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Bako Heritage Tourism, Kuching, Sarawak

Mention Bako in Kuching and most people would think of Bako National Park. Not surprisingly, as the national park is the oldest in Sarawak. It is also one of the smallest national parks in the state, yet one of the most interesting!

Bako heritage tourism Sarawak
1. Bako Heritage Tourism sea cruise

Therefore, it is little wonder that the jetty terminal in Kampung Bako where boats use to ferry tourists to the national park was teeming with vacationers, mainly Westerners, when my group was there waiting for our boats.

Bako heritage tourism Sarawak
2. Bako National Park where two mature wild boars greet visitors on arrival at the park headquarters in Teluk Assam

The morning when we were there was wet and dreary, as can be seen from these photos. In fact, we spent almost an hour at the jetty waiting for the rain to recede. Even so, when we finally boarded our boats, the sea was very choppy, making photography extremely challenging.

Bako heritage tourism Sarawak
3. heading to Kampung Bako via a precarious plank bridge

Anyway, the reason we were in Bako was not to visit the national park although we passed by its headquarters in our boat. We were there to experience for ourselves the Bako livelihood, meaning the heritage tourism of the community.

Kampung Bako is a small fishing village located at the tip of Muara Tebas, 30km away from Kuching city. Established in mid-1850s, Kampung Bako was named after the mangrove trees that are prevalent in the area. Mangrove is called “bakau” in Malay, and pronounced locally as “bako”.

Bako heritage tourism Sarawak
4. a view from the peak of Kampung Bako

Although its population is primarily Malay who make a living from fishing, there is a small Chinese community here, and they are mostly traders. This is one of the oldest Malay settlements in Kuching.

The Bako community is an integral part of Bako National Park through the locals’ involvement in ecotourism, and the major contribution is the running of boat services that ferry visitors around.

Bako heritage tourism Sarawak
5. the making of Sarawak’s popular fermented shrimp paste (belacan)

Coming to this area, besides visiting the national park, there are plenty of pursuits to participate in. As mentioned, Bako’s heritage tourism is an industry by itself.

There are a number of activities that would attract tourists, and they include collecting bamboo clams (mengambal), shrimp catching (nyongkor), learning the process of making Sarawak’s popular shrimp (krill) paste (belacan) and watching silat (Malay traditional martial art) demonstration.

Collecting Bamboo Clams (Time: 8.30am – 10.30am)
Shrimp catching (Time: 10.35am – 11.30am)
Shrimp paste process (Time: 11.35am – 12.30pm)

Bako heritage tourism Sarawak
6. silat demonstration by children of Kampung Bako

The highlight of a tour to Bako would be the sea cruise. Attractions include rock formations and the must-see cobra head seastack, an iconic landmark of Bako National Park. Known locally as “Batu Duit” (Money Stone), a trip here is incomplete without seeing it live!

Bako heritage tourism Sarawak
7. this Bako cobra head seastack is the iconic landmark of Bako National Park – it is known locally as Batu Duit, (Money Stone in English) or ATM!

Obviously, when out in a boat, one could also opt for swimming and photography, where the local knowledge of the boatman would come in useful. Boat charges vary depending on guests’ requirements, e.g. based on the number of people in a group, activities and its distance.

Bako heritage tourism Sarawak
8. a simple meal served in Kampung Bako

Koperasi Warisan Pelancongan Berhad
Add: Jeti Terminal Taman Negara Bako, Kampung Bako, Kuching, Sarawak.
Tel: +6017-8857798
Email: pbptnbsarawak@gmail.com

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With love

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