An escape into the depths of Malaysia’s rainforest draws delight and unexpected wonder with its tropical abundance and various recreations worth of a true nature’s voyage.

As a tropical country in Southeast Asia, the plethora of rainforests in Malaysia is illustrious of the country’s wealth with nature reserves. The biodiverse hotspots are tucked away from cities in a stretch of protected territories, preserving the home for endangered mammals, fishes and birds. 

Despite that, some of these reserves are open to visitors to fully experience nature in its habitat. Among the most sought-after eco destination remains to be Malaysia’s national park, Taman Negara, famed to be the oldest rainforest in Asia estimated to be more than 130 million years old. The geological charm comes into play for outdoor lovers to live out their tropical adventure.

Forested land makes up more than half of Malaysia’s terrain and in east Malaysia alone, there are over ten national parks conserved, reserved and protected. Considerably, this part of Malaysia lies on Borneo–the world’s third largest island–with an abundance of natural resources. Having said that, stunning geological sights await in the trip to Sabah and Sarawak’s national parks.

Gunung Mulu National Park 

The breathtaking scenery and its biological significance makes the place worthy as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As a rich tropical karst area, this national park has three notable caves and three dominant mountains. However not all caves are open to public. Visitors to Clearwater Cave, Deer Cave and Lang’s Cave must apply for permit and accompanied by a park guide. Other activities in the park include rock climbing, trekking, kayaking and mountain biking. 

Located at Miri, Sarawak 

Batang Ai National Park

Around 250km away from main city of Kuching, orang utan, gibbons and hornbills claim this tropical rainforest as home. Although close to Indonesia borders, Batang Ai National Park is a settlement for the Iban ethnic group. The locals are heavily involved in conserving the place by offering services like boat rides, park guides and porters. Tourists can also visit nearby Iban longhouses for a cultural detour or stay at the longhouses to experience a night among local.

Located at Lubok Antu, Sarawak

Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park

This national park is uniquely made up of 5 islands with two-thirds of its surface covered by sea. Pulau Gaya, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Mamutik, Pulau Manukan and Pulau Sulug are believed to be formed after melting ice brought a change in sea level about a million years ago. This marine park is easily accessible from Kota Kinabalu main town in Sabah by boarding a ferry at Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal. Aside from trekking in the greens, water activities like snorkelling and diving are popular here.

Located at the coast of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Text Jessy Wong • Illustration Jamie Soo-Hoo

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