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Swimming with elephants at the Kuala Gandah Elephant sanctuary in Malaysia.
elephant swimming

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“Wild” Malaysia: Orangutans, Birds, Monkeys and Elephants, in Accessible Environments

We saw elephants taking baths, a Great Hornbill in a cage, played with monkeys and watched orangutans up close, but never had to hire a jeep, pay a steep fee or enter a big distant game park.

That’s because in Malaysia, all of these family-friendly animal attractions are close to the cities and are easy day trips. Viewing animals in cages or out in the open provides something visceral and meaningful to any Homo sapien, and Malaysia provides many low key, low stress parks and sanctuaries to enjoy.

Riding Elephants

To get a chance to see the world’s largest land animals, we needed to drive a little further out of KL. We headed northeast for about two hours, and turned off the large toll road on to smaller roads, and came to the Kuala Gandah Elephant sanctuary. Opened thirty years ago, this community of elephant caring takes in Asian elephants from Thailand, Burma and other parts of Malaysia. Many have been mistreated or abused as young animals or work elephants. Read more...

Borneo: Climbing Gunung Kinabalu

Kinabalu National Park – a UNESCO site since 2000 – is one of the main reasons to visit Sabah, the smaller of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. But the trek up Gunung Kinabalu, as the locals know it, is fast rivalling the experience for first place, as increasing numbers of foreigners and Malaysians make the climb up the mountain, sacred to the Kadazan, the state’s largest ethnic group.

View from Low's Peak back toward Laban Rata.
View from Low's Peak back toward Laban Rata

When I first caught sight of the peaks that form the summit from the park’s headquarters, it induced a reverse sense of vertigo, making me question the sanity of a novice climber scaling the jagged peaks. But I had come especially to climb the mountain, so climb I would.

Most people do the trek over two days; although I encountered two British lads that completed the whole thing in one go. Once down from the mountain, however, they had to spend the next two days in bed to recover. It is not advisable to do it on one go, unless you have just spent four months at Everest base camp acclimatising to high altitude. Read more...


Read more GoNOMAD stories about Malaysia:

Malaysian Borneo: A Visit to the Garden of Eden

Malaysia: A Home-Stay in Kampung Pachitan

Viewing Our Cousins, the Orangutans: A Wildlife Tour on the Kinabatangan River

Pulau Bumbun, Malaysia: The Island I Carry With Me

Sarawak, Malaysia: Adventures on the Island of Borneo

Malaysia: A Melange of Three Cultures

Singapore Sling: A Wild Time
in Singapore

Borneo: Terrific Values,
Exotic Jungles, No Headhunters


Sarawak, Malaysia:
A Muddy, Memorable Music Festival

 

Read more GoNOMAD stories about Asia

Malaysia

Shopgirl in Malacca, Malaysia. photo by Liz Chow. Malaysia: A Melange of Three
Getting fitted with a Bajau costume - photos by Alice Driver Pulau Bumbun, Malaysia
. Malaysia: A Home-Stay in Kampung Pachitan By Gary Singh A dozen musicians sit in a semicircle
Sarawak dancers Sarawak, Malaysia: Adventures on the Island of Borneo - Page Two
The Sarawak Parliament Building Sarawak, Malaysia: Adventures on the Island of Borneo
World Music Festival in Sarawak, Malaysia - photos by Sony Stark. Sarawak, Malaysia
The hotel staff prepares Iban dances for the Rainforest World Music Festival in Kuching, Malaysia
Michelle Perry's story: Borneo: Climbing Gunung Kinabalu A Read more GoNOMAD stories about Malaysia A A A
from mainland Malaysia especially for the climb. At around 9,842 ft (3000m) I soon fell into a slow
ThatAs because in Malaysia, all of these family-friendly animal attractions are close
Swimming with elephants at the Kuala Gandah Elephant sanctuary in Malaysia. Read
the food) of everyday life in India, Malaysia, Laos, Thailand and Indonesia. A Upon arrival guests
) Macau(7) Macedonia(1) Malaysia(11) Middle East(110) Mongolia(13) Nepal(24) North Korea(4

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