Discover hidden locations filled with unspoiled landscapes, waterfalls and flora and fauna sightings in Kuching, Sarawak
Sarawak is well-known for beautiful and lush rainforests, mountains and wildlife, making it a favourite among hikers to explore. If your adventurous trait is nudging you to plan the next destination to reconnect with nature, Kuching should be on top of your list as it is blessed with so many pristine and hidden locations filled with beautiful landscapes, waterfalls and natural wonders waiting to be discovered.
Bako National Park
Bako’s extensive trail system is made up of 16-colour coded jungle trails, which offers a wide range of walking and hiking options from full-day treks to short walks. Bako is home to the big-nosed and pot-bellied proboscis monkey, which is endemic to Borneo, as well as the silver-leafed monkeys, long-tailed macaques, monitor lizards, Bornean bearded pigs and a variety of birdlife. Let’s discover hiking trails in Bako National Park.
- Telok Delima Trail
Telok Delima can be a good start to your hiking journey in Bako National Park. Only 45 minutes (1km) away from the park’s headquarters, it is known to be one of the best trails in the park for spotting the proboscis monkeys. Before hiking, be sure to ask for the park’s map for easier navigation and follow the Telok Delima’s white and blue trail. While hiking, be as quiet as possible and pay attention to the strange grunting noises or the crash of vegetation. If you hear something, follow the noise because it might be your chance to encounter the proboscis monkey or even a group of them! Conclude your hike with the scenic view of the beach and mangrove trees at the end of the trail.
- Lintang Trail
If you are visiting Bako National Park for only a day, trekking the Lintang loop, which is about 3.5 hours from the park’s headquarters is a popular option for a relaxing walk while exploring Mother Nature’s playground. The whole trek which takes 5.25km passes through nearly all the vegetation types found at Bako such as the carnivorous pitcher plants, sundews, and bladderworts. The whole trek may take up to 3 to 4 hours so make sure to plan your trekking journey early and stay hydrated. While there, you can also take a short detour off the main trail at Bukit Tambi viewpoint which overlooks the western part of the park.
- Telok Paku Trail
The Telok Paku trail will roughly take an hour to walk through the cliff forest before arriving at a little hidden beach. It is one of the best places to observe the proboscis monkeys early in the morning or late afternoon. Slowly walk through the canopy and be as quiet as possible and listen to the unusual moans or movements of the proboscis monkeys.
- Telok Pandan Besar and Kecil Trail
Another one of Bako's popular treks is Telok Pandan Kecil, which takes around 1.5 hours to hike. It ascends the wooded hills above Telok Assam, reaching a scrub-covered plateau before continuing along a sandy road dotted with carnivorous pitcher plants to a clifftop with spectacular views of the isolated bay below and the famed sea stack near offshore. A 10-minute descent through cliff vegetation brings you to one of the best beaches in the park. The Telok Pandan Besar trail ends at a cliff top with charming views of the beach below.
Santubong National Park
Have you heard about the legendary tale of Princess Santubong who was turned into Mount Santubong? If you haven’t, plan a day trip to Santubong National Park to find out more about this famous lore and visit Mount Santubong which is said to resemble a woman lying down when looked at from certain angles.
Santubong National Park is located on the Damai Peninsula, about 35km north of Kuching. Be enchanted by the beauty of the mystical mountain covered with its lavish rainforest where a variety of wildlife is spotted and enjoy magnificent views of the coastline from the summit. It is one of the most popular places for hiking in Kuching.
- Santubong Summit Climb
The dramatic peaks of Mount Santubong can be seen from Kuching City have always left hikers spellbound by what they experienced during their hike. This mountain stands proudly at 810 m tall and covers an area of 1410 ha. It is a 4km trek which will take about 4 hours per way and the climb is rated as moderate to difficult. You may need to rely on ladders, ropes and exposed tree roots to navigate through steep climbs so be sure to gear up and pack along with your necessities. However, the challenging climb is rewarding with waterfalls, flora and fauna found along the way. The summit trail starts at the Santubong National Park entrance. It has two different trails which are the yellow coded Summit 1 trail and the blue coded Loop trail. The Summit offers a great view of Kuching. Before descending, take the opportunity to bathe and relax at the Santubong Waterfall.
Bung Muan, Serembu
Retrace one of the White Rajah of Sarawak Sir James Brooke’s steps by visiting Bung Muan, also known as Brooke Heritage Trail, because it was one of his frequent nature getaways. He built a cottage midway to the summit of Mount Serembu at Kampung Peninjau which means “the lookout” in Malay. He also invited naturalist Sir Alfred Russel Wallace to visit him here, hence the trail is also branded as Wallace Trail from Kampung Peninjau. This site had attracted world-famous 19th-century personalities to Sarawak including the British colonial administrator and naturalist Sir Hugh Low.
An hour’s drive from Kuching city, the Padawan district is one of Kuching’s best-kept secrets for hiking adventures. Surrounded by its natural breathtaking landscape, hikers will be in for a treat. The highlights of Padawan are mainly waterfall hikes. Visiting here is also an opportunity to engage and learn about the traditions of the Bidayuh people.
- Kampung Sadir
This beautiful village has 3 trails to try that leads to two stunning waterfalls which are Ban Buan Kukuot Waterfall and Mabi Waterfall. The waterfall is known to be the tallest waterfall in Kampung Sadir and it may take around 2 hours to trek. On the other hand, Mabi Waterfall only takes about 30 minutes of trekking. Don’t forget to have your picnic lunches prepared in Bidayuh-style jungle cooking.
- Kampung Sapit
Kampung Sapit, which is located at the foot of the Ulu Padawan hills near the Sarawak-Kalimantan border, is about 60km south of Kuching. A place with a scenic view of the Borneo Highlands, it has 3 waterfall trails to choose from. Those trails will lead you to the beautiful Subah, Sangoh and Gangdang Waterfall. The longest trail will take up to 3.5 hours per way and the shortest route will take 2 hours. This trek is rated as moderate to difficult because of the long and steep uphill ride on the current narrow road to the village. To avoid disappointment, treks and hikes around the village must be booked in advance with the local agents.
Kampung Sting is about 50km away from Kuching and is situated high above the clouds. The village offers a majestic unparalleled view of the Bengoh Dam and Bengoh Range. As it is not accessible by road, you can hop onto a 20-minute peaceful boat ride from the Bengoh Dam to Sting’s foothill. After that, begin trekking uphill and enjoy the breathtaking view. Trekkers can also make their way to the Kling and Susung waterfall. Get ready to walk across a bamboo bridge suspended by steel braided cables. End your trek here by enjoying traditional delicacies cooked in bamboo.
Sarawak holds the greatest number of national parks and nature reserves. It is undeniably an ideal destination for wildlife enthusiasts, birdwatchers and nature photographers. Nature lovers can also grab the chance to participate in the 9th International Bornean Frog Race. The community conservation movement event is a 90-day virtual photographic competition race that started on 1st September 2021. With over 160 recorded amphibians’ species and counting in Sarawak, you’ll be amazed by what you can discover including the Matang Narrow-mouthed frog, the second smallest frog in the world and also Bornean Horned Frog, Wallace’s Flying Frog and White-eared Tree Frog.
While we brace ourselves to start travelling again, here in Sarawak, you will find that there is more to discover. Start planning your Sarawak adventures today!
For more information, visit Sarawak Tourism Board’s official website: https://sarawaktourism.com/