National parks in Malaysia

10 Best National Parks in Malaysia

National parks protect the natural environment and preserve ecosystems for future generations. Malaysia, a country situated in Southeast Asia, is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna and has many national parks that aim to protect and conserve these precious resources. In this article, we will explore the importance of national parks in Malaysia and delve into the unique features and attractions of some of the most popular national parks in the country. Join us on a journey through Malaysia’s stunning natural landscapes, and discover this country’s wealth of biodiversity.

Overview of National Parks in Malaysia

National parks in Malaysia are protected areas set aside for conserving natural resources such as flora, fauna, and natural habitats. These parks preserve the country’s rich biodiversity and natural heritage. Malaysia has over 30 national parks, each with unique features and attractions. Some of the most popular national parks include Taman Negara, Bako National Park, Gunung Mulu National Park, and Kinabalu Park.

Taman Negara, which is the oldest and largest national park in Malaysia, boasts an incredible rainforest canopy walkway, while Gunung Mulu National Park is known for its spectacular cave systems. Malaysia’s national parks cover an area of over 4.4 million hectares, making up nearly 14% of the country’s land area. These protected areas are crucial in ensuring the continued survival of the country’s endangered species and unique ecosystems.

Importance of Malaysia National Park

The national parks in Malaysia are not only essential for preserving the natural environment, but they also play a crucial role in the conservation of the country’s unique and diverse ecosystems. Many of the national parks are home to threatened or endangered species, such as the Malayan tiger, Bornean orangutan, and clouded leopard, and provide a safe haven for these animals to thrive. In addition, these protected areas are crucial for maintaining ecological balance and regulating the country’s water supply. 

National parks also promote sustainable tourism, allowing visitors to appreciate the natural beauty of Malaysia’s landscapes while generating income for local communities. The revenue generated from tourism activities in national parks contributes to the country’s economy and supports these areas’ continued protection and conservation efforts. As such, it is essential to continue to protect and preserve Malaysia’s national parks to ensure that future generations can continue to benefit from the ecological, social, and economic benefits they provide.

Associated post: 24 Best Islands in Malaysia

Malaysia National Parks Characteristics

National parks of Malaysia are known for their unique characteristics, which make them popular destinations for nature lovers and adventure seekers. These parks offer diverse landscapes, from dense rainforests to rugged mountain peaks and stunning beaches, each with unique features and attractions. Also, Malaysia’s national parks are home to abundant rare and endangered flora and fauna, making them valuable conservation areas.

One of the most significant features of Malaysia’s national parks is their biodiversity. These protected areas are home to a vast range of plant and animal species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. For example, Taman Negara National Park is home to over 14,000 species of plants, including the world’s largest flower, the Rafflesia, and an array of wildlife, including the Malayan tiger, Asian elephant, and sun bear.

Another characteristic of Malaysia’s national parks is their accessibility. Many of these parks are easily accessible from major cities, making them popular destinations for locals and international visitors. Some of the more remote parks, such as Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak, require a bit more effort to reach, but the effort is rewarded with some of the most stunning landscapes and unique features.

Finally, Malaysia’s national parks offer a range of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy, from hiking and camping to birdwatching and rapid shooting. These activities provide an opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the parks and experience the unique cultures of the local communities that live in and around them.

Overall, the biodiversity, accessibility, and range of activities offered by Malaysia’s national parks make them a must-visit destination for anyone interested in nature and outdoor adventure.

Visiting National Park in Malaysia

Planning a visit to a national park in Malaysia is a great way to experience the country’s natural beauty and diverse wildlife. To plan a visit, visitors should first decide which park they would like to explore and research the best time to visit to avoid extreme weather conditions. Activities available in national parks include hiking, camping, and wildlife watching, and visitors can choose from various guided tours or explore on their own.

However, visitors must follow the rules and regulations set by the national park authorities to ensure their safety and preserve the natural environment. Some of the regulations include staying on designated trails, refraining from littering, and not disturbing wildlife. It is also essential to be aware of potential hazards such as flash floods and wildlife encounters and to take appropriate precautions. Proper planning and adherence to regulations allow visitors to have a memorable experience while supporting the conservation of Malaysia’s national parks.

Top 10 National Parks in Malaysia

Taman Negara Pahang

Taman Negara Pahang, also known as Taman Negara National Park, is one of Malaysia’s most famous national parks. It is located in Pahang and encompasses over 3,000 square kilometers of lush tropical jungle and breathtaking landscapes.

Established in 1938, Taman Negara Pahang has long been revered as a top destination for eco-tourism and biodiversity conservation. The park’s various habitats provide refuge to an abundance of fauna and flora species endemic to Southeast Asia, including some of the world’s oldest trees, which are more than 130 million years old. It also serves as a haven for endangered animals like tigers, elephants, rhinoceros, tapirs, and sun bears.

The park offers many recreational activities, such as trekking through its verdant rainforest trails, birdwatching at the hides near water bodies, or simply appreciating nature from observation towers across the forest canopy. Additionally, visitors can partake in overnight camping trips that range from 1 night up to 5 nights, depending on their preference.

As part of an effort to conserve wildlife while providing safe access to tourists, special zones have been designated where people can observe wild animals without disturbing them too much.

Due to its diverse environment and well-maintained facilities and amenities provided by local authorities, Taman Negara Pahang remains one of the best national parks in Malaysia today. Moving forward into Penang National Park, another popular protected area in this region.

Take a deeper look at Taman Negara Pahang

national aprk of malaysia
Stunning view of Taman Negara forest from Sungai Tembeling River in Malaysia.

Penang National Park

Penang National Park, located on the northern tip of the Malaysian island of Penang, is an incredibly diverse natural landscape. Formally established in 2003, and covers a total area of 2,562 hectares, making it the smallest National Park in Malaysia. Penang National Park is home to various flora and fauna, including rare species such as flying foxes, dusky leaf monkeys, white-handed gibbons, macaques, mouse deer, monitor lizards, and over 150 species of birds.

national parks in Malaysia
Penang National Park

The park offers activities for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike; from jungle trekking to birdwatching, visitors can explore its unique biodiversity. Visitors can also participate in educational tours. Even guided boat tours are available, where one can observe wildlife up close while enjoying stunning views across the Andaman Sea.

In addition to being popular amongst tourists due to its picturesque scenery and array of recreational activities, Penang National Park plays an essential role in environmental protection by preserving habitats that provide refuge to endangered animal species and serving as a buffer zone against ocean pollution caused by human activity.

With careful management and collaboration between local communities and government entities, this national park has become a cornerstone for sustainable development in Malaysia.

Next will be Taman Negara Endau Rompin stands out as another significant protected area with similar objectives.

Taman Negara Endau Rompin

Taman Negara Endau Rompin, or the Endau Rompin National Park, is a protected area in Johor State, Malaysia. It covered an area of 687 km2 and was gazetted as a Malaysia national park in 1994 to protect its unique ecosystems, home to many endemic species.

This lush tropical rainforest contains some of the oldest flora and fauna in the world. The park’s rivers and wetlands provide habitats for fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals, including tapir, tigers, and elephants.

The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (PERHILITAN) manages the park through its Taman Negara Division. Their conservation efforts focus on preserving endangered species like the Sumatran rhino and protecting threatened habitats like peat swamp forests and mangroves from illegal logging activities. They also work with local communities to create awareness about environmental issues such as soil erosion due to deforestation.

Endau Rompin National Park provides opportunities for nature-based tourism activities such as jungle trekking, bird watching, fishing, and camping, which can help generate income for nearby villages while encouraging the sustainable use of natural resources. With increasing human pressure on its fragile ecosystems, however, conservation plans must remain dynamic to ensure the long-term protection of this valuable resource.

endau rompin national park
Endau Rompin National Park

Moving forward into Gunung Gading National Park will allow us to gain further insight into other aspects of Malaysian conservation initiatives.

Gunung Gading national Park

malaysia national park
World s largest flower, Rafflesia in Gunung Gading National Park

Gunung Gading National Park is a protected area located in Sarawak, Malaysia, covering an area of 4,107 hectares. This park is unique among national parks in Malaysia for being the home of the world’s largest flower, the Rafflesia. Visitors can witness this giant flower in full bloom, growing up to one meter in diameter. Besides the Rafflesia, Gunung Gading National Park is also home to many other plant species, wildlife, and insects that are endemic to the region.

Visitors can engage in various activities, such as jungle trekking, bird watching, and swimming in its natural pools. Gunung Gading National Park is an excellent destination for those who appreciate the beauty of nature and want to explore Malaysia’s diverse flora and fauna.

Bako National Park

Bako National Park is considered the most beautiful national park in Malaysia. Established in 1957, it was the first national park of Sarawak and has since become known as one of the most diverse parks in Southeast Asia, with over 150 species of plants and animals that call it home.

The surrounding area features beautiful beaches, mangroves, and rainforests, making Bako ideal for nature lovers, birdwatchers, and hikers alike. The park also offers several activities, from night walks through the jungle to boat rides upriver.

The surrounding area features beautiful beaches, mangroves, and rainforests, making Bako ideal for nature lovers, birdwatchers, and hikers alike. The park also offers several activities, from night walks through the jungle to boat rides upriver.

Visitors can explore the various caves around the park or dip at some of its secluded waterfalls. Several guided hikes are also available; these range from leisurely 30-minute strolls to more strenuous full-day treks.

With something for everyone, Bako National Park continues to draw visitors from across Malaysia and beyond year after year. Its unique combination of natural beauty and rich biodiversity makes it an essential part of Sarawak’s cultural heritage that generations should enjoy.

Bako National Park
Stunning towering cliff in Bako National Park

Moving on to Similajau National Park, we find another stunning example of the Malaysian biosphere.

Similajau National Park

Located near Bintulu in northern Sarawak, Similajau National Park covers over 19,420 hectares of land, including terrestrial areas and marine waters up to 3 nautical miles offshore. Established in 1984, this park is renowned for its rich biodiversity and is recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International. Visitors can spot rare birds, some of which are endemic to Sarawak, and mammals like the flying lemur, slow loris, and gibbons within the park’s boundaries.

Similajau National Park
Suspension bridge crossing the river in Similajau National Park

In addition to abundant wildlife populations, Similajau National Park offers recreational activities such as jungle trekking trails nearby its office headquarters at Kuala Jalong, where visitors can check out various educational displays about nature conservation before heading into the depths of the forest.

The beach stretches far southwards, too, providing visitors plenty of opportunities for sunbathing or swimming during low tide times throughout the year. With so much natural beauty present at this location, it’s no wonder why Similajau National Park continues to draw tourists each year despite its remote location in Northern Sarawak.

From here, we will focus on Niah National Park – another popular destination in Malaysia National Parks.

Niah National Park

Niah National Park is a stunningly beautiful area in the Miri Division of Sarawak state, Malaysia. With its lush rainforest and diverse range of wildlife, it is one of the most critical conservation sites in the country. The park covers an area of approximately 6,400 hectares and provides habitats for many species endemic to this part of Southeast Asia. Species at risk include orangutans, gibbons, macaques, hornbills, other birds, and numerous mammals.

The park also has tremendous cultural importance due to its archaeological significance, which dates back over 40 thousand years. Multiple caves provide evidence of human habitation during pre-historic times, including Niah Great Cave, where ancient artifacts have been discovered. It is estimated that humans have been living here since around 40 thousand BC making it one of the oldest known inhabited areas on Earth.

This unique national park offers visitors a rare opportunity to experience natural beauty and historical significance all in one place. In addition, its spectacular landscape provides recreational activities such as hiking trails, birdwatching and caving experiences, and opportunities for research into environmental science, anthropology, and archaeology through facilities like the Niah Caves Research Centre.

niah national park
Niah Caves in Niah National Park

From exploring hidden treasures deep inside caves to enjoying nature walks among towering trees – Niah National Park truly brings together history and nature in a memorable way. With these features combined, transitioning into Taman Negara Bukit Lambir will be equally rewarding for any visitor seeking outdoor adventure with educational value.

Lambir Hills National Park

Lambir hills national park, a beautiful national park in Miri Division, Sarawak, Malaysia, spans an extensive 2,428 hectares and boasts some of the oldest rainforests in Malaysia. Within this protected area, an astonishing array of over 1,000 plant species and diverse wildlife thrive, including monitor lizards, swiftlets, monkeys, and hornbills.

Lambir Hills National Park
Waterfalls in Lambir Hills National Park

Like other national parks in Malaysia function as conservation areas, this national park is a vital water catchment, nurturing nearby villages and townships with pristine drinking water sourced from its hills. The topography of Taman Negara Bukit Lambir encompasses steep slopes on surrounding hills and stretches to encompass low-lying valleys.

Nature enthusiasts can traverse several well-maintained trekking trails within the park, catering to different abilities and preferences, ranging from leisurely one-hour strolls to challenging multi-day hikes up the majestic mountain peaks. Moreover, designated camping sites throughout the park allow visitors to savor overnight stays immersed in untouched wilderness.

Taman Negara Bukit Lambir’s extraordinary biodiversity and breathtaking natural landscapes have propelled its popularity among both residents and international tourists. In addition, its strategic location holds promise for significant research prospects and positions it as a prominent ecotourism hub within Sarawak’s vast expanse of pristine forests and untamed terrains.

As we forge ahead, Taman Negara Bukit Lambir becomes a beacon of hope for sustainable conservation efforts across Malaysia’s diverse ecosystems. With this remarkable backdrop in mind, Gunung Mulu National Park is another great avenue for exploration and awe-inspiring discoveries, captivating nature enthusiasts worldwide.

Mulu National Park

Gunung Mulu National Park, situated in Sarawak, Malaysia, on the island of Borneo, showcases an expansive area encompassing over 5 million hectares of tropical rainforests, limestone karst formations, intricate cave systems, and awe-inspiring rivers and waterfalls. Since 2000, this remarkable national park has held the prestigious status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognized for its exceptional universal value and significance in conservation. Within the park’s boundaries, Southeast Asia’s most diverse and abundant wildlife habitats flourish, providing sanctuary to numerous species of mammals, birds, insects, and reptiles. Notably, the park’s caves harbor rare troglobites—organisms adapted to cave environments—found exclusively in this extraordinary setting.

The national park also offers exciting outdoor activities such as trekking through lush vegetation on boardwalks or visiting ancient burial sites where traditional artifacts have been found dating back thousands of years. In addition, visitors can explore underground caverns filled with stunning stalactite and stalagmite formations or go bird-watching around large lagoons and small creeks teeming with aquatic life forms. There are also opportunities to experience camping under starry skies amidst rich flora and fauna while listening to nocturnal animal calls echoing throughout the night sky.

With so much beauty residing within these protected boundaries, it is clear why Gunung Mulu National Park has become the top-list place to visit in Malaysia for tourists from all over the world looking to immerse themselves in nature’s wonders.

National Parks in Malaysia
Mulu National Park

Moving away from land-based parks, Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park lies off mainland Kota Kinabalu just minutes away via boat ride from Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal, making it one of Sabah’s most accessible marine parks offering snorkeling trips ideal for those who wish to enjoy close encounters with marine creatures without needing any prior diving knowledge or skillset.

Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park

Located off the coast of Sabah, Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park is one of Southeast Asia’s most diverse protected areas. This park has five islands: Gaya Island, Sapi Island, Manukan Island, Mamutik Island, and Sulug Islands. It has a total area of 8.9 km2 and was declared a marine park on March 24th, 1974. The primary purpose of this park is to protect its coral reef habitats while allowing visitors to appreciate the beauty of these natural wonders.

tunke abdul rahman marina park
Captivating aerial perspective showcasing the picturesque Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.

Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park offers visitors a range of activities, including snorkeling, diving, and island hopping around the five main islands. In addition, visitors can expect to observe abundant colorful fish species, such as angelfish, parrotfish, and clownfish, among others living among vibrant corals.

The marine park is part of Tun Sakaran Marine Park. Visitors experience spectacular views and breathtaking sunsets from Mount Bingkor at Pulau Sibuan or explore intriguing rock formations at Kapalai Reef’s sandbar near Mabul Islet.

The Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park plays host to many critical conservation efforts that help preserve its rich biodiversity; it serves as a sanctuary for endangered turtles and dugongs, provides refuge for migratory birds during the winter season, and acts as breeding grounds for various sea creatures like sharks, manta rays and other pelagic fishes.

In addition, local communities are actively engaged in various initiatives to ensure long-term sustainability within the marine ecosystem. All these efforts have led to the successful stewardship of this critical coastal resource over time.


How many national parks are there in Malaysia?

There are a total of 56 national parks in Malaysia.

What Activities Can I Do In The National Parks?

Malaysia’s national parks offer various activities for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Here are some popular activities you can enjoy in the national parks of Malaysia:

  1. Jungle Trekking: Embark on guided treks through lush rainforests, exploring diverse flora and fauna while immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the surroundings.
  2. Wildlife Watching: Observe unique and endangered wildlife species in their natural habitats, such as orangutans, tigers, elephants, gibbons, and various bird species.
  3. Camping: Set up camp in designated camping areas and spend a night under the stars, surrounded by the tranquility of nature.
  4. River Cruising: Take boat rides or cruises to explore rivers and waterways, providing opportunities to spot wildlife and enjoy scenic landscapes.
  5. Cave Exploration: Discover fascinating limestone caves, stalactites, and stalagmites, some of which contain ancient rock art and underground rivers.
  6. Canopy Walks: Experience the thrill of walking on elevated canopy walkways, offering a unique perspective of the rainforest and its inhabitants.
  7. Bird Watching: Malaysia is renowned for its diverse bird species, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. Spot colorful and rare birds in their natural habitats.
  8. Water Activities: Enjoy snorkeling, diving, swimming, or relaxing on pristine beaches in marine national parks like Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park or Pulau Tioman.
  9. Photography: Capture the stunning landscapes, wildlife, and plant species in the national parks, creating lasting memories of your visit.
  10. Educational Programs: Participate in educational programs and guided tours led by park rangers, allowing you to learn about the park’s ecosystem, conservation efforts, and cultural heritage.

Remember to check each national park’s specific rules and regulations, as some activities may require permits or have certain restrictions to ensure the preservation of the natural environment.

What is the largest national park in Malaysia?

The largest national park in Malaysia is Taman Negara National Park. It spans three states, namely Pahang, Terengganu, and Kelantan, covering a vast area of approximately 4,343 square kilometers (1,676 square miles). Taman Negara National Park is renowned for its ancient rainforests, diverse wildlife, and iconic landmarks such as Gunung Tahan, the highest peak in Peninsular Malaysia. The park’s immense size and ecological significance make it a prime destination for nature lovers and adventurers exploring Malaysia’s rich biodiversity.

What is the most beautiful national parks in Malaysia?

Malaysia is blessed with numerous stunning national parks, each with its unique beauty and attractions. It’s subjective to determine the “most beautiful” park, as beauty is in the eye of the beholder. However, one national park that is often regarded as exceptionally beautiful is Bako National Park.

Located in Sarawak, Bako National Park offers a breathtaking blend of diverse ecosystems, including lush rainforests, rugged cliffs, and picturesque beaches. Its landscapes range from dense jungle trails to dramatic rock formations, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts and photographers.

Bako National Park is known for its rich wildlife, including the proboscis monkeys, long-tailed macaques, and bearded pigs that roam freely within the park. The park is also home to various bird species, reptiles, and plant life.

Moreover, the park’s stunning coastline features secluded beaches, such as Teluk Pandan Kecil and Tanjung Sapi, where visitors can relax and enjoy the serenity of the surroundings.

While Bako National Park is often hailed as one of the most beautiful parks in Malaysia, it’s important to note that beauty is subjective, and each national park in Malaysia has its unique charm and appeal. Exploring different parks allows you to appreciate Malaysia’s diverse natural beauty.

Are There Any Special Permits Required To Visit The National Parks?

Yes, some national parks in Malaysia may require special permits or entry fees to visit. The requirements can vary depending on the specific park and the activities you plan to engage in. Here are a few examples:

  1. Taman Negara National Park: Visitors to Taman Negara National Park, one of the oldest rainforests in the world, are required to obtain an entry permit that can be purchased at the park entrance. Additionally, certain activities like fishing or night safaris may require separate permits.
  2. Kinabalu National Park: If you plan to climb Mount Kinabalu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the highest peak in Southeast Asia, you will need a climbing permit. It is advisable to book your climbing permit well in advance due to limited availability.
  3. Bako National Park: Located in Sarawak, Bako National Park requires an entry permit, which can be obtained at the park’s headquarters. Registering and paying the entrance fee before entering the park is recommended.
  4. Endau-Rompin National Park: This park may require an entry permit across Johor and Pahang states. It is advisable to check with the park authorities or obtain the necessary permits in advance.
  5. Marine Parks: Some marine national parks, such as Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park and Pulau Tioman Marine Park, require an entry fee or marine conservation fee, which is typically collected upon arrival at the park.

It is essential to research and plan ahead for your visit to ensure compliance with the specific requirements of the national park you intend to explore. Contacting the park authorities or checking their official websites for updated information will provide you with the most accurate and current permit requirements.


In conclusion, the national parks of Malaysia stand as invaluable treasures, preserving the country’s rich natural heritage and showcasing its remarkable biodiversity. These parks, such as Taman Negara, Gunung Mulu, and Bako National Park, offer breathtaking landscapes, rare wildlife encounters, and immersive experiences for visitors. Through active conservation efforts and sustainable tourism practices, Malaysia’s national parks serve as vital sanctuaries for endangered species, protect fragile ecosystems, and contribute to the country’s economy.

As visitors explore the depths of ancient rainforests, trek through rugged terrains, and immerse themselves in Malaysia’s national parks’ beauty, they create lasting memories and contribute to preserving and appreciating these natural wonders. Let us continue to appreciate and protect these national treasures for generations, fostering a harmonious relationship between humans and the natural world.