Do you have to go all the way to the Victoria Falls in Africa to bungee jump? Or to the Amazon in South America to explore a rainforest?
Sure, it’s nice to check out different parts of the world, but if you’re on a tight time or monetary budget, here are some adventures you can check out right in our backyard.
1. Mountain climbing in Mount Kinabalu, Sabah
If you’re visiting Sabah, you just have to climb Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in Malaysia.
It’s a two-day-one-night climb, from the base camp at the Kinabalu Park headquarters, to the overnight point at Laban Rata.
Then, you have a pre-dawn climb to the summit to see the sunrise the next morning, before proceeding down the mountain.
There are two trails to the peak: Ranau (the regular trail) and Kota Belud (the more challenging one).
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be “walking on clouds”, you can experience it for real when you’re standing at Laban Rata, because you’re literally just above cloud level.
Plus, the view from the peak is out of this world!
2. Spelunking in Racer Cave, Sarawak
Fancy climbing up and down in dark enclosed spaces, and encountering bats and (non-venomous) cave racer snakes along the way?
Then you need to go spelunking at Racer Cave in the World Heritage Mulu National Park in Sarawak.
This two-to-four hour intermediate-level caving adventure requires some level of fitness and some rope-assisted ascents and descents. You also need to be able to squeeze through a few crevices!
Be aware too that you will definitely get dirty, so don’t wear new clothes. The cave is named after the non-venomous cave racer snake.
3. White water rafting at Padas River, Sabah
Take an ancient train from Beaufort town in Sabah, and go through the tropical rainforest, passing by traditional villages to Pangi Station. This takes roughly two hours.
From there, it’s a short walk to Padas River where you’ll receive a briefing and be fitted with safety equipment. Carry your raft, together with your teammates, to the river and hop in!
The wet 10km ride takes about 1½ to two hours, and includes eight rapids with the unique names Head Hunter, Lambada, Cobra, Scooby Doo, Washing Machine, Mary Go Round, Snake House and BBQ Rapids.
Even if your raft doesn’t capsize, you can always jump into the water for some body rafting (turn turtle and back-paddle downstream through the rapids).
4. Rock climbing at Damai Wall, Batu Caves, just outside Kuala Lumpur
If rock climbing is your thing, head to Damai Wall at Batu Caves, Selangor (just outside Kuala Lumpur).
This is ideal if you enjoy rock climbing in a natural environment but don’t want to hike through kilometres of jungle to get to an outdoor site.
This place, also known as Gua Damai Extreme Park, is one of Batu Caves’ eight different crags. It is accessible via Kampung Melayu Wira Damai, which is at the northern side of Batu Caves (not the main entrance to the cave temple).
It’s a convenient climbing venue because there are proper parking bays, washrooms and even a shop that rents climbing equipment here.
5. Jungle exploration at Belum-Temenggor Rainforest, Perak
Belum-Temenggor, having existed for over 130 million years, is the oldest rainforest in the world, even older than the Amazon in South America and the Congo in Africa.
Part of the area is conserved as the Royal Belum State Park, while the other part is a forest which has eco-tourism activities (and is also still being logged).
Between the two areas lies Temenggor Lake, where boats are used to access the forest.
You can enjoy hiking, spotting the world’s largest flower (the rafflesia), swimming in a waterfall or visiting an Orang Asli (native people) village.