Bako National Park – A Wildlife Paradise in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo

Bako is a beautiful little national park in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. It has been a protected wilderness area since 1957 and is a great place to see wildlife unique to Borneo up close in a natural location (the first national park in Borneo).

Bako National Park was established in 1957 to become the first National Park in Borneo
Bako National Park was established in 1957 to become the first National Park in Borneo

The only way to access Bako National Park is by boat (if the tide is out, you get out in the water and walk across the beach to the Park HQ) – an easy but rushed day trip from the city of Kuching but I thoroughly recommend staying at least overnight to enjoy all the amazing wildlife, hiking and other activities available at the park. Accommodation is basic but comfortable enough and very affordable (all can be arranged via the official Sarawak State Government eBooking website).

You travel to Bako National Park by boat. If the tide is out, you get dropped off in the water and walk across the beach to the Park HQ - Bako National Park, Sarawak (May 2018)
You travel to Bako National Park by boat. If the tide is out, you get dropped off in the water and walk across the beach to the Park HQ – Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
Bornean Bearded Pigs Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
Literally within 30 seconds of arriving, I saw this Bornean Bearded Pig and here piglets exploring the beach and rocks! Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
The Bornean Bearded Pigs were scouring the beach for fresh food after the tide had gone out - Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
The Bornean Bearded Pigs were scouring the beach for fresh food after the tide had gone out – Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
There is plenty of hiking, boating and wildlife options - Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
There are plenty of hiking, boating and wildlife options – Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia
Boardwalks to jungle trails – Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)

Some of the beautiful creatures your will see there include the Proboscis Monkey (they only live in Borneo as they ear particular plants only found there), Long Tailed Macaque monkey (you may see them in huge troops out in the forest or in the mangroves), Silver Leaf Langur, Flying Lemur (the one I saw had a baby too), Green Pit Viper (look for them in low tree branches, they have a broad, triangular head), water monitors, the rather amusing Bornean Bearded Pig (if you go at the right time of year, you may see piglets – I saw older piglets in May 2018) and all manner of creepy crawlies on a jungle night walk. Although it’s a wild place you are still most likely to see many of these animals around the Park HQ where all treks and tours start from, along with where you will stay overnight.

Proboscis Monkey - Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
A Proboscis Monkey relaxing – Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
Proboscis Monkey - Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
A Proboscis Monkey in a moment of contemplative thought – Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
Proboscis Monkey - Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
Facial and nose differences are noticeable in the male Proboscis Monkeys – Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
Proboscis Monkey Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia
More contemplation…
Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
Green Pit Viper - Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
I see you! Green Pit Viper – Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
A Green Pit Viper in a low branch at Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia
A Green Pit Viper in a low branch at Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
A Monitor Lizard passing by at Bako National Park HQ
A Monitor Lizard passing by at Bako National Park HQ – Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
A Flying Lemur and baby (see its head sticking out from underneath on the left) - Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia
A Flying Lemur and baby (see its head sticking out from underneath on the left) – Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
Flying Lemur & Baby Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
The Flying Lemur with her baby sticking its head out from under the right side of its Mum this time! Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
Proboscis Monkey on the move at Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
Proboscis Monkey on the move at Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
This large Bornean Bearded Pig was a regular sight in the morning around the HQ at Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
This large Bornean Bearded Pig was a regular sight in the morning around the HQ at Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
Bornean Bearded Pigs can be found on the beach in the morning and prior to sunset at Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia
Bornean Bearded Pigs can be found on the beach in the morning and prior to sunset at Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
Long Tailed Macaque Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
Out on a jungle trail – note the baby Macaques tail wrapped around its mothers – Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
A rare moment seeing a Proboscis Monkey on the ground at Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
A rare moment seeing a Proboscis Monkey on the ground at Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
Bachelor male Proboscis Monkeys waiting for each other on the beach at Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia
Bachelor male Proboscis Monkeys waiting for each other on the beach at Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
Creepy Crawlies on a night jungle walking tour in Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
Creepy Crawlies on a night jungle walking tour in Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)

Watch out for the Macaques around the Park HQ though, as they unfortunately have become notorious food thieves – It is not uncommon for them to burst onto the dining deck and raid a plate or two! Luckily (for us and them) the ones out in the forest are no were near as brazen!

A cheeky Long Tailed Macaque on a table in the dining area at Park HQ - they are not meant to be there! Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
A cheeky Long Tailed Macaque on a table in the dining area at Park HQ – they are not meant to be there! Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
Long Tailed Macaque Fangs Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
Don’t mess with a Long Tailed Macaque – look at those fangs! Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
Long Tailed Macaque - Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
That Part! A baby Long Tailed Macaque and mother – Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
Long Tailed Macaque baby - Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
Preening time – Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)

The Proboscis Monkeys (that schnoz! The Indonesians apparently refer to them as the “Dutchman” as apparently some colonists had pot bellies and big noses!) and Silver Leaf Langur (that lustrous fur!) are much more chilled and if you remain quiet, they are most likely to stay where they are, eating fruit, leaves, flowers or just sleeping in the trees above you. Its can be pretty serene.

A hungry male Proboscis Monkey - Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia
Seeds and all! A hungry male Proboscis Monkey – Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
Proboscis Monkey - Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
Chomping away whilst keeping a close eye on me! Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
Proboscis Monkey - Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia
Up close with a big old Proboscis Monkey – Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
Proboscis Monkey eating a flower - Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia
Here is he enjoying feasting on a jungle flower – Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia
 Proboscis Monkey in the trees at Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
Hmmm what do you want human? Proboscis Monkey in the trees at Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
 Proboscis Monkey in the trees at Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
A moment of rest. Proboscis Monkey in the trees at Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
Silver Leaf Langur monkey Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia
I was preparing to leave the park and was heading for the boat jetty when I heard some crashing about in the trees. I wandered over to be greeted by a pair of beautiful Silver Leaf Langur – look at that lustrous fur and that face! Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)
A Silver Leaf Langur in the trees at Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia
A Silver Leaf Langur in the trees at Bako National Park, Sarawak Malaysia (May 2018)

I stayed in Bako National Park for two full days and one night but there is plenty of trekking and wildlife viewing to enable an even longer stay. The drinks and food is also good and affordable at the Park HQ restaurant so you do not really need to bring anything much with you. All in all I can thoroughly recommend a trip out to the park if you are travelling in Sarawak.

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