Thursday, 30 August 2012

Bako National Park

Bako National Park is the oldest national park in Sarawak, Malaysia. It covers a location of 27.27 km² at the peak of the peninsula named Muara Tebas at the opening of Bako and Kuching rivers. We have enjoyed the view where mangroves fringe the shores and the stony headlands are concaved with clear beaches. The park highlights several of the state’s main kinds of flora and fauna in the rainforest, traditional fishing villages, and the unique sandstone environment that creates the geological structure of the plateau.

Our journey started when we were picked up by the tour guide at the agreed location. From Kuching, it is roughly 40 minute-ride of about 25 miles to the jetty, from there another 30 minute boat ride engaged from boat . We passed through astonishing view but it is not for the weak hearted. Tides are to be considered because you may either be placed on a little quay on the northern portion of the beach’s headquarter or on the beach across it. But it was certainly fun just the same. Furthermore, we had the chance to get a glimpse of traditional fishing village, passed through the long tract of sandy beaches with rocky headlands that has exceptional arches and sea stacks colored patterns that were formed by iron deposition over millions of years and an abundant of tropical rainforest all within the vicinity of Bako National Park.
Along the boat trip, we have seen several fishermen at work either in group using local traditional method, as well as individually using the fishing net.

We also enjoyed the view of Mount Santubong (also known as Gunung Santubong) which is situated approximately 25km north of Kuching which is the state capital.
While we were appreciating the scenery, it was interesting to know the legend behind Mount Santubong. It was said to represent the tale of 2 beautiful princesses, Sejinjang and Santubong. They were really good friends until they both fell in love with the same man which turned them into mortal enemies. It was believed that Sejinjang was an expert rice thresher while Santubong was a skilled weaver. And they would use each of their tools to violently fight with each other. One day, the quarrel intensified into a brutal fight. Sejinjang was able to cut Santubong’s face (If you see the mountain, there is a deep fissure close to the peak and they called it “the wound of Santubong”). This provoked Santubong and she used her loom to hit Sejinjang in the head, which caused it to shatter into pieces which dropped tto the sea and believed to have transformed into the Monkey Island or Pulau Kera.

The legend’s ending is said to have two different versions. First, the king of the heavens got outraged with Santubong’s actions and he cursed her and transformed her in to a mountain, now known as Mount Santubong. The second version that Santubong felt remorse and succumbed to depression over what she did to Sejinjang. She committed suicide and her body collapsed beside the headless corpse of Sejinjang and the gods transformed them into mountains – Mount Sejinjang and Mount Santubong. (If you will gaze at Mount Santubong, you’ll notice that it takes a shape of a woman lying down. And if you look further, you will perceive that theirs is another mountain close to it – Mount Sejinjang.  We would like to share the video of popular local song on the stories of the princesses, enjoy J

Back to the national park, there are extensive network of trekking trails with 16 colour-coded jungle trails, which offer a range of walking and hiking options. The fit and adventurous can opt for full-day jungle hikes or overnight camping expeditions, while those who prefer to take it easy can opt for a relaxing forest walk. Teluk Assam near the Park Office and is a great place for spotting wildlife. Long-tailed macaques, silver leaf monkeys, common monitor lizards, plantain squirrel, bearded pigs and mouse deer are all found here. Telok Assam is also an excellent bird watching location. Bird watchers have recorded over 150 bird species in Bako including two types of Hornbills, the state bird of Sarawak. In addition to the residents of the region, Bako is also a fantastic place for observing migrant birds.  

A short but steep climb through cliff vegetation, it takes about 30 minutes to reach Tanjung Sapi. You will be rewarded with excellent views of Telok Assam, the South China Sea and Santubong! From the Park Office, it takes about two and a half hours or 45 minutes from the Tajor junction to reach Tanjung Rhu. This trail branches off the Tajor trail and leads across open country to the rocky peninsula and a small headland where you can see a wave-cut natural platform and natural rock pools. There are many other recommended spots of attractions offered by the national park, however we do not have the stamina to cover all. We recommend tourists to go with a park guide to explore the nature as there is no description hanging on the unique natural features, good park guide helps to gain maximum knowledge and insights from the trip. 
We continued our trip with 20min boat trip to admire the famous bizarre rock formations, for this additional sightseeing trip, there is some additional charges to pay the boatman. The famous formation resembles a cobra, there is one resembles a jumping frog, and some aliens!

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