An introduction to Malaysian wildlife holidays


Malaysia is a country of contrasts. Divided by the South China Sea, it consists of peninsular Malaysia - home to its capital Kuala Lumpur - and Malaysian Borneo. Both of these locations offer an incredibly diverse range of habitats for flora and fauna.wildlife malaysia orangutan
The peninsula
Peninsular Malaysia boasts three main wildlife habitats that form the basis of popular natural history vacations. This facility contains central highlands which are relatively cool, lowland forests teeming with furtive and not-so-secretive inhabitants, and coastlines that are dotted with mangrove swamps.
The Malaysian sector on the island of Borneo contains some of the world's tropical regions' most spectacular rainforest trees, rising from the forest floor to jaw-dropping heights. As you gaze up to the canopy far above you might be fortunate to see monkeys as they stealthily leap from tree to tree. You will certainly be able to hear them! These rainforests are also amongst the world's oldest.
The province of Sabah is home to a diverse range of animals and plants, including one particular species that has almost become synonymous with Malaysia's rich wildlife: the orang-utan.
Nature treks and tours
The indigenous creatures are naturally apprehensive when they see any Homo Sapiens entering their realm – and that's hardly surprising given the damage that has been done through logging and poaching. So the best way to get a good enough view of any wildlife is to embark on official nature treks. Here experienced guides will take you into the forest, negotiating the occasionally treacherous pathways through the dense vegetation. Many animals are territorial, and your guides will appreciate the likely places to catch a glimpse of any of the forest dwellers.
The air above your head will be full of excitable chatter from monkeys and birds, as well as delicately fluttering butterflies. The incredibly rich colour scheme of the latter is enough to take the breath away. Your guide will be able to identify the different types of flying creatures, be they birds, bats or insects.
Mangrove swamps have their own unique biodiversity. Of course, navigating into unknown waters is not to be recommended. However, you can book a canoe trip that will enable you to glide around the partially-submerged vegetation, keeping an eye out for Mangrove Whistlers and Flyeaters.
In Taman National Park there are boat trips that will take you on unforgettable cruises through the area's fabulous locations. There are at least 10 woodpecker species living in the park, making for some fairly noisy background percussion at times! The local hornbills are another popular sight.
Amongst the larger species which Malaysian tours can acquaint you with are Asian elephants, leopards, Malaysian tapirs, tigers and a wide range of monkeys and other primates.
To explore Malaysian Borneo, a three-week tour will allow you to immerse yourself in the local flora and fauna. You can explore the lower slopes of Mount Kinabulu (the 20th highest in the world), as well as the rainforests in Sabah. These treks are run in conjunction with the charity Environmental Investigation Agency, and one of the highlights of any venture into this part of Borneo is the likelihood of spotting orangutans.

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