I spent two days at Bako national park and did three of the trails. I love walking through the rain forests and had been looking forward to visiting Bako for a long time. Getting to Bako is pretty easy, you just take the number 6 bus from Kuching (2 RM, one hour) to Bako; once at Bako village you need to get a boat to the national park (about 25 mins) this costs 47 RM, and can be shared by up to 5 people. Unfortunately when both going to Bako national park and coming back I had to pay the full price as I didn’t fancy waiting another hour for the next bus from Kuching to arrive, especially as there was a 50% chance that there would be nobody on it who would be going to the park anyway. Still it was less than a tenner for the journey, and a very pleasant one it is at that.
Once there, I had to wait 3 hours to get my accommodation. I just left my bags with the staff and then went off on a walk (the Telok Delima trail). This walk took about one hour each way, with the final destination being a Mangrove beach. When I was getting to the mangroves I was trying to recall if they had crocs in the area; it made me more than a little nervy as I was walking alone (oh yeah, Bako has crocs).
I don’t know if any of you’se guys have ever walked through rain forest close to the equator before, but if you ever fancy losing some weight, then forget fat cap, just book yourself into the Bako national park for a few weeks and do a couple of walks a day; I’m pretty sure that the pounds will role off you.
After my walk, I grabbed my accommodation (not too bad, the odd water and electricity cut, but hey it’s in the middle of a national park), and grabbed a much needed shower, then went off and attempted the Serait trail, this proved a bit to much for me, it is not an often used trail, and the path was not that well marked and involved quite a lot of scrambling around. As I have got an habit of attracting snakes I called it a day after about an hour of it, it was another hour back though, so I had done a good four hours of walking.
Later that night I went on a group night walk with one of the park guides, which was pretty pleasant, though we didn’t see much beyond bats, preying mantis, stick insects and the like.
Talking about attracting snakes this little baby (a Wagler’s pit viper), the only seriously poisonous snake in Bako, decided to take up residence in a tree about 10 metres from my hut door. I made sure that I locked my door. Good job too, as the snake was not in the same place in the morning.
One of the beautiful things about Bako national park is its diverse range of habitats, these range from coastal mangroves, through peat swamp forest to cliff top vegetation. One of the walks the Lintang loop allows you to see seven different types of eco-system on one 6km walk. Now 6km does not seem that long of a walk; I do that pretty much every day in Turkey; well when you are in the heat and humidity of the forests, and following trails it takes close to three hours to do the walk!
After 4 km, I was already deep into my second large bottle of water, and all of a sudden I felt my energy levels sagging (despite having an extra roti canai in the morning). The next km was not bad as it was pretty flat, but I had completely stopped taking any notice of the scenery. The problem is that every time that you take a stop to have a rest, you feel yourself heating up, and know that it is better to just keep on going. The last km is all downhill, but seriously steep downhill, a lot of it involves climbing down slippery steps. At this stage my legs had nearly gone completely, so I was glad when the trail leveled off for the last couple of hundred metres.
I got back absolutely saturated, now there is heating up and being sweaty, and there is jungle sweaty, it runs off you like a river as soon as you stop. So I quickly grabbed hold of a big bottle of water, and pretty much downed it in one, had a quick wash in the bathroom, changed shirts, and jumped on a boat from the national park back to Bako. I couldn’t be bothered waiting around for anybody as I just wanted to get on that speed boat and cool down.
Here are some more pictures of the scenery and animals of Bako national park.
In the night there seemed to be a bat circling every lamppost. I tried for ages to get a decent picture of one but they are so fast that the only close up one I could get was of a wing. You will have to make do with this one of a “snout nosed bat”. I think it’s called something like that, I did ask the guide, but my memory is not like it used to be; getting old you know!
This is a picture of a gecko trying to capture a large insect. Nearly every light source in Borneo seems to have a Gecko close to it, makes you wonder how they ever got by before the invention of electricity. Now personally I thought that this Gecko was just being greedy trying to eat something like that. It did not stop it from slowly sneaking up on it mm by mm.
One of the main attractions of the Bako national park is the proboscis monkeys. Apparently they got really close to the main park base whilst I was out on a walk looking for them; typical. I did manage to view them from afar. I have blown up this picture, as the light was pretty bad it did not take that good a picture.
and of course the cheekier monkeys and macaques were everywhere.