Malaysia is indeed blessed with a wide range of natural and cultural assets that makes ecotourism a highly beneficial, feasible, sustainable and long-term form of tourism. The Best Ecotourism Destination award that Malaysia won at the TravelWeekly (Asia) Industry Award 2008 held in Singapore was the second time in a row that Malaysia was honoured. It was a significant achievement for a country that prided itself for its natural attractions and unique geographical layout. Malaysia is one of the twelve mega-biologically diverse countries in the world, which boasts at least 15,000 species of flowering plants, 286 species of mammals, 150,000 species of invertebrates and 4,000 species of fishes in addition to the countless micro-organisms.

Covering almost 60 per cent of land mass, Malaysia's tropical rainforests are millions of years old and they are home to an incredibly diverse array of flora and fauna. There may still be animals, plants, flowers and trees yet to be discovered living beneath its canopy. Malaysia's seas shelter various marine life that rely on the delicate balance of an undamaged ecosystem. Turtles from the other side of the world make pilgrimages over thousands of miles to nest on Malaysian shores. Similarly, visitors from the four corners of the world make yearly visits to our shores simply to witness the magical world of the undersea.

Malaysia offers tourists a range of activities in which they may engage to experience and fully appreciate the ecotourism experience such as caving, hiking, jungle trekking, white water rafting, rock climbing, bird watching, diving and river cruising. There are also ecotourism-based events organized to create awareness about the importance of conservation of the country's natural and cultural assets. Such events include the Tabin Wildlife Conservation Conquest in Sabah, Fraser's Hill International Bird Race and Taman Negara Eco-Challenge competition.

Malaysia's reputation as one of the best ecotourism destinations in the region is further strengthened by the inclusion of the Mulu National Park in Sarawak and Kinabalu Park in Sabah in UNESCO's World Heritage Sites List. Lagkawi Island which is located in the northern part of the Peninsular Malaysia has also been recognised by UNESCO as a geopark, a title given to outstanding geological landscapes in the world. The island is the only Geopark in the Southeast Asia and one of 50 around the world.

Meanwhile, Malaysia has also submitted two other nominations for UNESCO's World Heritage Sites for future consideration: the Taman Negara National Park in Pahang and the Lanjak-Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary and Batang Ai National Park in Sarawak. While promoting the natural attractions in the country to tourists, the Malaysian Government also realises the importance of sustainable tourism and of balancing conservation and development. As such, the Ministry of Tourism, Malaysia, has adopted the National Ecotourism Plan (NEP) to provide policies and guidelines for the conscientious development of ecotourism.

Examples of ecotourism destinations in Malaysia

Peninsular Malaysia

  • National Park, Pahang
  • Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary, Pahang
  • Kenong Rimba Park , Pahang
  • Sungai Chilling Waterfall, Kuala Selangor, Selangor
  • Royal Belum Forest Reserve, Perak
  • Gua Tempurung, Perak
  • Kuala Gula Bird Sanctuary, Perak
  • Penang National Heritage Park , Penang
  • Kilim Geopark, Langkawi Island
  • Rantau Abang Turtle Hatchery, Terengganu
  • Redang Island , Perhentian Island , Gemia Island , Terengganu

Sarawak

  • Bako National Park
  • Mulu National Park
  • Niah National Park
  • Batang Ai National Park
  • Lampir Hill National Park

Sabah

  • Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary
  • Kinabalu National Park
  • Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park
  • Danum Valley
  • Maliau Basin
  • Tabin Wildlife Reserve
  • Kinabatangan Floodplain, Sukau
  • Turtle Island
  • Gua Gomantong, Kinabatangan, Sabah

 


 

 






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