Captivating scenery, golden temples, cultural sights, and incredible highlights go hand in hand with bustling marketplaces, sizzling street food and new friends – it’s pretty much on par for any Asian holiday.
One thing that many travelers haven’t realized is that Asia is home to a vast and varied wildlife – and we’re not talking the local zoo (although Asia has some of the best in the world for animal conservation and breeding programs). The sustainability and protection of Asia’s wilds and the animals that reside there is of increasing importance to the local peoples, their governments, tourism, environmentalists and to travelers at large. Asia’s astoundingly wide and varied landscapes is as unique and diverse as the distinctive animals who live there – ranging from jungles and forested mountain landscapes, monkeys, tigers and pristine marine environments.
We take a look at popular Asian destinations for viewing wildlife in their natural habitats, and the efforts of the many who seek to protect them. Let’s explore…
Ranthambore National Park, India
Set your sights on Northern India to see the majestic Indian Tiger. Ranthambore National Park is highly revered for its conservation work in hosting the natural habitat of the elusive and rare Royal Bengal Tiger. In recent years the Indian Government has additionally sought to protect this area’s bio-diversity and limit the number of tourists to the area. However, there are still nature safari’s available for fleeting first-hand views of a wild tiger within almost impenetrable environment. Hiding in the wilds nearby are elephants, leopards and crocodiles, which makes it still a popular destination for wildlife lovers and eco-tourists.
Ranthambore is also home to incredible heritage sites such as the mighty Ranthambore Fort, Jogi Mahal, and the Rajbagh ruins. It’s a mesmerising mix of tigers and other species plus the beauty of nature all packed into one trip.
Chitwan National Park, Nepal
To spot the rare Indian Rhino alongside the Bengal Tiger in one animal reserve, you have to visit Nepal’s Chitwan National Park. Located at the foot of the Himalayas, this UNESCO World Heritage Centre is one of the remaining undisturbed regions. Among the rich and stunning flora and fauna you’ll find single-horned Asiatic rhinoceros, backdropped by the spectacular mountainous landscape of the Himalayas. Forested hills, tumbling rivers, ever-changing mountain scenes and diverse wildlife all create an unforgettable snapshot of the Indian Himalaya foothills that you won’t soon forget.
Borneo Orangutan Survival Centre, Indonesia
Journey into the very heart of a Borneo rainforest to discover the beauty of the orangutan. As Asia’s only great ape, it is exclusively located in Borneo and Sumatra. With a high intelligence, the Orangutan is considered to be one of our closest living relatives. With protection as a primary focus, and the promotion of a sustainable, healthy habitat and environment, this Survival Sanctuary has been instigated to preserve and protect against deforestation, and to assist with Orangutan and human interactions in the hope that each can peacefully coexist. When visiting this region, your environmental impact should be strongly considered, as is the need to reduce potential over-tourism which may harm the living conditions of these majestic wild animals. Before you visit, we suggest that you to take note of those who promote the bio-diversity of the region and aim, through contributions or support, for responsible tourism.
Yala and Wilpattu National Parks, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is truly an eco-tourist’s dream come true. Despite being a relatively small island, it is home to over 20 National Parks, and wildlife spotting is an everyday activity. On a wildlife safari, you may have the chance to spy graceful leopards as they hunt, dangling sloth bears feasting on fruit or elephants splashing in the rivers of their natural habitat – uninterrupted by the modern day. Yala and Wilpattu both offer awe-inspiring scenery, uninterrupted for miles around – it’s a captivating wildlife experience you will never forget. Make sure you bring your camera – you’re gonna need it!
Komodo, Ambon, and Raja Ampat, Indonesia
When you think Indonesia, the first tourist destination the often comes to mind is usually Bali. Those pristine beaches are just irresistible! However, if you’re looking for an Asian wildlife exploration under the sea, we can suggest a few hidden gems that will fill your underwater wanderlust. Komodo – home of the dragons (see the largest lizards on earth), Ambon and Raja Ampat – all perfect opportunities for a marine adventure, unlike any other in the world.
Indonesia boasts one of the world’s most diverse corners of the Coral Triangle – an epicenter of world marine biodiversity. Think of an almost endless number of rare marine animals, shipwrecks, a breathtaking variety of secluded coral covered caves, pristine reefs and underwater walls all full to the brim of extraordinary creatures. Discover a truly incredible underwater adventure today.
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