Wiki Info Bako National Park
Since Nomad manager, Chris, said it was not necessary to go at 6:30am for bus to Bako, we decided 7:30 was early enough although we waited at the bus stop 2 blocks away from Nomad until 8:15. While waiting at least 3 taxis stopped and tried to get us to pay the 1.50 more for their fare. Bon & I - the cheapskates - refused even tho if it had been just the Dutch folks they'd have paid and gone by taxi. Of course, they're all working stiffs, a PhD in pharmaceuticals, a financial consultant, and an owner of a safety shoe manufacturer with his brother - 7 generations of family business!
It turned out the boats are a separate concession and are divided into day trippers and overnighters so altho we were 5, we couldn't go together since 2 of the Dutch were only in it for the day. It wasn't difficult finding 2 more to fill our boat sharing the cost 5 ways, the other 2 ended up with 4 in theirs.
Baku is hot & humid. We hiked from 10 am until past 5, more than 10 km over very up/down jungle/rainforest roots and rocky terrain. Didn't take enough water but that only encouraged me more to hike 3.5 km to a waterfall! Very cool and little skin eating fish cleaned my feet while I sat just absorbing the water! I think Bon over did it a bit - she never complains but in the end, back at the HQ restaurant (which by the way, had very good and inexpensive food as compared to US Natl parks which rip you off big time) she admitted her hip was suffering. So Dr. Bose in Chennai is back in the picture for the other hip resurfacing I think.
The hostel dorm room was quite adequate especially given the cost ($5 US). We stayed at the restaurant until past 10;30 reading so that by the time we got to our room it had cooled enought to sleep - only 1 fan worked and only 1 window, but cold shower felt good!
I was told by the gal at the HQ desk the night before that it would be possible to return early from Baku (we'd arranged for our boatman to return at 2 pm), all she had to do was call him. Well, it turned out that our boatman is a greedy SOB and only would pick us up early if all 5 agreed. Now, this would be sensible if he weren't coming over with other tourists in the meantime, thus making a special trip. This is not the case, these boatmen come over constantly and return to the mainland EMPTY usually! For us to return early we had to pay the full one way fare...you have to pay round trip price when you sign up for a boat on the mainland. So, in effect, you pay 1 1/2 fare should you decide to return earlier than the boatman wishes to come back for you. A crappy system! We paid because we're limited on time and still wanted o go see the orang utangs at the rehab center. Besides, in the heat of the day until 2 pm you will see no wildlife and it is miserable hiking!
We got back in time for the 1:14 bus to the rehab center...this would not have been possible if we'd waited until 2. It was terrific seeing the orangs at 3 pm feeding - there were at least 6 and Bon claims she saw 10 different ones, including a mom and baby. The fellow at the ticket gate said they showed probably because the fruit trees in the park are not ripe but I also think maybe the rain storm that blew in had something to do with it as well. There are a total of 27 orangs in the program at present.
Lots more to see but as usual too little time...tomorrow off to Miri via ferry and bus.