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Tourism Malaysia

20 Boutique Hotels – Stay with Style!

If you need some cosy time all by yourself, and looking for somewhere unique to stay for a night or more, boutique hotels in Malaysia offer you more than an accommodation. You will get extra nice decoration, extra services plus extra experience.

Today, boutique hotels – normally a cosy-signature accommodation with less than 100 rooms – are mushrooming with variable themes and decors. For our 20 SPECIAL picks this month, we give you some of the popular choices from many states of Malaysia.

Ambong-Ambong

1. AMBONG-AMBONG, Langkawi, Kedah (www.ambong-ambong.com) The Travellers’ Choice 2019 Winner outshines the most in the mystical island of Langkawi. Ambong-Ambong Rainforest Retreat is rainforest accommodation of boutique resort perched on a slope, overlooking the sea and islands of Langkawi offers great Japanese restaurant and highly rated massage services.

Terrapuri

2.   TERRAPURI, Penarik, Terengganu (www.terrapuri.com) Terrapuri (The Land Of Palaces) is a conservation and restoration project of Terengganu Malay Classic house. Its feature 29 antique hundred years old Classic Houses. The layout of the resort is inspired by the 17th century Terengganu Palace and its surrounding. Terrapuri consists of 20 exclusive restored villas, a gallery and a beach house.

Majestic

3. MAJESTIC, Melaka (www.majesticmalacca.com) The heart of the hotel is a restored 1920s Straits Settlement mansion complete with its original porcelain tile flooring and teakwood fittings. It has been extended to house the guest rooms and suites as well as an award-winning spa that is a reflection of that era, melding luxury, modernity and tradition. (source www.ytlhotels.com)

Estadia

4. ESTADIA, Melaka (www.estadiahotel.com) Estadia By Hatten is perhaps the best Baba Nyonya-themed hotel in Melaka. It is located in the center of Melaka City and the interior of the hotel is tastefully done up based on Baba Nyonya style. There are a Nyonya restaurant a pub located beside the hotel lobby the Nyonya foods are fantastic (review in tripadvisor.com).

Seven Terraces, Georgetown

5. SEVEN TERRACES, Georgetown, Pulau Pinang (www.georgetownheritage.com/seven-terraces-hotel) Winner of the 2007 UNESCO Award of Distinction for heritage conservation and regular Conde Naste Hot List nominees, It successfully captures and celebrates the spirit of this world heritage town and its unique peranakan culture. Pure beauty!

Cheong Fatt Tze, Georgetown

6. CHEONG FATT TZE, Georgetown, Pulau Pinang (www.cheongfatttzemansion.com) The majestic boutique hotel rooms are tucked within the tranquil tropical courtyards of The Blue Mansion. Each of the 18 personalized boutique rooms are uniquely adorned and intricately furnished, taking you back into Penang’s glorious history in the exclusive rooms, invigorating jacuzzi and authentic furniture of the 19th century.

Royale Chulan Cherating Villa

7.  ROYALE CHULAN CHERATING VILLA, Cherating, Pahang (www.royalechulan.com/Cherating) Located in a resort town on the east coast of Malaysia, Cherating is home to some of Malaysia’s most picturesque seascapes, a perfect getaway for soul searching singles, lovebirds and family gathering. 34 private villas and suites come with a private beach. What a package!

Anggun

8. ANGGUN, Kuala Lumpur (www.anggunkl.com) Located in Changkat Tong Shin, Bukit Bintang area – Anggun is a boutique hotel with rooftop spa and semi-outdoor café fitted with wooden flooring and teak furnishings. The Alam Beauty Spa surely a bonus if you are to stay here. Choose room with four-poster bed and private balcony with street views, advices booking.com.

Ranee B

9. THE RANEE B, Kuching, Sarawak (www.theranee.com) This is an exclusive 24-room boutique hotel strategically located in the heart of Kuching’s picturesque Old Town. Stylishly rebuilt from two traditional 19th century shophouses and ingeniously adapted to modern standards of plush comfort, The Ranee is unique in that every spacious room/suite is different – designed to express its own individuality, charm and character, hints www.tripadvisor.com.

Villa Molek

10. VILLA MOLEK, Langkawi, Kedah (www.villamolek.com). As you step into Villa Molek you are greeted by 12 charming and beautifully designed private villa studios, each resembles a complete home. Its superb location and quiet elegance makes it a favourite among travellers looking for total relaxation (www.tripadvisor.com)

Panji-Panji

11. PANJI-PANJI TROPICAL WOODEN HOME, Langkawi, Kedah (www.panjipanji.com). Enjoy the comforts of a sea frontage tropical wooden Malay house. A home situated next to the Cenang river and the local fishermen’s pier, and is only minutes away from the famous Cenang Beach. A perfect place to enjoy the sunset and relax (from booking.com).

The Blanc

12. THE BLANC, Melaka (facebook.com/TheBlancBoutiqueHotel). Originally a refurbished heritage building, The Blanc is a tastefully decorated new hotel in Melaka. The room is full well decorated and designed, plus a rooftop view. Centrally located and just a walk away from Jonker Street Night Market and Mahkota Parade Shopping Mall. Very convenient.

Tanjung Jara Resort

13. TANJUNG JARA RESORT, Tg. Jara, Terengganu (www.tanjongjararesort.com) Offering accommodation inspired by the majestic 17th century Malay palaces, Tanjong Jara boasts 2 outdoor pools and an award-winning spa. It features 3 dining options with South China Sea views.

Sari Pacifica

14. SARI PACIFICA,  Redang, Terengganu (www.saripacificaredangisland.com) In the beautiful island of Redang, Sari Pacifica Resort Spa offers spacious villas with private balconies and spa baths. It also features a beachfront pool and restaurant. The spaciousness of tropical-style villas allows for a large walk-in closet and seating area. Unfortunately the door is closed during monsoon season.

Rosa

15. ROSA, Melaka (www.rosa.com.my) This hotel screams nothing but an industrial-concept marvel. Bare bricks, cement walls, and wooden floor panels make up most of the hotel’s interior which is further complimented with tonnes of fun and timeless deco. Such a photo haven for Instagram addicts! (from www.rojakdaily.com)

Timez

16. TIMEZ, Melaka (www.timezhotel.com) The hotel is literally a melting pot of culture as it incorporates five cultures in its design – Chinese, Peranakan, Dutch, Portuguese, and British but with a modern twist.

The Lantern

17. LANTERN, Kuala Lumpur (www.lanternhotel.com) This budget boutique hotel revolves around an industry-meets-tropical design concept with a funky touch and friendly atmosphere. The rooms here are minimalist but elegant and with rates that will definitely meet your budget. (thesmartlocal.com)

Bliss Boutique

18. BLISS BOUTIQUE, Johor Bharu, Johor (www.blissboutiquehotel.com) Not all boutique hotels charge exorbitant rates, some are value-for-money and offer high rated services. Bliss Boutique Hotel falls into this category, adorned with artistic and flamboyant touches. This Art Deco hotel is totally colourful and chic!

M Boutique Hotel

19. M BOUTIQUE HOTEL, Ipoh, Perak (https://ipoh.mboutiquehotels.com) Featuring stark contrasting monochromatic furnishings, this unique hotel takes its inspiration from jazz bars of the past. Black chandeliers, monkey cages, and rustic grey furniture adorn the rooms and communal areas, lending it a stark yet classy vibe (source www.smartlocal.com)

JapaMala Resort

20. JAPAMALA RESORT, Tioman, Terengganu  (www.japamalaresorts.com) JapaMala is Tioman Island’s only boutique resort, and one-of-a-kind in Malaysia. This small and exclusive resort of 13 rooms is hidden amidst 11 acres of lush tropical rainforest. A one-village-one-resort property, JapaMala has its own private and quiet beach. Rated highly in www.tripadvisor.com.my

Categories
Tourism Malaysia

TOP 5 SPOTS TO SAY “I DO”

Malaysia has long been a preferred destination for weddings and honeymoons. A combination of multicultural people and beautiful landscapes makes Malaysia a unique place to hold a wedding and also honeymoon. But before the wedding and honeymoon, one must go through a wedding proposal first, right? Well, why don’t you do all three in Malaysia?

First, let me throw out some ideas for a unique and memorable wedding proposal in Malaysia, just in time for the coming February, the month of love.

1. Underwater

What better place is there to pop the question for scuba diving enthusiasts than under the sea? Surrounded by sea fans, whips, a school of fishes and colourful corals, it was a perfect place to surprise your love one with a marriage proposal. It will be your own Atlantis for sure. Of course when you are underwater, you can’t use our voice to propose to her but you can hold the sign asking her to marry you or lay out a banner on the side of a shipwreck with most romantic words that will impress her hook, line, and sinker. You do need a team though to make sure you’ll have a perfect and memorable marriage proposal.

Scuba diving sites in Malaysia that can be the location for your marriage proposal include Redang, Lang Tengah, and Perhentian Islands (Terengganu), Sipadan, Sapi, Mabul, Layang-Layang, and Mataking Islands (Sabah), as well as Satang Besar, Satang Kecil and Sempadi Islands and Miri waters (Sarawak).

2. Top of the Mountain

There’s no finer backdrop to propose to your wife-to-be than the top of the Mount Kinabalu in Sabah. Standing at a majestic 4,095 meters or 13, 435 feet above sea level, Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain in Malaysia. You may have to wake up at 3 am to climb to the top in order to watch the sunrise but the sheer beauty of the scenery will take your breath away and help romanticised the venue of your marriage proposal. It will definitely help your love one forget about the grueling four-hour climb, the altitude change and cold temperature.

Mt. Kinabalu is a popular destination, visitors who wish to climb Mount Kinabalu are advised to make reservations 6 months in advance to avoid disappointment. The number of climbers is limited to 135 pax daily.

Website: http://www.sabahtourism.com/activity/climb-mt-kinabalu

3. Zipline

Take your love one all the way to Langkawi Island and get her to spend two and a half hours soaring along 12 different ziplines over the waterfalls and within the top and middle layer of the island’s rainforest. And with her adrenaline still high from gliding through an oxygen-rich forest,

can you imagine how incredible it is for her when she got off the line and the first thing she will see is you on bended knee with a ring in one hand? It’s worth a try, don’t you think so?

Umgawa is the island’s first world-class zipline eco-adventure tour, which offers spectacular views of Matchincang Peak, Seven Wells Waterfall and the Andaman Sea. Umgawa’s course features 12 ziplines, one double zipline, three sky-bridges suspended in the trees, and a spectacular descent from towering trees.

Website: www.umgawa.com

4. The Rainbow Skywalk

The Rainbow Skywalk is the talk of the town in Penang Island because it offers stunning seamless views of George Town and beyond. Located at George Town’s highest point, the open-air Rainbow Skywalk, a semi-circular glass-bottomed platform extending out from the edge of the Komtar tower is at Level 68, offering visitors the thrilling experience of walking on air 249m above ground.

Make the best of this venue and wait for the sun to set over the Penang Hill and beyond, or wait for the city of George Town to light up before you propose to your love one. I’ll bet it is going to be one of the most beautiful and romantic marriage proposals ever. But before you do that, please make sure your love one doesn’t have a fear of height. Then, you are good to go!

Website: https://thetop.com.my/rainbow-skywalk

5. Plane In The City

Located in the heart of the city at Jalan Bukit Bintang, Plane In The City, which is an an actual Boeing 737 aircraft, is listed in the Malaysia Book of Records as the 1st Aeroplane Restaurant in Malaysia.

The Plane In The City is the perfect venue to propose to your wife-to-be because just admit it, it won’t be as romantic as in the actual plane flying at 35,000 feet, right? With this real-life flight simulation, you don’t have to deal with small aisle or an unpredictable turbulence or crying babies, or being rejected in front of strangers of various nationalities. To make it more interesting, you can propose on the wing of the airplane, and that experience my friend, will be unforgettable.

Website: http://www.planeinthecity.com

Categories
Tourism Malaysia

TOP 5 WEDDING PROPOSAL SPOTS

Malaysia has long been a preferred destination for weddings and honeymoons. A combination of multicultural people and beautiful landscapes makes Malaysia a unique place to hold a wedding and also honeymoon. But before the wedding and honeymoon, one must go through a wedding proposal first, right? Well, why don’t you do all three in Malaysia?

First, let me throw out some ideas for a unique and memorable wedding proposal in Malaysia, just in time for the coming February, the month of love.

1. Underwater

What better place is there to pop the question for scuba diving enthusiasts than under the sea? Surrounded by sea fans, whips, a school of fishes and colourful corals, it was a perfect place to surprise your love one with a marriage proposal. It will be your own Atlantis for sure. Of course when you are underwater, you can’t use our voice to propose to her but you can hold the sign asking her to marry you or lay out a banner on the side of a shipwreck with most romantic words that will impress her hook, line, and sinker. You do need a team though to make sure you’ll have a perfect and memorable marriage proposal.

Scuba diving sites in Malaysia that can be the location for your marriage proposal include Redang, Lang Tengah, and Perhentian Islands (Terengganu), Sipadan, Sapi, Mabul, Layang-Layang, and Mataking Islands (Sabah), as well as Satang Besar, Satang Kecil and Sempadi Islands and Miri waters (Sarawak).

2. Top of the Mountain

There’s no finer backdrop to propose to your wife-to-be than the top of the Mount Kinabalu in Sabah. Standing at a majestic 4,095 meters or 13, 435 feet above sea level, Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain in Malaysia. You may have to wake up at 3 am to climb to the top in order to watch the sunrise but the sheer beauty of the scenery will take your breath away and help romanticised the venue of your marriage proposal. It will definitely help your love one forget about the grueling four-hour climb, the altitude change and cold temperature.

Mt. Kinabalu is a popular destination, visitors who wish to climb Mount Kinabalu are advised to make reservations 6 months in advance to avoid disappointment. The number of climbers is limited to 135 pax daily.

Website: http://www.sabahtourism.com/activity/climb-mt-kinabalu

3. Zipline

Take your love one all the way to Langkawi Island and get her to spend two and a half hours soaring along 12 different ziplines over the waterfalls and within the top and middle layer of the island’s rainforest. And with her adrenaline still high from gliding through an oxygen-rich forest,

can you imagine how incredible it is for her when she got off the line and the first thing she will see is you on bended knee with a ring in one hand? It’s worth a try, don’t you think so?

Umgawa is the island’s first world-class zipline eco-adventure tour, which offers spectacular views of Matchincang Peak, Seven Wells Waterfall and the Andaman Sea. Umgawa’s course features 12 ziplines, one double zipline, three sky-bridges suspended in the trees, and a spectacular descent from towering trees.

Website: www.umgawa.com

4. The Rainbow Skywalk

The Rainbow Skywalk is the talk of the town in Penang Island because it offers stunning seamless views of George Town and beyond. Located at George Town’s highest point, the open-air Rainbow Skywalk, a semi-circular glass-bottomed platform extending out from the edge of the Komtar tower is at Level 68, offering visitors the thrilling experience of walking on air 249m above ground.

Make the best of this venue and wait for the sun to set over the Penang Hill and beyond, or wait for the city of George Town to light up before you propose to your love one. I’ll bet it is going to be one of the most beautiful and romantic marriage proposals ever. But before you do that, please make sure your love one doesn’t have a fear of height. Then, you are good to go!

Website: https://thetop.com.my/rainbow-skywalk

5. Plane In The City

Located in the heart of the city at Jalan Bukit Bintang, Plane In The City, which is an an actual Boeing 737 aircraft, is listed in the Malaysia Book of Records as the 1st Aeroplane Restaurant in Malaysia.

The Plane In The City is the perfect venue to propose to your wife-to-be because just admit it, it won’t be as romantic as in the actual plane flying at 35,000 feet, right? With this real-life flight simulation, you don’t have to deal with small aisle or an unpredictable turbulence or crying babies, or being rejected in front of strangers of various nationalities. To make it more interesting, you can propose on the wing of the airplane, and that experience my friend, will be unforgettable.

Website: http://www.planeinthecity.com

Categories
Wonderful Malaysia

10 best dive locations in Malaysia

Where can I find the best dive spots in Malaysia?

Malaysia has numerous great dive locations. The best dive sites in Malaysia can be found in the southeastern region of Sabah (on the island of Borneo). Easiest to reach are the dive sites at the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, but this region is prone to the yearly monsoon season between October and March. Below our top10, based on the dive conditions, bio-diversity and attractiveness.

1. Sipadan Island, Mabul Island and Kapalai Island

Diving at Sipadan Island in Malaysia

These three islands probably contain the best dive sites in the whole of Malaysia. Sipadan is by far the best place to enjoy scuba diving; it is also not that easy to actually dive at because of the restricting rules that are in place (daily permit). Mabul is known worldwide for its amazing muck diving conditions. Kapalai is a small sand bank, not that great for diving, but here you can find a very exclusive resort built on stilts. Actually both Sipadan and Mabul earn their own spot in this list, but since you can’t visit one (Sipadan) without the other (Mabul) we just listed the whole cluster as one entry.

2. Lankayan Island

Whale shark sighting at Lankayan Island in Malaysia

A small island located north of the city of Sandakan in eastern Sabah. Lankayan only has one (luxurious) resort and it’s all about diving and relaxing. Accommodation might be quite expensive for non-divers, they might be better off at numerous other islands. After Sipadan, Lankayan probably offers the best dive spots and diving conditions in Malaysia.

3. Layang-Layang Island

Diving at Layang-Layang Island in Malaysia

Layang-Layang is not a tropical island per se. It is a concrete landing strip with one resort and a marine base, located on a big sand bank located just below sea level. Layang-Layang is located in a remote area, where the underwater world has not been affected by human beings. Corals are in pristine conditions. Layang-Layang is a place to see big species and big schools of fish (not so much smaller stuff).

4. Mataking Island, Pom Island and Sibuan Island

Diving at Sibuan Island in Malaysia

Though not as great as diving conditions at the nearby islands of Sipadan and Mabul, the area surrounding Mataking, Pom and Sibuan still offers quite a few amazing dive sites (especially Sibuan is known for great muck diving). Mataking is a wonderful place to stay. There is a very luxurious resort from where you can enjoy dive trips in the area.

5. Redang Island

Diving at Redang Island in Malaysia

Redang is the first island in our list that is not located in Borneo. Redang Island lies within the Terengganu Marine Park, nearby the city of Kuala Terengganu at the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Redang offers great dive sites and perfect dive conditions. It is a great place to start with your diving adventure, as prices of a 4 day PADI course are very affordable. Redang cannot be visited between October and March because of the monsoon season.

6. Lang Tengah Island

Diving at Lang Tengah Island in Malaysia

Located between the more popular islands of Redang and Perhentian, the smaller island of Lang Tengah offers great diving opportunities. The island has a few nice resorts, and is also suitable for non-divers. Lang Tenggah cannot be visited between October and March because of the monsoon season.

7. Tenggol Island

Diving at Tenggol Island in Malaysia

Tenggol Island is located at the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It offers splendid diving conditions, but it is perhaps not suitable for beginners due to the currents that often play a big role in dives around the island. There are a few nice resorts on the island. Tenggol cannot be visited between October and March because of the monsoon season.

8. Tioman Island (and the surround islands)

Diving conditions at Tioman are similar to the other popular islands at the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Especially great about Tioman is that besides diving it is also a great place to do snorkeling, sunbathing and kayaking. The island is big enough to do numerous other fun activities. Possible downside might be that is not that easy to reach compared to other islands (unless you are willing to pay dearly for the direct KL – Tioman flight operated by Berjaya Air).

9. Perhentian Island

Diving at Perhentian Island in Malaysia

Perhentian is the best island in Malaysia to do a diving course. The diving conditions are splendid for beginners, and there are many dive spots available to enjoy immediately after finishing the PADI course. Perhentian has calm waters and an abundance of marine life. Besides diving it is probably one of the best islands for snorkeling, with shallow reefs with pretty nice corals and great marine life (also big fish and many turtles). At Perhentian prices for fun dives and for the diving course are probably the lowest in Malaysia. If you are a beginner, Perhentian Island is definitely the place to be!

10. Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park

Diving at Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park in Malaysia

Right opposite of the city of Kota Kinabalu in western Sabah (Borneo) lies the wonderful Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (TAR Marine Park). This area contains numerous dive sites that are definitely worth a visit. Dive schools mainly operate from out of Kota Kinabalu, though there are also a few that are located on the islands. Similar to Perhentian Island this is a great place to start diving by doing a 4 day PADI course as the dive conditions are optimal for beginners.

Dive locations in Malaysia that almost made it into our top10

Of course there are many other great places to dive in Malaysia, below a few that didn’t make it to our top10, but are still very much worth a visit (especially if you take certain non-dive aspects into consideration):

11. Mantanani Island; a little bit better than TAR Marine Park but also a bit more remote located.

12. Kapas Island; great option, small island, easy to reach from Kuala Terengganu. Many (better) dive sites at nearby islands though.

13. Talang-Talang Island; small island nearby Kuching. Not really a renowned dive spot, but might become one in the future.

14. Tiga Island; popular island nearby Kota Kinabalu. Better dive sites at the east coast of Sabah, but still some very nice sites.

15. Mengalum Island; if you are only staying around Kota Kinabalu.

16. Pulau Payar; your best option if you are only visiting the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

And some turtle islands (for those that do not dive):

17. Selingan Island (Turtle Island near Sandakan); not really a perfect dive spot, but the best place to visit to learn more about turtles.

18. Satang Island (Turtle Island near Kuching); another turtle island in Malaysia.

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Tourism Malaysia

Five Malaysian eco-breaks

Five Malaysian eco-breaks

Sustainable travel, including responsible nature holidays and what has become known as eco-tourism, is on the rise in Malaysia – and with good reason. Though Malaysia has highly developed urban regions, it is also home to a rich ecology and diverse geography.

For the nature-interested traveller, this Southeast Asian nation comprises mountains and highlands; beaches and countless tropical islands; rainforests and mangrove estuaries plus much more. The well-organized tourism infrastructure and wealth of natural locations and activities help make Malaysia one of the world’s top destinations for environmentally-conscious travel. Malaysia is an exciting as well as convenient location for a dizzying choice of eco-holidays.

What follows are five general ideas for eco-breaks in Malaysia. There is naturally plenty of cross-over between and among these categories and lots of variety within each.

Orangutan observation

The sole great apes that are unique to Asia, these wondrous endangered primates are only native to Malaysia and Indonesia. Malaysia has well-developed facilities for observing orangutans in the wild and in special rehabilitation centers. Visiting these reserves and centers aids in the protection of habitats which are crucial to the survival of these fascinating and gentle apes.

Places like the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, Danum Valley Conservation Area and the Tabin Wildlife Reserve (all located in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo) contain different options for accommodation, ranging from basic camping in tents to comfortable, well-appointed stays at more upscale rainforest lodges.

Orangutan, Sepilok, Borneo, Malaysia. Pic: Paul Mannix (Flickr CC).

Orangutan, Sepilok, Borneo, Malaysia. Pic: Paul Mannix (Flickr CC).

Other wildlife observation and “volun-tourism”

Besides orangutans, Malaysia is home to a host of other amazing examples of wildlife. Some need your help! Nesting sea turtles are very vulnerable to poachers. Those who wish to combine a holiday with the chance to assist local endangered species can incorporate volunteer work like helping turtles or regrowing coral into a scuba diving vacation or other nature break.

This short description comes from an article on “Ethical turtle tourism” from The Star: “The volunteers conduct daily dinner-time briefing sessions, educating guests about turtles and the threats they face, during which they remind guests to switch off their mobile phones and avoid camera flashes on the beach at night.”

Other options include visiting elephant sanctuaries in the rainforest or even wildlife refuges for endangered wild cattle, called guar.

Ecological agricultural tourism

Those into eating and growing organic food might be interested in a bit of agricultural tourism. Visits to ecological rice, produce and seafood farms can be far more exiting than the idea sounds. These farms are often located in beautiful surroundings and visitors can incorporate jungle trekking, cycling, mountain climbing and river expeditions into their stay.

Kahang Organic Rice Farm features accommodation ranging from camping to “floating chalets” in the rice fields. Of course food is also a major part of each stay, with meals composed of a range of fresh organic fruit, vegetables, fish and rice.

National parks

Malaysia is home to several national parks, two of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One such site is Kinabalu National Park in Malaysian Borneo, which contains the country’s tallest peak, Mount Kinabalu, and around 4,500 species of flora and fauna. The other UNESCO World Heritage Site in Malaysia is Gunung Mulu National Park, also on the island of Borneo. Gunung Mulu National Park is the world’s most studied tropical karst area, contains a 2,377 meter-high sandstone pinnacle (from which the park gets its name) and some 295 km of explored caves. The park is also well-known for its rich variety of plant life, and its canyons, rivers and dense, rainforest-covered mountains.

Gunung Mulu pinnacles. Pic: Paul White (Flickr CC).

Gunung Mulu pinnacles. Pic: Paul White (Flickr CC).

Besides these two UNESCO sites, there are 26 other national parks plus many state parks and reserves in Malaysia, protecting most of the nation’s forest land. Nearly three quarters of Malaysia is covered in trees and natural forests. These forests are extremely biodiverse in flora and are also where fauna such as clouded leopards, Sumatran rhinos, Malaysian tigers, Asian sun bears, monitor lizards and orangutans can be found.

Malaysia’s national parks include not only forest land, but lowlands full of rivers, atolls, coral reefs and scores of islands. These parks encompass the main eco-tourism destinations in the country.

Water-based activities

Loaded with islands, rivers and coastline, Malaysia is a dream location for eco-friendly water activities like diving, snorkeling and river rafting.

White water rafting is possible at grades I-V (tame to very dangerous) in many rivers located in the country’s national parks. Popular diving and snorkeling spots include Tioman, a small island located within the Mersing Marine Park, and the 9-island archipelago of Redang inside Redang Marine Park.

Tioman Island. Pic: Le Journal de Maman (Flickr CC).

Tioman Island. Pic: Le Journal de Maman (Flickr CC).

Naturally, Malaysia’s many islands provide ample opportunity for scuba diving and snorkeling among coral reefs.

I hope this list provided you with some inspiration and ideas for an unforgettable Malaysian eco-break. For a more information on responsible tourism, volun-tourism and eco-friendly holidays in Malaysia I recommend a visit to the Wild Asia website.