From the food stalls on the streets of Penang, with the buzz of Kuala Lumpur onto Borneo the home to the Kinabalu National Park onto the dreamy Manukan Island and the interesting Gomantong Caves, you will never find yourself stuck on things to look at, do or eat. But with all these activities and sights to think about, it can become confusing about where you should begin. Here is our list of things you should be doing in Borneo and Malaysia.
Chill in Penang
This island of definite contrasts is an important stop for any of your Malaysian adventures. This country’s culturally rich diversity is very present with the ornate Indian temples that sit alongside the Islamic mosques onto Chinese architecture. There are a host of attractions for you to explore along with a variety of street-food stalls so that you can get a real feel for the local flavours in this area.
Cruise Over Kinabatangan River
Cruising over the longest river in Sabah and spotting wildlife should be very high on your bucket list. There is nothing more relaxing or exciting! Travelling 560km down into the Sulu Sea on the East coast of Sabah, the Kinabatangan River is a rich ecosystem and home to a diverse wildlife. Experts refer to the Kinabatangan River as the most varied and easily accessible wildlife in all of Southeast Asia. You can expect to see crocodiles, hawks, eagles, hornbills, kingfishers and much more.
Climb up Mount Kinabalu
Even though climbing mountains is not for everyone, you need to make this an exception when it comes to Kinabalu. At only 4,095 metres, this mountain is a fairly easy climb and when you reach the top you are rewarded with outstanding views, stunning sunrises and starry skies at night. This happens to be the very tallest of mountains in Malaysia and the 20th tallest in the world. Most people love to climb this mountain to experience the miraculous biodiversity along with the exotic and unique species that include the pitcher plants and orchids.
Pay a Visit to Kinabalu National Park
The mountain happens to be the centrepiece to the outstanding Kinabalu National Park, which is one of the World Heritage sites around an hour’s drive away from Kota Kinabalu. The most sought after attraction in this park is the Rafflesia plant that grows the largest flowers in the world. These bright-red flowers are smelly and fleshy and sprout on the actual ground where they quickly begin to wilt after a few short days. This is when their smell begins to worsen and the smell can be compared to rotting flesh. These flowers are quite rare and you may only stumble across 1 or 2 if you are really lucky.
Enjoy Manukan Island
Located about a 20-minute drive from the coast of Kota Kinabalu, Manukan happens to be a large island in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine National Park. It is here where you can spend a day relaxing on the beach that stretches over 1.5 km or enjoy an activity such as snorkeling where you can spot a variety of technicoloured fish.
Bird Spotting and Jungle Trekking in Danum Valley
If you have always had hopes of adventures through tropical rainforests, you don’t want to miss out on Danum Valley. The trees in this forest are around 400 years old and have grown to astronomical heights of 60 metres where numerous wildlife can be viewed. This area is the home to about 44,000 hectares of primary dipterocarp forest, this Danum Valley Conservation Area forms just a small area of the over 1,000,000 hectares of protected forests in Borneo.
There are experts with extensive knowledge that are able to find a variety of birds, like the magnificent Borneo Bristlehead, Blue-headed and Blue-banded Pitta, Borneo ground cuckoo and the Bornean sub-species of the banded Pitta. Night drives and walks add to the experiences with the potential to sight western tarsier, owls, sambar deer and palm civets.
Take a Trip to Kota Kinabalu
The capital of Sabah and affectionately known as KK made its roots between the South China Sea and the Bornean jungle. This frontier town has a variety of locations that you can explore and great food just about everywhere. Other attractions include the museums, shops and the Monsopiad Cultural Village.
Explore and Be Amazed by the Gomantong Caves
Well-known for the edible and valuable swiftlet nests that are harvested for “bird’s nest soup”, these caves really offer you an amazing and fascinating visit. The bird nest collections are associated with ancient traditions and are well worth learning about. The wooden walkways that run through these caves discovered in the year 1930 make your exploring a lot easier. You can expect to spot a lot of birdlife such as the Asian fairy bluebirds, kingfishers and crested serpent eagles.
View the Orangutans at SORC
SORC happens to be the oldest and largest of the orangutan rehabilitation centres. It provides volunteers with a way in which to rehabilitate orphaned, sick and injured orangutans before releasing them into their natural habitat. As a day visitor, you are able to view these animals in the day-release programmes.