Malaysia's... natural wonders
Dreaming of spending your next break exploring dramatic, beautiful landscapes? Here we show you why Malaysia might be the destination for you.
The chance to stand in the shadow of towering mountains, peer into dense jungles cloaking animals darting from tree to tree, and walk through vast, bat-filled caves is surely not the stuff of everyday travel. Truly, Malaysia possesses some remarkable natural wonders.
Today, we are going to introduce you to some of the very finest to discover on a Malaysian adventure.
Mulu National Park
In this Unesco World Heritage Site you will encounter a landscape of dense jungle, towering peaks and a celebrated underground cave system.
Located in Sarawak – one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo – Mulu National Park is truly deserving of being named a natural wonder. Indeed, as well as having an arresting combination of landscapes here, the diversity of wildlife is similarly impressive and, of course, is in part born of the varied habitats the park provides.
What's more, its rainforest houses one of the country's few remaining nomadic tribes, adding yet another facet of interest to this already remarkable place.
The standout feature for many, though, is the caves, which form one of the largest limestone cave networks on the planet, spanning more than 50 km. A total of four caves, each of which has something unique to offer, can be explored in the experienced company of a guide.
Deer Cave is perhaps the most famous, being the largest of the caves and home to millions of bats – the visually stunning exodus of which can be watched as part of trips here – but there is much to be said for visiting the smaller caves too. Indeed, the nearby Langs Cave houses absolutely beautiful stalagmites and stalactites, while thanks to its smaller size, it is much easier to see the bats sleeping in here.
Our next suggestion is believed to be the oldest rainforest in the world, dating back an estimated 130 million years. Now a conservation area, it spans more than 4,000 sq km and crosses no less than three Malaysian states.
What makes this area of lowland evergreen rainforest such an exciting natural wonder is just how pristine it is – and hopefully its protected status will help it remain so.
Jungle trekking and river cruising are the best ways to explore the fantastic landscape here, which provides a home for a wealth of endangered species, including but not limited to Asian elephants and tigers. It's important to bear in mind that sightings of such species are rare, so you won't necessarily come across them – but it is virtually impossible to contain a sense of awe when you do.
That said, the age and scenery of the reserve is more than enough to inspire awe in itself. One thing to be mindful of when organising your trip, though, is that Taman Negara requires time to explore; there is little point in visiting for just a morning or afternoon. Spending more than a day here will help you delve beneath the surface and discover the wonder that this destination can provide.
The final natural wonder we would like to introduce you to today is the Danum Valley Conservation Area. Known for its incredible diversity of flora and fauna, this veritable Eden of a destination is awash with life. Interestingly, no humans have ever settled here (as far as experts have been able to discern) as the jungle is just so dense – but animals thrive here in abundance.
What's more, so rich is the diversity of flora and fauna that it is estimated that there are more than 100 scientists doing research here at any one time – a real testament to just how rare a treasure this natural wonder is. Relatively speaking, it is a somewhat lesser known destination for travellers – and therein lies part of its appeal. Coming here, you really do feel as if you are entering an albeit very protected wilderness.
Highlights of your visit can include venturing along the Canopy Walkway, which spans 170 metres and allows you, as its name suggests, to enter into the forest canopy, where so many wildlife wonders can be discovered.