Our Time in Beautiful Bako National Park, Borneo

We’ve been travelling for almost 4 months now, and have so far taken in the sights of Thailand, Laos and Malaysia, but just this week Steve and I have visited a place so perfectly beautiful I HAVE to rave about it: Bako National Park, Malaysian Borneo. This seems to be the most popular National Park to visit in the area (there are loads you can reach from Kuching if you’re using the Sarawak city as a base as we are) and, as I kind of love the outdoors, and Steve loves being dragged along into anything I plan, it shot straight to the top of places we had to visit during our 2 week stay here.

A Bit About Kuching

cat statue

Kuching is one of my favourite cities we’ve visited so far on our trip. I can’t decide which is my ultimate favourite between here and Chiang Mai in Thailand! It’s really chilled out, the people are so friendly (the level of English here is incredible!), it has loads of the western-style amenities Steve and I need to work (cafes and coffee shops with good Internet access) and, most importantly, a plethora of things to do.

Kuching means cat (which we only just found out yesterday – duh!) and they’re EVERYWHERE here! I don’t just mean actual cats (although there are a few of them around), I mean they take the form of statues scattered around the city, carvings, cat-related items dominate souvenir shops, and they even appear etched into grids!

cat grid2

Bako National Park

One the boat ride to the park.
One the boat ride to the park.

Because we booked our day trip through a tour company, we had a quirky guide with excellent English with us from our pick up. Think Anders from the British programme Wild at Heart. He drove us to the dock where we took a boat to the park (it’s only accessible this way), and then took us on two of the hiking trails.

I think the most interesting thing he told us that day was his insight into the uses of the Durian tree. Firstly, Durian trees produce fruit – very popular with the people of Sarawak. Secondly, the tree is useful if you get lost because if you smack it with a stick it makes an almighty bang that the rest of your party can here. Finally, because of the appearance of its trunk, it makes a great place to take a piss if you’re a guy, but isn’t useful really if you’re a girl.

bearded piglet

Proboscis and Cheeky Monkeys

Bako National Park is home to tonnes of different species, arguably the most popular being the Proboscis Monkeys. The monkeys live there wild so sightings are never guaranteed, but we were lucky enough to see several, albeit from a distance.

proboscis monkey

However, we did have a funny encounter with a rather cheeky monkey! Our guy took us to a secluded beach for a packed lunch, and whilst sitting on the rocks by the shore we spotted a small monkey trotting over to us along the beach. Commenting on cute he was, we didn’t realise until he was practically upon us that he was after food! He managed to nab a chocolate muffin and half a sandwich – a small price to pay for letting us get so close to him!

cheeky monkey

Boat Ride

After the hiking and lunch Steve and I took a boat trip from the beach along the coast to check out the stunning rock formations. It was truly paradisiacal, and the perfect way to top off a perfect day. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a clearer sky or more perfect, calm, green seas.

rock at bako

Steve and His Casinos

A visual representation of Steve during Bako

Whilst all this was going on, I kid you not Steve spent random moments on his Iphone playing casino games – you know, the sort you see at www.i-phonecasino.co.uk. He said that he’s busy making us money. I say that he’s busy wasting our time.

Either way the whole journey back from Bako was filled with tales of “Systems” and “Roulette this” and “Blackjack that”.

Like it or not, in Steve’s mind the trip to Bako was more about the $346 profit he made on his online slots than the beautiful scenery.

In fact, even as I’m writing this he is sat opposite me laughing – apparently it was a “Jungle themed” slot that he won the money on.

You can’t win! Well, I guess you can win on online casino games, and that’s the whole point, but still!

Anyway, back to the ACTUAL jungle…

Our Overall Verdict

If you’re planning a trip to Borneo, you will kick yourself hard if you don’t visit Bako National Park for at least a day! Steve, who, as we all know by now, is notoriously hard to please and prefers his online gambling and games on his phone, LOVED IT as well! Bako NP is a definite 10/10…


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About Ella

Becky, Steve or the other two useless ones (shhh they won't read this) form part of the Openstories team, a collaborative travel blog that we use to dump our ideas, plans and experiences onto the worldwide web. We're honored that you're hear reading this, and we'd love to hear from you. Thanks for dropping by!