Published: December 6th 2009October 19th 2009
Arriving at Bako
On a boat with a shade canopy!
Sunday we took the local bus from Kuching to the boat dock for Baku National Park. Unlike Taman Negara, for which the boat ride is an optional tourist add-on while locals arrive by land, there is no road to Baku. In fact you can only reach the dock at high tide, otherwise you have to wade through the surf and across the beach carrying all your stuff. Lucky for us the tide was in.
At the dock, the boat owners take turns. These are little four-passenger dingies with outboard motors. Our assigned boat had no canopy for shade; we could see that most did. We realized this as he cranked up the outboard -- we scrambled out of the boat and back on to the dock just in time. Returning to the waiting area, we said we'd just wait, let others go ahead of us, until the next boat did have a canopy. (In fact no one else was waiting for a boat at that point.) After a couple of minutes of meetings the guys worked it out and we got into a shaded boat. That tropical sun is brutal.
We had reserved both sides of a duplex, which
turned out to be really quite roomy. And cheap, because they had last set the prices in 2001. Once checked in, we headed into the jungle to see what there was to see. Before long we had racked up Macaque (aka "naughty" monkeys, since they aggressively steal food, even from the plate in front of you), pretty tame wild boars, and clinging to a tree trunk, a sleeping flying lemur mama with baby tucked under her.
The famous Proboscis monkeys were harder. We ran into a troop of them on a hike the next morning. Actually I heard them in the trees and whispered to Melody, but she and the kids went on down the trail and left me alone with them for about 15 minutes. They finally came back looking for me.
Net net, we far preferred Bako National Park over Taman Negara National Park: accommodations (cleaner, larger, and cheaper), wildlife (much more abundant), food, scenery. I guess we had to visit T.N. to find that out. I concede that the leeches at T.N. far outnumber those at Bako.
There are more photos below