Malaysia is rich in natural resources and home to some of the world’s most beautiful tropical rainforests. Today, many of the nation’s natural gems are enhanced with conservation, community and sustainable efforts. These aim to minimize environmental impact, promote awareness, generate income for local communities and protect the heritage of our planet.
The next time you decide to have a nature-inspired getaway in Malaysia, here are 10 ecotourism destinations to head to, regardless of your style of traveling!
1. Sungai Yu Forest Reserve, Pahang: For the Wildlife Advocate
Forming part of a tiger corridor connecting Taman Negara and Titiwangsa Mountain Range is the Sungai Yu Forest Reserve. As part of a conservation project, visitors can camp with the semi nomadic Batek tribe, join a local cave excursion team, trek across the jungle and witness breathtaking mountain views.
Along the way, you will help to collect animal tracks and presence data, which are in turn analysed by researchers in the effort to reduce poaching. In other words, you’re helping to protect the wildlife in the area!
2. Raub, Pahang: For the Zen Master
Sometimes life feels like it’s going at full speed. Close to Raub in Pahang is the tranquil Sungai Klau Village. Peppered around it are beautiful hidden gems that have yet to be overrun by tourists, such as a historical cave and a secluded waterfall, the perfect place to swim, relax, meditate and immerse your senses in the forest atmosphere.
Kampung Koo, the local homestay of this village, lets you enjoy many idyllic countryside activities and feed you authentic GuangXi cuisines.
3. Kinabatangan River, Sabah: For the Animal Lover
Along the river that snakes through the Sabah lowlands, the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary forms a natural habitat for an array of wildlife species. Many people come here to join the river cruise and jungle trekking in search of these animals.
Wildlife enthusiasts have the opportunity to spot pygmy elephants, orangutans, proboscis monkeys, hawks, hornbills and other wonderful creatures.
4. National Botanical Park, Shah Alam: For the Fisherman
Located 40km from the city centre, The National Botanical Park in Shah Alam is one of the best fishing spots in KL. The Air Kuning Dam is a scenic fishing pond where you could potentially catch fishes like Pacu, Rohu and Sultan Fish.
Remember not to bring home the fishes though. It is strictly “catch and release” here, but you’ll be hooked by the fishing experience! Apart from that, you are able to go on nature walks, sightseeing tours and boating escapades.
5. Cameron Highlands, Pahang: For the Group Travel
Cameron Highlands – the go-to place for a chilled weekend wander. Beyond the tea plantations and strawberry farms, there is a spellbinding Mossy Forest on the highlands filled with hiking trails as well as exotic flora and fauna. The enchanting landscape is enough to tempt the photographer, wilderness explorer and nature lover in you.
6. Gopeng, Perak: For the Thrill Seeker
If you’re in it for the adrenaline rush, head to Gopeng, Perak. Deep in the serene rainforest is a rushing river that lets you challenge the raging rapids. You can also explore the cave there and abseil down the rocks. Nature can be fun too!
7. Sauk, Perak: For the Laid-back Explorer
Enjoy a 2D1N trip to Kampung Baru Sauk, Perak.If you want to be close to Nature without too much strenuous activity, get into a slower pace at Sauk. You can explore the village by bike, try your hand at kayaking on a calm lake and watch the beauty unfold before you by the waterfall. No trekking involved… unless you want to!
8. Kampung Kiding, Sarawak: For the Heritage Buff
Hidden behind the clouds on Mount Kiding is a Bidayuh community, completely disconnected from the world beyond it. Interacting with the villagers lets you appreciate the indigenous Bidayuh culture and lifestyle through their traditional food, games, music and beliefs.
9. Perhentian Island, Terengganu: For the Beach Enthusiast
There’s more to do in Perhentian Island than just have fun in the crystal clear ocean and laze by the shore. Becoming a volunteer in a conservation project is a way to give back to the Mother Nature and the local community.
You can teach English, get your hands dirty with some community development work, clean up beaches and of course, play while you work!
10. Kuala Selangor, Selangor: For the Night Owl
For an alternative nightlife experience, why not see fireflies sparkle along the riverbank? Kuala Selangor’s most popular attraction is the firefly colony that illuminate the mangrove swamps each night.
Not only will you be transported in a traditional sampan to admire the fireflies from up close, you are contributing to the local efforts to protect fireflies from the threat of extinction. But don’t just go for the fireflies! There’s more to see and do at Kuala Selangor.