If you have a few days of spare time and unsure where to go, you might want to read this. Here’s 3 things that I did during my 5 days solo backpacking in Kuching.
1. Stay 2 nights at Bako National Park
BNP actually has plenty to offer if you stay there long enough, the only way to enter the park is through riding a speedboat, just like Jurassic Park. Of course there are no Dinosaurs but there might be crocodiles lurking around (there are sightings of crocodile reported thus swimming is prohibited at all the beaches). The jetty is at Kampung Bako and the ride cost RM30 for Malaysians and RM40 for non Malaysians, for a 2 way shared ride.
Why 2 nights?
* For shared boat ride, you ONLY can leave the park at 3pm
* The accommodations are really cheap, you can get a bed at RM15 per night per bed in a shared dorm(Tips: you can get the whole room for yourself at RM40, if you share the room with 3 friends then it will be RM10 per person per night). Booking can be done entirely online.
* There are quite a number of trails to keep you busy, each with different view. Trails are well marked and easy to navigate.
I’ve hiked 6 out of 10 trails during my visit and here are my recommendations:
T. Pandan Kecil – This trail takes around 1.5 hours 1 way, the view at the end of the trail is overall the most amazing, you’ll stand on top of a cliff overseeing a beach and Mount Santubong.
Tg. Tajor – The longest trail I’ve taken in BNP, 2.5 hours 1 way. You’ll end up at a huge cove, the reward is when you walk further out the cove, there are a few more even huger coves separated by a cliff, absolutely breathtaking! There’s a waterfall in the middle of this trail but don’t expect too much, it is a small waterfall with a small pool, just nice to dip in and refresh yourself after the long hike.
T. Paku – Takes less than an hour 1 way. Although the hike was fairly easy, the view wasn’t disappointing at all! In fact, this is the closest you can get to view a sea stack without riding a boat.
Tg. Sapi – Although it stated 30 min 1 way, the hike can be a little tiring due to the elevation (mostly going uphill). At the end of the trail is a cliff overseeing the park’s HQ, the view is okay but not extraordinary.
T. Delima – Fairly easy hike, takes about 45 min 1 way. If you’re not fond of mangrove forest this might not be the trail for you. For the it was the wooden pathway along the way that makes it more interesting.
T. Pandan Besar – Stated 1 hour 1 way, this was the easier one compared to T. Pandan Kecil with similar view. But if I were to go again, I would totally skip this as the latter one is far more attractive.
Ulu Assam – I did not take this trail during my trip due to insufficient time but someone that I met recommended this for the view. It takes 1.5 hours 1 way. I guess you’ll have to discover yourself for this and leave a comment here I you’ve been there before.
2. Start as early as possible if you plan to hike Mt. Serapi and Kubah waterfall in 1 day.
Kubah National Park opens 8am – 5pm. The hike to the peak takes around 2-3 hours 1 way. To reach the waterfall takes another 45min – 1 hour, in total you’ll be spending 6-8 hours hiking.
The VIEW on the peak
During my visit it was all cloudy and I wasn’t able to see anything, I bet it would be amazing if the sky was clear.
Be wary of the WEATHER
It started raining heavily right after I’ve reached the peak, together with thunder and lightning nonstop. It was a thrilling experience and I was forced to jog all the way down to the starting point as I’m running out of time.
The waterfall is a REAL GEM
This waterfall is the rare kind in Malaysia, the hiking trail is well marked with clear paths. There’s also a nice pool at the waterfall with crystal clear water.
What about the TRANSPORT?
I took a Grab to the National Park, but if you’re hoping for a Grab during return you’re out of luck, the Grab in that are is limited. I’ve met 2 other foreigners at the park and we shared a taxi arranged by the park rangers, slightly pricier than a Grab but not too bad (RM60-70 per car).
It is also possible to stay at the National Park, there are chalets available near to the entrance and offer really competitive price. Campsite is also available.
3. Take a walk around Kuching town and waterfront
Kuching town is less populated by tourist unlike Kota Kinabalu and offers some stunning view too. I feel quiet safe walking around alone even at night. If you’re interested with the history of Borneo, don’t forget to visit the Sarawak Museum. Admission is free and there are a lot of interesting history about Sarawak, just a starter, human beings arrived in Sarawak at least 40,000 years ago! I’ll leave you to find out yourself about the stories but it is definitely as interesting as the Vikings.