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Tourism Malaysia

CHASING WILDLIFE IN SABAH

They say travel broadens the mind, and I totally agree with that statement. However, the more I travel, the more I begin to appreciate all things back home, be it food, culture, nature or even our wildlife. I mean we saved enough money to go all the way to Africa for example, so that we can see the lions or cheetahs running wild in their own habitat but did it ever cross our mind to do the same thing in our own country. Do we even know what kind of species of wildlife that are unique to our country or native to the Asian region?

I wonder whether we care enough about our wildlife to do at least the simplest thing or take the smallest step to conserve and protect our animals whether they are endangered or not.

Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Lahad Datu

My quest to learn more about our wildlife had taken me all the way to the east coast of Sabah, Lahad Datu, to be exact. It is where Tabin Wildlife Reserve, the largest of its kind in Malaysia is located. Mind you, it took me about 3 hours and 20 minutes to reach the wildlife reserve from the airport in Tawau. I chose to stay at the river lodge owned by Tabin Wildlife Resort, which was located within the wildlife reserve.

The mummified remains of Puntung

While waiting for
the sun to go down so that I could go for the night safari, I took the
opportunity to visit its Visitor Centre to learn more about the wildlife
reserve. This was where I met Puntung, well, the mummified remains of her, that
is. Puntung was one of the last trio of the Sumatran Rhinos that lived in
captivity at the Tabin Wildlife Reserve after the species was declared extinct
by the Government of Malaysia in 2015. I could hardly hold back my tears when the
guide told me the story of Puntung’s life. When they found her in the wild in
2011, she was missing a front left foot, believed to be caught in a poacher’s
snare when she was a baby and yet she survived for so many years in isolation.
However, Puntung had to be euthanized in 2017 because she was suffering from
cancer.

Last May, we also lost the only male rhino we had, Tam, who died of old age. Right now, Iman is the nation’s sole remaining member of its species in Malaysia but she is also suffering from cancer. The Borneo Rhino Alliance or BORA, a non-profit company, had tried so hard to keep the Sumatran Rhinos from going extinct but it wasn’t meant to be. The heartbreaking story of our Sumatran rhinos made me feel helpless but at the same time just made me more determined to go and see our native animals in the wild as many as I can before they disappeared.

Finally, the time had come for me to take a ride on the makeshift truck to hunt for the nocturnal animals in the wild, and instead of a rifle, I was equipped with camera and handphones. I was hoping to see some magnificent creatures along the way, but unfortunately I wasn’t lucky enough. However, I did get to see the pygmy elephants’ droppings and footprints though. I suspected my guide was one of those nocturnal creatures himself because his eyesight was so sharp, he could spot a small flying squirrel on top of the trees in the dark of the night. For the first time ever, I got to see a flying squirrel glided through the air between trees in the blink of an eye, thanks to my guide.

Searching hard for the nocturnal creatures

We spotted a Buffy Fish Owl trying to capture its victim at the lake, hornbills, a family of civets climbing up the trees probably looking for a new home, a couple of Bornean wild cats roaming between the tall grass looking for rats and that’s about it. It’s probably not much but the experience was exhilarating and it was such a great feeling to know that our wildlife can roam free at this wildlife reserve and I could just imagine the orangutans making their nests to sleep at night deep in the forest, and somewhere out there the pygmy elephants (the world’s smallest elephant) were having the time of their lives. And also, during the whole journey, don’t forget to look up because you will get to see all the beautiful twinkling stars with your own naked eyes, something that you can’t experience in the big cities.

Having fun at the Lipad mud volcano
A hornbill is spotted perching on top of the tree

The next morning, I went for a short hike to check out the well-known Lipad mud volcano and I was so glad to see an eagle, one of the eight species of hornbill, a monitor lizard and the macaques along the way. The active Lipad Mud Volcano is an elevated muddy hill with warm, salty mud bubbling from below the surface almost continuously; occasionally, the mud volcanoes have mild eruptions that add to their height and scatter small stones around. It is an area frequented by wildlife and birds for much-needed minerals and nourishment – and the evidence is in the foot/paw prints left behind on the grey mud. I saw a few footprints of the pygmy elephants at the mud volcano. While there, I came across a couple of tourists returning from the mud volcano and was informed that they camped all night at the observation tower at the mud volcano to spy on the animals that visited the place at night. Oh my, why didn’t I think of that?

Kinabatangan River, Bilit Village

My plan to chase the wildlife of Borneo did not end at Tabin Wildlife Reserve. This lowland part of Sabah has plenty of spots for wildlife sightings. I took another one hour and a 22-minute journey to the Lahad Datu airport to fly to Sandakan for another wildlife adventure. After the half an hour flight, I arrived at the Sandakan airport and went straight to Bilit in Kinabatangan, which took me about 2 hours and 9 minutes to reach the place. I chose to stay at the Mynes Resort, which was situated on the banks of the Kinabatangan River. Upon arriving at the resort, my guide brought me straight to the jetty for a river cruise. My aim was to take a closer look at Sabah’s most famous primates – the proboscis monkeys or also known as the “dutch monkeys”, as well as the orangutans.

Baby proboscis

The cruise took about 45-minutes and at first all I saw were the macaques and gibbons until the boatman suddenly steered the boat closer to the river bank, and that was when I saw a male proboscis monkey with its harem munching on leaves while sitting on the branches on the top of the trees. Oh, what a beautiful sight! Endemic to Borneo, these endangered monkeys are easily recognisable because of their comical appearance e.g. big noses and protruding bellies. Compared to other exotic creatures in Sabah, the proboscis monkey is the most likely to be spotted in the wild, due to their proximity to the rivers. I was a bit disappointed about not being able to spot orangutans, pygmy elephants or even Irrawaddy dolphins, but sunset at the Kinabatangan River was simply breathtaking, that I can guarantee.

The next morning I took another chance on the river cruise because I wanted to see more of the wildlife there. Lo and behold, I got more than I bargained for because my guide spotted a huge female crocodile on the river bank patiently waiting for its prey while a baby crocodile was playing near the water. I was, you can say, entranced by the size and beauty of the crocodile. This was my first time seeing wild crocodiles in their natural element. It was exhilarating but also a bit scary. I could just imagine their massive jaws crushing down on their victim before drowning it. But that was the highlight of my morning cruise though. On the way back, I spotted a troop of silver leaf monkeys, and pig-tailed macaques. Not bad for an early morning cruise but I was a happy camper, after all I was dealing with nature, and they didn’t follow our rules, we followed theirs. So I left Bilit with beautiful memories and headed back towards the city of Sandakan for another 2-hour plus journey.

Sandakan

I know that orangutans live a solitary existence so it is almost impossible to see them in their natural habitat, which was why I made the decision to visit the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, located about 25km north of Sandakan. This internationally well-known centre helps rehabilitate the orphaned, injured and displaced orangutans before returning them to the wild. I arrived early to secure the best spot at the feeding platform so that I could get a closer look at our beloved orangutans. I started to get excited when I saw two rangers arriving with fruits and sugar canes and placing them on the feeding platform, approximately 60 feet from the viewing platform. It was just my luck I guess, no orangutans turned up to eat the fruits that day. So many international visitors were there waiting patiently for the orangutans to appear but we all left with disappointment.

The youngsters eating and playing in
outdoor nursery

However, fret not because there was an outdoor nursery, which was just a short walk from the feeding platform where you can watch orphaned youngsters at play. I spent almost half an hour observing the youngsters eating and playing behind the glass window. When the youngsters were moved to the outdoor nursery, it meant that they had become more independent and were less emotionally dependent to their care-takers, and for that I am thankful for the hard work done by the staff at the rehabilitation centre.

I ended my quest to see as many wildlife as I can in the lowland of Sabah by visiting one of my favourite animals, the cute sun bears at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSCC), just next to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. The BSCC is the only sun bear conservation centre in the world.  I must tell you that sun bear is listed as vulnerable in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. So, I suggest that you add seeing sun bear before they disappear in your bucket list. The sun bear is the smallest and the second rarest bear species, after the giant panda. Wouldn’t you feel proud to have such rare bears in your own backyard? Once I met them, it was love at first sight. They were just so adorable, thus making you feel like wanting to protect them from any threat. All 43 of them at the centre were rescued sun bears.

Mary, the lovable sun bear

If you plan to visit
the centre, look up for the lovable Mary, the cutest little sun bear I have
ever seen and she’s very friendly towards us, human despite her sad upbringing.
She was captured by poachers and kept as a house pet in Ranau district (West
coast part of Sabah). Due to her unbalanced diet, she showed symptoms of
calcium deficiency like walking in an abnormal way and shorter body structure.
Now that Mary’s physical condition has improved, she can climb around like
other bears. And if you are lucky, you will get to meet the founder of the
centre, the Penang-born wildlife biologist Dr. Wong Siew Te who was once hailed
as a CNN Hero. (CNN Heroes is created by the American Cable News Network to
honour individuals who make extraordinary contributions to humanitarian aid and
make a difference in their communities).

It is my hope that this article can help evoke the interest among Malaysians to visit the east coast of Sabah to see the wildlife that is endemic to Borneo. Many of them are either extinct, endangered or vulnerable, so it is not too late for us to explore those places and the most important thing is the proceeds will go to protecting more habitats and conservation activities. It means that playing tourist can actually help save, protect and conserve our wildlife.

Tabin Wildlife Resort:
Location: KM 49, Jalan Tungku, Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia.
Tel: +6 088 267266
E-mail:[email protected]
GPS Location: 5° 11′ 15.35″ N 118° 30′ 8.47″ E
Website: http://www.tabinwildlife.com.my
FB: https://www.facebook.com/Tabin-Wildlife-Holidays-Borneo–111441605544390/

Myne Resort:
Location: Kampung Bilit, Kinabatangan, Sabah
Tel: +6089 278288 / 278291
E-mail: [email protected][email protected]
Facebook: Myne Travel Resort

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
Location: Batu 14, Jalan Labuk Sandakan , Sabah WDT200, 9009 Sandakan, Sabah.
Tel: +60 89 633 587
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: http://www.wildlife.sabah.gov.my/?q=en/content/sepilok-orangutan-rehabilitation-centre

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSCC)
Location: BSBCC, PPM 219, Elopura, 90000 Sandakan, Sabah
Tel: ​+60 89-534491
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: https://www.bsbcc.org.my/
FB: https://www.facebook.com/sunbear.bsbcc
 

Article source: http://blog.tourism.gov.my/feed/

Categories
Tourism Malaysia

20 Destinations in Malaysia for the Eco-Traveler

Eco-Traveler.

Who, and what exactly. is the
Eco-traveller?

According to the International Ecotourism
Society, eco-travel  is
“responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment,
sustains the well-beings and involves interpretation and education”

It basically begs the question of how we can travel greener? Yes, be that
person who is conscious of their natural surroundings, and strive to minimize the
impact of their presence to the environment.

How can we be ‘greener’?

First of all, educate yourself. Learn about the natural resources and attractions of the area. See how you can create as minimal an impact as possible, keeping the destination or attraction as pure as possible for future visitors.

Canopy Walk in Taman Negara

One very good way to learn is by volunteering. There are many
ways a person can participate in volunteerism,
and this way, the benefits are two-thronged – both parties gain a little from
the experience.

Another way is by incorporating good, ‘green’ habits in your
daily life – reduce use of plastic (drinking straws, disposable
containers),  recycle and reuse as much
as possible, and aim for zero-waste, especially food.

Lush green rainforests cover a large area of West Malaysia and regions in Malaysia Borneo, and Malaysia too is home to an impressive diverse marine life. Love the beach? We have that too, in abundance! All of these places welcome visitors. Responsible visitors, more so! Read on!!

Fancy the Jungle?

Some wildlife within the National Park
  1. Sg
    Yu Forest Reserve, Pahang

Located on the edge of Taman Negara Pahang, Sg Yu Forest reserve is a large forest reserve under the Permanent Forest Estate (PFE) of Peninsular Malaysia that is a mixture of secondary and primary forest. The area is home to a number of wildlife, including elephants, tapir, a few species of deer, as well as a variety of hornbills.

If you feel up to it, you could also opt for a guide to visit some ‘Orang Asli’ Settlement which can be found along the river throughout the Park.

2. Royal Belum State Park, Perak

The huge Royal Belum State Park is located in the northern parts of Peninsular Malaysia, and is part of the much larger Belum-Temenggor Forest Complex which is shared with Thailand. Together with Taman Negara Pahang, they form the oldest rainforest in the world at over 130 million years old! Belum has the huge potential of becoming one of Malaysia’s premier eco-tourism destination choice.

The tree tops of the rainforests

There’s much to see and do around Belum State Park. As many of the attractions are located along Lake Temenggor, exploring by boat would be the best option. There are trails to hike, falls and ponds to dip in and cool off, and wildlife to look out for. Boars, tapirs, the white-handed gibbon and the Malaysian sunbear roam free in these jungles, as well as the elusive Malayan tiger. If you’re in luck, you may even stumble across a rafflesia. And don’t forget to look up, in search of the various hornbills within the area.

The small rapids and gushing falls… hard to resist!

3. Kilim Geopark, Langkawi

Part of the UNESCO network of global geoparks, the Langkawi Geopark Forest is first of its kind in the South East Asia Region. It covers 100 square kilometres of nature reserve and countless nature wonders, including flora and fauna.

The beautiful diverse natural geological, biological and cultural resources makes Kilim unique, especially the co-existence of coastal karst and mangrove ecosystems. One recommended way to surround yourself, and embrace the spectrum of geological and natural heritage, is by taking a kayak tour, with an experienced guide of course!

Kilim Geopark – Kayak Adventure

Apart from the rich mangrove flora and geological wonders, look out also for the Pit Viper, whose natural habitat lays within this mangrove.

4. Mulu National Park, Sarawak

If you refer to Gunung Mulu National
Park’s official website, you will learn that “to qualify for world heritage status a property must meet
one of the four following criteria:”

  • Be an
    outstanding example of the world’ geological history (Caves and cave deposits)
  • Be and
    outstanding representative example of on-going evolutionary processes (current research
    programmes)
  • Be of
    exceptional beauty!
  • Contain
    significant natural habitat for in-situ conservation of biological diversity
    and the protection of threatened species (wide range of cave and forest
    habitats).

And amazingly, Mulu meets all four criteria!

The Pinnacles, Mulu National Park

Needless to say, you will be enthralled with all that Mulu National Park has to offer!

5. Penang National Park, Teluk Bahang Penang

While
you can hike to the National Park, it is advisable to take a boat so that you
can cover more area, and experience the different nature attractions within the
Park. Within the park is a rare meromictic lake, a lake of two separate layers
of salt and fresh water do not mix. Pick the time and season you visit very
carefully because the wrong timing will see the lake rather dry!

Further along the beach, you will find the Penang Turtle Sanctuary. Here, Green Turtles and Olive Ridley Turtles are the two most common species that come to lay their eggs.

Turtle Hatcheries

Perhaps experience a jungle within a
city?

If you are in a rush, and can only squeeze in a quick visit, and yet still wish enjoy a bit of nature, then consider the following in-the-city rendezvous places.

6. National Botanical Park, Shah Alam Selangor

The National Botanical Park in Shah Alam covers and impressive 72 hectares, and is among the favourite destinations for locals to experience a bit of nature and provide some fun education for their kids. There are farm animals, an aviary, and some other common small mammals for the kids to enjoy and interact with.

The National Botanical Park

7. FRIM, Selangor

FRIM, or the Forest Research Institute Malaysia, is one of the leading institutions in tropical forestry research. An introduction in its official website states that 545-ha site “was gazetted as a Natural Heritage Site on 10 February 2009 under the National Heritage Act 2005, and officially declared as a National Heritage on 10 May 2012. FRIM is working towards attaining the recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.”

Visitors are welcome to picnic, trek or even camp within their grounds, limited to the visitor guidelines issued by the Institute. Bird watching is another encouraged activity within FRIM’s grounds.

8. Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, Kuala Lumpur

Recently renamed KL Forest Eco-Park, the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve is a small patch of rainforest located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, at the base of the KL Tower, one of the tallest telecommunications structures in the world. This small patch of greenery within the bustling city preserves many species and features of the original rainforest that covered Kuala Lumpur a long time ago.

Nature Vs Technology

There are several trails that run through the reserve, but are mainly to one side of the hill. The main entrance is located near Jalan Raja Chulan but it is most convenient to take the KL LRT and proceed on foot from the Dang Wangi LRT Station.

Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, Kuala Lumpur

Fancy a bit of diving? Or just snorkeling?

Sandy beaches, clear waters

9. Pulau Perhentian, Terengganu

Located just off the edge of Pulau Redang, Pulau Perhentian, which means ‘stopover island’, should not be missed. The island consists of two islands, Pulau Perhentian Besar (literally Big Island) and Pulau Perhentian Kecil (Small Island). Of the two, the Small Island is preferred due to less development and the absence of huge resorts.

Covered largely by unspoilt jungle, gentle swaying palms, sparkling white powdery beaches and the enticing sapphire gleaming waters, Pulau Perhentian is a sanctuary for fishermen, migratory birds and of course, the discerning holiday-makers. The excellent seascape offers endless opportunity for diving and snorkeling, with gentle turtles and fleeting fishes surrounding you.

10. Pulau Lang Tengah, Terengganu

Located between Redang and Perhentian Islands, Lang Tengah is a precious gem, very low key and not as heavily visited. The clear tropical waters surrounding the island, which is also a designated marine park, are teeming with corals and sea life which occasionally include sharks and rays. Green turtles commonly come to nest during the season which starts from April to October, and the hawksbill turtle makes an occasional appearance as well. The island is also covered with primary forest, and has a wide variety of birds, lizards, frogs and insects.

11. Pulau Tiga, Sabah

Gained ‘popularity’, thanks to the Survivor Series, Pulau Tiga is surrounded by the pristine South China Sea. Once there, you can opt to hike in the jungle, visit the nearby Snake Island to spot some wildlife, or choose to camp in the wilderness. Mud pools are also available for that beauty therapy you’ve been wanting to get!

Leave nothing but footprints!

12. Lankayan Island, Sabah

Slightly differing from all the above, Lankayan is a private luxury island, but would still be much appreciated by the discerning eco-traveller who wouldn’t mind splurging once in a while. They offer luxurious beachfront, as well as over-the-water chalets, for that unique holiday experience.

One of the many islands off Sabah waters

There are 4 dive wrecks to choose from if you fancy a bit of underwater activity, and located along what is known as the ‘Sea Turtle Corridor’ you will not be disappointed!

13. Talang Satang National Marine Park, Sarawak

The Talang Satang National Park is a national
park in Kuching Division, Sarawak, Malaysia. It is Sarawak’s first marine
protected area, and covers the four islands Pulau Talang-Talang Besar, Pulau
Talang-Talang Kecil, Pulau Satang Besar and Pulau Satang Kecil and surrounding
coral reefs.

The Park is mainly set up as a turtle sanctuary,
of which three of the islands are known as Sarawak’s “Turtle Islands”.

Or maybe wildlife are more your thing?

14. Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary, Pahang

The Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary,
which lies within the Krau Wildlife Reserve, is the only one of its kind in
Malaysia. The centre’s main objective is to relocate elephants which natural habitats
have been encroached for development, to a safer, more suitable, permanent area
such as the Taman Negara. Orphaned elephants are also raised and given shelter
here.

The centre welcomes visitors, and is open throughout the year, and conducts various public awareness activities. There is no entrance fees, but donations are welcome. For those interested, there are also volunteer programs available.

15. Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

Set up in 1964, its main purpose was to
rehabilitate orphaned and displaced orangutans before sending them back into
the forest.

Today, the centre also provides medical care and shelter for other species of wildlife as well, including sun bears, gibbons, Sumatran rhinos and occasionally, elephants.

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

Visitors are treated to witnessing the feeding of the orangutans twice a day, from a designated platform and viewing gallery which is accessible via a boardwalk through the forest. Here, visitors aren’t allowed any physical contact with the orangutans to help and keep diseases at bay. Sepilok also had a volunteer program, as well as ‘adopt an orangutan’ program for those who are interested.

16. Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Sabah

Tabin Wildlife Reserve is considered the largest wildlife reserve in Malaysia, comprising an area of approximately 300,000 acres! Tabin was declared a Wildlife Reserve mainly due to the large number of animals inhabiting the forests, some of which are highly endangered. Three of Sabah’s largest mammals are found in Tabin, and they are the Sumatran Rhino, Pygmy Elephant and Tembadau, and many other species of wildlife that are protected.

17. Turtle Island, Sabah

Selingan Island, or more commonly referred to as Turtle Island, is
the second largest of the three islands with an area of 8 hectares and is also
the first turtle hatchery in Malaysia.

The number of visitors who can stay overnight on the island is restricted, and you will need to apply for permits to visit the island. Basic accommodation is available, as the best time to see the turtles lay eggs are after dusk, and there is also a visitor centre where you can learn more about the conservation efforts carried out by the centre all these years.

A turtle laying eggs; leave her tracks behind; park rangers place the eggs in hatcheries

Both Green and Hawksbill Turtles come to shore throughout the year to lay their eggs. However, the peak season for the Greens turtles is between July to October while the peak season for the Hawksbill turtles is between February to April.

18. Semenggoh Nature Reserve, Sarawak

Situated
just a short distance away from the city of Kuching in Sarawak, The Semenggoh Nature
Reserve serves as a mostly-temporary home the gentle Orangutans.  Established in 1975, it initially became a
centre for injured and captured orangutans, and has now developed into a place
where visitors can learn about other rare and endemic species as well. The
orangutans are trained to get back to the centre during their feeding times,
but when it is fruiting season and they can forage for food themselves, they
sometimes do not appear.

Rare
flora and fauna can also be found here, and you will appreciate the sounds of
the jungle when you drop by for a visit.

You may also opt for the cooler highlands…

19. Cameron Highlands, Pahang

Cameron
Highlands is easily the most popular highland retreats in Malaysia, offering a
moderate climate ranging between18 to 25 degrees Celcius.

However, this moderate weather also serves as a ‘curse’ to the destination as the environment makes it an ideal location for growing various produce, both for local consumption as well as for export.

Tea Plantation

During
the Colonial era, the British grew tea on the fertile mountain slopes, and
these plantations exist till today. More suited as a family getaway, places
like Cameron Highlands can offer a pleasant surprise to the discerning eco-tourist.
 

Hiking trails and breathtaking views await you!

20. Fraser’s Hill, Pahang

Fraser’s Hill is one of the
oldest, but less popular, highland resort destination located among the mountains
of Pahang. Only 2 hours away from Kuala Lumpur, this cooling retreat offers
nature activities which include jungle trekking

The iconic Fraser’s Hill clock tower sits in the middle of the quaint village town, always a popular photo spot.

Fraser’s Hill Clock Tower

Fraser’s Hill is also hosts the International Bird Race, which has
been  an annual event since 1988. The
main objectives of the bird race is to encourage the preservation of nature,
considering there are over 250 species of birds within the area, as well as to
promote Fraser’s Hill as a bird sanctuary.

Article source: http://blog.tourism.gov.my/feed/

Categories
Tourism Malaysia

12 LUXURY LOVE NESTS FOR SNUGGLING WITH YOUR PARTNER IN MALAYSIA

There’s nothing like a nice, romantic holiday to celebrate those relationship goals. If you are looking for dreamy getaways with your partner — whether for a holiday, a honeymoon or a romantic tryst — then look no further than Malaysia. We share with you here some of the romantic “love nests” that’s perfect for enjoying each other’s company with lots of cuddles, hugs and kisses, along with the opportunity to experience more of this tropical country!

Scenic by the Sea
Besides gazing into your lover’s eyes, these two seaside retreats are also quite soothing to the eyes with great expanses of sun, sea and surf to enjoy!

Four Seasons Resort, Langkawi Island, Kedah

The Four Seasons Resort, featured in the film, Crazy Rich Asians, offers luxurious villas in a Malay-style village setting. Its beautiful white beach with a view of the Andaman Sea and unique rock formations is the perfect lazing spot for two.

 

Japamala, Tioman Island, Pahang

On Tioman Island in the east coast of Malaysia, JapaMala has created a niche for itself as a jungle-luxe boutique resort situated amid the lush green surroundings of Malaysia’s forests. With only about a dozen villas with stunning sea views all around, lovers will think it’s heaven on earth just for two.

 

A Little Bit of Culture
How about injecting a bit of local culture into your love life? Malaysia’s diverse population is a chance to immerse yourself in unique cultures and traditions.

The Majestic Malacca, Melaka

A stay at this 54-room 90-year-old mansion with its beautiful teakwood fittings, porcelain flooring and European roof tiles and exquisite service quality, will easily bring to life the elegance of Melaka past. Immerse yourself in therich Melaka heritage with a cooking class with a local chef or walking tours to the surrounding UNESCO heritage areas.

 

 

Terrapuri Heritage Village, Terengganu

Experience what it’s like to live in a century-old classic Malay home, set in a resort that’s inspired by the 17th century Terengganu Palace and its courtyards. These architectural beauties recognize the genius of yesteryear architects and each house has a stunning story to tell! If you and your partner are a fan of built-design and local aesthetics, then you will fall in love with Terrapuri, too.

 

Seven Terraces

Roam about the UNESCO Heritage City of George Town from the opulent setting of the Seven Terraces Hotel. Dripping in traditional Chinese architecture and the romance and splendor of the Peranakan era, the hotel is a restful oasis to relive the elegance of the past.

 

Healthy Retreats
Keep the romance healthy by spending time with each other in these wellness resorts where the focus is on physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health through tailor-made programmes covering healthy eating and fitness, set within the natural landscapes of Malaysia.

Orchard Wellness, Melaka

Here, guests can enjoy nature, space and tranquility while indulging in treatments that follow wellness and medical concepts specifically designed for individual guests. It is set in a tropical fruit farm where guests can go fruit-picking for durian, mangosteen and rambutan while getting their chakras aligned!

 

The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat, Perak

This spa-type resort is just the place to relax and unwind with your loved one for a healthily-ever-after! Surrounded by beautiful natural limestones, guests can dip into geothermal hotspring pools, meditate in 280-year-old natural caves, improve a stagnant chi or revitalize a tired chakra at the Spa and Wellness Centre.

 

Adventures in Love
If you and your partner want to get up to some thrilling adventures, then let us suggest something smack in nature!

Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Sabah

Whether you consider yourself a bird lover, a herpetologist or a casual nature lover, Tabin Wildlife Reserve, the largest in the country, has plenty of adventures to keep you occupied and amazed. And after you tire of your adventures at the end of the day, cuddle up in their cozy lodges before taking on the next day’s explorations.

 

Belum Rainforest Resort, Perak

Enjoy the beauty of the Belum-Temengor Rainforest literally at your doorstep when you choose to stay at Belum Rainforest Resort. You and your lover can enjoy many thrilling adventures such as jungle trekking into the 130-million year old rainforest, kayaking on the vast Temengor Lake and more!

 

Love in the City
Want to spend some intimate moments without being too far from the conveniences of the city? Check out our romantic city retreats.

23Love Lane Hotel, George Town, Penang

With a name like this, surely it would be perfect for lovers! 23Love Lane is a charming 10-room hotel restored to retain its heritage quality, with a garden courtyard located in a quiet lane within Penang’s UNESCO Heritage City. Enjoy the still and cozy atmosphere just steps away from lively George Town where you can easily explore the mélange of cultures.

 

The Ruma, Kuala Lumpur

Nestled in the very heart of Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle and just steps away from the Petronas Twin Towers and KLCC, The RuMa has created an elegant and serene sanctuary right in the middle of the city. It captures the intimacy of a home run by an accomplished host who will take care of all the things that need taken care of, so you can focus on showering much love to your lover.

 

The Village House, Kuching, Sarawak

This idyllic hideaway is just a few minutes’ away from the hustle and bustle of Kuching city, yet it offers an oasis of calm for couples wanting to reconnect. This adults-only sanctuary (they only accept guests aged over 12 years) is one of the best places to marvel at the magnificent Borneo sunset in total privacy.

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Categories
Tourism Malaysia

5 REASONS TO GO WILD AT TABIN

Malaysia is known as one of the world’s most biodiverse destinations. Its rich habitat system ranging from lush wetlands to towering highland forests creates the perfect environment for all kinds of plant and wildlife species to thrive. For a true tropical rainforest experience in search of Borneo’s exotic flora and fauna, look no further than Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Lahad Datu, Sabah.

Tabin Wildlife Reserve, just an hour’s flight from Kota Kinabalu, the capital city of Sabah, stretches over 300,000 acres of lowland dipterocarp forest in the eastern part of the state. It is considered the largest wildlife reserve in Malaysia, being home to a large number of animals inhabiting its forests, some of which are highly endangered.

Whether you consider yourself a bird lover, a herpetologist or a casual nature lover, Tabin Wildlife Reserve has plenty of gems to keep you occupied and amazed. And after you tire of your adventures at the end of the day, Tabin has 20 units of cozy jungle-facing and river-facing lodges made of local timber, where you can rest up before taking on the next day’s explorations. To fuel up, their Sunbird Café has consistently received great reviews for the excellent food.

If you’re ready, here are 5 reasons why you need to go wild at Tabin Wildlife Reserve!

Reason No. 1: Elephants at your doorstep
Imagine taking a morning stroll around the resort area and bumping into a herd of elephants. Such sightings, though rare and not guaranteed, have been reported by Tabin guests and are highly anticipated.

The Borneo Pygmy Elephant (the world’s smallest elephant), along with the Sumatran Rhinoceros and Tembadau, are considered as three of Sabah’s largest mammals. They are some of the endangered animals that call Tabin their home, aside from seven of the eight primates, the largest predator – clouded leopard – and many smaller carnivorous animals.

Besides these, Tabin is also home to orangutans, sambar deer, sunbears, mousedeer, and otters and the park management has marked out trails in their names for visitors to explore. Trekking through these nature trails provides a wonderful chance to explore and learn about exotic rainforest trees, medicinal plants, rich fauna and the opportunity to sight rare animal and bird species.

Reason No. 2: Birds in paradise
If you are an avid birdwatcher, then Tabin is your paradise with more than 300 birds species recorded here, including all eight of Sabah’s Hornbill species. In fact, Tabin has been listed as an important Bird Area, too (IBA:MY027).

A die-hard birdwatcher once visited Tabin and recorded sightings of 94 species of birds in a day!

Other sought-after species, such as the Blue-headed Pitta, Black-and-crimson Pitta, Malaysian Blue Flycatcher, Temminck’s Sunbird, Purple-throated Sunbird, Everett’s White-eye, Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker, and rarely seen species such as Storm’s Stork, Jambu Fruit Dove, Large Green Pigeon, White-fronted Falconet, Great-billed Heron and Giant Pitta have been sighted in Tabin.

The largely lowland dipterocarp forest attracts an amazingly rich diversity of birds, including rare and endemic species, due to the abundance of food plants here. The relatively low canopy with sufficient natural lights makes birding and photography a delightful experience.

And you don’t have to go far to start your bird count. Sipping your coffee at the Sunbird Cafe, your eyes will be kept busy following active species such as the Black-backed Kingfisher and Red-throated Sunbird. If you’re too lazy to venture out, do some birdwatching from your lodge’s balcony overlooking the Lipad River, and you’ll be rewarded with some colourful winged discoveries, too.

Reason No. 3: Natural mud “spa” in the rainforest
Trekking to the Lipad Mud Volcano within the Tabin Wildlife Reserve is an experience indeed. One minute you are walking among tall dipterocarp trees, maneuvering over stray branches or roots, the next minute, you are in an open-air, canopy-less field of mud.

The active Lipad Mud Volcano is an elevated muddy hill with warm, salty mud bubbling from below the surface almost continuously; occasionally, the mud volcanoes have mild eruptions that add to their height and scatter small stones around. It is an area frequented by wildlife and birds for much-needed minerals and nourishment – and the evidence is in the foot/paw prints left behind on the grey mud.

The adventurous can go squelching ankle-deep in the mud, and experience a therapeutic clay facial mask. Just slather it on your face, let it sit there and wash off in the comfort of your log cabin.

Nearby is an observation tower where one can stake out for hours to catch a glimpse of the wildlife that visit the mud volcano daily.

Reason No. 4: Frogging for joy
Herpetologists, or those fascinated by frogs and toads, can jump for joy at Tabin. It is home to approximately 26 species of unique anurans (frogs and toads), of which 12 are endemic to Borneo, and 1 is endemic to Sabah.

Admire the beautiful patterns and unique markings of these various anurans: the Saffron-Bellied Frog which will make your finger yellow if you touch the yellow blotches on their body; White-Lipped Frog; Harlequin Tree Frog; Bornean Horned Frog, the only species with 3 derma projections; ‘translucent frog’ and Giant River Toad, just to name a few.

Also, there is the Tree Hole Frog, an endemic species, which changes its call tones daily according to the weather and the Jade Tree Frog, a near-threatened species which has translucent skin and visible turquoise bones.

Reason No. 5: Night safari
After dinner, hop on the resort’s jeep to explore Tabin in the dark. Many nocturnal wildlife and birds come out looking for food during this time.

With the skillful and sharp-eyed guides of Tabin, along with their high-powered torch lights, you will be able to spot a variety of wildlife such as owls, monitor lizards, pig-tailored macaques, pygmy elephants, frogs, civet cats and more.

Don’t forget to look up at the night sky and scatterings of stars – the constellations in this part of the world are just amazing!

Contact Information:

Tabin Wildlife Holidays Sdn Bhd
Lot 11-1, 1st Floor, Block A, Damai Point,
Jalan Damai, 88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Tel: +60 88-267 266, +60 88-258 266
Email : [email protected]
Website: tabinwildlife.com.my

Getting There:

By Air
Daily flights connect Kota Kinabalu to Lahad Datu. Flight duration is about 1 hour. From Lahad Datu, a 1:15 hour drive, part of it on gravel road, will take you to Tabin.

By Road
Kota Kinabalu to Lahad Datu (7 hours)

Sandakan to Lahad Datu (4 hours)

Tawau to Lahad Datu (4 hours)

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Categories
Tourism Malaysia

JUNGLE AND URBAN “SAFARIS” IN MALAYSIA

We braved the tropical jungle, creepy crawlies, and the wilds to bring you our top picks for a fantastic “safari” in Malaysia. While a few of our choices will lead you deep into rainforest territory, some are located in urban centers, and all are perfect for the entire family. So the next time you plan on visiting Malaysia, why not make it an educational one and get to know some of our “wilder” residents here!

Elephants at the Doorstep

Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Sabah (tabinwildlife.com.my)

Deep in rainforest territory, some seven hours’ drive or an hour’s flight from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, is Tabin Wildlife Reserve. Roaming the 300,000 acres of lowland dipterocarp forest are three of the largest mammals of Sabah, namely the Borneo Pygmy Elephant, Sumatran Rhinoceros and Tembadau. Though there is no guarantee that you will see them, there have been sightings of elephants very near the reserve’s on-site resort! Also calling this place home are the 300 species of birds, orangutans, civet cats, frogs and a multitude of insects!

Exploring the area is easy and one mustn’t miss the chance to visit the Lipad Waterfalls for a nice, cold dip, or the Lipad mud volcanoes (known as an RR for wildlife seeking their mineral intake). In the evening, take a dusk drive to look out for more nocturnal wildlife and birds coming out to look for food during this time of the day. After dinner, go for a night walk along the trail nearby the resort in search of sleeping birds, frogs, and nocturnal wildlife. Cozy jungle lodges are available to make your stay more comfortable, and we do recommend at least a three-night stay to really explore all that this amazing reserve has to offer.

elephants in the mud

Wings of Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur Bird Park (klbirdpark.com)

Nestled in lush green surroundings on top of a small hill lies the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park. So well does this man-made bird park blend with nature, that one easily forgets that it is located right in the heart of a bustling city. Convenience aside, this park really shines as the perfect place to spend a weekend morning with the children.

The bird park covers an area of more than 20 acres, with a landscape reminiscent of a tropical rainforest. It lays claim as the biggest bird park in Malaysia with the largest walk-in free-flight aviary in the world. At last count, there were some 3,000 birds of more than 200 species calling the park home. Among them are brahminy kites, rhinoceros hornbill (the largest hornbill species in the world), southern cassowary, channel-billed toucan, the rare Pesquet’s parrot (found only in Papua New Guinea) and the Moluccan cockatoo.

Here, birds are free to fly, glide or parade (as in the case of the peacock beauties) as they please. One of the amazing things to witness is the morning feeding session where birds of all colours and sizes suddenly swoop down from all sides in their rush to be the first at the feeding station.

Lucky visitors will get to witness the courtship display of the Indian Blue Peacock with its magnificent, colourful, five-foot train, or the yellow-billed stork build nests from fallen twigs. Also, don’t forget to say hello to the cheeky Indian Ring-necked parakeet, crowned pigeon (the largest of its species with a body the size of a turkey), the huge pelican, and the egrets, ibises, and flamingoes in the neighborhood!

Dancing with Butterflies

Entopia, Penang (entopia.com)

Have a fear of insects? Perhaps you can overcome it with close encounters of some of the world’s beautiful insects at Entopia. Situated at Teluk Bahang, Penang, it is a facility to learn all about insects and especially butterflies in a safe and fun environment.

Various species of butterflies “dance” freely in the so-called “The Natureland” outdoor ecological park. Those interested in entomology can walk among flying birdwing, autumn leaf, blue glassy tiger, and orange tip butterflies, among others. Certainly, one of the stars at Entopia is the beautiful Rajah Brooke Birdwing butterfly, one of the biggest diurnal butterflies in the world.

Apart from butterflies, other insects, invertebrates and small reptiles are also available at the park for study. These include the rhinoceros beetles, dragonhead cricket, dragonfly, firefly, leaf cutter ants, nephila spider, Malaysian giant scorpions, centipede, great angle head lizard, water monitor lizard, cat gecko, and many more. You can even see amphibians like tree frogs and poison dart frogs here. Learn more about them by signing up for the bug exploration sessions.

An Urban Farm

Farm in the City, Selangor (fitc.com.my)

Spread across an expansive 7 acres, Farm in the City is an animal-petting park where visitors wander around a Malaysian-style kampong or village while learning about more than 100 species of farm and unique animals from around the world.

Imagine strolling around the farm and encountering a rooster passing by, a tortoise grazing on a piece of vegetable, or an alpaca being led away! Well, that’s exactly what it’s like at this farm where many of the animals roam free.

Visitors can pet, stroke and feed animals such as fish, birds, hamsters, giant tortoise, rabbits and raccoons at selected times and under staff supervision. There is a popular section called “Longkang Fishing” where the young ones seem to have a whale of a time catching (and releasing) small fish in the ditch.

Besides the close interaction with animals, there are “briefing” sessions conducted by trained staff where you can learn more about each animal species, too. Get to know better the blue-tongued lizards, giant tortoises, star turtles, Javan deer, cute alpacas, rare white crows, Himalayan striped squirrels, meerkats, the Feenex fox, and more.

This outdoor park is dotted with various fruit trees and even has a spice and herb garden to explore. Nature guides are available and information signboard are full of information for young learners to know more about these animals and plants.

Hanging Out with Orangutans

Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, Sarawak (www.facebook.com/Semenggoh/)

Looking for friends to “hang out” within Sarawak? Take a 40-minute drive out from Kuching to Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, an award-winning rehabilitation center for orangutans in Malaysia. Here’s a chance to meet semi-wild orangutans, ranging from tiny infants and boisterous adolescents to dignified mature adults, all of whom are enjoying life in a secure natural habitat.

The orangutans here have been rescued from captivity and rehabilitated so that they are able to survive in the wild on their own again. So successful is the programme that today, the surrounding forest thrives with a healthy population of orangutans who are now even breeding in the wild.

They spend most of their time roaming the forest but frequently come back to the center for a free meal. If it is the fruiting season in the forest, some or even all of them may not come to feed at the center. This in itself is a good sign and another step on the way to full rehabilitation.

We recommend that you visit during the morning or afternoon feeding sessions – this is when these gentle creatures emerge from the surrounding forest to take their meals.

But, if in the event the orangutans shy away, Semenggoh is still a great place for birdwatching. Species like Yellow-rumped flowerpecker, Bornean black-magpie, long-billed partridge, red-bearded bee-eater and much more are there for you to find.

 

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