6 Off-the-Beaten-Path Wildlife Excursions on the Wild Malaysia Journey

A temple surrounded by greenery and mountains

Posted by on 16 Jan 2024

When people think about travel, they usually picture trying local food and visiting famous landmarks. But if you're up for a different kind of adventure, exploring wildlife can be an exciting option.

A wildlife trip means going off the beaten path, exploring different landscapes and getting close to nature. You'll learn about the plants and animals unique to the area, capturing memorable moments with your camera. It's an experience that appeals to both adventure seekers and photography enthusiasts.

Malaysia is a great destination for wildlife enthusiasts. With its diverse ecosystems, from abundant rainforests to colourful coral reefs, Malaysia has something for every type of traveller. Here are seven fun activities you can do while on a wildlife-focused holiday in Malaysia.

Similajau National Park

Since its establishment in 1978, Similajau National Park has been a sanctuary for nature enthusiasts, boasting white sandy beaches and lush rainforests. Located just 30 kilometres from Bintulu, along the South China Sea in Sarawak, this expansive park covers 25 miles.

Similajau is renowned for housing some of the world's largest saltwater crocodiles, along with a diverse avian population of over 185 species. Additionally, it serves as a habitat for various wildlife, including macaques and boars.

You can easily access the national park by taking a taxi or utilising the provided transportation from guided tours. For a more aquatic experience, you have the option of hiring a boat from Bintulu Wharf for coastal and river tours or engaging in crocodile spotting excursions at night. Accommodations are available for a full-day tour or a night cruise, thanks to chalet hostels and hostels that can be reserved in advance.

Similajau offers a primary coastal trekking path with several branching side trails. Marked with red paint on the trees, the trail is easily navigable even without a guide. Beginning with a traverse over the Sungei Likau via a suspension bridge and a plank walk over mangroves, the trail leads to the Viewpoint Trail, featuring a shelter with picnic tables—a perfect vantage point to overlook the beach and park headquarters.

Kinabalu Park

As Malaysia's first UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kinabalu Park stands as a biologically diverse wonder, housing 5,000 plant species, 90 mammal species and 300 bird species, reminiscent of habitats found in the Himalayas, Australia and China.

Encompassing 745 square kilometres, it is the first park in the Malaysian Borneo state of Sabah. The crown jewel of Kinabalu Park is Mount Kinabalu, soaring to 4,095 metres as the highest point on Borneo Island. Its slopes harbour a biodiverse zone teeming with various plant and animal species.

The main entry point for visitors is the park headquarters near Kota Kinabalu on the southern boundary. From there, tourists can partake in numerous activities offering an up-close encounter with Malaysian wildlife.

Take in the breathtaking view from the mountaintop of Mount Kinabalu, joining the ranks of the 45,000 annual climbers. The two-day, one-night hike begins with a 6 km ascent to Panalaban, where you spend the night before completing the remaining 12.7 km climb to the summit. Adventure-seekers can add an extra thrill to their mountainside journey by trying out Mountain TORQ, Asia's first Via Ferrata. Other activities for tourists include exploring the nine nature trails of Kinabalu Park, such as jungle trekking and bird watching.

Kiulu Valley

Nestled in the Tuaran district of Sabah, Malaysia's 'Valley in the Mist' beckons as an idyllic haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

This pristine destination offers a myriad of activities, inviting tourists to traverse its green meadows on mountain biking adventures, experience the thrill of white-water rafting through rapids, kayak serenely along the Tuaran River and embark on a 4x4 offroading expedition into the heart of untamed wildlife.

For those seeking a more tranquil experience, wildlife spotting awaits at the Tembara River Cruise, where the beauty of sunset unfolds against the backdrop of mangrove forests.

Culture holds a significant presence in Kiulu, inviting visitors to explore the Linangkit Dusan Lotud cultural village. Immerse yourself in their time-honoured traditions and ceremonies, gaining insights into traditional games and the local tribes' craftsmanship. Following a day filled with adventure, accommodations at the farm provide a perfect relaxation retreat.

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

Established in 1964 as the world's pioneering facility of its kind, the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre stands as a beacon of conservation and rehabilitation efforts.

Originally focused on safeguarding and reintegrating orphaned orangutans affected by deforestation, poaching and the illegal pet trade, the centre has expanded its mission to include diverse wildlife like sun bears, gibbons, elephants and Sumatran rhinos.

Distinguishing itself from conventional zoos, the rehabilitation centre prioritises educating and equipping orangutans with essential skills for independent survival in the forest. Adjacent to the centre lies the Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve, where visitors can witness these orangutans thriving in their natural habitat.

Beyond being a haven for animal lovers, this destination fosters a profound commitment to supporting and reintegrating wildlife into its native surroundings.

Gunung Mulu National Park

For a refreshing change of scenery, venture to Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak, Malaysia, a designated World Heritage Site renowned for its captivating limestone cave systems. Within its confines lies one of the world's grandest subterranean chambers—the Sarawak Chamber.

A must-visit is Deer Cave, which boasts the world's largest cave passage. Home to a diverse bat population, including the fascinating Wrinkled-Lipped Bats, the cave offers a mesmerising spectacle as these winged creatures embark on their evening exodus. The bat observatory at Deer Cave's entrance provides a front-row seat to this natural phenomenon.

The park also features Clearwater Cave, recognised as the longest cave, and Wind Cave, famed for its captivating stalactites and stalagmites. Both caves are accessible by boat, navigating the river that gracefully courses through their subterranean realms.

Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary

For a unique wildlife encounter, set your sights on the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. Accessible by boat from the Bukit Garam Jetty to your jungle lodge accommodations, the sanctuary promises an immersive experience along the Kinabatangan River.

As the largest river in Borneo, the Kinabatangan provides a picturesque backdrop for observing wildlife in their natural habitat. Keep your eyes peeled and cameras ready to capture a diverse array of bird species perched on foliage, witness wild orangutans traversing the treetops and marvel at pygmy elephants enjoying a leisurely bath in the shallow river areas.

For a more in-depth exploration, embark on a rainforest hike, offering a closer look at the sanctuary's rich biodiversity.

Explore the Wild Side of Malaysia

Embark on an unforgettable journey into the heart of Malaysian wildlife, where adventure-goers and nature enthusiasts alike can discover the magic of untamed landscapes and diverse ecosystems.

From the lush rainforests of Similajau National Park to the biodiversity haven of Kinabalu Park and the captivating caves of Gunung Mulu National Park, each destination promises a unique encounter with nature's wonders.

For those yearning for a holiday brimming with wildlife adventures, delve into the richness of Malaysia's natural treasures. To learn more about our thoughtfully curated and immersive Holiday Packages, please visit our dedicated page at https://www.entiretravel.com.au/.

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