BAKO Our quick peek at an interesting slice of coastal rainforest in the Malaysian state of Sarawak. With a flight time of just 75 minutes from Singapore, overseas getaways don’t come much closer than Kuching. And, if you’re the type of person who tends to favour hiking at MacRitchie over shopping at Marina Bay, you’ll definitely enjoy exploring the Bako National Park . As the oldest (opened 1957) and most visited national park in Sarawak, Bako itself isn’t off the beaten track – it’s easily accessible from nearby Kuching and therefore attracts its fair share of visitors, particularly those hoping for a glimpse of its famous proboscis monkeys. However, most visitors stay in the vicinity of the park headquarters and the surrounding boardwalks, or they take boats to the nearby beaches, leaving many of the 16 hiking trails in the park largely empty. The trails are colour-coded but not without their challenges – for one thing, you’ll need plenty of water for the longer, hillier hikes; facilities are thin on the ground. Keep an eye out for carnivorous pitcher plants, bearded boars, giant monitor lizards and, with a bit of luck, the aforementioned monkeys with their unusually large noses. There is a small and rustic lodge at park headquarters, which – despite some fairly iffy reviews online – is often booked out, or you can camp on the beach at the end of the long Telak Limau trail (seven hours). Off the Beaten Track:

Getting there: AirAsia flies daily and cheaply from Singapore to Kuching. Bako National Park is a 45-minute bus or van from Kuching followed by a 25-minute boat from Bako Market.



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