When it comes to wildlife, has been truly blessed in terms of diversity. The fact that so many different species – tigers, snakes, birds, tapirs, and orangutan, to name but a few – reside in this country makes it an incredible place to go for a fauna-focused multi-centre holiday.
Of course, any trip with nature as the main purpose must be planned with meticulous precision. Animals are not easy to come by in the wild and so you must pick your destinations carefully based on the chances of spotting rare species.
We are always on hand to advise you on your holiday and, as much as we love to cater to your requests, we will also offer alternatives if we feel certain itineraries just aren’t workable.
Below are some suggestions for wildlife-spotting in Malaysia. Due to the size of the country and the fact that parts of it are not on the mainland, extra travel may be required.
Tigers – Pahang
These beautiful animals are notoriously difficult to spot outside of captivity. This is down to a combination of their elusive behaviour and the dwindling numbers of tigers that are still in the wild.
Nevertheless, there are various nature reserves in Malaysia where you can see them but it is still a very rare occurrence.
Tigers are experts at going unnoticed, and their entire physiology is set up to allow this. From their incredible stealth to the camouflage provided by their coats, these big cats are well kitted-out to stay hidden.
However, if there’s one part of Malaysia you want to visit to attempt to spot these majestic creatures, it’s Pahang. There are three nature reserves here: Taman Negara, Endau-Rompin National Park and Krau Wildlife Reserve. Within these parks, there are specially designated hiding places situated around the best spots for tiger spotting. Rainforest salt licks are usually the best places as tigers come here for water.
If all else fails, there is the option of seeing tigers at the National Zoo (Zoo Negara) in Kuala Lumpur, and while they are still impressive in captivity, the excitement of seeing one in the wild cannot really be rivalled by a zoo.
From Pahang, you can take a five-hour flight to Borneo, which is of course the home of an animal synonymous with Malaysia, the orangutan.
Orangutan – Sabah, Borneo
We know that time is precious when you are on a multi-centre holiday and that a five-hour flight might seem a little long. However, the Danum Valley Conservation Area in Sabah is not only one of the best places to see orangutans in the wild, there are also many other species here too.
To make it worth your while, it may just be worth staying in this area for a longer period in order to see a wider variety of animals – but for now, back to the orangutans!
Seeing orangutans in the wild is much more likely than catching a glimpse of a tiger, and it’s one of the main reasons people make the trip to Borneo.
However, if you want to see them in their natural habitat and not in one of the many rehabilitation centres dotted around the region, you will have to work a little harder – it’s worth it though, we promise.
Danum Valley contains 438 square km of mainly undisturbed forest and as a result of its protected status diverse flora and fauna flourish here. What’s more, the trail systems have been set up so that you can see the wildlife clearly but they are not bothered by your presence. There was no hunting, logging or human settlement in the area before it achieved conservation status. This is something of a rarity in Malaysia and has helped to preserve the fauna that thrives here today.
As well as orangutans, there are many other animals you can see here. The range of exotic birds on show is particularly impressive and Darum is actually the only place on the planet where there has been a recorded sighting of the Spectacled Flowerpecker.
The Müller’s Bornean gibbon is also easily spotted in the park. These primates live in family groups and are characterised by their grey coats. Highly social animals, they are known to bellow out loud vocal noises when protecting their territory which you may well hear on your trip.
Perhaps one of the most impressive animals that live in Darum is the rare Sumatran rhinoceros. These curious creatures are the smallest in the rhino family but are still known to weigh as much as 1,000 kg. Sadly, these rhinos are now critically endangered and so seeing one in the wild might soon not be possible.
Other rare animals found here include the Sunda clouded leopard, the sun bear and the pygmy elephant.
Orangutan rehabilitation centres
If you do not fancy the trek to the Danum Valley Conservation Area, then you can still see orangutans at one of the many rehabilitation centres in Malaysia.
The establishment in Sepilok is one of the finest in Borneo and it offers a natural habitat for these wondrous apes to thrive in. You are basically guaranteed to see an orangutan here and the animals are well used to coming into close contact with humans.
There are between 60 and 80 orangutans in the reserve and they live freely as if they were in the wild. Although Sepilok is undoubtedly a tourist attraction, the welfare of the animals is the highest priority of the park and its staff.
Sepilok rehabilitation centre looks to conserve these beautiful creatures and protect them from the dangers of hunting and logging which threaten orangutans on a large scale in Malaysia. This park is also in Sabah and is 25 km west of the city of Sandakan.
For more information about planning your trip to Malaysia, either take a look at our page for information on how we can literally offer you any Malaysia itinerary you have in mind. For inspiration you can check out our most popular Malaysia itineraries on our page, or simply get in touch so our experts can recommend the most suitable itinerary for your requirements.