Crocker Range National Park

144 kilometers away from Kota Kinabalu is the Crocker Range National Park (CRNP), situated in the Crocker Range, Sabah. The Crocker Range Park is located 13 kilometers from Keningau town, approximately 25 minutes away by car.

The Crocker Range was designated to be a forest reserve in 1968. In 1984, Crocker Range Nature Park was then established in order to protect the water catchments area which was supplying clean drinking water to the West Coast and the interior of Sabah. It was renamed Taman Banjaran Crocker (Crocker Range Park) in 1996 and is managed by the Sabah Parks.

Located in the heart of Crocker Range Park, the newly developed Sabah Park's facility which opened in February 2004 is ideal a place for meetings, camping, jungle trekking and outdoor educational activities. Among the attractions to found in the Crocker Range Park are the Rafflesia sites, trekking courses, and camping ground.

Sources: Sabah Tourism

Danum Valley

On a sprawling 438 square kilometer undisturbed land, 70 kilometers (44 miles) west of Lahad Datu, lies nature's jewel called the Danum Valley Conservation Area. This conservation area boasts one of the richest conservation areas in the world with over 200 species of tree per hectare thriving on it.

Recognized as one of the world's most complex ecosystem, this forest serves as a natural home for endangered wildlife species such as the Sumatran rhino, banteng, Asian elephant, clouded leopard, orang utan, proboscis monkey, as well as a vast range of Sabah's lowland fauna.

Being remote from human habitation and almost alien to modern civilization makes the Danum Valley Conservation Area a naturalist paradise. Drink in the beauty of this virgin forest by taking nature walks with experienced naturalists through tranquil rivervine and lowland dipterocarp forest.

Sources: Sabah Tourism

Kinabalu Park

Kinabalu Park was gazetted as the first State Park in Sabah in 1964 and declared Malaysia's first World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 2000 for its outstanding biological attributes. A sprawling 75, 400 hectares, this melting pot of natural wonders is larger than Singapore.

Also the Centre of Plant Diversity for South East Asia, the Park boasts more than 5,000 vascular plant species, an estimated 1,000 orchid species, 621 fern species, nine Nepenthes species, 29 Rhododendron species and two Rafflesia species. The Park has no shortage of fauna as well, being home to some 90 lowland mammal species, 22 montane mammal species, 21 bat species, 326 bird species, 62 toad and frog species and a large population of the 850 butterfly species that occur in Sabah. Out of the 29 bird species that are endemic to Borneo, at least 17 are confined to the mountains, notably Mount Kinabalu. These include subspecies of the Red breasted Tree-partridge, Crimson-headed Wood-partridge and Mountain Blackbird. Such diversity is truly the makings of a naturalists' paradise!

Sources: Sabah Tourism

Kota Kinabalu Wetlands

Situated just two kilometers north-east of Kota Kinabalu City in Likas (ten minutes from the heart of the city centre) is Kota Kinabalu Wetlands. Formerly known as Kota Kinabalu City Bird Sanctuary, this site covers 24 hectares (60 acres) of mangrove forest, and is used primarily as a model wetland centre for the purpose of conservation, education, recreation, tourism and research. Kota Kinabalu Wetlands is managed by local NGO, Sabah Wetlands Conservation Society.

A 1.5km boardwalk brings you deep into the mangrove - a unique ecosystem where land meets sea. A 45-minute stroll on the boardwalk is a pleasant experience where you can enjoy fresh air and tranquility, while spotting interesting birds, plants and wildlife.

Sources: Sabah Tourism

Kota Kinabalu Lok Kawi Wildlife Park

The Lok Kawi Wildlife Park was officially open to the public on the 17th February 2007. It is located along the Penampang-Papar old road and is fully developed by the Sabah Wildlife Department.

The park consists of two components: zoological and botanical. The main objective of the park is to become a family-oriented park and the emphasis is put on the Children's Zoo.

Among the inhabitants of the zoo (zoological component) are the Borneo Pygmy elephants, Proboscis monkey, Malayan tiger, as well as some different species of deer.

The botanical component, on the other hand; offers visitors the opportunity to go jungle trekking along the botanical trail. The paved trail is about 1.4 kilometers long. However, for leisurely strolls, visitors are only advised to walk halfway along the trail.

Sources:Sabah Tourism

Tawau Hills Park

With its sprawling grounds, lush green foliage and sparkling river, Tawau Hills Park is the ideal place to get in touch with nature. Located some 24 km from Tawau town, the park is a popular spot for families and friends to enjoy a picnic or, for the more adventurous, spend a night camping under a blanket of stars.

The park serves as a vital water catchment area for the major rivers in this part of Sabah, the Tawau , Merotai, Kinabatangan, Mantri and Balung rivers. Covering an area of 27,972 hectares, the Tawau Hills Park was gazetted in 1979. It is home to numerous plant and animal species. Walking down any of the many paths, visitors will notice that a wooden label identifies almost every plant. The dominant vegetation is lowland dipterocarp forest. With increasing altitude (above 1,000 m), a thick damp mossy forest takes over. Lowland orchids are also abundant; the most spectacular is the Elephant's Ear Orchid. Be sure to check out the 2-hectare Lowland Gardens, home to an astounding selection of flora.

Sources: Sabah Tourism

Kipandi Butterfly Park

The Kipandi Butterfly Park, located in the Crocker Range, is a complex of high altitude hills, up to 1500m, extending southward from this summit. These hills are mostly covered with primary forest in which at least 8000 species of plants including 2500 species of trees have been recorded and this area is one of the most important biodiverse sanctuaries in the world. The entomological fauna of this area is one of the richest of the world.

The Butterfly Garden is where some of the rarest species are bred, like the Rajah Brooke's and golden birdwings. This activity is a part of a joint project with the Sabah Wildlife department aiming to release them in the forest for the repopulation of threatened species in the wild.

The Insects Museum will surprise you by the great diversity of shapes and beautiful colours of the various insects. The insectarium has over 500 butterflies and over 3000 beetles, particularly long horned, chafers and stag beetles and especially many endemic species which can only found in the Crocker Range such as the cyclommatus chewi.

The Native Plants Collection contains special enclosures constructed to house some of the rare and endangered orchids and pitcher plants of Sabah, a joint conservation project with the Sabah Wildlife Department, storing more than 500 species of native orchids, 28 species of the carnivorous pitcher plants (Nepenthes), 40 species of Hoyas (wax flowers) and 5 species of lipstick flowers (Aeschynanthus) and other native plants.

Source: Kipandi Butterfly Park

Tunku Abdul Rahman Park

The marine park is a cluster of islands comprising Pulau Gaya, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamutik and Pulau Sulug, all only 10 - 20 minute speedboat ride from the city of Kota Kinabalu. The five islands of the Marine Park are characterized by shallow waters, sumptuous coral gardens and all boast splendid white sandy beaches.

The reefs lie in shallow waters with little current making it an ideal location for novice divers, however, the diverse and sometimes rare marine creatures also make it an interesting dive location for experienced divers and underwater photographers.

To dive in the marine park you must contact one of the local dive centers based in Kota Kinabalu who also offer a full variety of PADI courses ranging from Discover Scuba to Instructor.

Among the sandy seabed a good variety of marine life can be found such as Scorpion fish, Blue-spotted rays, cuttlefish, mantis shrimps and the occasional green or hawksbill turtle. At some locations, rare creatures such as the harlequin ghost pipefish and mandarin fish can be found especially with the help from local dive guides.

Source: Sabah Tourism