Monday, April 06, 2009

Bako National Park

A few years ago, a friend said that a visit to an island is not complete unless you go to an ocean (that was Bali 2006), and hence a visit to a place that is famed for its forests is not complete without a visit to (yeah, you guessed it) a forest.

Bako National Park was a 20 to 30 minute drive away from our hotel (I didn't keep time) and upon reaching there, we were first required to get the entrance tickets where the officer informed us of the conditions we were about to face, looked at our shoes and commented that JC's shoes might not be suitable, but it was. He then proceeded to tell us that seeing that the tide was low, we'd have to wade through the water to reach the park entrance, and there we may encounter jellyfish and some sort of scary fish, so we had to be careful. Gulp.

We got on a boat that was supposed to take us to the National Park. The river was wide, and for me rather scary... only the knowledge that I had on a life jacket and the fact that the tide was low kept my spirits high. Nevertheless, I could not bring myself to walk around of the boat for fear that it may tip over!

There was a good view of Mt Santubong, a mountain steeped in ancient myths about two sisters who got jealous of each other, where Santubong poked Sejinjang with something and crushed her to bits. So we have Mt. Santubong and bits of pieces of Sejinjang that no one seems to talk about.Over the river we also went to this place by the sea where there are sandstone formations from 75 million years ago, and the marvels of erosion. It is said that what is now the forest was under water back then. Interesting, huh?

We had breakfast at the canteen at the National Park. Alas! My brekkie was disrupted by a monkey and her baby (my plate flew into the air when I tried to run from them) One thing we had problems with was getting a guide. Apparently, all the guides were pre booked, and we had to enter on our own :( However, as luck would have it, a guide who was guiding three *people from HK took us under his wing. At first, one of the three was reluctant for us to share their guide because they were pressed for time and were afraid we could not keep up! As if... :p

As time passed by, the member who was the most reluctant to have us along ended up being the friendliest one, even to the point of wanting to know us personally - where we were from, what we are doing, etc. Ha! Ha! We took the Paku trail. It's only 800m and is supposed to take one hour. It requires a bit of climbing and good foothold. One of our team actually tore her favourite pair of jeans on one of the rocks there! It was a tiring climb combined with the heat from the sea and the forest but it was all worth it. Also my going to the gym - although only twice a week has made me stronger. So, woo hoo! According to the guide, despite the size of the trees, none of them are too strong. In fact, the combined power of a few *strong men (he could have used the words a few strong people instead of men) can actually push the trees down. This is because the trees do not have **akar tunjang (which I literally translated to taproots because I have no idea what they are called since I'm from one of the batches that learnt science and maths in Malay) because there really is no ground for them to grow in (the ground is mostly sandstone) and have modified their roots to cover a large area to compensate the lack of the taproot.

Our journey took us to a secluded beach and we caught a glimpse of the proboscis monkey. The photo didn't turn out though because yours truly aimed the camera at a wrong tree :(

Along the beach we also saw mangrove crabs - very cute. Mangrove plants and more sandstone. Some of it made me feel as though I have landed in an alien planet! We went back to the registration area, claiming that we had all exited the park in one piece, and went back to our boat. It was a bit after one pm by then and we still had to wade the sea. The water was bloody hot, yet another interesting experience.

7 comments:

  1. Been wanting to go to Bako for ages!!!!! But somehow my gang are such lazy bastards and only want to get drunk!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounds like a very interesting place.

    ReplyDelete
  3. sabrina: That's a pity... Bako's fabulous.

    travis: yes, it is. I'm so glad that it's still mostly natural (they've built some wooden steps across certain dangerous areas)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sarawak is definitely on my hit list for 2010. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. hi a couple of my friends are coming over to kuching for a short trip at the end of the year, and I was thinking about taking them to bako. the last time I was there I was 7.. so needless to say I don't remember much about it. I was wondering if you could tell me a bit more about your bako trip..

    ReplyDelete
  6. Deaf-knee, thanks for dropping by. There's nothing much else I can say about Bako other than what I've written here... one thing I could say is you should attempt to get a guide before your trip as they can guide you through the terrain and all.

    ReplyDelete