MalaysiaNature

22 Best Natural Attractions in Malaysia in 2020

Beaches, Mountains, Waterfalls, Wildlife & Hiking Trails

Malaysia is perhaps best known for its congested capital city, Kuala Lumpur, with its iconic twin towers, or maybe for its flourishing multiculturalism, with Malay, Chinese, and Indian cultures living together harmoniously. Let's not forget the nation's epic street-food scene with ridiculously cheap, flavor-packed cuisine flowing out of unsuspecting hawker stalls.

If you're looking to immerse yourself in Southeast Asia's diverse natural wonders, epitomized by enthralling sunsets, jungle-lined hiking trails, and tropical beaches, you may easily overlook Malaysia in favor of its less-modernized neighbors like Indonesia's Bali, or Thailand's Phi Phi Islands. Our hand-picked list of the best natural attractions in Malaysia proves when it comes to raw beauty, this country is a strong contender.

In the east, Borneo is one of the few locations endangered orangutans can still be seen in their natural habitat. Moving west, Peninsular Malaysia is dotted with gushing waterfalls, mountains begging to be climbed, and rainforests hiding cheeky monkeys and colorful birdlife. Both halves are bordered by idyllic tropical islands perfect for relaxing on a sandy beach or snorkeling among colorful fish.

Let's dive in.

East Malaysia (Malaysian Borneo)

East Malaysia is located on a large island shared between Malaysia and Indonesia. The Indonesian half is known as Kalimantan while Malaysia's portion is called Borneo. Borneo is divided into 2 states, Saba and Sarawak, which, unlike Peninsular Malaysia, only have a handful of urban cities with most locals residing in traditional rural villages. Both states boast bountiful wildlife thanks to Borneo's unequaled biodiversity. Species include the proboscis monkey, Bornean orangutan, Bornean pygmy elephant, and the Mueller's gibbon. Less-common animals include the eastern Sumatran rhinoceros, clouded leopard, sun bear, marbled cat, hornbill, and the slow loris.

Sarawak

Bako National Park

National Park $$$$$

Kuching Division, Sarawak, Malaysia

Price: RM10 (USD$2.35) Time spent: 6 hours

Hours: 8am-5pm, 7 days

Bako National Park is the oldest national park in Sarawak, established in 1957. It is home to a variety of wildlife including the famous Proboscis monkey and the Bornean bearded pig.

Tip: Bring comfortable footwear and plenty of water for hiking along the park's many nature trails.

website email +60 82370434

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Matang Wildlife Centre

Wildlife Park $$$$$

Kampung Rayu, 93050 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

Price: Adult: RM20 (USD$4.69), Children (7-18 yrs): RM7 ($1.64), Children (0-6 yrs): Free, Malaysian Citizens: Adult: RM10 ($2.35), Children (7-18 yrs): RM3 ($0.70), Children (0-6 yrs): Free Time spent: 3-6 hours

Hours: 8am-5pm, 7 days

Located only 20km from Sarawak capital, Kuching, Kubah National Park is ideal for jungle trekking. Overnight accommodation and cooking facilities are located onsite.

Tip: The longest trails include the Summit trail and the Rayu trail. Each takes roughly 3 hours 30 minutes to trek one way. Fee includes Matang Wildlife Centre and permit for Kubah National Park

website +60 82374869

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Kubah National Park

National Park $$$$$

93050 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

Price: Adult: RM20 (USD$4.69), Children (7-18 yrs): RM7 ($1.64), Children (0-6 yrs): Free, Malaysian Citizens: Adult: RM10 ($2.35), Children (7-18 yrs): RM3 ($0.70), Children (0-6 yrs): Free Time spent: 3-6 hours

Hours: 8am-5pm, 7 days

Located only 20km from Sarawak capital, Kuching, Kubah National Park is ideal for jungle trekking. Overnight accommodation and cooking facilities are located onsite.

Tip: The longest trails include the Summit trail and the Rayu trail. Each takes roughly 3 hours 30 minutes to trek one way. Fee includes Matang Cildlife Centre and permit for Kubah National Park.

website +60 1165729232

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Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre

Wildlife Park $$$$$

KM 20, Borneo Highland Road, 93250 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

Price: Adult: RM10 (USD$2.35), Senior Citizen: RM10 ($2.35), Disabled Person: RM5 ($1.17), Children: (6-7 yrs): RM5 ($1.17), Children (0-5 yrs): Free, Malaysian Citizens Adult: RM5 ($1.17), Senior Citizen: RM3 ($0.70), Disabled Person: RM3 ($0.70), Children (6-7 yrs): RM2 ($0.47), Children (0-5 yrs): Free Time spent: 1-1.5 hours

Hours: 8am-10am, 2pm-4pm, 7 days

Semenggoh Wildlife Center works to rehabilitate orangutans that have previously been kept as illegal pets. The orangutans are released into the wild once they can fend for themselves but, since some orangutans struggle to find food outside of fruiting season, the center hosts feeding sessions twice a day, at 9am and 3pm.

Tip: The orangutans are known to be semi-wild, as they often come back to the feeding area. However, it is still important to keep your distance and respect their space.

website email +60 82618325

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Gunung Mulu National Park

National Park $$$$$

Sarawak, Malaysia

Price: Adult: RM30 (USD$7.04), Children (6-18 yrs): RM10 ($2.35), Children (0-5): Free, Malaysian Citizens Adult: RM15 ($3.52), Senior Citizen (60+ yrs): RM7 ($1.64), Children (6-18 yrs): RM5 ($1.17), Children (0-5): Free Time spent: 2-7 hours

Hours: 8am-5pm, 7 days

UNESCO World Heritage-listed site, Gunung Mulu National Park has a unique landscape with over 295km of caves to explore. The park is best known for a cluster of 45-meter high razor-sharp rock pinnacles.

Tip: To visit the caves, you must be accompanied by a licensed guide

website +60 85792600

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Gunung Gading National Park

National Park $$$$$

94500 Lundu, Sarawak, Malaysia

Price: Adult: RM20 (USD$4.69), Children (7-18 yrs): RM7 ($1.64), Children (0-6 yrs): Free, Malaysian Citizen Adult: RM10 ($2.35), Children (7-18 yrs): RM3 ($0.70), Children (0-6 yrs): Free Time spent: 2-6 hours

Hours: 8am-5pm, 7 days

Home to the world's largest flower, the Rafflesia, Gunung Gading National Park has plenty of hiking trails and waterfalls to explore, with some trails requiring up to 6 hours.

Tip: The Rafflesia flower only blooms for 3-5 days and is one of the rarest flowers in the world. Visitors must be accompanied by a licensed guide.

website +60 82735144

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Sabah

Kinabatangan River - Sukau

River Free

Sukau, Kinabatangan, Sabah, Malaysia

Price: Free Time spent: 2-8 hours

The second-longest river in Malaysia is one of the best places to find the Borneon orangutan. It is part of the Sukau-Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary and is a popular destination for animal lovers.

Tip: River cruises on the Kinabatangan River are the best way to spot rare wildlife. Book at least 2 river cruises to increase your chances of spotting the elusive orangutan.

website

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Kinabalu National Park

National Park $$$$$

Kinabalu Park, 89300 Kundasang, Sabah, Malaysia

Price: Adult: RM15 (USD$3.52), Children: RM10 ($2.35), Malaysian Citizen Adult: RM3 ($0.70), Children: RM1 ($0.23) Time spent: 3-7 hours

Hours: 7am-5pm, 7 days

A UNESCO World Heritage listed site, known as one of the most biologically diverse areas in Asia. It features several hiking trails around Mount Kinabalu, one of Southeast Asia's highest mountains.

Tip: Permits to climb Mount Kinabalu sell out months in advance so plan ahead and book early.

website email +60 174502009

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Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

Wildlife Park $$$$$

Sabah Wildlife Department, W.D.T. 200, Sandakan, Jalan Sepilok, Sepilok, 90000 Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia

Price: Adult: RM30 (USD$7.04), Children: RM15 ($3.52), Malaysian Citizen Adult: RM5 ($1.17) Time spent: 1-3 hours

Hours: 9am-12pm, 2pm-4pm (Fridays 9am-11pm, 2pm-4pm)

Founded in 1964, the center works to release injured and orphaned orangutans back into the wild. It is located within the Kabili-Sepilok forest reserve, where most of the orangutans are released.

Tip: Orangutan feeding times are held twice daily at 10am and 3pm.

website +60 89633587

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Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC)

Wildlife Park $$$$$

Sepilok, Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia

Price: Adult: RM30 (USD$7.04), Children (12-17 yrs): RM15 ($3.52), Children (0-11): Free, Malaysian Citizen: Adult: RM5 ($1.17), Children (12-17 yrs): RM2 ($0.47), Children (0-11): Free Time spent: 1-2 hours

Hours: 9am-3:30pm, 7 days

The only conservation center for sun bears in the world, The BSBCC was founded in 2008 and has rescued over 60 sun bears. The center aims to rescue and rehabilitate sun bears to eventually release back into the wild.

Tip: The BSBCC is located right next to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, so you can sometimes see orangutans walking along the pathways here too.

website email +60 89534491

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Danum Valley Conservation Area

National Park $$$$$

Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia

Price: RM50 (USD$11.73) Time spent: 1-2 days

Home to an amazing array of wildlife including the Bornean orangutan, clouded leopard, Bornean pygmy elephants, gibbons and hornbills. Visitors stay at the Danum Valley Field Centre, with accommodation options ranging from dormitories to chalets. Organized activities include jungle trekking, night drives and night nature walks.

Tip: The Field Centre offers sunrise tours to the Global Atmosphere Watch Station (GAW tower), located on Antur Hill, to watch a magnificent sunrise over the jungle.

website +60 88326320

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Sipadan Island

Island $$$$$

Sabah, Malaysia

Price: RM140 (USD$32.84) Time spent: 7-14 hours

Hours: 8am-3pm

One of the top 5 diving sites in the world, the waters around Sipidan Island are home to over 3,000 species of fish as well as green turtles, hawksbill turtles, and even hammerhead sharks. There are over 8 different dive spots on the island.

Tip: Securing a diving permit can be difficult. To increase your chances, book as early as possible, and avoid peak season.

website email +60 88257669

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Peninsular Malaysia

Separated from East Malaysia by the South China Sea, Peninsular Malaysia is home to the majority of the population, with over 7.7 million people residing in and around capital Kuala Lumpur. Despite the towering skyscrapers and endless urban sprawl, Malaysia's native jungle and wildlife are never far away.

Mainland Malaysia flaunts a similar landscape to its eastern counterpart, dominated by mountain ranges, rainforests and marine parks. One of the most prominent areas is the 'Main Range' mountains. Although no match for Borneo's biodiversity, Peninsular Malaysia's wildlife, including the Malayan tapir, sun bears, gibbons, Sumatran rhinoceros, elephants, tigers, and monkeys galore, will not disappoint.

Taman Negara

National Park $$$$$

27000 Kuala Tahan, Pahang, Malaysia

Price: Adult (13-60 yrs): RM30 (USD$7.04), Senior Citizen (60+ yrs): RM15 ($3.52), Children (0-12 yrs): RM10 ($2.35) Time spent: 2-4 days

Hours: 9am-5:30pm, 7 days

Believed to be the oldest tropical rainforest in the world at over 130 million years old. It is one of the most popular natural attractions in Malaysia and is accessible from Kuala Tahan by boat. Macaque monkeys, wild boar, tapirs, elephants, tigers, and sun bears are just a few of the animals that can be spotted here if you trek through the jungle long enough.

Tip: To see rarer animals like elephants, you will need to trek for at least a couple of days.

website email +60 390752872

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Seven Wells Waterfall (Telaga Tujuh)

Waterfall Free

Mukim, Jalan Telaga Tujuh, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia

Price: Free Time spent: 1.5-4 hours

Hours: 24 hours, 7 days

Named after the 7 pools that formed at the top of the waterfall. After climbing the 638 steps, you get to relax and cool off in the shallow rock pools. Make sure you pay a visit to both the bottom and the top of the waterfall to see the Seven Wells Waterfall from both viewpoints.

Parking: Car: RM2 (USD$0.47), Motorbike: RM1 ($0.23)

Tip: Due to its popularity, the it can get busy quite so it is best to visit early.

The Cameron Highlands Walking Trails

Trail Free

Tanah Rata, Pahang, Malaysia

Price: Free Time spent: 2-3 days

A district located in Pahang with plenty of walking trails. From Tanah Rata, there are several trails you can take including the hike to Mount Brinchang and the Mossy Forest.

Tip: Always tell somebody which trail you are trekking and how long you expect to be gone.

website

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Batu Caves

Cave Free

68100 Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia

Price: Free Time spent: 1.5-3 hours

Hours: 6am-9pm, 7 days

A limestone hill dotted by a series of caves. Here you can also find the famous glistening Lord Murugan statue which stands at 140ft tall. It is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India and is located near Kuala Lumpur. You will also find a brightly colored staircase leading up the primary cave complex.

Parking: Car: RM2 (USD$0.47), Bus & Van: RM10 ($2.35)

Tip: Visit around 8am to avoid crowds.

website email

Full attraction details...

Penang National Park

National Park Free

Pejabat Taman Negara P. Pinang, jalan Hassan Abbas, 11050 George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Price: Free Time spent: 4-8 hours

Hours: 8am-5pm, 7 days

Located near Batu Ferringhi and known for wildlife, beaches and hiking trails. Visitors can see eagles, monitor lizards and macaque monkeys to name a few native species. Beaches to visit include Pantai Keracut, Monkey Beach and Teluk Kampi beach.

Parking: RM3 (USD$0.70)

Tip: Check for jellyfish before swimming in the ocean.

website +60 48813500

Pantai Cenang (Chenang Beach)

Beach Free

Pantai Cenang, Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia

Price: Free Time spent: 1-3 hours

Hours: 24 hours, 7 days

Arguably the most popular beach in Langkawi, with fine white sands stretching 2km. There are many places to relax on Pantai Cenang including the several beach bars. Water sports are also popular here with kayaking, jet skiing and banana boats available.

Tip: Head to the northern side of Pantai Cenang as it is a lot quieter and more relaxing.

Full attraction details...

Tanjung Rhu Beach

Beach Free

Ayer Hangat, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia

Price: Free Time spent: 1-3 hours

Hours: 24 hours, 7 days

Found in the north of Langkawi, Tanjung Rhu is quieter than most other beaches ono the island. This beach is a slice of tropical paradise with white sands, swaying trees, clear water, and jungle surroundings.

Tip: Hire a scooter for the day for easy access to Tanjung Rhu and the surrounding area.

Rawa Island

Island $$$$$

Rawa Island, Johor, Malaysia

Price: Johor National Park fee: Adult: RM20 (USD$4.69), Child: RM10 ($2.35), Malaysian Citizen Adult: RM5 ($1.17), Childen: RM3 ($0.70) Time spent: 1-3 days

Hours: 9:30am-5:30pm, 7 days

This small tropical island off the coast of Malaysia is famous for its coral reefs. Rawa Island features 2 luxury resorts and an abundance of wildlife in the surrounding ocean including blacktip reef sharks, octopus, squid, jellyfish and tropical fish varieties.

Tip: For visitors not staying overnight, catch the earliest ferry to spend a full day on the island.

+60 77991204

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Tioman Island

Island $$$$$

Pulau Tioman, Mersing, Pahang, Malaysia

Price: Adult: RM30 (USD$7.04), Children: RM15 ($3.52) Time spent: 1-2 days

Known as one of the most beautiful places in Malaysia, Tioman Island is a marine park located 32 miles off the mainland with has an abundance of marine life. The island is famous for its snorkeling and scuba diving.

Tip: The ferry schedule to the island can be affected by weather and tide so check before you book, and keep some flexibility in your schedule.

website

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Perhentian Islands

Island Free

Perhentian Islands, Terengganu, Malaysia

Price: Free Time spent: 1-3 days

A series of tropical islands in the Besut District of northeast Malaysia. The two main islands are Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil, which provide opportunities to snorkel and see turtles, blacktip reef sharks, and tropical fish like clownfish. The islands' beaches feature soft white sands, leaning palm trees, and extremely clear water.

Tip: Avoid the monsoon season in November. July, August and September are the best months to visit.

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Nature

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