Bako National Park

Bako National Park, Kuching, Sarawak………

Touched down at the Kuching International Airport at around 2.00 pm. LWJ and JI were there to fetch us to Tune Hotel Kuching.

This was the 4th time we visited Kuching. The first two times we stayed at Harbour View Hotel and the third time we stayed at Telang Usang Hotel Kuching. Actually I had no complain about these two hotels as they were clean, comfortable and convenient too. However this time I got an email from Tune Hotel offering 50% discount on room rate.(RM 35.00 per night without add-on)  Actually I was hesitating whether to stay in this budget hotel as my previous experience in Tune Hotel LCCT was not pleasant as the hotel’s windows are facing the corridor, so there is no privacy at all. And the hotel room is so small that you could hardly move around. May be the hotel was designed in such a way that the guest has no choice but to opt for air conditioning as you can’t open the windows! Anyway I told myself that Tune Hotel Kuching may not be the same and the offer was too good to resist. So we decided to give it a try. We were in for a pleasant surprise after checking in. The room was clean and the window was facing outside. The locality was superb as it was walking distance to the waterfront and also shopping centre. The receptionist was very polite and helpful.

Public bus to Bako

We were told by the reception that the public bus to Bako National Park starts at 7.00 am and will depart in every one hour interval. We could wait at the bus stop at the waterfront which is just about 100m from our hotel. So we arrived at the bus stop at around 7.15 am. Well, breakfast first and then catch the 8.00 am bus. That should be ideal. Just as we were leaving the bus stop looking for breakfast, the bus suddenly appeared. We got no choice but to hop into the bus and found out that this bus was actually the first trip. Never mind, breakfast would come later at Bako village as I told mummy. Majority of the passengers were angmoh and some local Sarawakians. Actually this bus also stops if there is any passenger boarding or alighting on the way to Bako Village.  And interestingly, the bus even stopped at the middle of roundabout! The bus ride was comfortable except the chairs were a bit too small, only suitable for primary students! The bus fare to Bako Village costs RM 3.50. The trip took about 45 minutes. The bus plies between Kuching and Bako Village from 7.00 am to 6.00 pm. Be prepared for long waiting as the bus is not punctual!

So we had out simple breakfast at the cafeteria at the jetty.

The entrance fee to Bako National Park is RM 10.00 per pax and RM 5.00 for children and students. Together with a retired Chinese couple and 3 Malay students from Universiti Malaya, we hired a boat to go to the National Park. Actually the boat trip costs RM 47.00 per boat for 5 people. Since there were 7 of us, the boatman asked for RM 9.00 per person. We didn’t bargain with him and off we went! The jetty was situated at the mouth of the Bako River.

Ha, don't play-play! Crocodiles are commonly sighted in this river!

So the boat took us out to the South China Sea heading for the National Park which took about 45 minutes. On the way we saw kelongs (wooden structure built in the open sea to catch fish) and also beautiful rocky cliffs on the coastal line. According to our boatman Mr Eddy, this was the peak season for travellers to visit the national park. No wonder there were so many angmohs. The best time to visit this national park is from July to September.

Our boatman Mr Eddy

The first ‘wild’ animal to greet us upon arrival at the national park was a ‘wild’ boar. This wild boar looked quite old. Look at the beard on its face!

We had to choose our trail before registering with the department. I told myself I would choose the furthest trail as it would be more challenging!

Yes this one, 5.75 km and 7 hours per way.

Oops! Wait, To and fro will be 14 hours! Are you sure you can make it in terms of time and stamina? I asked myself. After consulting with the other members of the trip, we settled for this Teluk Paku trail, which was 0.8 km and 1 hour per way.

On the way, we managed to see some proboscis monkeys;

Of course I didn’t snap this photo lah. I got from internet!

Yes! This was the one I took. Alas I could only snap the backside,  not the face!

We also saw a viper snake and lots of hermit crabs.

Hermit crabs are soft crustaceans which hide themselves behind the seashells to protect themselves from predators.

 

The trail was not very tough though some part were quite steep.

Finally we reached our destination, Teluk Paku after slightly more than an hour ‘gruelling’ jungle trekking.

On the way back, we also saw a wild lingzhe, a type of fungus which the Chinese believe to have medicinal properties. But not sure this one was edible or not.

By the time we returned to the head-quarter, everyone was so tired and our shirts were soaked with sweat. It was lunch hour. There’s a cafeteria at the park. It’s self-service. It was not very expensive, but the taste was so-so only.

This one costs RM 4.00

 

This one costs RM 11.00

After lunch, it was time to go back.  Alas it was low tide. The boat could not anchor at the jetty. If we wanted to go back at this time, then we had to go out from the beach and wade through the water or else we had to wait until the tide rises which would take another 3 or 4 hours waiting. So we decided to wade through the water to reach the boat.

Well, the most famous rock was at Teluk Pandan Kecil which we didn’t go as it was 1 ½ hour per way. Actually LWJ and JI went there before. So I suggested we took a boat there to see the famous rock. Mr Eddy agreed to take us there for an extra RM 6.00 per pax on the way back. Everybody agreed.

Look at the magnificent rock! Look like the one at Krabi, Thailand and also at Halong Bay, North Vietnam. This is the icon of Bako National Park.

 

On the way back, it started to rain. The boat did not have a well-covered roof. Anyway, these umbrellas just came handy.

We waited for about 45 minutes before the bus arrived. On the way back, everybody was so tired that most of us dozed off all the way back to Kuching.

A group photo before we parted

As usual, I asked LWJ to take us to Topspot for dinner. This is my favourite place to dine. This place is famous for seafood and has become a tourist spot. It’s a food court situated at the roof-top of a multilevel car park.  The seafood is fresh and the price is cheaper than Johor Bahru comparatively.

We ordered lobster cooked in Thai style, mussels, midin(a local Sarawakian vegetable) and sweet and sour grouper for four.

Lobster

 

mussel

 

midin

 

Grouper

The bill came to RM 108.00. For those we wish to visit Kuching, I would strongly  recommend to try this place! And of course if you have the time, make a trip to Bako National Park; you will not regret it!

 

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About HP Lim

An experienced Form 5 chemistry teacher from Johor Bahru.