Sarawak’s oldest national park, Bako National Park packs a lot of action into just 10 square miles (27 square kilometers) of land. Seven different ecosystems, including rain forest and mangroves, are home to wildlife from long-nosed proboscis monkeys to orchids, carnivorous pitcher plants, bearded pigs, and mudskippers (“walking” fish).The Basics
Just 23 miles (37 kilometers) from Kuching, Bako National Park is typically visited as a day trip from the city, although overnight stays are possible—and the sunsets are spectacular. Entrance tickets are very reasonably priced, but you will also need to pay for a boat ride from the village of Bako to the park itself. The park’s 17 color-coded trails are easy to follow independently, so a guide is not essential—although many prefer to join a Bako National Park tour with a guide who can spot and identify wildlife and explain the park’s seven different ecosystems.Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- Bako National Park is a must for anyone who loves nature and wants to see Borneo’s unique wildlife.
- Don’t forget sunscreen and a sunhat, as the trails can be surprisingly exposed.
- Facilities on the island are very limited, although there is a canteen. Bring water and snacks if traveling independently.
- Bako National Park is not wheelchair-accessible.
Bako National Park is around 23 miles (37 kilometers) northeast of Kuching, reached by a boat ride along the Santubong River from the park terminal at Bako Bazaar. Bus 1 connects Bako Bazaar to the city, with stops near the open-air market and along the waterfront, but many travelers prefer to join a tour that includes door-to-door round-trip transfers.When to Get There
Bako National Park is open from morning until late afternoon seven days a week, including public holidays. It’s also possible to spend the night, whether camping, in a hostel, or in a chalet. November to February is the rainy season around Kuching, which can mean rough seas and fewer boats.
What to See in Bako National Park
Besides geological formations, such as the precariously balanced rock columns known as “Sea Stacks,” wildlife is Bako’s signature attraction. Mammals are surprisingly easy to spot here. Proboscis monkeys, with their long noses and pot bellies, are often seen around the visitor center and elsewhere, while there are also flying lemurs, macaques, monitor lizards, bearded pigs, and more.