With pockets of rainforest that have survived for 130 million years, there are good extended trekking possibilities in the National Parks of Peninsula Malaysia, while at other locations, some fabulous day long hikes can also provide great and memorable adventures.

If you’re in Kuala Lumpur, and you fancy an interesting and surprising day trek, on the outskirts of the city, at Bukit Tabur, the peculiar raised geological feature aptly known as the Dragon’s Backbone provides an excellent and fabulously rewarding trekking and scrambling experience over its sinuous quartz ridges, high above the surrounding countryside and overlooking the city.

There are a number of other trekking trails a little further out of the city. Situated between the Genting Highlands and Fraser’s Hill, a full day’s trekking in Bukit Kutu brings you through the jungle to its 1,050 metre (3,444 feet) summit for a beautiful panoramic view from its crumbling former colonial hill station.

Another fine and fairly challenging day long trek is the trail through the mossy forest to the summit of Gunung Irau at 2,110 metres (6,922 feet), travelling through the lichen draped trees and amazing Pitcher Plants with the reward of a fine view at the top, just one of numerous trails in the Cameron Highlands, with gentler options to be found in the area of Gunung Brincang.

For longer treks, the ancient forest of Taman Negara National Park is the Peninsula’s most famous trekking and Jungle escape, with numerous trails and adventures lasting from a single day up to nine days, which can include wildlife spotting, bird watching, exploring its caves, shooting the rapids, enjoying its canopy walkway, river boating trips, visiting the Batek People (Orang Asli) or climbing Peninsula Malaysia’s highest peak, the 2,187 metre (7,175 feet) Gunung Tahan.

Close to Taman Negara, at Kuala Lipis, Kenong Rimba Park has some good day treks to visit its caves and culminates in the lovely seven-tiered waterfall of Air Terjun Tujuh Tingkat.

Taman Negara’s well deserved popularity has made it busier than many hikers prefer, and a good alternative if you want to feel more ‘out there’, can be found in the southern Peninsula at the less touristy Endau Rompin National Park, another ancient forest area, where you can venture into the jungle for up to four days, though it is advised not to forget your leech proof socks.

Because the area is less visited, it is easier to spot the wildlife such as Tigers, Elephants, Sumatran Rhinoceros, Leaf Monkeys, Clouded Leopards, White-handed Gibbons, Drongos, Hornbills, Fan Palms and Orchids. Other features within the park are the waterfalls of Upih Guling, Buaya Sangut and Mahkota. The Jakun tribespeople of Orang Asli also live in the forest reserve.

Close to the Thai border, trekking trails into another of the peninsula’s ancient leafy realms, Royal Belum-Temenggor Rainforest, also the home of Orang Asli tribes, can last for up to six days, and is another good place to find some of Malaysia’s most iconic wildlife species such as Malaysian Tigers, Malaysian Sun bears and Sumatran Rhinoceros wandering among over three thousand species of flowering plant including the famous Rafflesia, of which three species are found here. All ten species of Malaysia’s Hornbills are also present.

Unusually for such an environment, which often involves roughing it in campsites or other basic accommodation, which you can certainly do if you choose, the delightful Belum Rainforest Resort is a luxury ecotourism site on Banding Island, in Tasik Temenggor Lake, and provides high quality conservation minded accommodation in its finely crafted rooms, Chalets, Rainforest villas and houseboat, and represents an excellent and comfortable eco-friendly base from which to explore.

In Sabah, the area surrounding Mount Kinabalu Park is one of Malaysian Borneo’s most popular trekking destinations, and if desired can include the two day ascent of the mountain itself. A two day trek of nearby Mount Trusmadi is another fine mountain trail in this area.


The nearby Crocker Range Park is a good spot for trekking with various hikes lasting for up to four days. The area is also popular for treks to find the famous Rafflesia flower.

The area around the Kinabutangan River is a popular trekking spot, with several day trails and a night river safari.


The Danum Valley Conservation Area, near Lahad Datu is Sabah’s largest protected rainforest, with numerous day trails and longer treks of up to 3 days, to seek out its wildlife, ancient burial coffins, Canopy Walkway and the seven-tiered Sungai Purut Pools.


To the west of the Danum Valley, the ‘lost world’ of the Maliau Basin Conservation Area, is an area featuring 30 waterfalls, including the seven-tiered Maliau Falls, which can be explored on a six day trek, departing from Agathis Camp.


Another Sabah trail is the six day jungle trek around Long Pa Sia, a village of the Lun Dayeh Tribe, the trail passing over several rickety wooden bridges and featuring camping on the forest floor.


In Sarawak, Gunung Mulu National park is an exciting trekking area, with treks to its famous pinnacles, caves and headhunter trails to follow, some of which last several days, including the four day trek to the summit of Gunung Mulu itself. The Park also features the Mulu Skywalk, a 480 metre canopy walkway through the forest.


The coastal Bako National Park features a number of day trails to explore the area and visit its delightful beach at Tekok Limau. A longer 4 day birdwatching trek of the park is also available,


Other short trekking destinations in Sarawak are found at Kubah National Park, known for its short Pitcher Plant Trail, Lambir Hills National Park and Niah National Park, famed for its caves.


One of Sarawak’s most famous longer treks is the Red Ape Trail, of which there are three variants, lasting for five, seven and ten days which seek out the Orang Utans in the wild, under the careful guidance of Iban Guides working with the Orang Utan Foundation, and also features visits to the Iban Longhouses of Nanga Sumpa. Several other trails to meet the Iban peoples of Nanga Sumpa last up to five days.


An eight day trek leaves from Miri to explore the jungles of the Kelabit Highlands, visiting Lepo Batuh, Liyang Ating and Pa De’it Waterfall.