If you want to enjoy the great outdoors with wildlife and jungle trekking included, Bako National Park in the city of Kuching is the place to be. It’s a Malaysian National Park home to the endangered Proboscis Monkey and a must-visit for any traveler interested in Malaysia.
You may think that a place described as such would be hard to enter, maybe secluded from society. You’ll be surprised to find out that it’s only 23 miles away from Kuching and is very inexpensive to enter too.
Whether you’re going there for a nice morning walk or to enjoy the ambiance of the night, here’s a traveler’s guide to Bako National Park in Borneo to get yourself prepared for everything you need to know before going there.
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Full Guide On Traveling To Bako National Park – Borneo
The Best Time To Visit Bako National Park
Before we get into traveling there, it’s best for us to establish the best time to visit the park. You don’t want to pick the wrong time just for it to be too hot and sunny to walk around or get stuck in the pouring rain.
Generally, Bako National Park is located in an area where the climate is tropical and fairly wet, making visitations easy all year round. If we were to pin it to a specific time frame, anywhere between April to September would be best as they are considered to be the drier seasons.
Try to avoid visiting the park anywhere between December to February as they are the wettest seasons which may cause the park to be inaccessible or less desirable for a visit.
How To Get To Bako National Park?
Getting to Bako National Park only takes two steps. The first step is to get to Bako Village where the jetty to the park is located in. Any form of transportation is fine whether it be by car or motorcycle but public transport is available too for those traveling on a budget.
The bus leaves every hour starting from 7 am at the Kuching Bus station and costs about RM3.50 per ticket. There are also minivans around the area who would gladly drop you off at Bako Village for a slightly higher fee of RM5.
Be careful when considering a taxi as the fees may fetch up to RM50 – RM60 depending on the condition of the roads.
Once you reach Bako Village, there will be a boating service at the ferry terminal that will transport you over to the park for a low fee of RM30 if you’re a foreigner. Private boats are also available at a much higher cost of RM150 per person.
Once you are there, be sure to tell your boat driver when you’re leaving as they’ll be around the area until you do decide to leave.
The park will collect a small entrance fee of RM 20 for foreigners and it’s important to note that it’s only open from 8 am to 3 pm daily for day travelers.
Is There Accommodation In Bako National Park?
If you do decide to stay overnight in the park, there are quite a few options around Bako National Park. You could just book a hotel in Kuching but it’s inconvenient as you’ll need to travel to and back via public transport or private transport which is time-consuming.
Instead, it’s better to opt for the 4 options to stay in the park including campsites, hotels, forest lodges, and even premium forest lodges for the family.
The campsite found behind the park headquarters charges RM 5 per night for a tent and can’t be booked online. It’s a nice way to be one with the wild but beware of monkeys that have no sense of privacy. There’s also a public restroom nearby for your needs.
Hostels and dorms are also available that either charge RM 10 per bed for a night or RM 40 if you want the entire room to yourself. Of course, it comes with a private bathroom and a ceiling fan to boot.
Forest lodges work similarly to hostels but charge up RM 100 for a night’s stay in a room shared with 3 other travelers. A room for 2 charges RM75, only slightly lower but also comes with a private bathroom and ceiling fans.
If you’re feeling a little fancy, premium lodges with A/C come at a much higher price of around RM 225 per night. Regardless, make sure you put safety measures in check to ensure that the monkeys don’t disturb you while you’re in and away.
Is There Food Around Bako National Park?
This is going to be the main concern when traveling to Bako National Park as it’s located in a remote area. Don’t worry too much though as there is a cafeteria near the park office that serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even have snacks too.
The problem is that it is quite costly as they are the only cafeteria serving food here, costing about RM20 for a meal cafeteria-style. Opt to bring your own food instead of you’re really on a budget.
When bringing your own food, be cautious when eating out in the open as monkeys will come and snatch it right out of your hands.
Do I Need A Guide In Bako National Park?
A guide can be booked before you take the boat over to Bako National Park but it’s not necessary as this guide is sufficient enough. It is however recommended that you take a guide if you’re bringing children along as it might get a little hectic around the wildlife.
What Is There To Do In Bako National Park?
Take A Look At The Wildlife Around
This is probably the main reason for most people visiting the park. It is teeming with wildlife and it even houses Proboscis monkeys which can only be found in this part of the world. Other than that, there’s still plenty of other animals including snakes, birds, insects, spiders, and more.
There’s also the Long-tailed Macaques which are notorious for breaking into the travelers’ lodgings and giving people diseases. Another common sighting is the Bornean Bearded Pigs which are usually spotted around the park headquarters.
You’ll have a better chance of spotting them at night but that doesn’t mean you won’t catch them as long as you keep your eyes peeled in the morning. Be sure to have your camera ready at all times or else they might just slip away.
The reason why a guide is usually not required is due to how well-marked the trails are in Bako National Park. There are 18 different color codes for each trail and you’ll need to register with the main office before going on any of them.
Most of them will take you around 3 hours to complete with the longest one being an amazing 9 hours. You’ll need to check out with the main office too when you come back so that they don’t send a search party out to look for you.
One of the first photos you’ll see when looking for Bako National Park is the Sea Stacks which can only be accessed by boat. You’ll need to hire a boat at the park headquarters before heading on to the Telok Pandan Kecil Trek which costs you about RM 35 per trip.
There you’ll see the beautiful rock formations along the shores where you can take amazing pictures for your social media or personal memories. Just make sure that you travel there in good weather or else you’re going to have a bad time.
To truly experience Bako National Park to the fullest, it’s suggested to go on a night walk as most animals only come out during the night. You can do this by making a booking with the park ranger at RM 10 per person and they usually come in big groups.
You could also book a private guide for RM 20 per person which is recommended if you’re bringing children along with you. They leave a little earlier which gives you a better chance of meeting the wildlife as they have yet to be disturbed by the tourists.
Bako National Park is a beautiful place to visit if you ever travel to Borneo but it might be intimidating for some travelers as it’s located in a remote area. This guide particular spot in Southeast Asia will give you a full understanding of what to expect at the park and what to do in the area.
When living at Bako National Park it’s important to keep your belongings close to you at all times and be wary of the monkeys. They are cheeky fellows and won’t hesitate to bite or snatch you if you let your guard down even for a moment.
Bring enough for the trip so that you don’t face problems like in such a remote area where necessities are scarce or even impossible to find. Food and water is a must so bring some snack and drinks just in case.