Bako is the oldest national park in Sarawak and the perfect introduction to Sarawak’s forests and wildlife. What it lacks in size, Bako makes up for in variety. It encompases a huge diversity of ecosystems, including dense mangrove forests, cliff vegetation, heath forest, grasslands, dipterocarp forest and boggy swamp forest and beach vegetation – all accessible via a network of hiking trails and boardwalks. Whilst the rainforest and wildlife are the main drawcard, the park also offers a beautiful coastline with small bays, cliffs and rocky beaches.
Wildlife enthusiasts will be in heaven here. Animals here have become accustomed to the presence of humans, and visitors are almost guaranteed to see wildlife. Visitors are likely to see the parks star attraction - pendulous-nosed proboscis monkey (endemic to Borneo), silver-leaf monkeys, monitor lizards, hairy bearded pigs, and long-tailed macaques. If you’re a bird lover you’ll feel quite at home as there are over 190 species of birds here.
Kubah National Park
Another small National Park in Sarawak, the Kubah National Park can be accessed as an easy day trip from Kuching. Its 5,500 acres are home to numerous reptiles and amphibians and the park comes alive at night with the sound of frogs. You’ll also find bearded pig, deer and many bird species.
For hikers there are plenty of hiking trails, that will lead you through dipterocarp forests, to dreamy waterfalls, refreshing pools and besides crystal clear streams. If you’re feeling energetic you can tackle the 5-6 hour return trail to Mount Serapi summit, the park’s highest peak.
Gunung Mulu National Park is one of Sarawak’s most remote National Parks and the only way to access it is by air or by river. The Park is a UNESCO world heritage site and a geologists dream. It is famous for its enormous caves and extensive cave network, its limestone karst formations (Mulu’s limestone is between 17 and 40 million years old), rock pinnacles, cliffs and gorges.
The "Sarawak Chamber", in Gua Nasib Bagus (Good luck cave), is the largest known cave chamber in the world. It is said to be able to accommodate about 40 Boeing 747s, without overlapping their wings. Nearby Deer Cave is one of the largest single cave passages in the world. Another notable cave is Clearwater Cave, the 8th longest cave in the world and believed to be the largest cave in the world by volume.
Besides it’s incredible geology, the park is one of the world’s richest sites for palms, boasting a whopping 109 species. Other impressive trees include the Bornean ironwood. Diverse geology, soil types and topography resulted in a rich diversity of plant zones and types.
With regard to fauna, the park is home to some unnervingly-large insects, and ten species of hornbill, including the the rhinoceros hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros) the white-crowned hornbill (Berenicornis/Aceros comatus) and the helmeted hornbill (Buceros vigil) with its large solid casque (an enlargement on the bill).
Mammals include the bearded pig, an endangered pangolin, the moonrat Echinosorex gymnurus, shrews, the Bornean tarsier Tarsius bancanus, the long-tailed macaque Macaca fascicularis, gibbons, squirrels, an endangered pangolin, and three types of deer including the small barking deer and mouse deer. The small Malaysian sun bear Helarctos malayanus, which is the only bear known in South-East Asia, has also been seen in the Park.
Be sure to watch out for bats - twenty seven species have been recorded in Mulu. Deer Cave in the southern limestone hills of the park is home to an enormous colony of Wrinkle-lipped bats (Tadarida plicata), that leave the cave almost every evening in search of food in a splendiforous exodus.
Don't miss the opportunity to cool down in the picturesque Paku Waterfall and if you’re into hiking, climb to the summit of Gunung Mulu Mountain for expansive views over the park.
Kinabalu National Park was the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Malaysia (2000) and is one of the world’s most important centers of plant diversity, with a high level of endemism. It is home an abundance of species in wide ranging habitats. It has over 4,500 species, and over 100 different species of mammal, including wild cats, gibbons, and two species of shrew that are found nowhere else.
This huge park encompassing Mount Kinabalu has everything to offer an outdoor enthusiast.
Marine life enthusiasts will love this park, nestled in the Sulu Sea. It is comprised of 3 islands, Selingaan, Little Bakkungan and Gulisaan and the surrounding coral reefs and ocean. It is home to Green turtles and come to its beaches to lay their eggs. To witness this spectacle, visit the island between July and September. Accommodation is available in Selingan for overnight visitors, and those who wish to see the turtles laying eggs. However, because turtles come ashore nightly (and not only in egg laying season), visitors are virtually guaranteed to see them.
The first turtle hatchery in Malaysia was established on Selingan in 1966, funded entirely by the Sabah state government. Turtle hatcheries on the remaining two islands followed shortly after. In 1972, Selingan, Bakkungan Kechil and Gulisan were designated as a Game and Bird Sanctuary. In 1977, this status was upgraded to that of a Marine Park. The turtle conservation program in Sabah is the oldest in the world and has the most detailed statistics and research.
Want to visit arguably the richest rainforest on the planet, and set foot in what scientist describe as one of the world's most ecologically diverse areas? The park’s extraordinary species-rich forest attracts research scientists from around the world. Lambir Hills National Park 7,000 hectares in size, and is boasts over 1,000 insect species and 1,050 different types of trees. It's also home to the amazing clouded leopard.
There are a number of well marked rainforest trails, offering some wonderful hiking opportunities, from a 15 minute stroll to a 3-4 hour hike. The park also offers magical night walks, swimming in waterfalls and is great for birdwatching.
Being one of most accessible parks in Sarawak, it makes for a great day trip, and is only a half an hour from Miri city.
Niah National park is easily accessible and can be visited as a day trip from either Miri or Bintulu. Similar to Gulung Mulu National park, Niah National Park is famous for its vast limestone caverns. The Great Cave is one of the largest in the world. This park is also of great importance from an archaeological standpoint, where, in 1958 a team led by Tom Harrisson discovered a human skull believed to be 40,000 years old. It is the oldest human remains that have been found in the region. Today the caves are home huge numbers of bats and swiftlets, whose nests are collected to make bird’s nest soup.
The park is located about 85 km northest of Kuching, making it possible to visit on a day trip. The park is renowned for being the best place in asia to see the elusive, giant Rafflesia in bloom. The Rafflesia is the world’s largest flower, measuring up to 75cm in diameter. These plants are very rare and are in flower for ony a week at a time, with no definite flowering season. Seeing a plant in flower is largely a matter of luck.
Besides the Rafflesia, the park also offers visitors an extensive system of hiking trails that lead through dense primary rainforest, past waterfalls and streams, to excellent bathing spots. The park includes 4 mountain peaks - Gunung Gading, Gunung Perigi, Gunung Sebuloh and Gunung Lundu and most likes involves a significant amount of climbing. The summit treks involve 6-7 hours of hiking and are for serious hikers only. Those up to the challenge will be awarded with some splendid views!