Bako is one of Southeast Asia's smallest national parks, but itis also one of the most interesting and accessible. The park offersvisitors an excellent introduction to Sarawak's forests and theopportunity to view unspoilt nature and see some of Borneo's rarewildlife only 37 km from Kuching.

Bako's main claim to fame is the sheer variety of plant and animalspecies it contains. The park, which covers the tip of the MuaraTebas peninsula, includes dipterocarp forest, scrub-like padangvegetation, swamp forest, mangrove forest, delicate cliff vegetationand more. At Bako it is possible to see almost every type of vegetationfound in Borneo.

For wildlife enthusiasts, Bako is unique. It is Sarawak's oldestnational park, and has been a protected area since 1957. Thereforethe animals in the park are both abundant and less wary of humans.Visitors are almost guaranteed to see wildlife and will have theopportunity to photograph a range of species in a natural environment.

Long-tailed macaque monkeys are always found patrollingthe park HQ area. Silvered leaf monkeys, monitor lizardsand squirrels are also common here. At night bearded pigs oftenrummage around the chalets and resthouses. Bako's mangroveforests are home to the rare proboscis monkey, only foundon the island of Borneo. The mangroves are also an excellent placefor bird watching. Over 150 different bird species have been recordedat Bako, including some ornithological rarities.

Bako is a visitor-friendly park with excellent facilities, designedto enable the visitor to get the most out of the environment withoutadversely affecting it. The park HQ area has 24-hour electricity,water supplied by a fresh jungle stream, resthouses, chalets andhostel rooms, a canteen serving snacks and cold drinks, an educationcentre, video room and information centre.

The park rangers maintain an extensive system of walking trailsthat span out all over Bako. In total there are sixteen colour-codedtrails, offering a range of trekking options, from easy walkingtours to serious full-day jungle hikes. The circular Lintangtrail passes through all of Bako's vegetation types, making ita popular choice with trekkers. The Telok Delima and TelokPaku trails are the best places for observing the proboscismonkey; early morning or late afternoon are the best times togo.

Bako's coastline is covered in small bays, coves, steep cliffsand beaches. Limestone and sandstone cliffs border the beaches,the best of which is Telok Pandan Kecil. The trek to thissuperb secluded bay passes through an Australian-like landscapeof padang vegetation. At the side of the sandy footpaths and plankwalks,carnivorous pitcher plants are found. Bako's most photographedfeature, a sea stack formed by the action of waves, can be seenfrom the beach at Pandan Kecil.

The 20 minute boat ride to Bako is almost as enjoyable as thepark itself. Visitors will see dense mangrove forests, traditionalbamboo fishing platforms and fascinating coastal rock formations,and white-bellied sea eagles are often spotted along the way.Although the day visitor is able to see much of what Bako hasto offer, an extended stay is highly recommended.