Most travelers come to Kuching on the island of Borneo to see its wildlife. Malaysia has more than 15 national parks, many situated in the biologically rich rain forests of Sarawak, where part of Borneo is located. These are some of the best places to spot wildlife in and around Kuching.
Semenggoh Nature Reserve
Spotting orangutans in the wild is unlikely due to the species' endangered status, but it is possible to see them at wildlife centers near the Sarawak capital—the Semenggoh Nature Reserve is one of the best. Located south of Kuching, this facility provides a refuge for injured, orphaned, or captured orangutans that roam freely in an expansive habitat.
Bako National Park
Bako National Park, an easy day trip from Kuching, is home to the large-nosed proboscis monkey, leaf monkeys, macaque monkeys, flying squirrels, monitor lizards, wild boar, and hundreds of bird species. A day trip to the park from Kuching might include a longboat ride from Kampung Bako and a guided walk along a nature trail through the jungle.
Gunung Gading National Park
Gunung Gading National Park, another popular day trip option from Kuching, is most famous for the Rafflesia, the world’s largest flower. But, even if the 22-pound (10-kilogram) flower isn't in bloom, it's still possible to spot deer, porcupines, giant squirrels, civet cats, wild boar, and several species of monkeys along the park's hilly jungle trails.
Kubah National Park
Head to Kubah National Park after dark for a completely different experience in a Borneo rain forest. You’ll hear the symphony of some 60 species of frogs after the sun goes down, or get lucky and spot the smallest frog in the world, as well as freshwater crabs, carnivorous pitcher plants, and forest catfish.
Satang Island actually comprises two islands: Pulau Satang Besar and Pulau Satang Kecil. The pristine waters surrounding the islands provide a habitat for sea turtles in the South China Sea. Visitors can hop in the water with a snorkel to see the animals in the wild, or learn about conservation efforts at a turtle hatchery.
Matang Wildlife Centre
This rehabilitation center near Kubah National Park is an excellent place to observe wildlife that might otherwise be difficult to see in the wild. This park helps to protect and rehabilitate animals, such as sun bears, porcupines, crocodiles, and bearcats. Some day trips to Kubah National Park include a stop here.