Here’s a “wild” vacation idea to consider: Get up close and personal with nature and its inhabitants by embarking on a wildlife retreat. Lucky for us, our planet offers countless wonders to behold. Here are five of them.
Discover Malaysia’s homegrown species
At 130 million years old, the Belum Temenggor rainforest in Perak is one of the oldest rainforests in the world. Outdoor activities include wildlife watching, jungle trekking, kayaking, and camping. If you’re lucky, you may catch a rare sighting of the Malayan tiger, Asiatic elephant, or the white handed gibbon—mammals that have been classified as species under threat of becoming endangered.
After a day of wildlife adventure, sleep with the rainforest right at your doorstep at the Belum Rainforest Resort, where many of the luxury guest rooms feature stunning nature views.
Swim with Miniloc Island’s marine life
Surrounded by a beautiful cove against a backdrop of sheer limestone cliffs, the El Nido Resort on Miniloc Island is a great destination for those seeking crystal clear waters and vibrant marine life.
Resort activities include guided sunrise and sunset hikes, boat trips to the nearby lagoons and caves, and snorkeling excursions with the local fish.
Talakitok, which can weigh up to 80 kilos and measure up to 170 centimeters long, stalk these waters. These massive fish are often mistaken for sharks, so keep an eye out for them.
Soar high in Phuket’s nature
Perched high above the Phuket jungle are the amazing Keemala Hotel ‘bird nest’ villas.
With a strict Anti Animal Exploitation Policy, the resort houses several rescued animals onsite. Tourists can meet Keemala’s resident water buffalo, which was rescued, and learn about the species’ daily routine and significance in Thai culture.
The resort is home to other rescued animals including goats, ducks, peacocks, and chickens, which make an especially thrilling experience for kids.
Be a marine conservationist for a day (or two) in Kota Kinabalu
For a feel-good holiday, head to Gayana Marine Resort in Kota Kinabalu, which has its very own on-site Marine Ecology Research Centre, a learning and educational organization that raises awareness of the marine ecosystem and the increasing threats on marine life.
Visitors can also participate in rehabilitation activities such as replanting corals in the reef or get up-close with sea creatures like seahorses and bamboo sharks.
Go off-grid with India’s majestic predators
Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan is one of the largest wildlife sanctuaries in Northern India, and is famous for its large population of Royal Bengal Tigers. While the tigers are the main attraction for wildlife enthusiasts, don’t forget to keep an eye out for the Indian leopards, nilgai, wild boars, striped hyenas, sloth bears, and chitals.
The glamping tents at the nearby Oberoi Vanyavilas Ranthambore Hotel are luxurious enough for a maharaja. Around the wooded grounds is a diverse bird life including magpie robins, purple sun birds, and oriental white eyes.