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Be one with nature at these sanctums of serenity deep within Malaysia’s national parks

Wish to rove deep into the jungle but uneager to compromise on comfort? You’ll love these luxury resorts operating within Malaysia’s national parks. 

With Taman Negara gazetted as early as 1938, prior to nationhood, Malaysia is home to several national parks and an even greater number of state parks, nature reserves and marine parks intent to halt urban encroachment and preserve the bountiful flora and fauna calling these protected areas home. Where animals seek asylum from the savagery of nature among impenetrable undergrowth and tree hollows, urban dwellers descend on the jungle for spiritual reinvigoration.  

Weary of incessant battles waged in the boardroom by insatiable colleagues? Yearning for peace of the heart and incinerate mental blocks that have clogged your mind? Looking for ways to instil the value of nature in children so they will blossom into guardians of the fragile planet? Find tranquillity in these luxury sanctuaries nestled within Malaysia’s national parks.  

Malaysia is home to some of the world’s oldest and most primitive rainforests and they are in dire need of preservation. A sojourn here can only aid in the cause as these accommodations partake in conservation.

You won’t have to worry about blood-sucking insects, creaking beds, drawing mosquito nets in the evening and finding no coffee machine the immediate morning, because these superior lodgings are curated for the discerning traveller demanding creature comforts even in eco-retreats far, far away from urbanisation. Ready your suitcase and hiking boots. 

5 luxury resorts nestled within Malaysia’s national parks you should visit:

Entailing multiple flights, getting to Mulu Marriott Resort & Spa is a journey to savour in itself. Located just off the Bruneian border, the resort is surrounded by the meandering Tutoh river, enveloped by the lush forest and pinned in the adjacent Mulu National Park – a UNESCO world heritage area. While numerous physical excursions such as conquering Mount Mulu to glimpse the Pinnacles can be planned to suit your fitness level, a more relaxing itinerary centring on health and wellness is also available. Sign up for the Ayus Wellness Experience that harnesses nature as a source of restorative power. 

Sungai Melinau, 98008 Mulu, Sarawak

In a forest complex older than tropical rainforests in the Amazon and the Congo sits Belum Rainforest Resort. Royal Belum State Park has been shortlisted as a UNESCO world heritage site and straddles the Malaysian-Thai border. Overlooking the vast Temenggor Lake, once a valley deliberately flooded to power humanity’s energy consumption, the resort is accessible from the East-West Highway connecting Perak with Kelantan. Herds of elephants regularly cross the unlit tarmac in the death of the night. A visit to the state park can be arranged separately with the resort where a typical itinerary spells animal spotting at the salt lick, getting educated about the daily life of the local indigenous tribe and surveying the blooming or wilting Rafflesia.

Pulau Banding, 33300 Gerik, Perak

The largest tract of undisturbed lowland dipterocarp forest in Sabah, the Danum Valley is home to numerous endangered species. Some of which include the rare Bornean orangutan and sun bear, as well as the elusive clouded leopard and Bornean rhinoceros. At the heart of the sanctuary is Borneo Rainforest Lodge. It boasts 30 contemporary chalets that spare no expense despite its remoteness. Guided tours such as canopy walk and night safari drive take you deep into the jungle to experience nature at its rawest. 

Lot 20, Block 3, MDLD 3285, Ground Floor, Fajar Centre Fajar Lorong 9, 91120 Lahad Datu, Sabah

Located on the largest of 5 islands forming the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park in Sabah, Gaya Island Resort is a pampering haven off the coast of Kota Kinabalu. Mere minutes away aboard a private boat transfer, the resort is famed for its spa treatment and proximity to a native colony of the proboscis monkeys and turtles who periodically waddle ashore to lay eggs. A resident naturalist accompanies guests on a daily walk across the island. You also have the luxury of penciling in a diving trip in Sabah’s pristine waters. 

Malohom Bay, Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Cocooned in a 10-million-year-old rainforest, the Datai Langkawi is widely acknowledged as the standard bearer of luxury accommodations in Malaysia. An accustomed playground for the well-heeled, spa retreats and catamarans are never in short supply in Langkawi. This exceptional resort caters to the discerning clientele with a range of pool villas; each radiates differing ambience. The backdrop comes alive in the evening when dusky langurs and tokay geckos swing by to welcome guests into their habitats. A coral rehabilitation programme takes place in the onsite nursery. 

Jln Teluk Datai, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah
Justin Ng
Digital Content Director, Kuala Lumpur
Often think of myself as a journalist and so I delve deeper into a range of topics. Talk to me about current affairs, watches, travel, drinks, new experiences and more importantly, the business, economics and dynamics behind it.