We spent a day at a very popular national park near Kuching, Malaysia, Bako National Park! Published alongside this post is a detailed guide for planning your own visit. If you’re looking for details to visit Bako National Park OR interested in reading more about the wildlife at the park click HERE!
How We Spent One Day in Bako National Park
We woke up early to prepare for our trip to Bako National Park and packed our bag with our camera, bug spray, and snacks of course. Since we weren’t sure about the food situation at the park so we bought and made some ramen and put it it our reusable food container, and we bought some fresh fruit from the shop across from our accommodation. Luckily, it was only a 5-minute walk to the bus stop where the bus would pick us up around 7 am.
The bus to Bako cost less than $0.25 per person and was a nice coach-style bus with comfortable seats and aircon. Sam slept pretty much the hour ride there, it was early haha. We walked into the boat terminal to buy our tickets and figure out the boat transfer. The only way to enter the park is by boat. Luckily, 2 other couples were there and we all split the boat to the park. Our boat pulled up to the beach about 8:45 am and we all hopped into the water (only ankle deep) and walked up the shore.
Arrival and Planning Our Day
We talked to the park staff about choosing the best trails for what we were interested in and headed out on the first one. We chose trail 3 for our first of the day because it one with a higher chance for wildlife spotting. The park was super quiet and there wasn’t many other people around. Even though it was only around 9 am it was already HOT out.
Our First Trail
We trekked through the jungle almost silent in hopes of spotting some monkeys. About halfway through the trail, Sam spotted a proboscis making its way up the slope on the side of the trail but when getting Ty’s attention, it was spooked and ran off into the thick jungle. It was much bigger than we had thought it’d be but we were so exciting after spotting one.
We continued our hike barely speaking as we searched the forest high and low. Sadly, we didn’t see anything else before reaching the beach. At the beach, there were a few couples and one macaque near the rocks. We heard some very strange noises coming from the trees on the right of the beach but we couldn’t see anything. We aren’t sure if it was monkeys or maybe the bearded pigs known to live in Bako National Park.
Monkeys in the Trees
We headed back to the start of the trails and were a bit indecisive on what to do. Do we want to see another pretty beach or should we try the other trail known for monkey sightings? Changing our original plans, we headed back to Trail 2, to hopefully find more wildlife. We had to walk from the grouping of trails we were at, past the accommodation and visitor center to the other side of the main area.
As we were coming up to the first accommodations, there was a group of people staring up into the trees, cameras in hand. Almost running over, we were so happy to have changed our trails. Right there near the forest lodge was 3 Proboscis monkeys! One of the guides for a tour group had spotted them but we all lucked out. They were pretty far back in the trees and I was only able to get one good picture but it was so exciting to see them! No hiking even needed!
On The Trail Again
We talked to a couple we had seen on the first trail for a bit and then made our way to Trail 2. Trail 2 was on the other side of the park, across a boardwalk, and near trails 4 and 10. We passed another tour group, on our way to the hike, who had spotted a snake sleeping on a branch.
We continued to the trail and hiked through the jungle searching for monkeys. When we reached the beach end, a woman shared that she had seen a proboscis far in the trees but it was gone by the time we got there. We took a short break under a shaded pavilion and chatted with the couple from before and another solo hiker. They joined us for our last hike of the day, Trail 4, and honestly, they were the reason we finished the hike.
Hike to the Top
The beginning of the trail wasn’t bad, we just watched our footing over rocks and roots on the forest floor. However, eventually, the trail came to a steep incline for the last 500+ meters up. It was HOT out and this hike had us SWEATING. We pushed ourselves to the top (almost literally) and ended at a platform overlooking the sea. We were happy the other hikers joined us and motivated us to finish the hike!
Lunch and Departure
After this hike, we were really in need of some food, it was roughly 1:30 pm. We all headed to the park’s restaurant and we ate the ramen we packed (we cooked it that morning since we didn’t think there would be any way to cook it at the park).
As we sat and ate, we were lucky enough to see even more wildlife RIGHT BY THE RESTAURANT. A whole group of Silverleaf monkeys, the last of the three types of monkeys found in Bako National Park, came from the jungle to play in the trees right in front of us! We were also told behind the restaurant it is common to see bearded pigs but we were not lucky enough to spot any on our day trip.
After finishing our meal, it was just about time to go. We watched the monkeys for a bit and our group gathered to find the boat. Our boat captain picked us up on the beach where we first arrived and we made our way back to Bako National Park Terminal.
Final Thoughts: Bako National Park
We had such an exciting day hiking around Bako National Park. Seeing the proboscis monkeys in the wild was so cool! They are definitely odd-looking animals. If we could do it over, the one thing we would change is not having spent the night. Just gives us one more reason to come back one day!
For more information on visiting Bako National Park, click here.