Bako National Park is located near Kuching in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. It’s the oldest and one of the smallest national parks in Sarawak, but is incredibly interesting. With a well maintained network of trails, abundant
Bako National Park is located near Kuching in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. It’s the oldest and one of the smallest national parks in Sarawak, but is incredibly interesting. With a well maintained network of trails, abundant wildlife including endangered species, waterfalls, rainforest and secluded beaches, put this on your bucket list now!
Are you a solo traveller and want to explore this beautiful park? Follow these steps for the best experience.
Before you arrive
Book your accommodation. This accommodation can be booked out weeks in advanced so as soon as you know the date you’re going, get onto this website and lock it in!
I booked an entire room at Forest Lodge Type 6. It was private, my own bathroom and was fine for 1 night. No aircon. No hot water. It was 50RM which is roughly $16 AUD.
Print out your confirmation when you book the room online and bring it with you.
Please do this! Head to the India Street Market area in Kuching to buy some Adidas Kampung Shoes to wear when trekking (tip: they aren’t adidas brand, this is just what they’re called). You’ll find a pair in any one of the cheap shoe shops in the market for around 10RM (roughly $3-$4 AUD).
They are super ugly, but you will be so grateful you have these!!! They are made from rubber and stick to wet tree roots when you’re walking over them at Bako. They saved my life so many times! It would have been horrendous if I’d just worn runners or even western hiking boots! I would have been falling over everywhere. Nothing compares to these and I highly recommend you get some.
I wore socks with them and I also cut a couple of small drain holes in the rubber so the water could easily get out when I stepped in a river. Because you will be stepping in rivers if you go on some of the major walks.
Another thing to prepare is to buy some food and bring it with you! You will definitely need this when you’re trekking those trails. Muesli Bars, Crisps, Bananas, Chocolate Bars. Anything to give you energy. And lots of water!
How to get there from Kuching?
To make it simple for you, I’ll share my Instagram story pic so you can see the map.
Get the Red 1A public bus to Bako.
Bako Boat Ramp
The Red 1A Bus will drop you right at the ticket and boat ramp. First you buy your return boat ticket. That’s 40RM return.
And then walk around the corner to buy your entry ticket (20RM – roughly $7 AUD) and this is where you show them your overnight confirmation and they will ask you to sign and you officially register your accommodation.
There will be people there who will ask you if you need a guide. You don’t need this. It’s more $$ and everything is really simple once you get to the National Park.
Important Boat Tip!!
This is where you can be tricked and no one tells you this! If you are only visiting Bako for the day, make sure you find other travellers who are going back at the same time you want to! Chat to the other tourists waiting for the boat and tell them the drivers will charge extra if you arrive in a boat and the other passengers want to leave at different times.
If you are staying overnight, this doesn’t matter and the boat driver is fine to pick you up the next day.
I was on a boat with two other couples who wanted to come back at different times and the boat driver told them it would cost them extra and they had a 20 minute argument with him! (To be honest, the extra cost wasn’t that bad, it was only around $10-$15 AUD and I would have just paid it and not argued about something that doesn’t really matter in the long run. These boat drivers don’t get a lot of money to begin with!)
Arriving at Bako National Park
If the tide is low (which it was when I arrived around 10am), the boat will stop a bit further away from the shore and you need to take off your shoes and roll your pants up and walk through the water to the beach.
Go straight to the headquarters building and register your arrival. First, book in to your accommodation. I arrived early so I registered and came back in the afternoon to get my room key.
You also need to have a plan of what trails you’re going to go on and you write your name in the registration book, with the time and the trails you’re planning on walking, then you sign it.
When you come back from the trails, head back to headquarters and sign the book with the time to let them know you’re back safely and they don’t need to go looking for you!
If you have a large bag, they can hold that in a room behind the check in desk so now is the time to sort out your day bag if you haven’t done that already.
Take your passport and your money and anything else that is important because there’s a sign on the door where the bags are kept that says they are not responsible for anything left in there. So take all your important things in your day pack.
There is no swimming allowed on the shores of Bako because there are salt water crocodiles around.
Check out the map of the local trails. You’ll get one of these at the headquarters.
I trekked the Pandan Besar where I saw this view. The beach is not accessible.
Then I trekked to Pandan Kecil where you see this beautiful view. This is the beach you can walk onto.
I connected with a Dutch couple at Kecil beach who wanted to get a boat back to headquarters and I said I would go too and we split the cost to go back by boat instead of walking. There were some boats waiting at the beach, obviously hoping some tourists wanted to use them too haha.
The boat ride back was actually really fun! He went past the famous Cobra Head Sea Stack very close and was a friendly guy.
What do the trails look like?
Here are the trails that you’ll walk along. You see now, how important those Kampung Shoes are that you bought before!
Now is the time to check in! You must also keep your windows closed when you aren’t in the room because monkeys will get in!
You’ll see Borneo Bearded Pigs hanging around the headquarters and your accommodation. Just leave them alone and admire them from a distance.
Long tailed Macaques.
The endangered proboscis monkey. Who usually just hang around in the trees near the headquarters. Make sure you have a zoom lens.
There’s a buffet at the headquarters, as well as drinks and snacks. Obviously it’s more expensive here but you won’t starve if you have some cash on you.
If you’re vegan, get ready for very plain food
But good thing is, even if you’re vegan, there is still food for you 🙂