Hi all, I've completed uploading all the pics taken during a recent Bako park trip, click the link below for the thumbnails:
While there, click on "details" to read more (description or title of each photo).
We went there by car and got to the terminal at around 8am. We decided not to take the bus or public transportation as we wanted to get there as early as possible. Also, because it was just a daytrip, we weren't really worried about parking safety. There weren't any other tourists around at that time (low season) so we couldn't share a boat with anyone.
After paying the park fees (RM10 per person), we got into a boat and arrived in 20 minutes. It was low tide then and exposed sandbars can be seen along the river with big white herons resting on them.
We decided to walk to Telok Pandan Besar and Telok Pandan Kecil and arranged to have our boatman pick us up at Telok Pandan Kecil around 4pm. Because the tide was just coming in, our boatman dropped us off at the beach and we waded a few feet to get ashore. Upon alighting at Telok Asam (the beach fronting the park HQ), we saw a family of bearded pigs, a mother and her 4 young ones. The sow was visibly thin from caring for four growing piglets and they were all foraging and digging near the bushes for food. They were some distance from us and we were only able to photograph by thanks to zoom lenses.
Then we went for a light breakfast at the park canteen. There is an open selection of food ranging from fried rice to fried noodles to french fries to toasts and eggs. We tried a the fried rice, eggs and noodles and they weren't very nice. Lesson learned, have your breakfast in the many yummy places in town before coming here.
Remember to register your arrival at the reception building. It has shifted from the canteen area to a new building near the park exhibition and information building. In place of the old HQ is now a large construction site, cordoned off from the public. I forgot to ask what they are building here, perhaps a new HQ and reception office. Upon registration, you will be given a map and advice on which trails to do etc. We asked about a trip to Pulau Lakei, a small island to the north of the park. It would cost RM300 return from Telok Asam! We were also told the waters there are nice and clear but not really suitable for snorkeling as there wasn't much to see anyway. However, we were advised not to go there at that time as a recent storm had wreaked havoc and destroyed the plank walks.
For more information on boat charges, refer to the picture titled "boat service charges" in my flickr photoset.
After that we headed for the beach in search of the bearded pig mother and her kids but they were no where to be found. I had also spotted two very large adults in the area when we first arrived, but they too had moved away from the beach area due to the fast rising sun and temperature.
It was already 9+ am when we ascended the mangrove flats. The tide was fast coming in and little waves could be seen at the edge of the mangrove. Tourists were now beign ferried directly to the jetty here as the tide was high enough. We spent some time exploring the mangrove area photographing pitcher plants that hung from cliffs above water, orchids, unique ferns and beautiful moss. It was very interesting to see such plants thriving so close to the salty sea water, seemingly unaffected by the waves or surf. Many of the mangrove trees here are dying. I meant to ask a park ranger why but again, forgot to! I suppose it could be too much sand brought in by the sea.
We saw a troop of proboscis monkeys feeding here. They left quickly when it started to get hot and with more tourist arrivals. One young one continued to linger, feeding on young leaves but suddenly shot up the cliffs. I suppose it suddenly realized it was the only one remaining in the mangroves!
Many of the other tourists chose to do the easiest and shortest trail, possibly the most boring one as well. I really suggest any visitors here to at least walk to the plateau top, it's an amazing place with lots of pitcher plants, ferns and ant plants such as Dischidia species here.
It is a short walk from the starting point up to the plateau and shouldn't take more than 40 minutes. We stopped to photograph at more proboscis monkeys, noisily arguing amongst themselves in the tree tops.
We got to the plateau around 11am. By now, the sun was high and it was extremely HOT. The white sand reflected the sunlight and blackened sandstone plateau radiated heat like burning coal. It was so hot that we felt so stupid for bringing unnecessary moz repellant (we didn't see a single mosquito) and not sun block! Usually, when I go exploring open areas, I'd wear a good hat, light and thin long sleeved shirt and light pants. This time, I was in only a t-shirt, shorts and a small cap. Luckily I had a small towel which I used to shield my head, neck and face from the unforgiving sun. All of us ended up burnt and turned as red as "kampung" chickens. My friend got it worst when his skin started peeling days after. He looked real funny too as his face was all red and brown but where his forehead was covered by his cap, it was all white and fair. Another lesson learned, BRING PROPER SUN PROTECTION! Sunblock is a must, as well as a good hat. Bring lots of water as well.
The trail across the plateau top is laid over long stretches of open shrub land where there is little shade from the stunted trees. The trail is also waterlogged and good shoes is a neccesity as I nearly slipped a few times walking the soggy trails. The sand is baked and the water is hot from the sun.
To be continued...
When we left, there was a Kuching-Bako bus waiting for passengers in the parking area. It left without any passengers although I did see one or two tourists using minivans instead of the waiting bus.