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BAKO NATIONAL PARK, BORNEO - MALAYSIA

It took 6hrs of hiking in the rain, but we finally came across the world's rarest primate ... Proboscis Monkeys!!

rain 35 °C

Well, today sucked, but was awesome all at the same time. My number one reason for choosing to travel to Borneo was to see orangutans & proboscis monkeys in the wild.
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When I woke up this morning it was really cloudy and looked like it might rain, but I headed to Bako National Park anyways, seeing how I only had 5 days total in Borneo I didnt want to waste a day. I took a taxi from Kuching to Bako NP for 50 Ringgit ($17 CAD). Yes, theres also a bus that will take you there. No, I did not feel like searching for the correct bus stop, nor standing around waiting for it. As soon as my taxi arrived at the boat termianl to Bako NP it started raining. And by raining, I mean pouring!! Sigh. Luckily there was a guy selling rain ponchos! It was the best 5 Ringgit I ever spent, lol! It kept me & my camera gear dry.
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Myself, and a handful of other tourists who had their hearts set on seeing proboscis monkeys, decided to sit in the boat terminal and see if the rain would let up. It didnt. In the mean time I met a wonderful girl named Izabela from Poland. It was her last day in Kuching and she wasnt leaving until she saw some monkeys. We became instant friends :) I'm so thankful I met her, cuz if I hadnt, I probably would have gotten back in that taxi and went back to my hotel. But instead we waited until the pouring rain turnt into a light drizzle, and shared a boat to Bako NP. You pay per boat, not per person. No one else wanted to join us in the rain, so it was 47 Ringgit each (that inc paying the boat driver to stay and extra hour in the park), $16 CAD.
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Some views from the boat along the way.
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Arriving in Bako NP we found out there is no pier. They just drop you in thigh deep water and you have to wade to shore. Not fun when its already raining.

Arriving in Bako NP
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As soon as we made it to shore, it starting pouring again. And what do I do? Slip and fall in my flip flops, stub my big toe, and rip my toenail off!! Completely off! I nearly vomited it was so gross!! Thankfully there is a lodge here with a medical center (who fixed me up good), toilets & a cafeteria. The food was cold and gross, so bring your own if you can. We ate a crappy lunch together, and then sat watching the rain for awhile, hoping it'd let up. It didnt. So we donned our rain ponchos, and huddling together under my umbrella, we walked the trails, looking up into the falling rain, in search of the world's rarest primate! It was great to share this adventure with someone who appreciates wildlife as much as I do, and understands how incredibly rare these animals are!

Well the first 5 soggy hours all we found were some wet Bornean Bearded Pigs near the lodge, and a few Long-Tailed Macaques.
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Even though it literally rained the entire time we were here, one could not complain. The rainforest is SO lush & green! And despite the rain, we weren't cold because it was still 30C out! We were prunes by the end of the day though, lol!
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Part way down one trail was a shelter-hut. We stopped to take a few photos. Izabela set her backpack down, and a macaque stole it in 2.0 seconds!! They can be quite vicious, so you dont want to just walk up and take your bag back. No point in getting bitten / rabies. With one bite it had chomped a hole right through the canvas material!! But Izabela needed her backpack back ... her passport was in it! So I gave her my umbrella to use as a sort of shield to protect herself in case the monkey attacked. She opened & closed the umbrella over & over again in front of the monkey and that scared the monkey off. Backpack saved :)
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We took a break from walking through puddles and staring up into the trees, and headed back to the lodge. We were beginning to feel defeated, that we had wasted our money and an entire day. But then we talked to some people who had been staying in some of the cabins for rent in the park who said the proboscis monkeys come close to the lodge around supper time because they can smell the food. We decided to take a chance and paid our boat driver to wait an extra hour til supper time in hopes of spotting some. And it was the best decision of the day!! Sure enough, right around supper time we heard a 'bang bang bang' as a huge proboscis monkey jumped out of a tree, landed on the metal roof of a nearby cabin, ran across it, and then lept into a tree!!! Rain ponchos on, umbrella up, and off we went cameras in hand to get a closer look :)
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They are tall like a man! Much bigger than I was expecting! And the noses ... hahaha! The males have a huge nose! They look like Muppets :)
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Eventually the big male lept from tree to tree and disappeared deeper into the rainforest. But now our spirits were up, and the rain even stopped! So we went exploring once again.
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They are quite active, but I managed to get a photo of one leaping from one tree to the next.
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The females are alot smaller, and dont have those big noses.
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We even spotted this baby way up in the trees :)
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That last hour that we paid the boat driver was definitely worth it, but it went by much too fast. After a successful, albeit wet, day, we headed back down the river to the boat terminal. Only to discover that all buses & taxis disappeared after the park closed. So we were trapped in a little village. But we made the most of it. We found a little outdoor market.
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Beside the market was a little shack of a restaurant where I ate the best meal I had the whole time in Borneo! The ladies working there didnt speak a word of English so we had no idea what we were going to get. But what we got was delicious and only $1! A great end to the day :) We hitched a ride back to Kuching with a local man heading that way in his car. Call it hitchhiking I suppose ;)
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Posted by ChantelleS 20:05 Archived in Malaysia Tagged rainforest wildlife monkey malaysia jungle borneo animal pig proboscis Comments (0)

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