Wednesday, July 4, 2012


"What you lookin' at?"  The "fashion statement" above is not one of us. Promise.
We weren't really planning on coming here, at least not when this trip started three months ago. Now, we can't seem to leave. And no, it's not because we accidentally booked a flight for the wrong month (that hasn't happened...yet).

After the sharks in Sipadan, the pygmy elephants in Kinabatangan, and the jazz in KK, we figured we had hit most of Borneo's highlights. We were so wrong.

The latest natural wonder: the wildlife of Bako National Park. The place is a lazy-man's paradise for those looking to get up close and personal with some truly exotic and wild animals without really trying. Just an hour north by bus and boat outside of Kuching, the island's largest city (a fun, scenic destination on its own), Bako is home to herds of the typically-shy bearded pig, birds galore, numerous pit vipers, two types of flying lemur, and all kinds of monkeys that will stare at you, ignore you, and if you're not careful, steal a fried egg off your breakfast plate while you're watching (ask Liz. That actually happened).

Male proboscis monkey on a hot tin roof.
Silver leaf monkey eating a fresh bud.
During a short walk along the raised boardwalks of the park, you'll likely spot all the aforementioned animals, and even more with the help of one of Bako's knowledgeable guides. There are no cages or feeding times, but an abundance of fruit trees combined with safe habitat and long-ago established conservation areas (est.1957) makes the area around HQ a hub of animal activity.

While the sightseeing is incredible, the lodging  leaves a little to be desired. We slept in a four-bed dorm room that smelled like a group of monkeys had been locked in there for a week. Combine that with the 90 degree weather, and the daytime smell was enough to make you want to turn around and go home. But then you see a group of wild pigs walk by, and some monkeys jump around in the trees, and you forget about the smell (you actually don't, but it sounds nice, right?).

ABOVE: A baby bearded pig gives Liz's hand a curious sniff.

LEFT: Liz poses with a posse of bearded pigs just off the porch.

We liked the place so much, we stayed three nights to allow time to hike some of the many miles of well-maintained trails that venture up rocky slopes, over sandy plateaus and down to beaches as empty as they are stunning.

The pristine beach that rewards hikers after a two-hour trek from Bako HQ.
Enjoying the views and the water before heading back up the trail. 

This is a real sign at Bako National Park. 
This one is, too. 

PHOTOS ABOVE: giant black scorpion; snake eating a lizard;
Borneo pit viper; and a red dragonfly.

The sun sets over Bako National Park in western Borneo.


  1. Wow, awesome photos and upadate. I think I need to go to Borneo!

    1. Hi Anon. You should absolutely go! Let us know if we can help plan your trip!


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