When it comes to adventure activities in Malaysia, the country has some of the longest and largest caves in the world, tucked away in rainforests and mangroves. In Bau, an old gold mining settlement about 40km from Kuching, you can visit the Fairy Cave and the Wind Cave.
Both offer easy access for visitors, as they are show caves, but there are many other options for the more intrepid adventurer that require crawling through tight spaces or are accessible only by boat. The Batu Caves in Selangor attract many visitors, who come to worship at the Hindu temples inside, and other caves are major archaeological sites, with artefacts inside that are up to 40,000 years old.
Spring into Sabah
Sabah has something for everyone – but two of the best spots to visit for wildlife are the Kinabatangan River and the Danum Valley Conservation Area. Join a cruise down the Kinabatangan River and watch out for proboscis monkeys, orangutans and maybe even Asian elephants. You may also see these gentle giants in the Danum Valley Conservation Area, which is home to banteng (a type of wild cattle), clouded leopards and orangutans.
For a dose of sunshine in aquamarine water, head for Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park. Learn all about the local tribes at the Mari Maru Cultural Village, which preserves the ethnic cultures of five different tribes who reside here in harmony. You can also don a snorkel and flippers to check out the sea life, and then explore some of the idyllic islands, such as Gaya Island.
Spend a few days relaxing in pure tranquility at the luxurious Bungaraya Island Resort, which is located in Polish Bay. The resort has 48 villas created in traditional Bornean style, and is famed for its spa and its underground wine cellar. Earn your gastronomic fare by doing the four-hour trek to the Gayana Marine Resort on the other side of the island, making your way along the canopy walk, or maybe zipping through the forest of a zip-line.
The most famous park in Sabah is Kinabalu National Park. This gorgeous region is home to 430 species of birds and animals and 5-6,000 types of plants, including the enigmatic Rafflesia. The park also has the Poring Hot Springs the Kundasang War Memorial, and of course, the reason many adventure-seekers come here – Mount Kinabalu.
Climb Every Mountain
Reaching a lofty 4,095m, Mount Kinabalu is on the wish list for many trekkers and climbers. The climb up usually takes about two days, with climbers usually staying the night at the Laban Rata Resthouse – set at 3,273m, before tackling the summit the following morning. Real thrill-seekers can get an extra adrenaline rush by descending on a Via Ferrata – a route using fixed cables, ladders and bridges.
Other popular climbing sites around Malaysia include the Lost World of Tambun; Nipah Village on Tioman Island; Taman Etnobotani in Gua Musang, Kelantan; Gunung Jerai in Kedah, Gunung Angsi in Negeri Sembilan or Gunung Ledang in Johor. One of the most challenging is the Gunung Tahan, a guided-only 130km return journey that crosses rainforest, rivers and mountain ridges. Batu Caves is another option wirth about 170 routes criss-crossing eight crags.