Wildlife watching in Bako National Park
As the sun rises each morning, the wildlife in Bako National Park begins to stir. Proboscis monkeys leap through the canopy, swifts swoop over the sea and wild boars forage for their breakfast. Staying in a chalet within the heart of the park, the diverse sights and layered soundscape of Borneo’s rainforest are right outside your door. Step out and explore on an invigorating trek or simply watch birds flying overhead as you relax on the beach…
What to expect in Bako National Park...
Setting out from Kuching, the rich jungle landscape Bako National Park is only an hour’s journey away. As you approach the National Park from the water, you are treated to an uninterrupted view of this remote peninsular, its lush rainforest leading down to secluded bays.
Though you can visit the park for a daytrip, the animals and birdlife are most active in the early morning and around sunset, so the best way to see them is on a twilight trek followed by a night in a jungle chalet.
At just over 27 square kilometres Bako is a relatively small National Park, yet an incredibly broad diversity of species call this patch of forested headland their home, including around 275 proboscis monkeys which are endemic only to Borneo. These intriguing primates, with their distinctive elongated nose, are easy to spot. As long as you’re fairly quiet you’re likely to come across many of them moving through the mangroves or warming themselves in the sun.
You’ll also catch glimpses of macaques and silver-tailed monkeys, an array of colourful birdlife including kingfishers, owls and woodpeckers, and even the odd monitor lizard (some of which can grow to 2 metres long!) slinking along the forest floor.
The trails range from a gentle half-hour wander to a more gruelling 5-6 kilometre trek, so you can pick the ones which suit you best. Telok Paku, an hour-long meander over a range of terrains towards a quiet beach, is a popular choice for sightings of proboscis monkeys, while Telok Pandan Kecil climbs steadily uphill along a path lined with pitcher plants to reward you with sweeping views across the bay.
The accommodation is no-frills simple – just somewhere comfortable to lay your head after a hearty meal from the HQ canteen – but its location within the rainforest is second to none. Not only will you be able to hear the jungle wildlife, but they may come right up to your chalet. If you don’t keep your door locked, the inquisitive monkeys might even venture inside!
A stay at Bako National Park certainly offers encounters with Borneo’s unique natural landscape that will leave you with some exceptional memories.
Location: Bako National Park, Sarawak, Borneo
Duration: 1-3 days
Accommodation: Lodge or chalet in Bako National Park
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'Bako National Park is one of the best places in Sarawak to see wildlife in its natural habitat...'
Good to know
Though the trails do vary in difficulty, trekking over uneven ground is always on the cards so do bear this in mind when booking.