Sometimes we all need a little break, especially when the urban sprawl gets too much.
Here are our top 5 getaways—from colourful coral reefs to lush rainforests, specially put together by us for those looking to escape from all the rush and trudge of city life.
BAKO NATIONAL PARK: 7 distinct ecosystems—each with its own flora and fauna.
Sarawak’s smallest National Park, but with tons to offer. Tucked in the south-east corner of Malaysian Borneo, this 2, 727 hectare stretch of primary forest boasts 7 distinct ecosystems! Packed with dense mangroves, waterfalls, mixed dipterocarp forests and grasslands, nature walks lead to secluded beaches and jungle hikes usher you to steep coastal. The stunning mix of coastal scenery and rainforest is teeming with wildlife too! Meet the locals, from the famed pot-bellied Proboscis Monkey to the resident bearded pigs of Bako, not forgetting the handsome Old World Monkey known as the silver Leaf Monkey. Other common sightings include flying squirrels, flying lemurs, otters, tarsiers, slow loris, mouse deers—just to name a few. Bird-watching enthusiasts will also be in for a treat.
From easy forest strolls to full-day jungle treks—there is plenty enough to keep a trekker properly occupied in Bako National Park. Here are a few of our favourite trails within Bako National Park:
A short but steep climb through cliff vegetation offering excellent views of the South China Sea and majestic Mt. Santubong. Proboscis monkeys can sometimes be heard crashing amongst the trees, looking for leaves to feed on, especially early in the morning.
One of the best trails to for spotting proboscis monkeys, which are often seen during early mornings or late afternoons. The trail leads you through cliff forest before reaching a small secluded beach, perfect for lounging in ultimate serenity.
This trail climbs steeply and require you to hang on to tree roots to keep your balance. But once you reach the top, you are rewarded with mind-blowing views of Bako’s coastline. This adventurous trail takes first takes you through swamp forest and then a flat section where proboscis monkey are sometimes seen.
Telok Pandan Kecil & Telok Pandan Besar
One of Bako’s most popular trails. It ascends the lush hills overlooking Telok Assam, reaching a plateau sheltered under scrub vegetation and continues along a sandy path lined with carnivorous pitcher plants. Shortly afterwards, you reach a cliff top and rewarded with stunning views of the secluded bay below and the handsomely fashioned sea stacks off the shore. A 10 minute descent through cliff vegetation ushers you to one of the best beaches in the park. Whilst swimming, watch out for monkeys who steal unguarded bags. The Telok Pandan Besar trail ends at a cliff top with vies of the beach below.
The Tajor trail passes scrub and padang vegetation and ends with a steep climb down to a small beach. The Tajor trail will also lead you to a refreshing water hole, the Tajor Waterfall. The waterfall is quite but boasts a beautiful jungle setting and a small dip pool.
This semi-circular loop trail passes over Bukit Gondol, the highest point in Bako at 2660 meters. The top of the hill offers excellent views of Pulau Lakei and Muara tebas.
This is Bako’s long distance trail, six or seven hours from the park HQ to the small beach at Telok Limau. You pass through rich rainforest, scrub land and swamp forest, cross small streams and climb a number of hilly sections affording excellent views of the whole Muara Tebas peninsula. You can camp at Telok Limau and return the next day or arrange for a boat to pick you up.
This small island has a superb white sand beach. The National Parks department has a small guard house located on the island. Trips to the island can be arranged with your boatman. There are some mysterious rock paintings just a short walk from the beach.
Located east of Sabah, Tabin Nature Reserve is a combination of primary and secondary rainforest twice the size of Singapore. With Comfortable river & hillside chalets, great bird watching, stunning waterfalls, mud volcanoes and an excellent variety of treks and night safaris, Tabin offers equal parts relaxing jungle getaway and nature adventure—even for honeymooners seeking a luxurious hill side lodge with privacy aplenty!
For those lusting for a good trek into the outback of Borneo, night-walks and day treks offer a good opportunity for some wildlife watching. Three largest mammals of Sabah, the Pygmy elephants, Sumatran Rhinoceros and Tembadau are all found within the reserve, among them are nine species of primates and an astounding 42 families of species of birds representing 220 recorded species.
You can also choose to indulge in mud-masks and foot soaks made from botanical spices at the Rainforest Foot Soak at Eagle’s Nest. Various traditional tropical herb and plants like Kaffir lime leaf, Aloe Vera, Lemongrass, Betel Leaf, Pandanus Leaf, Galangal, Tumeric are placed in a tub of hot water for the ultimate foot soak experience—now isn’t that a tantalizing thought after a long day of trekking?
Enquire now for your BORNeo To Be Wild Tabin Adventure!
ISLAND HOPPING: Snorkel, Soak Up Some Sun & Stretch Out On The Sandy Shore!
Nothing says ESCAPE like you sipping on coconut overlooking crystal blue waters on a white-sand beach! Sabah’s state capital Kota Kinabalu city is a laid-back sea-side town stitched together by a coastline that overlook 5 islands; Mamutik, Sapi, Manukan, Gaya and Sulug Island.
A quick 15 minute boat ride from the city takes you to all the tropical experiences Sabah has to offer, from Kayaking into the sunset to Snorkelling with mesmerizing marine life, Parasailing for a bird-eye view to Scuba Diving for a taste of Borneo down below.
If you’re looking for something a little gutsier, whizz from one island to another on Borneo’s longest island to island zip line where you feast your eyes on an incredibly scenic aerial view of the whole Marine Park. However, all the island tranquillity is truly best enjoyed slowly. Sabah offers some of the World’s best eco-luxury island resorts worthy of a Staycation. Write to us to find out more!
TURTLE HATCHERY: Sea Turtles & Sea-side Serenity On A Secluded Island
The hustle and hum of city life seems like aeons away as soon as you step foot into Selingan Turtle Island. Selingan Turtle Island Island hosts one of the oldest turtle hatcheries in the world and is one of South East Asia’s most important nesting beach and breeding ground for the Green Turtle and Hawksbill Turtle. Witness the precious life cycle of a sea turtle—from the laying of eggs to the releasing of baby hatchlings right here on the island. But of course bear in mind that there is no guarantee my dear friends!
Why is Selingan such an unforgettable experience? All environmental conditions on Selingan Island is made ideally safe for Sea Turtles to come and lay eggs, away from predators and all sorts of pollution such as light and noise. It is also a safe haven where baby hatchlings could be released without dangers and disorientation.
Not only do you get to witness the lifecycle of a sea turtle, you’ll also get to stretch out on white sandy shores or go for a snorkel on this far-flung paradise.
KINABALU NATIONAL PARK & PORING HOT SPRINGS: Plants galore & a canopy walk above the forest floor.
One of our highly recommended trips for both families and solo travellers visiting Sabah. This trip offers a taste of Sabah’s natural wonders, all in a day.
Unplug from the modern world and reconnect with nature as you journey through the nature trails of Kinabalu National Park. Kinabalu National Park is Malaysia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, stunningly scenic and floristically fantastic with 5,000-6,000 vascular plant species. Set at 1,500m above sea level, this 754sq kilometer is home to one of the tallest mountains in South East Asia, the majestic Mount Kinabalu— rising at 4.095.2m. It is truly a sight to behold from the park itself! You can also enjoy a meal amidst lush montane forests, explore a botanic garden or go on nature trails varying in length, from 20 minutes to 2-3 hours.
After all things green and grand at Kinabalu Park, we highly recommend moving on to Poring Hot Springs, a little Nature Reserve known for its warm therapeutic sulphur hot springs and a treetop adventure taking you 40 meters above the spectacular wilderness of Borneo’s ancient rainforest.
Want a better view of Borneo’s 100 million year old rainforest? Breathe in all that fresh air from a 175m length walkway suspended 40m above unspoiled flora. Still can’t enough? Explore the various nature trails within the nature reserve then end it all with a good soak in Poring’s best known tonic for mind and body— mineral-rich hot-springs bubbling from deep in the earth.0