Proboscis monkey - Alastair Donnelly

Our favorite wildlife vacations

When it comes to wildlife experiences in Asia, it’s impossible not to think of Borneo.

There are more plants and animals in Borneo than in Europe and North America put together, making it one of the best places in the world to immerse yourself in the mind-boggling diversity of nature. But it’s not the only wildlife hotspot in Asia. There are plenty of amazing nature-based experiences to be discovered across the continent, and we’ve collected some of our favorites below.

These span bonding with elephants in Myanmar and Thailand, checking camera traps and salt licks in the rainforests of Laos, and joining in with conservation efforts in the threatened wilderness of Cambodia’s Botum Sakor National Park. What they all have in common is a strong focus on environmental conservation, community-based tourism and animal welfare, so you can be certain that your visit will make a positive impact on the places, people and animals you visit.

Our top itineraries for wildlife lovers

A selection of itineraries focussing on wildlife and conservation

$2,600
Family
Activity
On the water
Scenery
Wildlife

This family trip has it all: tropical beaches, jungle adventure, hands-on culture and (best of all) elephants.

$4,800
Classic
Honeymoon
Active
Wildlife

Indulge your inner Attenborough and experience the world’s oldest rainforest in Sabah, Malaysia’s wildest state.

$3,400
Activity
Active
Adventure
Responsible entreprise
Scenery
Wildlife

Wild, tough and thoroughly rewarding, this is an intense, trekking-focused itinerary through the mountainous cloud forests of Laos.

$3,500
Activity
Adventure
Culture
Scenery
Wildlife

Wild, remote, and truly off the beaten track – this one’s for the real explorers among you.

$2,600
Family
Classic
Active
Adventure
Relaxation
Scenery
Wildlife

Orangutan encounters, whitewater rafting and jungle exploration: Borneo is the perfect setting for a family adventure.

$2,700
Activity
Classic
Active
Culture
Hands on
Wildlife

Let the kids discover Myanmar on this two-week trip to temples, fishing villages, beaches and the mighty Irrawaddy River.

Top destinations for nature buffs

Our favourite places to appreciate Asia’s spectacular wildlife

Borneo

Sepilok isn’t just the best place in North Borneo to see orangutans – it's one of the island’s premier conservation destinations, with exemplary projects doing fantastic work.

Borneo

Stay in an eco-lodge on the banks of Sabah’s longest river, where elephants, macaques and gibbons forage in the dense riverside foliage, and frogmouths, nightjars and hornbills wheel overhead.

Laos

A visit to Laos is all about the wild and untamed beauty of the mountains – and it doesn’t get much wilder and more untamed than this. Covering nearly 6,000 square kilometers, Nam Et-Phou Louey provides a haven for endangered animals.

Cambodia

Covering most of Preah Vihear Province in the remote northern plains, Kulen Promtep is a haven for rare birds, and one of the few remaining places to see the endangered giant ibis — Cambodia’s national bird.

Cambodia

A visit to Mondulkiri is about feeling as far away from civilization as it’s possible to be, sleeping in rainforest huts surrounded by the hoots of yellow-cheeked crested gibbons and trekking through jungle to meet rescued elephants.

Borneo

Danum Valley is one of the few places in the world that has never been settled, logged, hunted or otherwise interfered with by humans. Hidden in its untouched forests, wildlife thrives – from the world’s tallest tropical tree to the highest concentration of orangutans anywhere in the world.

Borneo

Covering an area twice the size of Singapore, come to Tabin for mud volcanoes, jungle trekking, an orangutan release center, and the chance to spot over 300 types of exotic bird – from the bronzed drongo to the blue-crowned hanging parrot.

Cambodia

Forget jostling with sharp-elbowed crowds to get that perfect sunrise snap of Angkor Wat. What if you could explore 800-year-old cave temples with only silver langur, barking deer and pileated gibbons for company?

Laos

Home to the largest elephant population in Laos – as well as a stellar conservation project working to ensure their survival – remote Sayaboury is one of our favorite places to get up close and personal with these gentle giants.

Cambodia

A tatty yet alluring colonial town on the Mekong River, not far from the Laos border, Kratie is one of a handful of places left in the world to spot the endangered Irrawaddy Dolphin.

Malaysia

Home to sun bears, elephants, Malayan tigers and clouded leopards, Taman Negara is among the oldest primary rainforest in the world. Explore its tangled depths on a treetop-skimming canopy walk, whitewater raft, or challenging mountain hike.

Wildlife-themed experiences

Our best guided tours and excursions for experiencing Asia’s wildlife

Danum Valley
Adventure
Wildlife

Exploring Danum Valley is an experience we’ll never forget. Miles upon miles from anywhere, surrounded by rainforest that’s never been logged, settled, or interfered with in any way, this is one of the richest natural wonderlands on Earth.

Sepilok
Insider
Wildlife

Named after the crescent-shaped patch of fur on its chest, the sun bear is the world‘s smallest bear.

Khao Sok NP
Responsible entreprise
Wildlife

Combine luxurious, safari-style tents with a world-class, animal-friendly elephant sanctuary — all set against the backdrop of the magical Thai rainforest — and you get one of our favorite wildlife experiences in Southeast Asia.

Kinabatangan River
On the water
Wildlife

A riverboat safari on the Kinabatangan River just might be the best wildlife experience in the world.

Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area
Adventure
Scenery
Wildlife

By night, the jungle comes alive with the hoots, squawks, screeches and chirps of a whole new cast of characters.

Luang Prabang
Responsible entreprise
Wildlife

We’ve seen a lot of wildlife sanctuaries in our time, and this one might be the very best.

Tabin Wildlife Reserve
Adventure
Wildlife

Malaysia’s largest wildlife reserve covers well over 1,000 sq km in the far east of Borneo yet is home to just one wildlife resort.

Responsible entreprise
Wildlife

If you love elephants as much as we do, you must visit Green Hill Valley. It’s a family-owned sanctuary that not only provides a refuge for ex-logging elephants, but also aims to preserve the natural environment and create working opportunities for people from the local villages.

Mulu National Park
Adventure
Scenery
Wildlife

Mulu National Park is home to some of the most impressive subterranean landscapes you’ll ever see.

Popular questions

Things we're often asked...

Do you let people ride elephants?

In short, no. Animal welfare is one of our core principles, and we adhere to the guidelines laid out by WAP (World Animal Protection). WAP recommends against elephant rides because training the elephants to do so usually involves cruel breaking-in techniques, and so we do not support any animal sanctuary that continues this practice.

Can you help me see orangutans in Borneo?

Yes! If you are interested in seeing rescued orangutans in rehabilitation, the orangutan sanctuaries at Sepilok and Semenggoh are the best places to do so. Sightings in the wild are never guaranteed, but we can certainly point you to the places where you’ll have the very best chances.

How likely is it that I’ll see wildlife on my vacation?

Wild animal sightings can never be guaranteed — that’s part of the excitement of it! — but there are places where you’re much more likely to spot wildlife than others. Borneo is the undisputed capital of animal-spotting in Asia, and within Borneo certain locations (such as the Kinabatangan River) have a much higher concentration of wildlife than others. Conservation centers such as Sepilok’s Orangutan Rehabilitation Center also offer a great chance to see animals being rehabilitated for release into the wild.

Where are the best places to see wildlife in Asia?

The best place in Asia to see wildlife is Borneo — but it’s by no means the only place. There are some fantastic nature-based experiences to be found across Asia, whether wildlife is the focus of your trip or just an element.

Cambodia has the largest contiguous rainforest area on continental Southeast Asia, making it our second-favorite destination for wildlife and conservation experiences, while Laos has remote and rugged national parks where you can sleep in “nests” hanging from the trees and go for night safaris into the jungle. There are also some excellent, highly welfare-conscious elephant sanctuaries you can visit in Laos, Myanmar and Thailand.

What kinds of things can I do on a wildlife themed vacation?

Our wildlife trips have a strong focus on conservation, so expect to be sleeping in eco-lodges in national parks, helping rangers check camera traps for sightings of rare animals, and seeing first-hand how community-based tourism can help protect the environment and support sustainable local development.

You’ll also have lots of opportunities for wildlife-spotting, including river cruises to watch animal life on the riverbanks, and nature walks to learn about medicinal plants, creepy crawlies and birds. To have the best chance of spotting lots of interesting wildlife, you need to head out at different times of day — so you should also expect dawn excursions to observation towers, and night safaris to spotlight nocturnal critters!

How dangerous are the animals in Asia?

There are dangerous animals in Asia, as there are in most parts of the world, but they’re usually more anxious to avoid you than you are to avoid them! The chances of coming into close contact with any dangerous animals is close to zero, but even if you did, you’ll always be accompanied by an expert local guide who’ll point out the hazard and know exactly what to do.

Proboscis monkey - Alastair Donnelly

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