KUCHING, 19 August 2021: Sarawak is well-known for beautiful and lush rainforests, mountains and wildlife, making it a favourite among hikers to explore.
If your adventurous trait is nudging you to plan the next destination to reconnect with nature, Kuching should be on top of your list as it is blessed with so many pristine and hidden locations filled with beautiful landscapes, waterfalls and natural phenomena waiting to be discovered. Whether you are a beginner or an expert on the hiking field, there is something here for everyone in Kuching. It will be an adventure you’ll never forget. Here are four parks and destinations that should figure in your planning.
Bako National Park
A trip down to the oldest national park in Sarawak, Bako National Park will be a worthwhile experience when you visit Kuching. The park, which was gazetted in 1957, gives you a perfect introduction to Sarawak’s forests and wildlife experience. It has a picturesque coastline covered with small bays, coves and beaches. Bako is also home to the big-nosed and pot-bellied Proboscis monkey which is endemic to Borneo, silver-leaf monkeys, long-tailed macaques, monitor lizards, bearded pigs and a variety of birdlife.
Bako’s extensive trail system is made up of 16-colour coded jungle trails, which offers a wide range of walking and hiking options from full-day treks to short walks.
Telok Delima Trail
Telok Delima can be a good start to your hiking journey in Bako National Park. With only 45 minutes (1 km) away from the park’s headquarters, it is known to be one of the best trails in the park for spotting the proboscis monkey. Before hiking, be sure to ask for the park’s map for easier navigation and follow the Telok Delima’s white and blue trail colours.
While hiking this trail, pay attention to strange grunting noises or the crash of vegetation and be as quiet as possible. If you hear something, follow the noise because it might be your chance to encounter the Proboscis monkey, or even a group of them! Conclude your hike at Telok Delima with the scenic view of the beach and mangrove trees at the end of the trail.
If you are visiting Bako National Park for only a day, trekking the Lintang loop, which is about three and half hours trek from the park’s headquarters, is a popular option for a long and relaxing walk while exploring Mother Nature’s playground. The whole trek which takes 5.25 km passes through nearly all of the vegetation types found at Bako such as the Carnivorous pitcher plants, sundews, and bladderworts.
The whole trek may take up to three to four hours so make sure to plan your trekking journey early and stay hydrated. While you’re already there, you can also take a short detour off the main trail at Bukit Tambi viewpoint which overlooks the western part of the park.
Telok Paku Trail
The Telok Paku trail will roughly take an hour to walk through the cliff forest before arriving at a little hidden beach. It is one of the best places to observe Proboscis monkeys early in the morning or late afternoon. Slowly walk through the canopy and be as quiet as possible and listen to the unusual moans or movements of the Proboscis monkeys.
Telok Pandan Besar and Kecil Trail
Another one of Bako’s popular treks is Telok Pandan Kecil, which takes around 1.5 hours to hike. It ascends the wooded hills above Telok Assam, reaching a scrub-covered plateau before continuing along a sandy road dotted with carnivorous pitcher plants to a clifftop with spectacular views of the isolated bay below and the famed sea stack near offshore. A 10-minute descent through cliff vegetation brings you to one of the best beaches in the park. The Telok Pandan Besar trail ends at a cliff top with charming views of the beach below.
Santubong National Park
Have you heard about the legendary tale of Princess Santubongthat was turned into Mount Santubong? If you haven’t, plan a day trip to Santubong National Park to find out more about this famous lore and visit Mount Santubong which is said to resemble a woman lying down when looked at from certain angles.
Santubong National Park is located on the Damai Penisula, about 35 km north of Kuching. Be enchanted by the beauty of the mystical mountain covered with its lavish rainforest where a variety of wildlife is spotted and enjoy magnificent views of the coastline from the summit. It is one of the most popular places for hiking in Kuching.
Santubong Summit Climb
The dramatic peaks of Mount Santubong can be seen from Kuching City have always left hikers spellbound by what they experienced during their hike. This mountain stands proudly at 810 m tall and covers an area of 1410 ha. It is a 4 km trek which will take about four hours per way and the climb is rated as moderate to difficult. You may need to rely on ladders, ropes and exposed tree roots to navigate through steep climbs so be sure to gear up and pack along with your necessities. However, the challenging climb is rewarding with waterfalls, flora and fauna found along the way.
The summit trail starts at the Santubong National Park entrance. It has two different trails which are Summit One (yellow coded) trail and Loop (blue coded) trail. The Summit offers a great view of Kuching City. Before descending, take the opportunity to bathe and relax at the Santubong Waterfall.
Bung Muan, Serembu
Retrace one of the White Rajah of Sarawak Sir James Brooke’s steps by visiting Bung Muan, also known as Brooke Heritage Trail, because it is one of his frequent nature getaways. He built a cottage midway to the summit of Mount Serembuat Kampung Peninjau in which “Peninjau” in Malay means the “the lookout”. He also invited naturalist Sir Alfred Russel Wallace to visit him here, hence the trail is also branded as Wallace Trail from Kampung Peninjau. This site had attracted world-famous 19th-century personalities to Sarawak including the British colonial administrator and naturalist Sir Hugh Low.
Bung Muan is a 500m mountain near Siniawan, about 30km from Kuching city and it will take about three to four hours to complete. Depending on your preference, there are three key starting points to choose from.
This trail will first lead to Old Peninjau Longhouse Site, then to Sir James Brooke’s Cottage and Summit Two and finally, the Bung Muan Summit seems to be the most popular option. You can start your journey with a gradual climb to the Old Peninjau Longhouse and to Sir James Brooke’s Cottage. From here onwards, the level of difficulty of the climb may increase due to the upward climb to Summit Two. However, once you reach the summit you can take it easy while taking the final hike to the Bung Muan’s Summit for a magnificent view of the rainforest.
Serembu Eco Park
If you want to challenge yourself more for hiking, you can try this trail that starts from the Eco Park. Within 10 minutes of the hike, you will face an upward climb which might be tough but it is possible to conquer to reach Sir James Brooke’s Cottage. After that, expect another upward climb to Summit Two and finish it off with an easy hike to Bung Muan’s Summit.
The Kampung Podam trail is another challenging option to reach the Bung Muan’s Summit. Warm-up first by hiking for the first five minutes and then pace yourself for a tough climb to Summit Two while passing through Sir James Brooke’s Cottage and then finally an easier climb towards Bung Muan’s Summit.
An hour’s drive from Kuching city, the Padawan district is one of Kuching’s best-kept secrets for hiking adventures. Surrounded by its natural breathtaking landscape, hikers will be in for a treat. The hiking highlights of Padawan are mainly waterfall hikes. Visiting here is also an opportunity to get to know the Bidayuh people, engage with them and learn about their traditions.
This beautiful village has three trails to try that lead to two stunning waterfalls which are Ban BuanKukuot Waterfall and Mabi Waterfall.
Ban BuanKukuot Waterfall is known to be the tallest waterfall in Kampung Sadir and it may take around two hours to trek. On the other hand, Mabi Waterfall only takes about 30 minutes of trekking to reach. Don’t forget to have your picnic lunches prepared in Bidayuh style jungle cooking while being soothed by the sound of waterfalls gushing down.
Kampung Sapit, which is located at the foot of the Ulu Padawan hills near the Sarawak-Kalimantan border, is about 60 km south of Kuching. A place with a scenic view of the Borneo highlands, it has three waterfall trails to choose from. Those trails will lead you to the beautiful Subah, Sangoh and Gangdang Waterfall. The longest trail will take up to 3.5 hours per way and the shortest route will take two hours. This trek is rated as moderate to difficult because of the long and steep uphill ride on the current narrow road to the village. To avoid disappointment, treks and hikes around the village must be booked in advance with local agents.
Kampung Sting is about 50 km away from Kuching and is situated high above the clouds. The village offers a majestic unparalleled view of the Bengoh Dam and Bengoh Range. As it is not accessible by road, you can enjoy a 20-minute peaceful boat ride from the Bengoh Dam to Sting’s foothill. After that, begin trekking uphill and enjoy the breathtaking view. Trekkers can also make their way to the Kling and Susung waterfall. Get ready to walk across a bamboo bridge suspended by steel braided cables. End your trek here by enjoying traditional delicacies cooked in bamboo.
FOR MORE HOLIDAY OPTIONS VISIT: https://sarawaktourism.com/
(Your Stories – Sarawak)
I can strongly recommend Sarawak as I spent a while there 30 odd years ago. Completely inexperienced, I found a wonderful guide in the form of Magdalena, who knew the jungle and had family living there . I had the brilliant idea of looking for a guide at the Hilton ( ?) hotel where she worked in the offices. I stayed in a budget hotel in Kuching who were marvelous. The river and jungle trip was another world for me, and we stayed in two different villages, one of which was her family. They took me blow pipe hunting and showed me their way of life, cooking and eating and sleeping on the floor with the whole small village together. The best holiday I ever had and when we got back to Kuching I was so happy I cried, as I never thought I could do it. The best experience I’ve ever had.
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