Friday, May 1, 2009

Bako National Park

The Park jetty at low tide can only be accessible by a few hundred metres walk through the muddy beach. We were lucky as the tide was high enough for us to land at the jetty. From this jetty point, it is a 5 minutes walk to the Park HQ and the chalets to check in if you are staying for the night. There is also a canteen nearby with a clear view of the park ground which macaques, wild bearded pigs and monitor lizards come to forage for food.

This is the icon of Bako National Park and can only be seen up close if you take an optional boat journey from the Park jetty to the Telok Pandan Kecil beach. The journey takes only about 10 minutes but passes through some of the most spectacular seaside rock formations in the park, and this sea stack is the most famous of them all. The boatman will normally oblige if you ask him to slow down and even circle it for you to get a better camera angle.

This boatman waited like a vulture at the Telok Pandan Kecil beach where only a few of us were splashing in the sea and beach, knowing very well we would be too exhausted to take the one hour trek through rocky jungle trail back to Park HQ. His patience paid off, as at the end of the day, we wearily asked to be taken back by his boat, but only after a few rounds of protracted negotiation. We even pretended to walk off, to which his reaction seemed to be "go ahead, have a nice trek". To save face the girls pretended to despair and grumbled audibly and thus we agreed to his asking charge for their sake!

Rocky outcrops like this dotted the coastline of Bako National Park, this one at Telok Pandan Kecil beach provides welcome shade and even some natural bath shower from the fresh water trickling down its rocky wall.

The beach of Telok Pandan Kecil is generally deserted except for a few stragglers. This is truly a secret corner of Sarawak and is off the beaten path. The beach is clean and the water blue in the distance, but not the crystal clear water like those of the Caribbean or South Pacific islands. Give it another 5 - 10 years, a five-star resort may materialize here with hordes of tourists and screaming kids. Visit it before this scenery is gone!