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The Beauty of Asia's Natural Wonders: A Guide to the Region's Hidden Gems

schedule7 Minute Read

17-Mar-2023 Laura Curtis

The Beauty of Asia's Natural Wonders: A Guide to the Region's Hidden Gems

How to explore the Continent of Contrasts as a nature-lover!

Asia may be famous for its contrasting cultures, rich flavours and fascinating remnants of civilizations gone by, yet its luscious landscapes and diverse wildlife seldom catch the attention of visitors. But don't discount the array of adventures for animal lovers and nature enthusiasts! With such a treasure trove of fauna and flora to discover, we're here to guide you through the crowning jewels of Asia's natural beauty.


TIME DIFFERENCE: 7 hours | CURRENCY: Cambodian Riel
Cambodia Rainforest
Cambodia Rainforest
A land of luscious greens and winding rivers, where crashing waves and towering forests whisper stories of long ago. Whilst Angkor Wat and Bayon Temple provide an insight into the country's complex culture, Cambodia's landscape is uniquely diverse, spanning low-lying plains and soaring mountains. And Cardamom National Forest is a captivating coalescence of some of the region's best offerings, where the Cardamom Mountains that are enveloped in mist meet the canopy of Southeast Asia's largest surviving rainforest.
This spellbinding eco-adventure is home to an abundance of wildlife, including over 60 threatened species. Its wide variety of wildlife include the Malayan sun bears, elephants, gibbons and clouded leopards who prowl the land; over 450 species of bird that soar through the skies; and even the critically rare Irrawaddy dolphin and Siamese crocodiles that are concealed in the river waters.
Turn your visit into the ultimate adventure with a choice of enthralling activities - from mountain biking, to foraging, swimming in waterfalls or even joining an anti-poaching patrol!


TIME DIFFERENCE: 5.5 hours | CURRENCY: Indian Rupee
Indian Tiger by waterfall
Indian Tiger by waterfall
As the world's most populous country and home to an enticing fusion of diversity across its landscapes, there is so much to delve into. But with the intel from our expert team, you'll be exploring in no time! And when it comes to uncovering the nature and wildlife of this vibrant part of the world, Ranthambore National Park is an absolute must.
The park takes its name from the hilltop fort that watches over the array of animals that call Ranthambore National Park their home. But this is just one of many relics and ruins that are scattered across the area and cloaked by the jungle. It was also once recognised as the famous hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur, shrouding this National Park in history, culture and of course a natural magnificence.
As one of the biggest and most renowned national parks in Northern India, Ranthambore National Park provides shelter to 40 species of mammals, 35 species of reptiles and 320 species of birds. Be prepared to spot Snub Nosed Marsh Crocodiles, Ganges Soft Shelled Turtles, Indian Pythons and even the Royal Bengal Tiger in action - the animals here are used to spectatorship and the tigers will not be shy to hunt in full view of any visitors.


TIME DIFFERENCE: 8 hours | CURRENCY: Indonesian Rupiah
Sumba Island Horses
Sumba Island Horses
When considering an idyllic Indonesian escape, Bali seems like the obvious choice. And of course, you are almost guaranteed to experience a tropical paradise should you head there, but why not venture further into Indonesia's natural beauty that is boundless across its thousands of islands. Promising pristine spots and unspoiled shores on the eastern edge of Indonesia is Sumba: where nature thrives, authentic villages stand and wild horses roam.
Despite earning a reputation as a surfer's paradise, Sumba is also a hidden treasure for any nature enthusiast. With transcendent vistas across valleys, rivers, waterfalls and jungle comes incredible opportunities to see citrus crested cockatoos and water buffalo. You are sure to be left enchanted as you picnic beside panoramic views of rice paddies as part of your paddleboarding river adventure, or dive into the cyan pools of the jungle-encased Wanukaka Valley after trekking through the island's verdancy.
Not only can you head out on these mesmerising nature treks, but tune into the soul of Sumba as you meet the island's horses! Native to the area but friendly to all visitors, you can trot along the sand at sunset on horseback, swim with these majestic creatures through the glistening seas or even try out horseback yoga meditation!


TIME DIFFERENCE: 8 hours | CURRENCY: Malaysian Ringgit
Kayaking Through Mangroves
Kayaking Through Mangroves
The ancient and wildlife-rich rainforest of Borneo has become renowned for its glimpses of incredible animals like sun bears, elephants and orangutans. And whilst travellers go wild for this iconic side of Borneo, don't be mistaken in thinking that this is where your adventures end! Just off the coast of the mainland, beside the mangroves and sandy shores of Malohom Bay, is Gaya Island; a resplendent sanctuary of coral reefs and exotic island vistas.
Here you can find a wealth of authentic experiences to bring you close to this remarkable island, including nature trails, marine excursions and a cornucopia of coral reefs that are a snorkellers paradise. And nature-lovers will be left in awe in their journey to experience the 7 Wonders of Gaya; the must-do encounters and experiences of the region. Kayak through the mangroves, find the Elephant Foot Yam, go searching for Red Giant Flying Squirrels, Twilight Fireflies and Proboscis Monkeys, meet the resident wildboars of the island and catch a sight of the rehabilitated Boobook owl Ninox!
Sat on the shores of the idyllic and crystal clear Tavajun Bay, it comes as no surprise that the island is also home to Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre. Taking a proactive role in Turtle Rescue, Coral Reef Restoration and Conservation through Education, visitors are encouraged to learn more of the island's conservation efforts.

Sri Lanka

TIME DIFFERENCE: 5.5 hours | CURRENCY: Sri Lankan Rupee
Yala National Park Leopard Trails
Yala National Park Leopard Trails
An artist's palette of a country with its rich colours has earnt Sri Lanka a reputation as one of 'the most beautiful islands in the world'. Across its well-preserved national parks and vast tea and spice plantations is a truly amazing variety of fauna and flora that are yearning for explorers.
This is a small island with a big reputation for wildlife encounters, where the rich green foliage of its national parks protect an abundance of magnificent species, from elephants to crocodiles and an array of rare birdlife. But arguably most enthralling of all is Yala National Park, home to the densest population of leopard in the world!
Whilst this kaleidoscope of natural brilliance is most famous for its spotted residents, the vast forest, rejuvenating water holes and exposed sand dunes house a whole kingdom of wildlife. Watch as elephants roam, deer scurry and over 200 bird species soar up above. But make sure you visit at the right time, with the park being closed between September and October every year and monsoon season finishing in December.
Discover more of the world's natural wonders by taking a look at our Tailor-made Itineraries page, or Elegant Traveller Blog
Laura  Curtis

Laura Curtis

Senior Copywriter

Whether it's a short-haul weekend away or an exciting international adventure, I'm always eager for my next trip. I've been lucky to travel in abundance, and each time I come home, I bring back unforgettable stories that I love to share.

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