After Kuching, it was a bus and a boat north to Bako National Park. I just turned up and got a bed, which may of been fortunate as the next day was full. After arriving I went for a walk. Selected the Bintang walk which loops through the forest and takes 3-4 hours. First a short walk along a boarded walkway to get to the start of the trails. Then the first 1km was hard work, being in thick rainforest is very humid. Hot and sweaty as the path climbed sharply in the first section. I breifly saw some proboscis monkeys crashing through the jungle, although I was never to get a very good look at them. After reaching a peak, there was a bench to rest upon and a taped off barrier behind. I had a peak down the crevice and it was a LONG way down.
Then jungle thinned out and gave way to rocky ground, some small pitcher plants don't offer much cover from the sun. The path had a trickle of water running through clay and sand, on top of hard black volcanic rock. Very different from the rainforest which I soon re-entered. Got back to the headquarters and slurped down a bottle of water and a coke. Considering going for a second walk but I was knackered. Watched the bearded pig (who has a giant nose and tiny eyes) roam about. Looking for scaps, didn't exactly seem wild or bothered by humans. The macques were less bothered by humans again, and sat watching the cafe waiting for the moment to pounce and steal anything they can get their sticky fingers on. A few raids into the canteen to steal bananas!
Later I took a short stroll down the boarded walkway and watched the proboscis moneys from a distance. Also in the distance I saw a big creature walking like a crocodile, but I think it was a monitor lizard.
About 8pm a few of us went for a night walk with a guide and our torches. The guide spotted a big spider, and a fluroscent mushroom but otherwise we saw very little, but there can be no guarantees as it's not a zoo!
The next day I had to check out at 11am, but arranged with a couple of people to share the boat ride back at 3pm. So went for a another walk this time to the next beach along, signposted as only 800m it should be easy, right? Nope, seemed like the longest 800m I've walked. Up and down a lot as you go over the cape to get to the next bay. One scary point where you have to go across a small hole, the top of a grotto, but the only way is by walking across tree roots! After that I descended down and came out at the small bay. I saw some mudskippers which were cool, looked strange closeup. They were all sitting on the same rock peeking over the top.
I headed back to headquarters as I was out of water, and got some food. After lunch I decided on final walk up to the cape above the main beach, nice view up there but I didn't take my camera. Back on the boat we were zooming along when we did a u-turn, there on a pipe in the middle of the river sat a crocodile sunning itself. We went quite close enough in the boat! Then back to the mainland where after waiting for a while got the bus back to Kuching. The next day I flew up to Kota Kinabalu.
Kota Kinablu centre is a long strip of roads sandwiched between the seafront and the green hills behind. Actually I think some of the flat land is reclaimed from the sea. Having a look around, it seems a bit more rough and ready than Kuching. Large market as the seafront, rows of shophouses, lots of basic coffee shops/restaurants. I had some nice beef sate from one. However things take an upturn as you enter one square where there is a popular new mall and pricier restaurants and the like. I had nice fish and chips at a restaurant, served in the pan for some reason. (I still prefer newspaper) Of course the chips, weren't chips but fries. Still never mind, eh? As it was the weekend I went for a beer. Walked into an Irish pub were a Malaysian band (with a japanese drummer) were playing The Shadows. Then a Philipino singer joined and they played some other old songs. I had a look elsewhere, as I was walking past I heard another band and the singer saying there were going to play another rock song so I walked in there. But he was being sarcastic as they launched into a rendition of My Way. I was conned!
On Sunday there was a flea market where you could buy some jewellery, biscuits, maybe a siamese fighting fish or some nailclippers? Mostly junk! Or stuff I can get cheaper in Thailand. As there is approx. 10 baht to 1 ringgot easy to compare prices. Tomorrow I shall head off to Mount Kinabalu National Park, but finding out more information I don't think I'll be doing the climb.
1) You need to book accommodation on the mountain way in advance.
2) If you want to have a chance of having a clear view you should arrive at sunrise. Which means you have to get up at TWO AM and climb up in the dark with a torch. Hmmm
Of course it could still be cloudy :)