A day trip to Kubah National Park
With a size of about 2,200 hectares, Kubah National Park is relatively small. Nevertheless, it is a popular destination for (half) day trips. The most important reasons for visiting are the beautiful rainforest landscapes and the varied flora.
It is easy to get there from Kuching without spending much time or money, as the park is only about 20 kilometres west of Kuching. And if you would like to stay here longer, there are also overnight accommodations on the park grounds.
What to discover in Kubah National Park
Kubah National Park’s highlight is its beautiful jungle landscape with dense, varied vegetation, clear streams, and some small waterfalls. For many visitors, the waterfalls are also a welcome cooling during the sweaty hikes. The flora in the park is very diverse and lush. It is primarily known for its many orchids, pitcher plants, ferns, and especially palm trees. You can find them here in different shapes, colours, and sizes. More than 90 species can be found in Kubah NP.
Birdwatchers will also get their money’s worth in Kubah National Park, as the park is considered a birding hotspot. You can encounter many extremely rare species endemic to Borneo here. Among them are Blue-bellied Pitta, Magnificent Blue Flycatcher, Red-bearded Bee-eater, various kingfishers (Red-backed Kingfisher, Malay Kingfisher, Waved Kingfisher), and Reddish Scops Owl. Besides, the national park also offers an amazing variety of frog species. More than 60 species live here.
Beyond that, however, the park is not recommended for animal sightings. It is true that Kubah National Park also has varied wildlife, with bearded pigs, mouse deer, long-tailed macaques, and monitor lizards. However, the animals usually stay quite deep in the forest. And since the forest is dense, they can hide very well here. So on a trip to Kubah NP, you should not have high expectations for animal sightings (no comparison to Bako National Park).
Trails in Kubah NP
Kubah National Park has seven trails that allow visitors to explore the park. Six of them are pristine jungle trails. The seventh leads to the summit of Gunung Serapi, which is over 900 meters high. All trails are well-marked, and you can do hikes without a guide. In the following, we will briefly present our three recommendations:
1. Waterfall Trail (1,600 meters – 1.5 hours – blue)
The Waterfall Trail is probably the most popular hike through the park. It starts with a steep climb up a paved road at the headquarters before heading straight downhill in the rainforest. After about 90 minutes of hiking through mixed dipterocarp forest, along small streams, and across swamps, you will reach a wonderful small waterfall in the jungle. At the end of the waterfall, there is a small pool where you can take a refreshing dip after the walk.
2. Palmetum (255 meters – 30 minutes – white)
The „Palmetum Trail“ is about one of the park’s highlights: palm trees. There are over 90 species of palm trees in Kubah Park, and you’ll find many of them along the Palmetum Trail. The short trail is located right at the HQ of the national park.
3. Gunung Serapi Summit Trail (5,000 meters – 3.5 hours – grey)
The hike to the summit of Gunung Serapi belongs to the most popular ones as well. Once at the summit, a viewing platform awaits you, offering a fantastic view. On clear days, the view stretches across the green rainforest at your feet to the mountains on the border with Indonesia. It will take about 5.5 hours to get there and back, depending on your fitness level.
How to get to the park
The drive from Kuching by car takes only about 35 to 40 minutes. By cab, the one-way cost is about 70 MYR. It is cheaper by bus. Line K21 of the City Public Link also operates at Kubah National Park. Departure is from the station at Saujana Parking (near Kuching City Mosque) at 8 am, 11 am, 2 pm, and 5 pm. Please double-check these on-site at the notice boards the day before the trip. The fare is MYR 4 per way per person. Alternatively, you can book a tour with a guide in Kuching, which already includes the transfer to the park.
Accommodation in Kubah National Park
In the park itself, there are some accommodations. However, these are very simple, mostly a bit run down and needing renovation. The most expensive room, called Forest Lodge Type 4, offers air conditioning, a refrigerator, a kitchen, and a private bathroom. It costs 225 MYR per night. A bed in the Forest Hostel costs 15 MYR per night. The hostel is equipped with a fan, refrigerator, and kitchen. A maximum of 12 guests must share the bathroom and toilet. You can find more information and a booking option on the e-Booking Sarawak website.
Bird and frog fans should visit Kubah Park. For all others, we recommend the visit only if you have enough time. Scenically it’s excellent, but the big highlights are just missing. In our opinion, a half-day trip is enough. Of course, if you want to climb Gunung Serapi, you need more time.
Even though you can walk all trails in the park without a guide, it is advantageous to go with one. They know how to interpret every sound, find more animals than you, and know one or two insider tips. Since there are many leeches in Kubah NP, you should take precautions with appropriate protection (Leech Socks).
Remember that frogs are nocturnal, so if you want to see them, you should also consider spending the night. You can also take a cab back to Kuching late at night.
Be sure to bring enough food and drink if you stay overnight in the park because there is nothing here: no restaurant, no kiosk, and no vending machines. All accommodations are equipped with a kitchen and refrigerator to be self-sufficient.
The entrance fee is 20 MYR for adults and 7 MYR for children.
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Are you interested in more national parks or Borneo highlights? Check the following out!