Malaysia is one of the rare places in the world where you are spoilt for choices for adventure holidays literally on ground, in the water and high up in the air. The country is split into two regions, Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo and is geared towards adventure tourism but without being too apparent. There are steep hills and high mountains, challenging rapids and verdant jungles, thus extreme activities like jungle trekking, scaling hills and mountains, whitewater rafting provide the perfect challenge for adrenalin rush seekers. And what’s more? Well many of these places are easily accessible so anyone and everyone who visits Malaysia feels is ready for an extreme challenge without any preparation.
Malaysian Borneo is one of those rare places where you can smell adventure in the air, along with the hearty scents of thousands of miles of rainforest just waiting to be explored. Borneo is the third-largest island in the world, and a virtual paradise on earth for anyone who shares a love for plants, wildlife, and adventure. Borneo is one of two places on Earth where endangered Orangutans can still be viewed in the wild. From scuba diving amongst rare turtles, hammerhead sharks and whale sharks to rain forest trekking and canopy walks, Borneo Malaysia beckons you with eclectic adventures.
Another attraction is the Kinabatangan River area in Sabah. A quiet approach by boat allows visitors the opportunity to spot highly endangered proboscis monkeys, orangutans, crocodiles, pythons, and even elephants when they are in season!
A lot of times the question arises – Why Malaysia for Adventure? Well the answer is extensive and so are the adventure activities. And this fact, in fact is the main reason for the success of Malaysia’s adventure tourism.
Some of the best activities from the bouquet include:
Living with the Penan tribe: The Penans are an ethnic group of Borneo. Out of the 10,000 Penans, it is estimated that only 200 are still living their traditional nomadic hunter-gatherer existence in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, Borneo. The Penan view the entire rainforest as their home. One that is under severe threat as commercial logging continues to destroy the forest around them.
On this trip, you can explore one of the few remaining unprotected areas in Sarawak that has not been logged. Live with and learn about Borneo’s most fascinating, secretive and least understood tribe. Get an opportunity to appreciate mountains, caves, waterfalls, lakes, forests and wildlife up close and personal. Experience the traditional culture of blow-pipe making, rattan weaving, storytelling, wildlife tracking, medicinal plants and ethno biology.
Mulu Adventures: Mulu is Malaysia’s adventure capital. Challenging jungle hikes, magnificent world heritage caves, the ‘Pinnacles’, homestays in longhouses with native tribes – all set in the prettiest of tropical jungle landscape. You can choose to mountain-bike to Mulu, swim or raft the rivers, climb the ‘Pinnacles’ or Mount Mulu, hike the once feared ‘Headhunter’s trail’, burrow deeply in adventure caves, search out wildlife or choose to do it all at a leisurely pace.
Main attractions around Mulu:
- Deer Cave – the single largest cave passage known to man and home to millions of free tailed naked bats.
- Clearwater Cave – named after an underground river system that flows through the cave systems and culminates with high velocity through this chamber. This is the longest known underground river in Southeast Asia.
- Lang’s Cave – containing gorgeous formations that adorn the walls.
- Wind Cave – named after its natural air conditioning and containing colourfully named chambers such as King’s and Lady’s chamber.
- Sarawak Chamber – the world’s largest discovered underground cavity located in Gua Nasib Bagus. The chamber measures approximately 700m long, 415m wide and 80m high. In width, you could almost fit 7 units Boeing 747’s from wing to wing. In length, almost 10 units! It takes almost a full day to reach Sarawak Chamber and requires a certain fitness level. It is in the adventure-caving category.
- The Pinnacles – a series of limestone razors that mystically jut out half way up Mount Api. The trail is only 2.4kms but the ascension is 1200m up a steep path to a viewpoint looking out over the Pinnacles.
Climbing Mount Murud , the Highest Sandstone Mountain in Sarawak: The Kelabit highlands is one of Sarawak’s last unspoiled regions with beautiful flora and a cool refreshing climate. The vegetation changes as you ascend and along the way, you witness local life with plenty of opportunities to interact with the friendly natives, mainly Lun Bawang and Kelabit tribes.
Climbing the World’s Highest Via Ferrata on Mount Kinabalu: If you are afraid of heights then this adventure may not be for you as you will be walking on vertical surfaces as well as crossing valleys on cable lines. Although you will be led by an experienced guide, each participant will have the responsibility to look after each other as you are all linked together by a rope. Besides a helmet and training before the activity, you will be assured double safety on the climb. A climber wears a harness clipped to a steel cable along the route and a second line is clipped to the next climber or the guide. The steel cables that line the route can hold up to 3,000kg of weight. The ladder rungs and footholds are rated to withstand up to 300kg of weight.
Exploring Bukit Tabur in Taman Melawati, at the outskirts of the city: This hill is a prominent part of the nature reserve with its nature laden trail attracting city folks up to the peak to enjoy the fresh air and panoramic view of the city. The eastern side has a rock face and it attracts those who want to put their endurance and bravery to test.
Diving in Mabul Island: Considered to be one of the world’s very best macro diving sites, those who dive here will be treated to a wide selection of exotic, minute and peculiar inhabitants of the sea. Divers may expect to keep company with sea creatures that include seahorses, crocodile fish, stonefish, ghost pipefish, scorpion fish, mandarinfish, snake eels, frogfish, and mantis shrimp.
While adventure travel essentially involves exploration and experience that has an element of risk, safety measure is paramount and an endorsement of its popularity and is completely taken care of by the government bodies as well as the private operators in the country.
We hope to see you soon in Malaysia!