"A chance of something different"
If you're tired of the nasi goreng, then this place is a welcome change. It's not a smart or swanky place, but the food was good. It's a nice place to just have a snack while you watch people go by.
"Stay Longer...At least a night!"
Bako National park is one of the most beautiful places I have visited. Such diverse flora and fauna that the space enchants and exhilarates you. The boat ride to Bako is little less than an hour and once you reach, the seclusion and quiet of the place hits you. The island is busy between 10am to 4pm when most of the day tourists come in. Post 4pm the place is gorgeous. It's a mistake to leave the island before 6pm as most of the wildlife come out then There are about 16 color coded jungle trails. We went on the long lintang trail. You can see almost all of the vegetation types in this trail. It's a good idea to have a guide for two reasons. The obvious one is that you can get lost, and the other because there is so much detail that you can otherwise miss. There is just one food outlet and the stuff is strictly mediocre. The staff however, are willing to make some items on request if you so wish. You can see the macaques and the bearded pig by day. Come evening, when the park is almost empty, the silver backs and proboscis slowly emerge. They are gorgeous. The macaques come to the beach looking for beached crabs on low tide. They swipe the occasional beer can if you aren't fast enough :) Take the time out to go for the night trail. You will be amazed at the number of creatures that emerge. Go armed with a powerful torch and mosquito repellent or it can get very difficult.
We were unsure of whether to book the rooms at Damai or at Permai, and chose the latter. Are we glad we did! After settling down at Permai, we walked down to Damai to get some lunch and check out the facilities. The restaurant, pool and cafe was closed for renovation and we couldn't grab even a coffee. It was not just the availability of areas, the staff too weren't too eager to help. Maybe it was a language barrier, I'm not sure. The view of the beach from Damai is clear and not hidden by trees.
"Gorgeous Tree Houses"
The location of this resort within the rainforest is gorgeous. You can spot wildlife quite easily and it's a pleasure to walk through that evergreen space everyday. As expected with rainforest space, the woodwork does get grungy with mold and the humidity does set a severe pace for the maintenance staff. We had problems with our air conditioning appliance as well. The staff are helpful and they assist you with a change of room, or special food whenever possible. The cafe is quite lovely and so is the food. We were quite happy with the quality and variety of food served there. The beach is open to non-residents and is very popular with the locals. Be prepared to see crowds during weekends and holidays. Do check out the outdoor swimming pool. It's quite a different experience. Please don't put out food in the balconies as the monkeys will get there and not leave.
"Santubong by Day & Night"
There are these lovely boat rides by day and one by night. I tried both and feel that if you plan one for the early evening that overlaps into the night, you get to see the monkeys and dolphins as well as the night animals Choose a reliable tour guide as the crocodile spotting depends wholly on a trained eye. We discovered that one sure-fire way to spot dolphins is to keep your boat behind a fishing boat. The clever fellas wait for the fisherman to discard the small fish from his nets and they catch them as they hit the water. The dolphins move in pairs, so even if you miss taking a pic of the first one, the second follows a second later...Every time! As the sky darkens you can see the lovely fireflies as well. Take something warm as it sometimes gets chilly.
"Short story about the Longhouse"
I wouldn't recommend staying over the LongHouse for the night as it does not appear to be very comfortable, but a quick visit is quite worthwhile. Sometimes it's difficult to spot Orangs in the morning, so it would be a good idea to pop over at the LongHouse for a visit and then get back for the evening feed so you get to pack in both locations within a day. Looking around the LongHouse takes about a good 30 minutes.
We were told several times before walking down to view the orangs, that their sighting is rare. This is a good thing, as it means that they are less dependent on us for their food and survival and they are managing on their own. But I couldn't help hoping we will see at least one. We were so disappointed in the morning as we waited for 35 minutes and there was no sign of them. My husband was thoroughly disappointed and we decided to cancel evening plans and come back for the evening feed. The ticket is valid for the whole day so you don't have to pay twice. In the evening, as we started walking towards the feeding area, it began to rain. And hallelujah, the Orangutans decided to pay us a visit. It's better that you don't take infants as the monkeys sometimes get aggressive and throw things or pee on you while jumping above. Carry an umbrella as it rains off and on. Drink as much water as you can as you get dehydrated quickly. Don't forget to pay the crocodiles a visit and check out the orchid garden with the pitcher plants.
Just walking around in the evening was a lot of fun. There are some lovely cafes and tiny shops with many diverse handicraft items. Check out their kek lapis and try the James Brooke bistro by the waters.