Asean Heritage Parks of Malaysia

Did you know that there are 3 Asean Heritage Parks in Malaysia (and 1 up for nomination)? These natural heritages in Asean are recognised for their biological importance, diversity and uniqueness, in hopes of raising awareness and helping to strengthen environmental conservation efforts. As of 2019, there are around 49 national parks on the list, sprawled across the emerald regions of Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos.

Malaysia has around 25 national parks, flourishing with lush greenery, rich biodiversity, and off-the-grid wonders. So to have 3 Asean Heritage Parks on our belt is pretty impressive.

1. National Park

Location: Pahang, Kelantan, Terengganu

Taman Negara, or National Park, rises to the top of the list for obvious reasons. Established in the late 1930s, the sprawling natural wonder is the oldest national park in Malaysia at over 130 million years old. It was first named King George V National Park after English engineer Theodore Hubback lobbied with the Sultans of Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan to set aside a piece of land for rainforest conservation.

Spread across 4,343km2 of deciduous virgin rainforests, Taman Negara continues to entice visitors and nature enthusiasts with its treasure trove of native wildlife, such as Malayan tigers, elephants, gaurs and thousands of birds. Tahan River is also home to a protected fish species called ikan kelah.

Those with a love for the outdoors and wilderness will be spoilt for choice here. Winding across 1,500 feet of trees, the Canopy Walk is the longest canopy walkway in the world and gives you a unique view of Taman Negara. You can also experience jungle trekking, birdwatching, rafting down the Lata Berkoh rapids, visits to the aboriginal village, cave explorations, or scaling up Gunung Tahan, the highest peak in Peninsular Malaysia.

Read next: 143 Ultimate Virtual Tours in Malaysia to Experience From Anywhere in the World

2. Kinabalu National Park

Location: Sabah

Spanning across 754km2 of pristine greenery and the highest mountain in Malaysia as its centrepiece, Kinabalu National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a notable tourist destination. The national park has 4 different climate zones, making it a habitat for over 4,500 species of flora and fauna.

Mount Kinabalu not only attracts a rich variety of wildlife, but also hikers keen to scale the summit. It is pretty easy to see brightly coloured pitcher plants and orchids as you trek in Kinabalu National Park. If you are lucky, you could spot the world’s biggest flower – the Rafflesia.  

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3. Gunung Mulu National Park

Photo: CC/Wikipedia

Location: Sarawak

With sublime rocky landscapes and spectacular caverns, Gunung Mulu National Park is a utopia for nature lovers. Only accessible by plane or boat, it is graced by 60-million-year-old limestone karsts, sandstone formations and remote mountain peaks that earned it the status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The subterraneon world tunneling through the national park opens out to phenomenal sceneries you can’t find elsewhere. There are 17 different vegetation zones in the park with a host of rare and endemic plants and animals. The massive caves here are as mysterious as they are unique. The Sarawak Chamber is the largest underground chamber in the world. The Deer Cave has the world’s largest cave passage, and Clearwater Cave has the longest cave system in Southeast Asia.

Read Next: A Complete List of Malaysia’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Nominated: Endau-Rompin National Park

Photo: CC/Flickr Ronald Tagra

Location: Johor

Endau-Rompin National Park is the latest to be nominated for the Asean Heritage Parks list in 2020. Named after the Endau River of Johor and Rompin river of of Pahang which run through the park, the forest reserve safeguards one of the world’s oldest rainforests and geological formations that date back 250 million years.

The second largest national park in Peninsular Malaysia has a collection of indigenous flora and fauna, such as tapirs, elephants, tigers, gibbons, langurs and birds. It also used to be the home of the now extinct Sumatran Rhino. There is also an Orang Asli settlement for the Jakun tribe, some of whom are trekking guides in the park.

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