking facilities within the lodges.

Drink

The cafeteria has a variety of drinks including beer and soda.

Sleep

Lodging

At the National park headquarters where there are bungalows for hire as a couple of nights stay are recommended if you have the time. 4-bed dorm with shared bathroom RM15,75; rooms from RM42,-. Accomodation can be stuffy and may have some mold growing on the ceilings.

Camping

Backcountry

Stay safe

Saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) may be found near river mouths and in mangrove swamps.

Get out

Also try to visit the Sepilok Orang-utan sanctuary, and help preserve these amazing creatures by supportying the wonderful efforts being made there to re-introduce abandoned and orphaned Orang-utans back into their natural habit. Make sure to check opening times and bus connections prior to visiting.

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