Bako National Park

Just 37 kilometres by road from Kuching, Bako is easily visited in a day. But you will miss much of Sarawak's oldest national park if you don't stay overnight in one of it's comfortable huts.

After all, you want to be sure to see the proboscis monkey as well as the bewildering variety of plant and animal life. Although it's one of Southeast Asia's smallest national parks it contains almost every type of vegetation found in Borneo.

The park can only be reached by a 20-minute boat ride from Kampung Bako. It has been protected since 1957 so the animals have become used to human visitors and are less shy than their remote jungle cousins. This means a good chance of seeing wildlife and getting close enough to take photographs.

The proboscis monkey, only found in Borneo, may be the star of the wildlife show but it has a supporting cast of long tailed macaque monkeys, usually patrolling the park headquarters, silvered leaf monkeys, monitor lizards and squirrels.

Overnight stayers will see bearded pigs rooting around the chalets. Perhaps they are jealous of the facilities such as electricity, running water from a fresh mountain stream, a canteen serving snacks and cold drinks, education centre, visitor room and information centre.

Bird watchers are spoiled for choice. More than 150 species have been recorded at Bako, including some rare varieties.

Not only is Bako compact, it's easy to explore. A system of 16 colour-coded walking trails offers full day jungle hikes to gentle strolls. The circular Lintang trail passes through all of Bako's vegetation types from dipterocarp forest, scrub-like padang, swamp forest, mangroves and delicate cliff vegetation. The Telok Delima and Telok Paku trails are the best vantage

Small bays, steep cliffs and sandy beaches make Bako's coastline a delight. Along the sandy footpaths you will find the insect-eating pitcher plants that have been known to devour over small mammals. From the beach at Pandan Kecil you can see Bako's trademark, the sea stack carved by the waves.

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