Bako Overview

Bako National Park, established in 1957, is Sarawak’s oldest national park and one of Malaysia’s most iconic conservation areas. Located at the tip of the Muara Tebas peninsula at the mouth of the Bako and Kuching Rivers, it is about 37 kilometers away from Kuching, the capital city of Sarawak, on the island of Borneo. Despite its relatively small size of approximately 27 square kilometers (10.4 square miles), Bako National Park boasts an astonishing diversity of natural landscapes and wildlife, making it a microcosm of Borneo’s extensive biodiversity.

The park is celebrated for its unique coastal scenery, including steep cliffs, rocky headlands, and pristine sandy beaches. It encompasses a range of ecosystems, from mangrove swamps and lowland dipterocarp forests to delicate padang scrub and highland cloud forests, providing habitats for a wide variety of flora and fauna. Bako is perhaps best known for the bizarre, otherworldly shapes of its sandstone formations and sea stacks, which have been sculpted by centuries of erosion.

Wildlife enthusiasts are drawn to Bako National Park for its inhabitants, which include long-tailed macaque monkeys, silvered leaf monkeys, wild boar, and monitor lizards. The park is also home to the endangered proboscis monkeys, which are endemic to Borneo and can often be spotted near the mangrove forests. Moreover, Bako hosts a rich avian life, with over 150 bird species identified, making it a haven for birdwatching.

Visitors can explore the park through its extensive network of trails, ranging from short walks to challenging treks, each offering unique views of Bako’s landscapes and opportunities to observe its wildlife. Despite its accessibility from Kuching, Bako retains a sense of untouched wilderness, providing an immersive experience into Borneo’s natural beauty.

Bako National Park serves as a crucial sanctuary for wildlife and a living classroom for environmental education, highlighting the importance of conservation while offering an unforgettable adventure for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

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Park Map
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Bako National Park Highlights


Bako National Park, Malaysia’s oldest national park, is a vibrant showcase of wildlife diversity, home to unique species thriving in its mangrove and rainforest habitats.

Proboscis Monkey
Distinguished by its large nose and pot-bellied appearance, the Proboscis Monkey is a charismatic primate, adept at swimming and a highlight of Bako’s biodiversity.

Bornean Bearded Pig
This distinctive wild pig, with its long facial hair, roams the park’s beaches and forest floors, playing a crucial role in seed dispersal.

Silvered Leaf Monkey
Silvery-grey in color and peaceful in nature, Silvered Leaf Monkeys are often seen in family groups, adding a gentle charm to the park’s canopy.

Flying Lemur (Colugo)
Not truly a lemur, the Colugo glides between trees with its large membranous wingspan, showcasing remarkable adaptations for aerial mobility.

Pit Viper
Camouflaged among the foliage, the Pit Viper is a striking presence in Bako, with its heat-sensing pits and venomous bite, contributing to the ecological balance.

Wagler’s Pit Viper
Often found draped over branches, this species is notable for its vibrant green color and passive hunting strategy, relying on camouflage and patience.

Bako National Park Stick Insect
Masters of disguise, these insects blend seamlessly into their surroundings, providing a fascinating glimpse into the world of natural mimicry and adaptation.

Horsfield’s Tarsier
With its enormous eyes and agile movements, Horsfield’s Tarsier is a nocturnal predator, hunting insects and small animals with astonishing precision.

Bornean Banded Kingfisher
This vividly colored kingfisher is a rare sight, its striking blue and brown plumage and powerful bill make it a formidable fisher and a park treasure.

Green Crested Lizard
Vibrant green with the ability to change color when threatened, the Green Crested Lizard is an emblem of the park’s diverse reptilian life.

Bako National Park Pictures

Engaging Bako National Park

Explore Bako National Park’s diverse landscapes and ecosystems through its network of hiking trails. Choose from a variety of trails ranging from easy strolls to challenging treks, each offering opportunities to encounter unique flora and fauna, including proboscis monkeys, hornbills, and pitcher plants.

Relax and unwind on the park’s pristine beaches, where you can soak up the sun, swim in the clear waters, and explore tide pools teeming with marine life. Take a leisurely stroll along the sandy shores and admire the stunning coastal scenery.

Bako National Park Trails

Telok Pandan Kecil Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 5.5 kilometers round trip, with an elevation gain of about 150 meters.

Description: This trail offers a diverse experience through mangrove forests and over sandstone cliffs, leading to a secluded beach with stunning views of the iconic sea stack.

Hikers can enjoy the rich plant life and wildlife, including proboscis monkeys and flying lemurs.

The trail ends with a rewarding view of the emerald green sea and the pristine beach, making it a perfect spot for photography and relaxation.

Paku Waterfall Trail

Rating: Easy to Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 1.2 kilometers one way, with minimal elevation gain.

Description: Ideal for a short excursion, this trail leads to a small but picturesque waterfall. The path takes hikers through lush rainforest, offering opportunities to observe Bako’s diverse flora and fauna.

The waterfall provides a tranquil spot for a refreshing dip in the pool below, making it a perfect escape on a hot day.

Lintang Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 5.8 kilometers round trip, with an elevation gain of about 100 meters.

Description: Circumnavigating the park, the Lintang Trail showcases the varied ecosystems within Bako.

From dense rainforests to scrub-like padang vegetation, hikers can experience the park’s biodiversity.

The trail offers excellent chances to see wildlife, including wild boars, silver leaf monkeys, and various bird species. It’s a great option for those looking to get a comprehensive overview of the park’s natural beauty.

Tajor Waterfall Trail

Rating: Moderate to Difficult

Distance and Elevation Gain: 5.5 kilometers one way, with an elevation gain of about 200 meters.

Description: Leading to the beautiful Tajor Waterfall, this trail is a bit more challenging, featuring steep sections and requiring hikers to navigate roots and rocks.

The journey is well worth it, as the waterfall provides a scenic spot for lunch and a swim in the natural pool.

The trail also passes by the Tajor beach, offering stunning coastal views.

Ulu Assam Trail

Ulu Assam Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 3 kilometers one way, with an elevation gain of about 100 meters.

Description: This trail offers an adventure to hikers looking to explore the heart of Bako National Park.

It leads to an elevated plateau with expansive views of the South China Sea and the park’s rugged coastline.

Along the way, hikers can observe Bako’s unique sandstone formations and spot wildlife, making it an immersive experience in Borneo’s natural beauty.


1. What is Bako National Park known for?

Bako National Park, located in Sarawak, Malaysia, is renowned for its rich biodiversity, stunning landscapes, and unique ecosystems. It is one of the oldest national parks in Malaysia and is known for being home to an incredible variety of plant and animal species.

The park features diverse habitats, including mangrove swamps, dipterocarp forests, and towering cliffs, providing a haven for wildlife such as proboscis monkeys, macaques, monitor lizards, and a wide range of bird species.

Bako National Park is also famous for its network of hiking trails, which offer visitors the chance to explore its natural beauty and encounter its fascinating wildlife up close.

  • Bako National Park, Park Site,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Bako National Park, Park Site,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Borneo Adventure, Bako National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Sarawak Forestry, Bako National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Sarawak Tourism, Bako National Park,, retrieved April 2024.