Bako National Park: the complete guide
July 3, 2019
by Franca Levin
Once you arrive in Borneo, you’ll be surrounded by jungle and wildlife all the time. Nature is a big attraction here and the Bako National Park is one of the reasons. Located in the state of Sarawak, northwest Borneo Island, this Malaysian park is one of the few places where you can see Proboscis Monkeys in their natural habitat.
How to get there
The Bako National Park is just 30 km away from Kuching, capital of Sarawak state in Borneo Malaysia. If you are in continental Malaysia, tons of flights run daily between Kuala Lumpur and Kuching. Once you are in the city, you can either take a taxi or a bus, which departs every hour from a street in between Fish and Chinese food markets. The cost is USD 1.2 and lasts about half an hour.
The transport will take you to Bako town, where the admission for the park is held. The entrance fee is USD 5, but you will also need to pay for the boat transfer. The cost is USD 10, return ticket. Something to keep in mind is that the shared boats come back between 1 and 3 pm. If you need to leave early in the morning or after that time, you need to ask for a private boat. This is the main reason why I strongly recommend to spend at least one night in the park.
Accommodation and food
The accommodation is very basic, all your needs will be satisfied but don’t expect any luxury. Prices go from USD 4 for a bed in a shared room, to USD 56 for a complete two-bedroom unit. Booking in advance is recommended as the park has a limited capacity which is frequently fully occupied. You can do it online through the Sarawak Forestry e-Booking portal.
All meals will be served at the common canteen. As is the only option to buy food, prices tend to be a bit inflated. You can bring anything you want from Kuching anyway. There’s also plenty of bottled water to buy, so don’t worry about that. Always take enough water with you as dehydration is a big risk here.
What to see
The Proboscis Monkeys are the kings of Borneo. Everyone comes to see them; they are like superstars. Although is very likely to see them in the jungle, keep in mind that they are wild animals: don’t expect them to come to you.
Patience is the key: you might have to walk very slow and quiet, preferably early in the morning or at sunset, to have more chances to see them. Try to avoid big tourists’ groups as they tend to be noisy and careless.
But apart from the Proboscis Monkeys, there are plenty of other things to do and see. Tajor Waterfall is the only place where you can swim in the park, as everything else is crocodile territory. Macaques are also quite popular, so avoid leaving any food or valuable stuff unattended. Around the headquarters, you will see lots of Macaques and Borneo bearded pigs, which are not the most beautiful animals I’ve ever seen, but at least they are inoffensive.