Walking Into Scenic Trails in Kuching, Sarawak

Sunrise View from Kampung Sapit, Padawan. Photo by Khairol Nizam Naha

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 when domestic tourism is open. Sarawak is blessed with so many pristine and hidden locations filled with beautiful landscapes, waterfalls and natural wonders waiting to be explored. Whether you are a beginner or an expert on the hiking field, there is something here for everyone in Kuching. 

1.Bako National Park

A trip down to the oldest national park in Sarawak, Bako National Park will be a worthwhile experience when you visit Kuching.  The Park, which was gazetted in 1957, gives you a perfect introduction to Sarawak’s forests and wildlife experience. It has a picturesque coastline covered with small bays, coves and beaches. Bako is also home to the big nosed and pot-bellied Proboscis monkey which is endemic to Borneo, silver-leaf monkeys, long-tailed macaques, monitor lizards, bearded pigs and a variety of birdlife.

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.

The Iconic Bako Sea Stack

Key Trails of Bako National Park

Telok Delima Trail

Telok Delima can be a good start to your hiking journey in Bako National Park. With 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 monkey.

While hiking this trail, pay attention to strange grunting noises or the crash of vegetation and be as quiet as possible. If you hear something, follow the noise because it might be your chance to encounter the proboscis monkey. Conclude your hike at Telok Delima with the scenic view of the beach and mangrove trees at the end of the trail.

Proboscis Monkey at Bako National Park

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 long and relaxing walk while exploring Mother Nature’s playground. The whole trek which takes 5.25km passes through nearly all of 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 you’re already there, you can also take a short detour off the main trail at Bukit Tambi viewpoint which overlooks the western part of the park.

Lintang Trail
Photo by Khairol Nizam Naha

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 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.

2. Santubong National Park

Have you heard about the legendary tale of Princess Santubong that 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 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.  

The Majestic View of Mount Santubong

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 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 is the Summit 1 (yellow coded) trail and Loop (blue coded) trail. The Summit offers great view of the Kuching City. Before descending, take the opportunity to bathe and relax at the Santubong Waterfall.

Summit Trail
Photo by Sarawak Forestry Corporation

3. 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 is one of his frequent nature getaways. He built a cottage midway to the summit of Mount Serembu at Kampung Peninjau in which “Peninjau” in Malay means the “the lookout”. 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.

4. Padawan

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 hiking highlights of Padawan are mainly waterfall hikes. Visiting here is also an opportunity to get to know the Bidayuh people, engage with them and learn about their traditions. 

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.

Ban Buan Kukuot 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 to reach. Don’t forget to have your picnic lunches prepared in Bidayuh style jungle cooking while being soothed by the sound of waterfalls gushing down.

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.

Kampung Sting  

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. 

Breathtaking view of Bengoh Dam
Photo by Khairol Nizam Naha

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