Monday, July 19, 2010
Top 10 Wildlife Destinations, Borneo, Malaysia
Tropical rainforests are dense entanglements that give cover to wild animals. Unlike an African safari, where the open Savannah easily exposes large groups of wildlife, observing wild creatures in Malaysia takes a bit more effort. But that’s also part of the fun.
The states of Sarawak and Sabah make up Malaysian Borneo or East Malaysia. The two key gateway cities are Kuching and Kota Kinabalu. Here are some of the parks and sanctuaries to visit for the best chance to see some of Asia’s most endangered species and a diversity of wildlife not found elsewhere in the world.
1)Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary – Take a ride on the Kinabatangan River for a wildlife outing in one of Malaysia’s best nature experiences. If you’re lucky you can observe Asian pygmy elephants grazing along the river bank, long-nosed proboscis monkeys sitting in treetops, hornbills and kingfishers flying by and enjoy this easy floating safari.
2)Tabin Wildlife Reserve - As a primary rainforest, this wildlife reserve protects important habitats for many of Malaysia’s large mammals – elephants, rhinos, orangutans.For birdwatchers, hundreds of species are found in the jungle and swamplands, including hornbills, owls and eagles. Take a night safari to enjoy the sights of wild animals on the prowl. And don’t forget to visit the mud volcano during the day for a splash in the muddy pools.
3)Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary - If you want to see orangutans up close, then do not skip a trip to this lowland rainforest reserve famous for rehabilitating former pet animals into wild residents. Walk on the boardwalk through towering tropical trees to observe these wonderful endangered primates that are under threat from deforestation and conflicts due to the expansion of plantation agriculture. Go to Sepilok for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to view one of the planet’s most interesting species.
4)Sipadan Island – For those seeking an underwater adventure, Sipadan is rated as one of the world’s best dive spots. An unending parade of marine biodiversity displays everything from schools of barracuda to reef resting green turtles. Nature explodes with diverse coral structures and a technicolor panorama of triggerfish, anemones, sea fans and angelfish… just for starters. As Malaysia’s only oceanic island, a vertical cliff descends 600 meters to showcase an encrusted sea wall of plant and animal life.
5)Turtle Islands Park – Protecting the traditional landing and nesting grounds for Green and Hawksbill turtles, a visit to the park offers a chance to observe these ancient mariners returning to shore to start the next generation. Learn about the plight of sea turtles and local conservation efforts to save them from extinction.
6)Danum Valley Conservation Area – A research center amid some of the best lowland rainforest in Asia, Danum Valley is a trekker’s paradise for birdwatching, wildlife observation and nature photography. If you want to get a real feel for the jungle, head over to Sabah and spend a few days on the forest trails.
7)Bako National Park – If you go to Kuching, this park is just a few hours away for a great day trip to see a spectacular coastal reserve. A mixture of mangrove swamps, sandstone cliffs and seaside forests, wildlife abounds with proboscis monkeys, pit vipers, flying lemurs and other wild creatures. Enter the park from the sea and capture the gorgeous scenery of this pristine habitat.
8)Gunung Mulu National Park – Rugged limestone formations surrounded by dense tropical rainforest provides for fantastic scenery outside and cave exploration inside. Watch millions of bats emerge at dusk from some of the largest cave chambers in the world or trek through the jungle to mountaintops to explore the unique blade-sharp Pinnacles rising from the forest floor like daggers.
9)Niah National Park – Gigantic caves are home for millions of bats that exit each night to forage on hoards of insects, while swifltlets make edible nests on cave walls. Jungle trails traverse through lowland and hill rainforest to expose an assortment of wild animals such as monkeys, monitor lizards, flying lizards, hornbills and other rainforest birds.
10)Batang Ai National Park – Located in pristine interior jungles next to a wildlife sanctuary, the park is an oasis of wildlife set against a lake reservoir formed by a hydroelectric dam. Orangutans, gibbons and hornbills provide good opportunities for wild sightings in excellent rainforest habitats. Visitors can also learn about traditional Iban lifestyles by spending time in a longhouse and going into the jungle with an Iban guide.
Discover more information on great Borneo vacation getaways.