Top National Parks in Sarawak
The Malaysian state of Sarawak is home to some of Borneo’s finest national parks, with the oldest established in 1957. Some of the state’s 14 parks are within easy reach of the capital, Kuching; others require traveling deep into the rain forest. If you’re looking to explore Borneo’s unique ecosystems, here are your best bets.
Mulu National Park A UNESCO World Heritage Site for its outstanding natural beauty, Gunung Mulu repays the flight from Kuching with vast caves, jagged rock pinnacles, tranquil streams, underground rivers, and pristine rain forest. The sight of hundreds of thousands of bats streaming out of Deer Cave has to be seen to be believed. ** Matang Wildlife Centre** Orangutans are found on just two islands in all the world: Borneo and Sumatra. At the Matang Wildlife Centre, carved out of Kubah National Park just 40 minutes’ drive from Kuching, rescued or injured orangutans undergo rehabilitation to return to the wild—enabling you to get up close and personal with these great apes.
Bako National Park Sarawak’s oldest national park, Bako National Park sits on a peninsula not far from Kuching but remains one of the best parks in the state for spotting mammals. Expect to see Borneo’s signature long-nosed proboscis monkeys as well as long-tailed macaques, and keep your eyes peeled for flying lemurs and bearded pigs.
Gunung Gading National Park The star attraction at Gunung Gading National Park, about an hour and a half’s drive from Kuching, is the Rafflesia, the notoriously stinky, 3-foot-wide (1-meter-wide) flower that’s the world’s largest. Whenever one is in bloom, rangers will lead visitors to it, while there are also some pleasant mountain hikes to be had.
Kubah National Park Conveniently close to Kuching and an easy day-trip destination, Kubah National Park sells itself as “the home of palms and frogs.” A hike through the forest, where you can also stay overnight, delivers lush ferns, rare orchids, and carnivorous pitcher plants—not to mention a horned frog and a flying frog that glides from tree to tree.