5 Places to Get a Natural High in Asia

Printed on shopping bags is a plea for our future survival, “Please Reuse. Then Recycle.” Our world is hungry for solutions to keep our earth alive. And travelers can become a part of this great mission to save our planet by taking the time to appreciate some of nature’s best.

In Malaysia, the Mulu National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features the world’s largest caves. Experience caving expeditions and marvel at the bats and swiftlets that inhabit these caverns. It’s an awesome place to take the family on a picnic or to swim in the Garden of Eden and River Walk. The park also offers a tour of medicinal plants. A must-see is the pinnacle formations that stand 40 to 50 metres high.

The cute lemurs in the movie Madagascar are actually an endangered species. Singapore’s Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is home to these wide eyed fur balls that hop from tree to tree. Trekking is easy with marked paths throughout the jungle where you will find exotic birds, butterflies, monkeys and squirrels among others. The reserve is surrounded by four reservoirs and also features unique plant life. If you’re up for a challenge, hike up Bukit Timah Hill – the highest point of Singapore 164 metres above sea level, also within the reserve. Hiking and nature walks are limited to no more than 30 people to avoid ruining native flora and fauna.

Poaching of turtle eggs, pollution and beach development threaten the existence of the Olive Ridley sea turtles, the world’s smallest species of sea turtle. Most Olive Ridley sea turtles can be found on the shores of the Indo-Pacific. India’s Gahirmatha Turtle Sanctuary is a beautiful reserve that allows you to enjoy the sun and the sand, as well as develop your knowledge of this endangered species.

For bird watchers, the Zhalong Nature Reserve in China is the perfect destination. With 296 types of birds, it’s paradise for any serious bird watcher. Built to protect cranes, this is the largest wetland ecological reserve in China. The site is a major migratory route for birds as well as a breeding ground for storks, white ibis and swans. So pull out your camera and snap away at these beauties. Who knows, your exhibit could make a difference.

The Sea Cow or Dugong is often hunted for its meat and oil, and is on the verge of extinction. At the El Nido Marine Reserve Park in the Philippines, the Dugong makes an appearance once a year. Here they have a regular spot to return to knowing they’ll be taken care of. The park has a diverse ecosystem that includes rainforests, mangroves, white sand beaches, coral reefs and limestone cliffs. Manta rays can also be seen in its waters. El Nido is perfect if you want to soak up the sun and enjoy the wonders of the wild.

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