Top 5 National parks in Malaysia

Cave at Gunung mulu national park

01 October 2005

Top 5 National parks in Malaysia

There are many national parks in Malaysia. But which one would you choose? To make it more easy I featured my top 5 National parks which I have visited during my trips to Malaysia.

Cameron Higlands

As a big fan of tea, this was a really nice experience! The Cameron Highlands lays in the hilly mountains at about 1600 meters above sea level. The temperature is during the nights about 15 degrees, during the day about 25 degrees. Due to this cool climate the tea plants can grow perfectly!

This area is named after Sir William Cameron. He discovered this area in 1885. By then tea plants where grown here frequently. Sir William Cameron mapped out this area and named it after himself.

A good starting point to explore the area is Tana Ratha. Here you can find accommodation and restaurants. You can easily book a tour to the tea plantations and tea fabrics. On this tour they show you the best viewpoints and they’ll give you good explanations.

I ended my tour with a short jungle trek to a village. This was a short, but nice hike.

You can easily reach Tana Ratha via Kuala Lumpur or the islands like Langkawi and Penang. Around there will be other sights like a butterfly farm and grocery sellers.

Bako national park

Malaysia is divided in 2 parts. West Malaysia and Borneo. Borneo is an island and one part is from Indonesia, the other part belongs to Malaysia.
Bako National park is only 40 KM from Kuching, the biggest city at the province Sarawak on Borneo. You can take a bus to kampong Bako, from here you’ll have to take a boat.

Although a lot of travelers come to Bako only for a day, they do have some accommodation on the national park. You’ll have to make a reservation in advance.

Bako national park has some really good trails and hiking paths all around the forest. They are well marked and it is easy to walk around yourself. The trails lead trough mangrove forest, steep cliffs and cute beaches.

This national park do has some things special to offer! First of all you can spot proboscis monkey. This monkey lives only on Borneo and is well known for its big nose. These monkeys are a bit shy, but with a little of luck, you can spot them.

Another thing to spot is the pitcher plant. To me I only knew them as a plant, you can put in your house. But here you can see them in all kind of sizes growing into the wild.

There are more primates to spot and I heard from a few fellow traveler they have seen a few snakes here!
I really loved walking around at this national park! Small, but so much to see! Very good hiking trails!

Gunung Mulu national park

This park is settled on Borneo island, in the province Sarawak. It is close to the oil state Brunei and you can only reach it with the airplane from Miri.

Gunung mulu is the biggest national park of Sarawak province. With huge caves and limestone rocks it is something special and unique, therefore it is on the list of UNESCO heritage.

A very popular activity is visiting the huge caves. With 75 kilometers long, it is the longest cave of South East Asia. Only a few can be visited by tourists.
It is easy to walk to the nearby caves from the headquarters. The trail is on wooden boardwalks and you’ll probably gonna get some rain showers here, as it is a very wet rain forest.

Langs Cave is very famous for the sleeping baths at the sealing. And when the sun is setting the baths will fly out, with some spectacular show, flying all around each other.
Other caves have stalagmites and stalactites, just incredible to see!


Just before the sun is setting you can hear many noises from the jungle. Many frogs and other animals come out and make noises and wake up. I tried to spot them, but it seemed impossible in the almost dark. But it was a phenomenal choir.

Multiple trekkings go to the Pinnacles trail. This trail takes 3 days and goes trough the dense forest. With viewpoints over the sharp limestone rocks it is totally worth the trekking! Even though I didn’t hava the time to do this trekking, it is still on my top list to see and to do.

Kinabatangan river

In Sabah, a province of the Malaysian side of Borneo you can find Kinabatangan National park.
From Sandakan you can reach this national reserve. My home stay was at Bukit Balit, here we stayed at the homes in a small village along the Kinabatangan river. This river is the second larges of Malaysia. Even though they cut too many trees, therefore a lot of nature is gone. You still can see wildlife and special habitats like mangrove forest.

Along the way from Sandakan to Kinabatangan river you can see what humans can do to nature. For kilometers we drove trough palm oil tree plantations. All this was one early days rain forest. With some special species like Orang utang and the Asian Elephant these species are endangered.

Now they try what is left of this area to protect against logging. And they try to protect those endangered species.

Arriving at the home stay literately made me feel at home. The people where welcoming and the served some great food. Two times a day we made a boat ride along the river banks of Kinabatangan river.

We spotted birds, monkeys and we were lucky enough to see the endangered Asian elephants! Orang utangs and even the proboscis monkey where spotted! The boat rides where fantastic, I really could see the beauty what is left of this area, and I truly hope the preserve this precious gift of nature!

During the evenings or lost moments we went to see some authentic dance. This was enjoyable and good fun for a night.

Lake Chini

On the list of UNESCO biosphere reserve, not a national park though, but I did love this area!
When I stayed in Cherating, a lovely beach town you can book this tour.

We left at about 8 am with the bus. At the lake we hopped on a boat. Here it was a relaxing boated at the lake. Lake Chini is not just one fresh water lake, but 12 lakes all connected to each other.
At the mount of the river Chini a damn was build to remain the water level of the lakes.

Surrounded with lush green forest on the lakes itself you can see a lot of pink lotus flowers. Many birds will fly around you.

This area is home of the Orang Asli people. On the tour we visited a village. We could try the old hunting way, blowing dart piles. Which was really difficult. Early days they hunted with poison darts, trying to catch animals. Now they live al little bit more in the future.

Pictures are old and taken with a film role camera. Therefore it is not high quality!