Bako National Park
Lots of animals
What we say:
It's tempting to just sit in the cafe at Bako and watch the wildlife go by, and by all means this would be a very pleasant way to pass the day.
Afterall there aren't many places where you can go and sit and have proboscis monkeys swing past on their morning forage for food or watch wild boar snuffling around the beach at low tide for crabs. While this is a legitimate way to spend your time, it would be a shame to miss out on the walks that Bako has to offer.
The walks at Bako can be quite hard, and it's really important that you wear closed-toe shoes with a good grip. Flip-flops are a no-no here. All the walks to the west of park HQ are pretty hard going for the first 40 minutes, especially if you haven't done any walking before. After that though most of the walks are about medium difficulty. They're not particularly strenuous but often the terrain is uneven and there is some gradient change but not to the same extent as the first 40 minutes.
Our favourite walk in terms of pay off at the end is the Pandan Kecil Trail. It's about 1.8 kilometres one way and takes about two hours to walk one way. The end of the trail leads to a beach and slightly offshore there are sea stacks created by erosion but even better is the viewpoint about 50 minutes before the beach; a strange moon-like terrain pockmarked with weather erosion, this natural rocky platform looks out to sea and is a wonderful place to sit and gather your thoughts.
There is a waterfall trail called Paku but the waterfall is tiny and was a bit of a disappointment. The walk there though was quite superb, passing through three different types of forest. The trail is often secluded, adding to the feeling of being a bit of an adventurer.
A 90-minute walk starting at 20:00 is offered every night, and at 10 ringgit per person, it's a bargain, especially as you'll more than likely see something interesting. On the night we went, we saw loads of sleeping birds and some type of primate, which is actually a rare occurrence especially on a night walk.
Among the animals that may be seen at Bako are: proboscis monkeys, long-tailed macaques, silver-leafed langurs, monitor lizards, wild boar (the babies are REALLY cute) and mouse deer (nocturnal). The following have been reported to have been seen at Bako but we didn't actually see with our own eyes: pangolins, tarsiers, slow Lorises and colugos (all nocturnal).
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