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Introducing Bako National Park

Occupying a jagged peninsula jutting into the South China Sea, Sarawak’s oldest national park is just 37km northeast of downtown Kuching but feels like worlds and eons away. It’s one of the best places in Sarawak to see rainforest animals in their native habitats.

The coast of the 27-sq-km peninsula consists of lovely pocket beaches tucked into secret bays interspersed with wind-sculpted cliffs, forested bluffs and stretches of brilliant mangrove swamp. The interior of the park is home to streams, waterfalls and a range of distinct ecosystems, including classic lowland rainforest (mixed dipterocarp forest) and kerangas (heath forest). Hiking trails cross the sandstone plateau that forms the peninsula’s backbone and connect with some of the main beaches, all of which can be reached by boat from park HQ.

Bako is notable for its incredible biodiversity, which includes almost every vegetation type in Borneo and encompasses everything from terrestrial orchids and pitcher plants to long-tailed macaques and bearded pigs. The stars of the show are the proboscis monkeys – this is one of the best places in Borneo to observe these endemics up close.

Bako is an easy day trip from Kuching, but it would be a shame to rush it – we recommend staying a night or two to really enjoy the wild beauty of the place. Getting to Bako by public transport is easy.