It’s our last day in Kuching and we have a flight to catch this evening to Kuala Lumpur. We had the whole morning and afternoon still to enjoy Kuching so we decided to catch the bus to Bako National Park, about 45 minutes away from the city center. The how, sunny weather was perfect for a day of hiking. However, we would soon realize how fast weather can change in tropical SEA.
We arrive at the park office and first order of business is to catch a boat to the main park area. The ride isn’t too expensive and we’re well on our way, motoring past scenic mountains, jungles and mangrove forests before arriving at a tiny pier that housed the main park entrance. The clouds were starting to roll in at this time and we decided to start hiking as soon as possible, hoping we could avoid the rain. Mandeep and I were both in flip flops since we got our shoes soaked from yesterday’s caving endeavors. No biggie right?
The hiking trail was takes a rapid ascent , with the path covered in a tangle of roots and leaves. 40 minutes later, we reach the top of a particular mountain trail and form here we are able to branch off to a number of viewpoints. However, by now the rain had started. It was light but definitely collecting in the trails, making the wooden steps a bit slippery. It’s interesting to note that the trains are covered in sand of all things. Not sure how that got there but its interesting on a big mountaintop.
We have an interesting time trying to keep all our electronics dry. Basically Mandeep was the only one that brought his raincoat so we put them all in his various pockets. The trail leading away from the plateau is about 2 meters wide, with loose jungle and grass fields on either side. The more heavily forested areas are filled with cicadas and you can hear them buzz in coordinated bouts as we walk by. We finally make it to the viewpoint, completely soaked through and starting to get kind of cold. The viewpoint offered a spectacular view of a beach filled with monkeys. I think it’s called Monkey Beach actually. The lagoon has a crescent shaped beach and you can see small moving dots, which are the monkeys running around. If we had the time, there were quite a few other viewpoints and there are even options for overnight stays where guides would take you around. Interestingly enough, the 2 girls we saw at Fairy caves were here and we bumped into them as they were heading out for another hike. Small world eh?
- It’s difficult to plan your daily activities around weather, especially in off season in SEA since it can change on a whim. Being prepared with your rainjacket even if it looks sunny in the morning can save you from getting the drenching of your lifetime.
- There is a great restaurant in the main area in Chinatown. Its an open air space with lots of different restaurants all serving essentially the same thing: seafood and veggies cooked the way you like, served with a drink. For what you’re getting, its quite cheap. We got frog legs, a couple seafood dishes, a veggie dish and rice with a few beers for $14-$16/person. However this is quite expensive for SEA and if you’re not careful, eating here all the time can blow your budget as it did our’s.