Yesterday it was up, shower, breakfast and off to the bus stop to meet a couple we had met the previous day and to travel to Bako National Park together. Again we chose the public transport option, the big red bus K1 to Bako, after all it costs on 3.50MR on public transport. It took about 40 minutes before we arrived then we booked our boat to take us along a river known for crocodile attacks – yep true! The admission fee to the park is 20MR each and the boats which sit 4 people cost 94MR return, so if you can find people to share the boat with its a four way split, so in we hopped and away we went. The rain was pouring at this point but it seems to be raining every morning in Kuching, clearing at about 10 – 11 am, and it wasn’t going to stop us.
After about 15 minutes in the boat we arrived at the jetty among the mangroves and began the short walk to reception to check in. It’s a good policy because there are treks ranging from 2km round trip to 13km and on return you have to sign back out, so at least you know if you get lost someone will come looking for you. The couple we were with needed to get the 2pm boat back, happy to share the adventure with them we all agreed it was the 2km round trek for us, but before we set off there was plenty of time for a warm drink and to dry out a little before getting even wetter
We went to the cafe order a coffee, a tea and Alan got himself some biscuits to dunk in his coffee. Once out on the deck area he put down his biscuits and in seconds all of a sudden there was a real kerfuffle, his coffee all of a sudden was strewn over the table and the biscuits gone, a macaque monkey had managed to swoop in and grab his biscuits making one hell of a mess as he/she collected their freebies. The shock and laughter of it all was hilarious, we could not believe how quickly it happened, needless to say Alan got another coffee and biscuits and sat inside, nothing could come between a man and his dunking of biscuits 🙂
We then began on our trek, the Paku trek where we were told we would definitely see the Proboscis monkey. When we got to the start of the track we soon realized that the trekking paths had been kept as close to natural as is possible and it was beautiful. You could clearly see the way you needed to go, but it was tree roots and rocks that made up the path, some of the inclines had a few timber steps, some passages were timber platforms but generally it was the tree roots and rocks that gave you your footings. We scrambled up rocky steps hanging onto vines as a hand rail being careful not to grab a pit viper, a common snake in the park. For a moment we felt like we were Indiana Jones trying to get through the jungle to retrieve whatever it was he had to retrieve. About half way in the rain stopped and before long the sweat was running like rivulets as the temperature began to raise. We had rain jackets on so they had to come off, as we hit clearings the sun shone down biting at our skin. It took us about 45 minutes to get to the end of the trail, as we walked out of the clearing the landscape opened up to a beautiful sandy beach, it was like being on a desert island, there were just the four of us, the ocean lapping at the sand, the sun beating down and the jungle of borneo surrounding us – quite perfectly amazing actually. We hung around on the beach for a while and took some pictures, watching as tiny little crabs went about their business, occasionally looking back to see if there where any trees frantically moving about!
After a while we began our trek back and on the way we bumped into another couple heading toward the beach they asked if we had seen the Proboscis monkey’s on our way in, we told them not so they told us where to locate them – don’t you love the travel adventure spirit, all in for the same purpose so all share the information needed to made the most of the adventure! Anyhow we now had a mission, walk quietly, stop frequently and wait, we will find the elusive Proboscis monkey on this trek. Eventually we got to the spot and there they where! We were fairly close to them but they are so well camouflaged that while you can see them with the naked eye it is not quite so easy to get them on the camera, we did though get some shots. What amazing creatures and I think quite cute looking. You knew the alpha male from his coat shape and color and the fact that he made it quite clear he was not going to perform for us, he simply sat in a tree with his back to us, but a few certainly obliged making it a memorable stop!
We watched for quite some time as they chomped on the leaves and bark, as they moved from tree to tree, as they looked over to observe us – who is really watching who? Eventually it was time to heat out and trek back to camp. It was time for a well earned cold drink before wandering around the headquarters. Alan had headed off and then returned to let me know the baby macaques were playing ball in the water, so off we went to check it out. By the time we got back to the spot they had finished playing ball but were hanging around, so cute! Very naughtily Alan took some crisps out of his bag and gave them to the little ones and an adult and they loved them, the only problem is that the older monkey had taken good note of where alan had his crisps stashed and a couple of times it seemed he/she might make an attempt to help themselves so more vigilant than ever we moved on.
Bako is a place that we would love to return to and probably stay over night to do more of the treks, the overnight accommodation seems like good value and the surroundings are amazing. Its beautiful and once on the treks you really could be a million miles away from anywhere and when alone a million miles from civilization, but alas this time we had to leave to head back to the city. We caught the 2:30pm bus at 3pm and then waited until 3:15pm to leave, yes you read that right so just be aware if you are traveling public transport 🙂
Once home we headed to John’s place for a well earned beer and for me (as most of the snacky things at Bako were not veggie) it was a plate of Midin (jungle fern, a Sarawak speciality) with garlic, what a perfect day.
The evening was a quiet one, after walking a trillion miles to try and find the vegetarian food place we gave up and headed to James Brooke Cafe and Bistro across the road, a bit more pricey than other places we have eaten but very good food and only across the road from the place we call home in Kuching. I have to give the mixed veg curry a plug – fantastic and spice galore, and of course nothing like a cold beer to wash it down. After dinner it was a short walk along the riverfront, there was noise of drumming in the distance, obviously something was happening somewhere but Kuching it seems in general, is a quiet place.
Yet another exhausting day, it may not sound it but early mornings on the go non stop is tiring in the heat so it was an early night for us!
Borneo is definitely a place of adventure, there are so many options to get out among the natural world and explore both above, on land, and below, underwater – oh there are caves too which we will miss.