Malaysia is that perfect South Asian sunny beach paradise located in the Malay Peninsula. What people may not realize upfront is that Malaysia is also a whopping destination for adventures of all kinds, especially adventure sports! I am a 25-year-old girl, and I have always wanted to go scuba diving in some of Malaysia’s famous dive spots. I finally have my chance now. I am all set to enjoy Malaysia’s cool adventures –it is scuba diving, swimming, snorkeling, and rappelling down canyons, hiking and water sports! I am nothing if not a sporty girl, and here’s what this girl did in Malaysia – my land of adventure!
1. Water Fun Ahoy!
Braving the rapids in the Endau Rompin National Park is something else indeed. The rushing river that forges its way through the pristine rainforest is pure dynamite. Got into a kayak with a mate (a guy) and hit the exhilarating rapids and some waterfalls right in the middle of the lovely forest. I could see elephants in the distance but no tigers or leopards that are reputed to live in this forest.
2. My Dive Off A Fab Site
Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park is located near Sabah in the south-eastern part of Borneo Island. There are several fab dive sites here, and one can enjoy diving all thru the year. April to December is the best time for diving, though. The marine life was excellent; I saw several humpbacks, manta rays, green turtles and corals that defeat description. Scuba diving is one of my favorite things to do in Malaysia, and there are more than 10 fabulous dive sites in South-eastern Malaysian Borneo. So it’s miles to go before I sleep…..
3. My Paragliding Adventure In Malaysia
Fresh from my scuba diving adventure, I was looking for some good sporty, thrilling fun. Saw a few people paragliding off a cliff and decided to try it. The foot-launched parachutes rise up to 6000 meters or more, and I screamed for all I was worth, which was probably expected coz I am a girl! I was a first-timer, so I had a trainer at the controls. Experts were going it alone, and man, was it great to watch or what! Want to try it? Head to Bukit Jagra, where I went, or to Bukit Sendayan, Bukit Bahau or Kuala Kubu Baru.
4. My Stint At Skydiving In Kuala Lumpur!
Kuala Lumpur is a fabulous city, and it looks even more fabulous when seen from a height of 10,000 feet. As I zoomed down to earth in tandem, my harness tied firmly to my guide, my heart was pumping with adrenaline. The weather was great – it’s not like I could do this when it was storming. The highpoint of my skydive was the moment when I was about a couple of hundred feet above KL and I could start making out the layout. It was lush and magnificent and I’ll always remember it.
5. It Was Parasailing Next!
I am on a roll, ladies, and nothing will stop me! I had enjoyed my paraglide so much that I wanted to do some parasailing next. So I headed to Langkawi Island where, I was told, the very best of parasailing was to be had. Being lifted 500 feet above the sea and pushed back by the torque of the speeding boat – gosh it felt like I was flying! I went for seconds, of course, and thirds, till I felt like I was a parasailing glutton.
6. Caving at Gunung Mulu National Park
I thought – something a bit tamer this time? Caving, perhaps? So I headed to Gunung Mulu National Park to explore one of the longest cave networks in the world. The Sarawak Chamber in particular was so huge; you could happily place forty commercial jet planes in it. Deer Cave is one of the world’s biggest cave passages and it’s so large, it can accommodate the Buckingham Palace if it tried. The bats were annoying – literally millions of them batting around us. I don’t know of any girl who loves bats. Or guys, for that matter. Any wonder they are called ‘bats’? It wasn’t the kind of caving I had in mind but it was an adventure, nevertheless!
7. Braving The Via Ferrata Iron Road On Mount Kinabalu
Braving is right – Via Ferrata is the world’s highest ‘iron road’, formed of a series of rails, cables and rungs that let you climb the mountain’s rock face. The Via Ferrata begins at 3,400m and for 400 meters, it’s just you and those old iron rungs. So I sucked my tummy in (not that I have much fat there!), and dug my toes wherever I could and braved the rock face. Lucky for me I am not afraid of height, but several in my team were and there was much screaming for help and all that!
8. Trekking Through Taman Negara National Park
The Taman Negara National Park is one of the oldest rainforests in the world – deep, rich and smells like it’s always raining there, which it is. The rainforest is more than 130 million years old. So I shrugged my trekker’s backpack on, laced on my Nikes and off I went to catch glimpses of the forest’s amazing wildlife. It was blissful – silent except for the racket small creatures always make. I went part of the route by boat as well, on the Tamara Negara River. The experience was just amazing, overall, and I definitely want to spend more time in a rainforest again.
9. A Brisk Hike In The Cameron Highlands
I’ve come to the conclusion that the word ‘adventure’ doesn’t mean ‘adrenalin-jerking-activity’. Well, not exactly. I hiked many trails in the Cameron Highlands, a blissful hill station that’s located 1500 meters above sea level. The legacy colonial English architecture, the beautiful and lush tea estates and scones and tea at a Tudor country inn took me back to a different time. Strawberry farms, honey bee farms and magnificent woods – wasn’t sure I was still in Malaysia, but it was great.
10. Mountain Climbing At Langkawi
This is Langkawi Island, the one of the legend where the lovely young woman cursed the island to rot for seven generations. I climbed the 709 meter-high Mount Mat Cincang with a few mates and by the time we got to the top, I was breathing so hard I could barely take in the view, but it was simply amazing. Mount Mat Cincang is the second-highest mountain in Langkawi.
11. Up Above The Treetops At Sungai Sedim
I felt this desire to see the forest’s roof, and what better way to do it than to walk the longest canopy walk in the world at the Sedim River Recreation Park? And there I was, up where the clouds begin, getting a real monkey’s eye view from of the forest. At 50 meters above the forest floor, it felt I was somewhere in the sky, even though I’ve been higher than that. It’s the forest that does that to you. It’s a 950m trail through the treetops – you do get a totally different perspective.
12. Living With A Jungle Tribe
In Sarawak, I got the chance to live with tribal people. We went off with a tribal guide exploring some of the unprotected areas in the jungle. It was wild and it was fun to watch them, listen to their language and learn about their fascinating rituals. I now know how to make a blowpipe – I think – and a little bit about rattan weaving. The tribal women there were giggling at my punitive efforts at weaving. Apparently being born a woman is enough reason to be an expert at weaving.
I went with an expert wildlife tracker out into the jungles, looking back constantly all the way, much to my guide’s delight. While his funny bone was getting tickled, I was really scared that some strange animal might be tracking us while we were tracking others. Worth obtaining a Malaysia visa just for this one experience, I tell you!
Malaysia has been my best adventurous trip so far and I’ve been to several countries so far, looking for the strange, and the rare and true wilderness. I am adventure minded but not very prone to risking my neck. There’s a difference!