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Asia is a natural haven for wildlife, providing a home for some of the most beguiling species on the planet. A continent blessed with diverse geography, warm climates and vast stretches of terrain and watery wonderlands ideally suited to mammals, reptiles and amphibians, Asia affords some truly magnificent wildlife spotting opportunities. For animal lovers and nature enthusiasts, there’s a plethora of once in a lifetime wildlife experiences available for your holiday to Asia.
Asia is famed for its orangutan, elephant and panda populations, but it’s also possible to spot several lesser-known creatures in their natural habitats here. When visiting Asia and taking part in wildlife tours and animal excursions, take time to learn about conservation work and programmes that protect native and endangered species, whilst also visiting reputable facilities and sanctuaries that treat animals well.
By joining organised Asia tours, visitors can appreciate magical creatures in their natural environment and do their bit to support local and global efforts to protect endangered species. Orphanages, wildlife parks and sanctuaries help to care for injured and vulnerable animals, providing visitors with an opportunity to marvel at the beauty, grace and power of Asia’s most notorious residents in a more responsible way.
There is a stunning array of wildlife tours in Asia on offer for those hoping to snap treausured holiday photos and meet some of the planet’s most intriguing and precious gems. Don’t miss these top five wildlife experiences in Asia.
Separated from Malaysia by the South China Sea, the island of Borneo is home to one of the most treasured species on planet Earth. The Bornean orangutan is famed for its flame-orange fur and impossibly cute, expressive face.
On your Borneo holiday, there are several sites where it’s possible to see orangutans, including Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. This famous facility provides a safe sanctuary for nature’s most recognisable primate and these beautiful creatures are free to roam through the forests, swinging from the trees. The centre promotes awareness and runs conservation projects, as well as playing a vital role in raising orphaned orangutans.
Established in 1964, there are now around 80 orangutans thriving in the safe, serene environment created by volunteers and wildlife experts here. The centre has provided treatment and rehabilitative care for numerous other animals over the years as well, including gibbons, elephants and sun bears.
Visiting orangutans in a sanctuary or wildlife centre enables visitors to see and watch these fabulously entertaining animals in a safe environment. Orangutans are endangered and the best way to enjoy Borneo orangutan holidays is to admire these colourful, characterful apes in a way that doesn’t threaten their natural habitat or upset them in any way.
Find out more about our Borneo Adventure Tour today.
It’s very common to see photographs of tourists posing with elephants in Thailand. Whilst it’s an incredible experience to be able to get up close and personal with nature’s gentle giants, it’s crucial to choose the right elephant experience on your Thailand holiday.
Elephant sanctuaries in Thailand aim to provide respite care and relief for injured, old elephants, offering visitors the chance to support ethical causes that nurture and care for this special species. The elephants that are looked after at the Elephant Nature Park, for example, are treated by caring, dedicated volunteers, and the elephants interact with travellers and tourists on their own terms. This facility, which is easily accessible from Chiang Mai in the North, is famed for its friendly atmosphere and its commitment to responsible tourism. Here, it is possible to feed rescue elephants under the supervision of the volunteers.
An overnight Elephant Nature Park enables guests to enjoy the wonderful opportunity to meet the elephants, whilst the journey also provides beautiful views of the Mae Taeng Valley. Visitors will stay overnight in a traditional bamboo room, waking early to enjoy another morning with the elephants before heading back to Chiang Mai.
For those visiting Thailand’s beautiful islands, there is an option to hang out with the elephants at Koh Samui Elephant Sanctuary. Nestled among 10 acres of dense forestland, this is a stunning spot that offers retirement for elephants who have been forced to work or transport tourists in their past. These rescued elephants now spend their days plodding through woodland and splashing around in the pools and falls. Visitors have the opportunity to watch the elephants play and to feed them some tasty snacks too.
South from Koh Samui is Elephant Hills, an African style safari camp tucked within Khao Sok National Park that allows visitors to get up close and personal with Asia’s gentle giant in a safe and ethical manner. Guests can choose from a 2 day Jungle Safari, 3 day Jungle Lake Safari and 4 day Rainforest Nature Safari; each includes an elephant encounter and canoe safari, though longer stays include overnight visits to the unique floating Rainforest Camp and time on the impressive Cheow Lan Lake.
Pandas are among the most precious species in the world. This elusive black and white bear, perhaps best known for consuming vast quantities of bamboo, is visible in zoos around the world, but nothing rivals seeing pandas in their natural habitat.
China’s panda population is a major draw for animal aficionados the world over and there’s something incredibly special about catching a glimpse of a panda in the wild. Wild pandas are only found in China and most of us are aware of them only through books, videos and footage captured and shared by sanctuaries.
A panda tour in China is the perfect way to see some of this country’s most iconic attractions and landmarks, at the same time as meeting its most famous resident. Having explored the Great Wall and the bustling, vibrant city of Beijing, visitors will make for the tranquil countryside located to the north of Chengdu. Here, the first port of call is Dujiangyan Panda Base, which provides refuge to these furry, monochrome giants with the aim of releasing them back into the wild. Covering an area that spans over 50 hectares, this incredible facility houses a panda hospital too.
The programme focuses on key areas, including disease prevention, rescue and quarantine, feeding and training, research and has a public area which is used for education purposes. While at the base, visitors can explore and learn all about the pandas and the amazing services on offer at the centre.
The next stop on your panda tour is the nearby Panda Conservation Centre in Chengdu. A pioneer of panda conservation projects, this is a base that affords unrivalled opportunities to see pandas, learn all about the importance of conservation work and efforts to protect this marvellous species and to create a brighter future.
Bali is an island renowned for its sweeping golden beaches and glistening waters but it’s also a hotspot for wildlife. When on holiday in Bali, animal lovers should not miss out on the opportunity to see native species and to learn about ethical projects and schemes that are underway to protect the future of local creatures like turtles and monkeys.
The Turtle Release and Monkey Forest Day Tour is a highlight for many travellers to Bali. This half-day excursion begins in the tree-lined canopies of the Alas Kedaton monkey forest and treats guests to the chance to spot monkeys scampering around the trees and turtles scuttling up the shoreline.
The forest boasts a large population of macaques, which can often be seen swinging on the branches of imposing nutmeg trees. Having watched these athletic apes in action, guests will head to the next destination on the list, Serangan Island. Here, visitors will be welcomed by the team at the Turtle Conservation and Education Centre. This centre plays a critical role in shielding and nurturing baby turtles in Bali in preparation for their release into the wild. Visitors on this trip will enjoy the magical experience of meeting the baby turtles and then helping the volunteers release them into the ocean.
Cambodia is a fascinating country, which is steeped in history. One of the most interesting parts of Cambodia’s war history is the use of ‘hero rates’. During the 1980s and 1990s, thousands of landmines were planted with the majority concentrated in Cambodia’s rural parts. Sadly, many human lives were lost throughout the war and thousands of people lost limbs from landmines too. To combat the risk of landmines to humans and restore lands that have been previously rendered unsafe, an NGO known as Apopo trained African Giant Pouches Rats to detect landmines. These inquisitive rodents, affectionately known as hero rats in Cambodia, have an incredible sense of smell and their lightweight frames enable them to find the mines without triggering an explosion. Once a landmine has been flagged by a hero rat, a specially trained team marks the spot and carries out a controlled explosion.
The Hero Rats Day Tour provides an opportunity for visitors to learn all about the wondrous skills of the hero rats, meet them and to get an insight into the impact of landmines throughout Cambodia’s chequered past.
When it comes to wildlife experiences, Asia is a treasure trove of habitats that provide visitors with a chance to enjoy some of the most memorable and unique animal experiences in the world. From pandas, elephants and orangutans to turtles, monkeys and hero rats, there is an impressive array of insightful, ethical and exciting animal escapades on offer for your multi centre holiday to Asia.