[Updated 2 July 2021]
Malaysia is blessed with many scenic nature retreats, island paradises, and beach getaways. If there's another attraction that the locals take huge pride in, it's the beautiful national parks in Malaysia! Surrounded by lush greenery and amazing wildlife, here are some of the best national parks in Malaysia to add to your bucket list.
1. Taman Negara, Pahang
Situated in Pahang, Taman Negara is the oldest national park in Malaysia. Said to be 130 million years old, it's also one of the oldest rainforests in the world, beating the Amazon rainforest that's 55 million years old. There are many things to do in Taman Negara like visiting the Orang Asli village, rapid shooting along Tembeling River, taking the boat to Lata Berkoh, joining the Jungle Night Walk, and walking on the Canopy Walk.
#HHWT Tip: Plan your trip with our 3D2N Muslim-Friendly Itinerary To Taman Negara, Malaysia's Oldest National Park!
2. Endau-Rompin National Park, Johor
Make your way to Johor to plan a getaway at Endau-Rompin National Park, which geographically covers the northeast of Johor and south of Pahang. Known as the second-largest national park in Peninsular Malaysia, there are many things to do in Endau-Rompin National Park including rafting along the Endau and Rompin rivers (where the national park was named after), enjoying a refreshing swim at Buaya Sangkut Waterfall, camping in the national park and more.
3. Penang National Park, Penang
Did you know that Penang National Park is the smallest national park in Malaysia? Despite its small size, this national park has the best of tropical greenery and a white sandy beach too. Besides hiking to Pantai Kerachut or Teluk Duyung (Monkey Beach), there are other things to do at Penang National Park like exploring the Canopy Walkway, seeing the meromictic lake, and admiring the tall structure of Muka Head Light House.
4. Gunung Ledang National Park, Johor
Situated in the town of Muar in Johor, Gunung Ledang National Park is packed with nature trails amid the lush tropical rainforest. If you're familiar with the Malaysian folklore of Puteri Gunung Ledang, a mythical princess who set out impossible challenges for Sultan Mansor Shah when asked for her hand in marriage, this is the place where the legend is centred on! If that doesn't intrigue you enough, Gunung Ledang is also one of the toughest mountains to climb, so prepare to take on the challenge.
5. Royal Belum State Park, Perak
Royal Belum State Park may not be listed as part of Malaysia's main national parks, but it remains one of the best places for a nature getaway in Malaysia. Situated in Perak, it's currently in the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage Site as it is home to one of the oldest and protected lands in peninsular Malaysia. Famed for its rich biodiversity and diverse ecosystem, you can explore this state park or spend the night at the Belum Rainforest Resort for a breathtaking retreat.
6. Kinabalu Park, Sabah
Did you know that Kinabalu Park is home to two mountains in Sabah: Mount Kinabalu (the highest mountain in Malaysia) and Mount Tambuyukon? So if you're not ready for a mountain-climbing adventure, exploring the Kinabalu Park is good enough! Known for having one of the world's richest biodiversities, it's not surprising to know that this state park was declared as the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Malaysia in December 2000.
Perfect for nature lovers, there are many things to do at Kinabalu Park including trekking, camping, wildlife watching, bird watching, photography and more.
7. Bako National Park, Sarawak
If you have an afternoon to spare during your trip to Kuching in Sarawak, make your way to Bako National Park. Gazetted as a national park in 1957, as old as Malaysia's Independence, this is also the oldest national park in Sarawak. It has 16 jungle trails with varying levels of difficulty. Beginners can take on Tanjung Sapi, Telok Paku, and Telok Delima trails whereas advanced hikers can challenge themselves at Tajor and Tanjung Rhu trails.
8. Gunung Mulu National Park, Sarawak
If you wish to explore more national parks in Sarawak, make sure to add Gunung Mulu National Park to your bucket list. Situated in Mulu, it's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to Mount Mulu, the second-highest mountain in Sarawak. There are many things to do at Mulu National Park including hiking to Mulu Pinnacles, visiting the showcases and adventure caves, see the nocturnal insects at the Jungle Night Walk, and more.
9. Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Sabah
While Tunku Abdul Rahman Park may not be a conventional rainforest national park, it still has plenty to offer for anyone who visits Sabah. Named after the first prime minister of Malaysia, the park consists of five islands: Gaya Island, Manukan Island, Mamutik Island, Sapi Island and Sulug Island. Thanks to its cluster of beautiful islands, this park is famous for snorkelling, ziplining, scuba diving, island-hopping and more.
10. Tun Sakaran Marine Park, Sabah
There's no shortage of scenic attractions in Sabah, and you'll leave with amazing memories at Tun Sakaran Marine Park. Situated in Semporna, the marine park comprises the islands of Boheydulang, Bodgaya, Salakan, and Sabangkat as well as the sand cays of Mantabuan, Sibuan, and Maiga. Looking at the photos alone, you know it's a spectacular place for scuba diving, snorkelling, island-hopping and other watersports.
With an abundance of tropical rainforests and beautiful marine life, there are many amazing national parks in Malaysia to add to your bucket list. If you're planning more nature getaways in Malaysia, get inspired by our recommended reads below!
- 12 Ultimate Bucket List Adventures To Conquer In Malaysia
- 12 Gorgeous Nature Retreats In Malaysia For A Refreshing Getaway
- 5 Extreme Adventures In Selangor You Can Do With Your Friends