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Borneo's Bako National Park is older than the country of Malaysia itself. This protected South China Sea peninsula is not only Sarawak's oldest national park, but also one of the smallest national parks in this section of eastern Malaysia. Bako National Park, however, contains a large number of exotic wildlife, pristine beaches, unique rock formations and scenic rainforests within its relatively small size.
Mangrove tree swamps which are exposed during low tide are the places where visitors are most likely to spot rare proboscis monkeys in Bako National Park. Sightings of bearded pigs, pitcher plants, and long-tailed macaques are also not uncommon while hiking along any of the 16 colour-coded Bako National Park hiking trails. Most of these wildlife sightings happen around dusk, and park staff often lead visitors on evening hikes.
Bako National Park can only be accessed by small motorboats which depart from the Bako Market, an unforgettable journey which lasts about 20 minutes. Boats also transport passengers to other nearby beaches such as Pulau Lakei, a tiny island best known for its unique rock paintings and white sandy beach.
Address and contact: JI Tun Abang Haji Openg, Kuching, Malaysia, tel: (60) 82 410 944
Opening times and fees: The National Parks Booking Office is open 09:00 - 17:00 Monday to Friday; single entry fees SG$6.60 for foreign adults and SG$2.30 for foreign children and seniorsWhere to stay
The closest thing to proper hotels near Bako National Park are the bungalows where guests can spend the night at the park headquarters. Visitors can also camp behind the park headquarters as long as they bring their own equipment and watch out for monkeys who can steal food and other items from tents.
Other places to spend the night at Bako National Park headquarters include a hostel where guests must share a bathroom, a lodge where rooms contain two single beds, and a chalet where rooms contain three single beds. Visitors are also free to use the barbecue pits to cook their own meals.
Many visitors also opt to spend the day at Bako National Park, then return to the closest large city, Kuching, by dark. Some of the most luxurious hotels in Kuching, 37kms south of Bako National Park, are the business class Four Points Hotel by Sheraton and the historic Merdeka Palace Hotel.