Malaysia has a lot to offer. While lovers of the metropolitan lifestyle will fall in love with Kuala Lumpur, nature trippers will find their place in Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah.
The place is a core commercial and industrial center in Malaysia. Despite this, Kota Kinabalu (also known as KK) offers nature lovers the perfect experience at a remarkably affordable price. Below are the top nature and wildlife destinations in this prime tourist area.
- Sandakan Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. Orangutans are adorable, intelligent creatures. This center houses orphaned and abandoned orangutans. They are taught to survive in the wild, preparing them for release to the surrounding jungles.
The center is also the oldest and largest of its kind. Take the vista in as you walk towards the observation deck. Orangutans will slowly emerge for their feeding time, making for an unforgettable sight. Within the vicinity are temples, markets, and restaurants for a full experience. Adult tourists are charged RM30 for the one-of-a-kind tour.
- Kinabalu Park Canopy Walkway. Kinabalu Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spanning 754 square kilometers, the park offers an exciting array of exotic flora, bird, and insect life. There are new species found every year, a testament to the teeming biodiversity. It’s just RM5 to enter, but another RM5 if you want to bring a camera along.
The beauty of the place can be seen from a bird’s eye view through a canopy walkway that sits among the treetops. Poring Hot Springs is also nearby, so you can relax after the day’s activities.
- Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Spend a relaxing day at the heart of nature at this collection of islands. The more crowded islands like Sapi are great for those who want to socialize while taking in the sights. The less crowded areas offer a taste of nature without the intervention of man. One such place is Gaya Island. Monkeys, wild boars, and even monitor lizards roam wild and free. The island is also home to virgin tropical forests and the Marine Ecology Research Center. The entire marine park can be easily reached from Jesselton Point, which is a common launch pad for island hopping activities. Admission fee is RM10.
- Weston Wetland Park. If you have never seen a proboscis monkey in your life, you will find them in abundance here. Come here if you fancy a relaxing environment and amazing sceneries. At nightfall, you will be entertained by thousands of fireflies. See the forest trees come to life as these dancing Christmas lights of nature show off their brightness! You need to sign up for a tour for this one, and negotiate prices with the tour operator.
- Tabin Wildlife Reserve. Bird watching is a top thing in this reserve, with horn bills and eagles stealing the scene. Animals can be spotted best during the dusk. If you have a keen eye, you can see otters, flying squirrels, civets, and more. The reserve also has resident gibbons that freely swing from the trees. Since one day is not enough to view everything, you can also get accommodations here. A 3 days 2 nights stay at the Lodge will cost you RM 3,200 for a room for three. Bring your friends along for maximum savings.
There are several other locations in KK, such as the multitude of islands you can reach from Jesselton Point. Many of these islands offer a great diving and snorkeling experience in pristine waters. It’s about 10 minutes away from Hotel Eden54, so you can stay at this budget hotel in Kota Kinabalu if camping in the wild isn’t really your thing.
Kota Kinabalu is perfectly positioned as a nature-lover’s haven. It is a coastal city, and bordered by rain forests. Among its many attractions, however, these 5 stand out best. Visit them to see just how beautiful nature gets in this part of the world.