Seven distinct ecosystems, an extensive jungle trail system plus superb wildlife viewing opportunities make Bako National Park the perfect introduction to Sarawak’s forests and wildlife. Bako covers an area of 27 sq km and is readily accessible from Kuching. Despite its relatively small size, at Bako it is possible to view nearly every type of vegetation found in Borneo. The different ecosystems of Bako National Park – mixed dipterocarp forest, mangrove forest, beach vegetation, cliff vegetation, Kerangas or heath forest, padang or grasslands and peat swamp forest – are accessible via a network of trekking trails and plankwalks.
The park’s trail system comprises 16 colour-coded trails and offers a range of walking and trekking options from short and easy walks near the park HQ to full-day hikes through the jungle. Some of the most popular trekking trails include Telok Pandan Kecil (90 mins, one way) which leads to a small beach; the Lintang loop trail (3-4 hours) which passes through nearly all of the habitat types found in the park; Telok Paku (1 hour, one way) a short and relatively easy trail located close to the park HQ that passes through beach and cliff vegetation; and Telok Delima (45 mins, one way) which passes through dipterocarp forest and finishes at an area of mangroves.
Bako is one of the best places in Sarawak for wildlife experiences. It is Sarawak’s oldest national park and was gazetted in 1957. The animals at Bako are therefore used to humans. As a result visitors are almost guaranteed to see wildlife. Commonly seen wildlife includes the proboscis monkey which is endemic to Borneo, silver-leaf monkeys, long-tailed macaques, monitor lizards, bearded pigs and a variety of birdlife.
The park’s star attraction is undoubtedly the proboscis monkey. Males have a huge nose and pot belly. It is estimated that there are 275 proboscis monkeys at Bako. They are often spotted around the park HQ and accommodation blocks at Telok Assam. The Telok Paku & Telok Delima are also good places to spot proboscis monkeys.
Whilst the rainforest and wildlife are Bako’s main attractions the park has a picturesque coastline; dotted with small bays, cliffs, beaches and rocky features, including the famous Sea Stack near Telok Pandan Kecil.
Bako is located 37 km from Kuching and covers the northern part of the Muara Tebas peninsula. It takes about an hour to get from Kuching to Bako. The first part of the journey is by road (30-40 minutes) to Kampung Bako. From there it is a 20-minute boat ride to the park HQ at Telok Assam. There is a range of accommodation at the park including resthouses, chalets, hostels and a camping ground.
Borneo Adventure run day trips and overnight tours to Bako. Although it is possible to see much of what Bako National Park has to offer in a day trip, an overnight stay is highly recommended.