MALAYSIA BY DAY
Where to see incredible wildlife
With raw jungle, river treks and mangrove forests – not to mention the one and only orangutans of Borneo – you can almost hear David Attenborough narrating your journey through Malaysia. In the country’s heartland lies Taman Negara. This awe-inspiring rainforest is one of the oldest habitats on earth, cobwebbed with hikes and canopy-level walkways. Here, you’re likely to see vividly coloured butterflies, hornbills, bison-like gaur, buffalo and even Sun Bears on the hunt for honey. Just keep an eye out for Macaque Monkeys if you pause to eat while trekking through the rainforest – there’s no stopping them when they spot food. By contrast, the native Malayan Tapir is much friendlier.
Experienced hikers can tackle the trails that twist and turn through Teluk Bahang Forest Reserve in Penang. While it’s home to an array of creatures, most visitors come here to see Malaysia’s amazing flora – including the almost otherworldly, carnivorous ‘pitcher plants’.
Then again, you don’t need to venture far from the city to enter the animal kingdom. Kuala Lumpur‘s inner city KL Forest Eco Reserve is a protected area of jungle known locally as Bukit Nanas. If you’ve a head for heights, the canopy walkway puts you (practically) nose to beak with some of the country’s beautiful birdlife.
How to go waterfall chasing
East coast Kuantan is the laid-back and lesser-visited side of Malaysia – and all the more enticing for that reason. This is waterfall country. And on a hot, humid day, nothing beats standing in the cooling spray. Sungai Pandan is possibly Malaysia’s most picturesque falls. Not far from here are Berkelah Waterfalls too, a towering, seven-tier series of cascades. Bring a picnic – and some solid shoes.
While you’re on this side of the country, venture further north towards Dungun where you can visit Air Terjun Chemerong, a tropical nature reserve with an incredible waterfall as its centrepiece. Leading off from the powerful falls are gentle streams and natural pools – perfect for an afternoon dip.