Mother Nature is generous with her treasures if we only took the time to appreciate them and do our part to protect them. And Sabah Borneo no doubt, has so much to offer when it comes to Mother Nature’s abundant gifts. Sabah’s forest reserve areas are home to most of its rich biodiversity, and these reserves forms half of the state’s total landmass of 7.34 million hectares. Besides that, the forest reserves are part of the 20 million hectares equatorial rainforests demarcated under the “Heart of Borneo” Initiative.
In conjunction with International Day of Forests, we would like to celebrate some of Borneo’s lushes nature landscapes. Here are our top 8 in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo:
1. Danum Valley
A place on earth that might as well be known as the world’s prime wildlife centre. Danum Valley is made up of 440 sq. kilometres of lowland virgin rainforest, boarded by Danum and Segama River. This forest reserve is home to over 200 species of trees, 110 species of mammals and over 275 species of avifauna, and is also equipped with facilities such as a research centre, canopy walkways and nature trails to conduct wildlife observations and studies.
Whether you are a free-spirited adventurer who loves roughing it out in the wilderness, or a nature lover who also loves the finer things in life, Danum Valley offers several types of accommodation. Choose from hostel dorm to a luxurious lodge.
2. Kinabalu Park
Located 1,585 metres above sea level and towering at 4,095 metres height, Kinabalu Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site declared in 2000 for being one of the most important Biological Sites in the world. The park’s lowland altitudes hold together green lush forests where different species of orchids and carnivorous pitcher plants can be found, though rare to find along the worn out trails. Head over to the botanical gardener situated near the park headquarters if you want to view some of the area’s exotic and beautiful flora.
Take your time to explore the Kinabalu Park and its surrounding areas. Visit Poring Hot Springs to take a dip in the springs, trek to Kipungit and Langanan Waterfalls or head to the canopy walk with hanging bridges if you’re not afraid of heights!
3. Maliau Basin
Maliau Basin is a ginormous bowl of virgin tropical rainforest rests mysteriously within the expanse of the Heart of Borneo. Remote, primal and vast, there’s almost something sacred about this place. Adorned with pretty cascading waterfalls and impressive gorges, they didn’t call it the Lost World of Sabah for nothing. When exploring Maliau Basin, you’ll definitely feel like you’ve been transported into a real life Jurassic Park- Minus the dinosaurs, of course.
Jungle trekking, birding, nature photography and spotting wildlife are just some of the things you can do in Maliau Basin.
4. Lemaing 2
Lemaing 2 brings you to a unique trekking experience located in the foothills of Mount Kinabalu, which is a whole different experience in itself. The experience of Lemaing 2 is an unexpected but extraordinary one as it is a wonderland for nature seekers and outdoor enthusiasts to truly get in touch with nature. You will be trekking through historical pathways in one of Borneo’s most pristine rainforests which some of these trails include the Nunuk Trail and Pamantangan Trail that will be guided by the friendly locals themselves.
5. Kinabatangan, Sukau
The flood plains of Kinabatangan is an exceptional gem to behold. The Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a variety of wildlife and also birdlife. River cruises at dawn and late afternoon provides the perfect opportunity to spot different species of primates including the unusual Proboscis Monkeys, Orang Utans and Macaques. The night cruise will bring about a different kind of experience as you try to spot nocturnal wildlife along the river. Birders would call this place a paradise since it has over 200 species of birds found in the area, including eight species of Bornean hornbills!
Stay at our National Geographic branded lodge, Sukau Rainforest Lodge to heighten the experience during your trip at Kinabatangan River!
6. Deramakot Forest Reserve
Deramakot is a commercial forest reserve and as dictated by the 3rd Forest Management Plan, 49,711 ha of the area is set aside for log production, whereas 5,778 ha is for conservation and the remaining 18 ha is under community forestry.
The forest reserve also plays a huge role in protecting the wildlife and flora in the area as it is an integral part of the forests, and Wildlife Management is another practice that is being done there. A large population of Sabah’s wildlife mammals can be found in the reserve- About 75% to be exact. This includes the endangered orangutan, tembadau or banteng, proboscis monkey, Bornean pygmy elephant and the clouded leopard. Conservationists have also claimed that Deramakot is one of the safest habitats for wildlife and it is of the best destination in Sabah for wildlife watching.
7. Imbak Canyon
Imbak Canyon Conservation Area (ICCA) covers a total of 30,000 ha of protected area right in the heart of Sabah. Within the forests of Imbak Canyon sits the Imbak Canyon Studies Centre (ICSC), which is a gateway to the conservation area and a centre that facilitates both education and research.
It is definitely a little piece of Borneo you should explore if you love an escape to the wild side. Discover this emerald canyon with its own little quirks, featuring natural wonders like the Imbak Falls, the Big Belian Tree and Nepenthes Garden. Good news for beginner trekkers as the trekking trails ranges from easy to medium- Nothing rookies can’t handle.
8. Kiulu Valley
Kiulu Valley is a hidden gem that is perfect to unwind, relax and disconnect to reconnect. Located in a rural part of Sabah, this community-based tourism destination offers a getaway to immerse yourself in both culture and nature.
There are also some amazing trekking trails to explore at Kiulu, where you pass by paddy fields and quaint village settlements, crossing hanging bridges over rushing rivers and into the jungle and green foothills of Kiulu Valley. Kiulu is also home to some picturesque waterfalls which are located within its jungles.