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A Memorable Jungle Trek in Bako National Park

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A Memorable Jungle Trek in Bako National Park

Scenic Santubong Village, beaches and coastal view of Santubong area of The Bako National Park of Sarawak, Borneo Island, Malaysia with mighty Mount Santubong as the background


A Memorable Jungle Trek in Bako National Park

A Memorable Jungle Trek in Bako National Park

By Richard Hii


Jungle trekking in Bako National Park in Kuching, Sarawak, was like a test of mental and physical fitness for me. My brother kindly drove us to the jetty at Bako Village, a 30-minute car ride from Kuching City. From Bako Village, my friend and I had to take a 30-minute boat ride to reach the jetty of Bako National Park at Teluk Assam. Nothing really challenging thus far, unless you count the feeling of trepidation I had of falling into the brownish river water and meeting a crocodile.

But I arrived at the jetty of Bako National Park that afternoon in one piece. Bako National Park is well-known for its treasure chest of tropical rainforest, botanical diversity and assortment of wildlife. Visiting Bako National Park was my friend's idea, and since it was my first visit to the Park, I was curious to find out more about this nature reserve. I was actually looking forward to an interesting yet relaxing time, which is my idea of a holiday.

My first day at the Park was more of an orientation, getting to know the place, finding out what to do, where to go, and also meeting some of its fascinating residents, the two-legged human kind as well as the four-legged non-human ones such as bearded pigs, long-tailed macaques,proboscis monkey and flying lemurs. The staff at Bako National Park Headquarters was polite and helpful.

After checking in at the counter, we took the afternoon easy and just enjoyed the ambience, the sound of nature, critter and all. Our room had a ceiling fan and basic furnishings. Afterall we are in the jungle and what more could we expect to get close to nature.

The second day rose bright and sunny, and after having our breakfast cum lunch, otherwise known as brunch, at the cafeteria, we went to the Bako National Park Headquarters to check on the possibility of going for some easy jungle trekking. I could manage a short, simple trail of an hour, to and fro.

After glancing through the 16 different jungle trails at Bako National Park to choose from, my friend decided to try the Tajor jungle trail that lead to a small waterfall, which would take 2.5 hours one way, 5 hours in total, if we did not get lost. But that would be a small probability as there are color-coded markers or signs to indicate the way, the staff assured us.

Did I not mentioned that I could manage a short, simple trail of an hour or so, to and fro? However, since my friend came from overseas to visit Kuching, Sarawak, and with Bako National Park as one of the places of interest to visit, I felt I had to be accommodating, despite my feelings of unease and being unprepared for a longer trek. I have never been an athletic person but a couch potato would be a better description of me.

So, off we went, taking our knapsacks and a bottle of mineral water each, to an adventurous 5-hour jungle trek inside Bako National Park. Stepping into the jungle canopy was like stepping into another time zone. The quiet stillness and cool shady atmosphere created by huge giant overlapping trees and leaves gave me a sense of peaceful mystery.

I discovered that maneuvering the uneven ground interspersed with tree roots, fallen branches and bushes took some balancing and agility skills. Intermittently, we would stop to rest, took a sip of water and also to check the colored markers to ensure we are on the right trail. Luckily we did regular checking as at one point, we went the wrong way and had to double back. It was a scary moment, I could tell you.

Trekking uphill took effort and was tiring. There were moments, with sweat dripping down my face and clothing, when I wondered why I was torturing myself. My leg ached and my feet hurt, mainly because I was wearing sandals, which were not appropriate for jungle trekking, particularly over uneven terrain. But when the going gets tough, the tough gets going; and I persevered, motivating myself mentally each time when I felt like calling it quits.

As we progressed onwards, I was trying to see if I could catch a glimpse of the bulbous nosed Proboscis monkey, which is said to be found only in Borneo. I did not see any but I saw pitcher plants of different shapes and sizes... I remained amazed today that these cute plants are carnivorous. By the time we reached the small waterfall, I was glad of a reprieve because jungle trekking in Bako National Park was exhausting, at least to me.

The sound of rushing water, splashing over moss-strewn rocks and gurgling through nooks and crannies was like music to my ears. I would have liked to take a swim in the little "pool" but deferred as I did not bring my swimsuit or extra clothing. We spent an hour resting and refreshing ourselves by the waterfall, soaking in the tranquility and not at all disturbed by the soft murmurs and laughter of other trekkers enjoying the serenity of the place as well. It made the trek worthwhile.

The journey back to Bako National Park Headquarters was faster, or so it seemed. I was not paying as much attention to my surrounding as we had to hurry to be in time to catch our boat ride back to Bako Village that evening. You can imagine my alarm and consternation when the bottom layer of the soles of my sandals came off! Luckily, the upper soles and sandal straps were still intact, and I managed to hobble gingerly downhill and walked with care to the jetty.

We were in time to catch our boat and my pitiful sandals held all the way back to Kuching. My brother came to pick us up at Bako Village, and in reply to his question of how the trip to Bako National Park went... Tiring but a memorable experience, I said.

Richard is a travel specialist and runs a local travel agency, Tropical Adventure Tours & Travel in Sarawak. He has over 20 years experience in the travel industry providing logistic support for science research expeditions and adventure for those adrenaline junkie traveller seeking adventure in Borneo especially in Mulu. The company provides top quality excursions into the interior of Borneo, with all the advantages of a properly managed tour operator.
He may be reached at info[a]borneotropicaladventures.com.
Visit http://www.BorneoTropicalAdventures.com


Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Richard_Hii/1038301


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Richard Hii

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