Bako National Park is on the island of Borneo in a part of Malaysia called Sarawak. It was exactly what your image Borneo to be: Dense, full of flora and fauna and exciting.
Imagine a beautiful beach, white sands and blue water and now imagine a forest next to it. Bako National Park will surprise you at every turn. I have never enjoyed a National Park trek this much. We experienced Bako by Hiking through the carpet of roots in the dense forest.
Reaching Bako National Park
To reach Bako, we drove to a port which is 20 minutes from the main city of Kuching. This area is known to have a lot of crocodiles. There are multiple boards which talk about the crocodile’s favourite food; human meat. We rarely come across things that can happily eat humans and these are one of them. This river is infested with crocodiles. Don’t judge Bako by the state of the port. It’s underwhelming and unorganized.
To preserve Bako National Park, the authority did not build a roadway to Bako and, hence, the only way to get there is by boat or by a really long trek. We had to get a permit, pay the entrance fee and hire a local guide. All within 15 minutes, we along with our guide took the boat in a muddy looking river which joined the ocean soon. The whole area is an ecological education centre for scientists from across the globe, due to the rich diversity of distinct flora and fauna.
Limestone ‘Serpent Rock’
After 30 minutes on the boat, we started seeing stunning beaches on our right. Some of them rocky and some of them were clean and pristine with white sands and dense forest. After a short while, we reached what’s famously called the ‘Serpent Rock’ it was a limestone structure which looked like a cobra in the middle of the sea. It was so stunning!
I have seen tall limestone structures in my life inside the ocean and it was nothing close to how stunning this looked. I have never seen a National Park which has such mind-blowing scenery and interesting landscape. I mean, imagine a beach, huge limestone rocks, coves, bays, AND rainforests. Isn’t it dream-like?
We stopped at a beach and jumped off our boats. It looked like one of those ‘deserted’ beaches, and our trek started from that beach.
Trekking inside Bako National Park
The trek was arduous, from one gorgeous beach up and over a densely forested headland to another beach. We climbed slippery boulders, green mangrove and tree roots, and a platform made purely because of roots and saw trees that might be a cure for a deadly disease. We went in search of three kinds of monkeys that you can find here: The famous Proboscis monkey, the silver leaf monkey and Long Tailed Macaque.
The cute little macaque was spotted as soon as we started our trek! It was hanging out by the beach. The sounds of the jungle are surreal. You hear different species of birds and insects. It really is a beautiful experience to hike in this amazing jungle. As we were finishing our trail, we finally saw the silver leaf monkey and the proboscis monkey near another beach. They were chilling by the mangroves. There is a special joy in seeing a monkey which is endemic to that location! We were extremely thrilled!
Around the same place, our guide spotted what’s called the world most poisonous snake: The Bornean Green Viper. It was small and had a distinctive green coloured skin and had a triangular head. It did not move an inch when we were there and are known to be lazy and still until it needs to eat.
How to reach Bako National Park?
Bako National Park port is 30-40 minute drive from the main city Kuching. To reach Bako National Park, one must take another boat from the port or go on a very long trek. Malindo Air has comfortable flights from Kuching to Kuala Lumpur.
Also read: Why is Kuching called the ‘City of Cats’
Can you stay inside Bako?
You can stay inside the Bako National Park. It is owned by the Sarawak Park authorities and has a series of huts you can hire. They have hostel accommodations inside. They even arrange for a super special night trek. This is supposed to be brilliant.
A chart from Sarawak tourism’s site which has information about the current entrance fee structure for Malaysians/ Non-Malaysians visiting Bako –
Description Age Rate (RM)
- Malaysian: Children 6 – 17 3.00
- Malaysian: Adult 18 – 59 10.00
- Malaysian: Senior Citizen 60 and above 5.00
- Malaysian: Disabled Person 6 and above 5.00
Description Age Rate (RM)
- Non-Malaysian: Children 6 – 17 7.00
- Non-Malaysian: Adult 18 – 59 20.00
- Non-Malaysian: Senior citizen 60 and above 20.00
- Non-Malaysian: Disabled Person 6 and above 10.00
If we compare rates of Bako national park to those on jungles in Africa or India, there is a HUGE difference. You can enjoy national parks, flora and fauna of Borneo at 1/100th the price. So, don’t wait – Visit Borneo NOW!