Malaysia is an amazing country with countless abundance of biodiversity. It is not surprising to find that 75% of Malaysia’s land area remains forested, with 60% virgin rainforest, unchanged for millions of years.
The country is bestowed with numerous natural attractions such as amazing and diverse flora and fauna, white sandy beaches, exotic marine aqua life, dense rainforests and the oldest and largest caves in the world
Unlock the mysteries of Malaysia, one of the twelve mega-biologically diverse countries in the world, which boasts at least 15,000 species of flowering plants, 286 species of mammals, 150,000 species of invertebrates, and 4,000 species of fishes in addition to the countless micro-organisms.
With rainforests more than one million years old covering large parts of Malaysia, one of the best ways to explore the length and breadth of this country is through jungle trekking. The mountains and hills, the countless terrain, and the national parks and forest reserves, make the nation a haven for jungle trekkers.
Jungle trekking can be classified according to the obstacles and terrain a person needs to maneuver and the density of the forest. These classifications are: flat terrain, undulating to semi-cultivated terrain, cultivated terrain and primary and secondary forests. Jungle trekking offers a rewarding and accomplishing experience.
Each trekker can discover the marvels of nature's diverse ecosystem and, if he or she is lucky, may cross paths with the various exotic inhabitants of Malaysia's jungles. These creatures include endangered species, like the Sumatran rhinoceros, Malayan tiger, tapirs, and elephants. Various insects and plant species are also found widely in Malaysia's rich ecology.
For those new to jungle trekking, the Forest Reserve Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) in Kepong, Kuala Lumpur, The Malaysia Agriculture Park at Taman Bukit Cahaya in Shah Alam, Selangor, and the Air Keroh Recreational Forest in Malaka are good places to learn the basics of the skill.
Seasoned trekkers can choose more rigorous trekking trails at the national parks and forest reserves. These include Taman Negara in Pahang (one of Asia's finest preserved wild lands), Niah, Mulu and Lambir National Parks in Sarawak, Danum Valley in Sabah and Endau-Rompin in Johor.
The best time to trek in Peninsular Malaysia is during the dry season, from March until October and November to June, in Sabah and Sarawak. Some parks and forest reserves may require permissions or permits before allowing trekkers in. Please refer to your tourist agent to advise you on this.
Malaysia is blessed with a vast number of caves, including some of the largest and longest in the world. Most caves in Malaysia are equipped with marked paths and platforms, however some are only accessible by boat or require visitors to rough it out and crawl on all fours. These caves are nestled within rich rainforests and mangroves, providing sanctuary to amazing wildlife. Several caves are famous archeological sites where artifacts date back 40,000 years, while others contain ancient rock paintings, which are still visible to this day.
The Batu Caves, in Selangor, contain Hindu temples, which still attract droves of worshipers from all over the country. There are also remnants of human burial sites found in some Sabahan caves. Malaysian caves are also home to amazing wildlife such as fruit bats, swift lets, and invertebrates as well as having other natural attractions like massive stalagmites and stalactites.
Although major expeditions have been carried out, many caves have yet to be fully explored, luring explorers who are up for an adventure. There are guides available at all major Malaysian caves; seasoned cavers are normally appointed as guides. They may be contacted through the Malaysian Nature Society or other adventure clubs. Most caving expeditions are day trips but visitors can opt for an overnight stay.
Overnight camping is allowed within most caves but rooms are usually available in the vicinity. Caving is normally conducted during the dry season, between March and October, but one should always be prepared for rain. Permits are required when exploring some caves. These are available from the respective state forestry departments. Be aware that there is always the possibility of encountering dangerous creatures such as snakes and scorpions.
White Water Rafting
Rivers have long been the lifeblood of the indigenous people of Malaysia. They have served as a means of transport, a source of food, and now a resource for eco-tourism. Thrill-seekers can experience some of the best rivers in the world. The rafting expeditions usually take between 45 minutes to two hours, depending on the water level.
Sabah has two main rivers for rafting, the Padas and Kiulu rivers, which are classified as Grade 3 and Grade 2 respectively in the international water rafting grading system. Under normal weather conditions, the two rivers are relatively constant in depth and speed. However, heavy rains can cause them to swell into Grade 4 rivers.
Peninsular Malaysia has its share of good rafting sites as well. These include Grade 2 Sungai Sungkai in Perak and the Grade 3 Sungai Selangor in Kuala Kubu Baru. Sungai Endau, Jeram Besu, Sungai Lipis in Pahang and Sungai Tembeling in Taman Negara are also popular rafting sites.
The best time to raft is after rain storms when the water level has risen and there are some good rapids. However, the dry season is a good time for rafting novices to get acquainted with the sport without having to fight the currents.
Operators will ensure that each group is always accompanied by two professional, certified rafters. A minimum of three rafters are needed to stabilize a raft.
Mountain climbing is an adventurous way to discover the diversity and uniqueness of Malaysia’s landscape, starting from the tropical rainforest in the lowlands to the mountain vegetation in the high elevations. River crossings and gushing waterfalls along the way add to the adventure.
From easier walks in the cool comfort of Peninsular Malaysia’s Main Range to the more challenging peaks of Malaysian Borneo, there are mountains to tempt every level of mountain climber. Be it high or low, with each ascent you make, you will be rewarded with awe-inspiring sights and discoveries that will expend your mind.