Friday, December 21, 2018

10 Natural Wonders Of Malaysia

Malaysia Natural Wonders
For travellers who are seeking an original tourism experience, I have come up with a list of 10 natural wonders of Malaysia that is undeniably beautiful. 

This list was created personally by me, and now being recommended to anyone who wants to experience the best natural tourism destinations in Malaysia. 

These natural wonders are not man made, but purely nature made, so places like Cameron Highlands Tea Plantations or even Putrajaya and others do not qualify in this list.

10 Natural Wonders Of Malaysia

Mulu Park Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln silhouette at Mulu National Park in Sarawak
1. Mulu National Park in Sarawak

This famous national park in Sarawak is probably the one place where you can find the most number of natural wonders in Malaysia. Established in 1974, the massive park covers an area of 526 square kilometers.

Visitors come here to experience the Deer Cave, which is the largest cave passage in the world and where you can see the silhouette of Abraham Lincoln from an angle, from inside the cave.

In the late afternoons, visitors head just outside the cave to watch millions of bats take flight out of the caves. Truly a sight to see and one of the best natural experiences in Malaysia.

Sarawak Mulu Caves
Inside the massive deer cave
The Mulu National Park also offers the famous limestone pinnacles of Mount Api. Though it is beautiful, but in reality, visitors need to trek there and back in three days. It is not a commercial tourist spot where you can see in half a day. 

To Get Here: Fly in via MasWings from Miri and Kuching in Sarawak, and also from Kota Kinabalu in Sabah. 

Ultimate Experience: Take the traditional way of long boat from Marudi to Mulu, a seven hour journey via the river.

The exterior of Batu Caves in 2018, but the highlight is inside the cave temple
2. Batu Caves in Selangor

This is no doubt one of the best natural attractions nearest to Kuala Lumpur, and considering that the facade is man made, it is the interior of the cave temple that is fascinating that made it into this list. 

Batu Caves dates back to the late 1800's when it was discovered by British explorers, and a temple was built up in the caves for worship. Over the last century, Batu Caves has become one of the most iconic natural destinations in Malaysia.

In 2018, a massive makeover was conducted where the committee had undergone a beautification for the exterior of the caves, which is what you see in the photo above. However, the natural beauty lies inside the cave temple area.



To Get Here - From Kuala Lumpur, it is only a 30 minute drive to Batu Caves via taxi or Grab. Alternatively, you can take the Kommuter Train from KL Sentral which stops at the Batu Caves Station. Best to do this in the mornings before lunch time. 

Ultimate Experience - Visiting Batu Caves during the Thaipusam Festival, and it is normally at the end of January. Over one million people will visit, with rituals and vows being performed at the foot of the cave temple.

Tusan Cliff Horse Rock
The Horse Rock at Tusan Beach
3. Tusan Cliff Horse Rock in Miri, Sarawak

Relatively unknown to many, Tusan Beach in Miri, Sarawak is one of the hidden gems of Malaysia, and you can find a very unique horse shaped cliff with a beautiful arch here. 

This location is called the Horse Rock of Tusan Beach, and is slowly getting recognition from travelers as a place for photography. Many come here in the wee hours of the morning to capture the beautiful sunrise with the horse rock.

If you are headed to this part of Sarawak, here is a list of what to do in Miri, if you want to stay for a few days. 

To Get Here - From Miri City, it is a 45 minute drive to Tusan Cliff. Best to rent a car and do your own trip, so you can take your own time. 

Ultimate Experience - Take a Miri Photography Tour from one of the local companies where Tusan Cliff is one of the locations.

Kinabalu National Park
Mount Kinabalu view seen from the Kinabalu Park entrance area
4. Mount Kinabalu in Sabah

Known as the tallest mountain in Southeast Asia, many come here to climb Mount Kinabalu for achievement sake, but if you are not a mountain climber, you can still visit the Kinabalu National Park, which is just two hours drive from Kota Kinabalu in Sabah.

The national park here is totally worth the trip as the weather is cooling, and there are a lot of short trails for you to explore. Overall, this is probably one of the top three things you can do around Kota Kinabalu.

For those planning to explore around KK city, read my list of free things you can do in Kota Kinabalu if you are on a budget. 

To Get Here - Anyone can self drive from Kota Kinabalu by renting a car, or you can just book one of the Kinabalu day trip tours from KK City. You can also do this in a day trip and be back in KK City for dinner. 

Ultimate Experience - Do the Mount Kinabalu climb, which takes you around two days, and then relax by staying at the national park for an additional day.

Mulu National Park Pinnacles
The stunning pinnacles of the Mulu National Park
5. Pinnacles at Mulu National Park in Sarawak

Not your regular trek, the Pinnacles of Mulu is a natural formation that attract serious trekkers and hikers. This beautiful spot is located in the Mulu National Park in Sarawak and requires a three day trip to experience it. 

To Get Here - First, you need to get to the Mulu National Park, and then from there, your three day trek begins. Around the national park, there are homestays, basic accommodations and even the Mulu Marriott Resort. 

Ultimate Experience - The ultimate is to trek there during the dry season which is from March till October, and then spend another two days in Mulu National Park to explore the caves.

Pulau Sipadan
Magnificent Sipadan Island seen from a boat
6. Sipadan Island in Sabah

For any scuba diver, this is truly the mecca of diving and is one of the must dive spots in the world. Any scuba diver heading to this part of the world will sure make a stop here, just to have this place ticked off their diving bucket list. 

Sipadan is also listed as one of the Top 3 dive spots in the world, and was made famous by legendary diver Jacques Cousteau. I would also like to share that personally, I have dived here at least 6 times to date. 

Sipadan Island is only accessible by special entry permit, and this means you cannot just take a boat there as and when you like. You need to pre-book your slot to dive at Sipadan.

There are 120 daily permits for visitors, that are arranged by various dive operators in Mabul and Semporna. To dive at Sipadan Island, it can cost you easily about RM1000.00 for three dives and boat transfers.

Scuba Diving At Sipadan Island
Scuba diving with a school of barracuda's at Sipadan Island
To Get Here - From Semporna Town, it is a 40 minute boat ride, while from Mabul Island, it only takes 20 minutes. From Kota Kinabalu, you need to fly to Tawau City, then drive down about 90 minutes to Semporna Town where you catch your boat to Mabul Island. 

Ultimate Experience - To scuba dive at Barracuda Point and be inside the vortex of Barracudas or Jack Fish, and have your photo taken while doing this. This is the ultimate scuba divers dream.

Sarawak Niah Caves
One of the cave entrances at Niah National Park
7. Niah Caves in Sarawak

One of the oldest trading caves in Malaysia is known as the Niah Caves, and come with an interesting history that dates back to the neolithic era. Located just out of Miri city in Sarawak, the multiple caves are located in the Niah National Park.

For the adventurer, Niah is one of the top three caves to visit in Malaysia, due to the sheer massive size of it. One of the caves that will have you mesmerized is the Traders Cave, as seen in the photo below. Just look at the comparison of the people in the photo.

Niah Traders Cave Sarawak
Traders Cave in Niah, look at the people in the photo
To Get Here - It is 90 minute drive one way from the city of Miri, and you will need a tour company to arrange for this. Park fees and guide is a must, as the caves are huge and you may even get lost exploring. 

Ultimate Experience - Visiting this cave and seeing the prehistoric cave paintings that dates back over 40,000 years.

Malaysia Mossy Forest
Glimpse inside the Mossy Forest of Cameron Highlands
8. Mossy Forest in Cameron Highlands, Pahang

For a true Lord of the Rings experience, head over to the state of Pahang, and you will find the mesmerizing Mossy Forest in Cameron Highlands, which is also one of the most unique natural attractions in Malaysia. 

The mossy forest is accessible via road by trekking or even taking a tour company service to explore this place. Located just out of the Brinchang town area, it takes about 30 minutes drive or a two hour trek there. 

This is one location where you can get some really nice photographs, or even insta-worthy pictures, and it is highly recommended you go in the morning when it is nice and sunny.

Malaysia Moss Forest
Moss growing everywhere in the forest
To Get Here - Self drive, hike or engage a local tour service with guide from Brinchang Town in Cameron Highlands. From Kuala Lumpur, it is a four hour drive one way to Cameron Highlands. 

Ultimate Experience - Do a slow trek from Brinchang and leave early in the morning. Bring contrasting clothes to take some selfies here, perhaps even dress up as Gandalf.

Sabah Lost World
A scale model of Maluai Basin outside the visitor center
9. Maliau Basin in Sabah

This is one place that not many people have ventured into, and is highly recommended for extreme nature lovers, trekkers, hikers, campers and even bird watchers. 

Maliau Basin is also known as the Lost World of Sabah, and credit goes to this place being one of the least explored places in Malaysia. This Class One Protected Forest is off limits to walk-in tourist, and one needs to engage tour companies that specialize in trips here. 

Imagine from the main entrance of the basin to the study center, it takes a six hour trek one way, and the basin goes all the way in where you may need a three day two night trip just to visit the famous seven tier waterfalls or Maliau Falls.

Maliau Waterfalls
The Maliau Falls, a 7 tier waterfall taken from a helicopter
From the Maliau Basin studies center, it is a 23 km trek through thick rainforest and park rangers are required to bring you through one of the most amazing rainforest in Southeast Asia. You can also expect some amazing flora and fauna here. 

To Get Here - From Kota Kinabalu City, it takes about four and a half hours drive to the entrance. From Tawau, it only takes you three hours drive. 

Ultimate Experience - Doing the full Maliau Basin experience, trekking to the Maliau Waterfalls, and then trekking to the Camel Trophy Camp.

Bako Cobra Sea Stack
The amazing cobra sea stack at Bako National Park
10. Cobra Sea Stack at Bako National Park in Sarawak

This unique rock formation in the sea has been one of Sarawak's iconic natural landmark for decades. Located in the Bako National Park waters, the cobra head sea stack is best seen during the low tide and in the mornings. 

Visitors are only allowed to see the sea stack from a boat, and you are not permitted to climb onto it as the currents and waves are pretty strong.

While seeing the cobra sea stack here, your guide will also show you some other unique rock formations in the vicinity, which are equally stunning. One needs a sharp eye to identify some of them too. 

To Get Here - You need to book a Bako National Park tour in Kuching, and from Kuching, it takes about two hours to get to the national park. From the Bako Jetty, local boatmen will take you to the national park, and just before reaching, they will bring you to the cobra sea stack for a photo, depending on the tide of course. 

Ultimate Experience - Well, it's a sea stack and you will be seeing it from a boat, so there is no ultimate experience for this, except getting a nice photo with blue skies and from the right angle.

Wonders of Malaysia
Silhouette of Mount Kinabalu. Photo taken from Crocker Range
Conclusion

The places listed above have been personally visited by me, hence they are first hand experiences that I am sharing here. Many who come up with list like these are usually desktop writers who only research the info online and publish the listicle. 

For me, I have been travelling extensively for 30 years all over Malaysia, and my work has taken me to many interesting and unique places. Hence I share the info with my readers here, and they are all actual experiences. 

If you think there could be other natural wonders of Malaysia that needs to be listed down here, do let me know in the comment form below, and I will gladly look into it.

If you are on Instagram, you can also follow my MalaysiaAsia account, where I post quite a number of photos on Malaysia from time to time. 

Here's wishing you a wonderful trip to Malaysia if you are planning to come to this part of the world, and have a great time here. 

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