Bako is Malaysia’s oldest National Park, established in 1957 and takes its name from the muddy river nearby which flows into the waters of the South China Sea.
Even before arriving at the park, the route taken by the river provides a memorable landscape with the soft morning light shining on the almost still waters of the river Bako, which forms a mirror that merges with the sky and where the skyline fades in presence of a thin layer of mist that emanates from the hot waters of the river.
There are several possible paths to be covered in a day trip, and others that require more time to dwell at least one night in the park. During this visit* the western part of the park was closed to visitors, but the one third that is open offer many options, with 10 possible tracks.
The choice was to Litang Trail with 5.8 kilometers and that it was done in about three hours that left time to do part of the trail to Telok Paku, which despite its simple ones 800 meters has more obstacles and takes a long time.
The Litang Trail is what goes over the forest, with diverse landscapes, from dense and humid jungle, until hot and dry rocky plateaus. As November is already time of much rain the track was soaked in water, but not muddy, as soil is predominantly sandy. Towards the end of the course,
The Telok Paku is offering more chances to observe wildlife especially Proboscis monkey, but given the number of visitors, some quite noisy, the chances of observing animals is reduced, beyond ants and small insects.
But what truly marked this visit was the route at Litang Trail, where during about three hours, I could walk through the wilderness without finding other visitors and can thus enjoy a more intense contact with nature, in which the mind focused on the walk, on foot movement and on rhythm of the breath, gets empty of thoughts.
In total isolation the jungle noises bring the fears and ghosts that we try to hide with the frantic pace of life, making the forest show us his danger and spooky side. But accepting the power of nature we are conducted and cherished by the energy and power that emanates from these trees, making us feel part of this magic that we call Nature. Mother Nature.
This was the most interesting and impressive experience in natural parks, leaving an intense memory of those hours spent in close contact with the jungle. A bless provided but the deep forces of the jungle.
* November 2015
The Baku National Park is located near Kuching so it can be visited on a day-trip. However it is possible to stay in the accommodations near the park headquarters. It should be reserved.
Where to eat:
At the entrance of the park near the headquarters there is a cafeteria. However for a day-trip just take some fruit and water. Water is fundamental and 1.5 liters per person, is not too much.
Equipment and guidance:
The tracks are fairly easy and affordable, with the hardest part being the first 500 meters that are common to all the tracks, with some steepness overtake by stairs and by paths between tree, roots and rocks.
All trails are well marked with the respective color, painted on rocks and trees shillings, being almost impossible to get lost. The Litang Trail has marks 100 at 100 meters with the distance made, which not only facilitates orientation as also the determination of the effort and the pace of the hike. The final part of the trail, on arrival at headquarters is done on flat wooden platforms.
The Telok Paku Trail doesn’t have these milestones, but is very well defined, with parts of the route on wooden platforms and stairs that facilitate the passage in the steepest areas.
In terms of equipment it isn’t necessary anything special, not even hiking boots. A sneakers, running shoes or sandals works perfectly in this kind of trails. Some parts of the trails have some water that you can’t avoid.
The heat and humidity make you sweat profusely, so all clothing quickly get soaked.
Must bring mosquito repellent as they are a fierce presence in more wetlands route.
Plenty of water to drink.
It is not necessary a guide.
How to get from Kuching to Bako National Park:
The bus to Bako Park passes in Jalan Market by the Chinese History Museum, but in this place there is no indication or houses to indicate that buses stop here; a little further on, at Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman in front of the building Riverside Shopping Center there is another stop.
The bus passes at about 7:00 am and the trip takes about an hour.
Bus Ticket: 3.5 RM
The terminal bus route in Bako Bazaar, a small cluster of houses where the reception Bako Park. Here you buy the ticket for the park as well as the ticket for the boat that transports visitors to the official entry of parquet where are the headquartes. The boat is the only way to get to the park and part of a small pier near the reception of the park.
Park fee: 20 RM
Boat: RM 20 one way; the return ticket has to be purchased in headquartes the park and should be purchased in advance for the boats that leave in the afternoon are quickly filled; the last boat is at 16.00).
The boat trip takes about 10 minutes.
If the tide is low the boat does not reach the small pier, taking passengers to disembark on the beach. The same is true in return.
By the headquartes is provided map and all information on the various tracks, including degree of difficulty, duration and length of the course.
In the end it is necessary to book the boat for the return, and pay the ticket next to headquartes.
Buses leave from Bako Bazaar to Kuching every hour, and the last is at 18:00 hours.
Please note: the climate is hot and extremely humid and not always the rails have plenty throughout the length of the course, which causes profuse sweating and fluid loss, so drinking water is extremely important.