Discovering the best of Malaysia by boat
MALAYSIA is a beautiful, friendly and culturally rich travel destination. River safaris and cruises are the highlight of a stay in Malaysia. These safaris and cruises are well organised and accompanied by expert guides, and present an interesting and exciting way to explore the country’s interior.
The mighty Batang Rejang (Rejang River), the Amazon of Borneo, is the longest river in Sarawak. Batang Rejang is located in northwest Borneo and it originates in the Iran Mountains. It is characterized by its vast rainforest, diverse eco-systems and multiple ethnic tribes living along the river.
You can travel from Kuching, across the South China Sea and then up the river to Sibu and beyond to Kapit. The best time for a trip up the Rejang is in late May and early June.
This is the time you can enjoy Gawai, the Dayak harvest festival. Visitors can also stay overnight in a local longhouse to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime insight into the lifestyle of the tribes that call the wild river their life-source and untamed rainforest their home.
Baleh-Kapit Raft Safari
Those who would like a healthy holiday will enjoy the Baleh-Kapit Raft Safari. First introduced in 1996, the bamboo rafting competition is held as a reminder of the traditional modes of transport used in olden times. It normally takes place in the month of April. The competition is very challenging and it covers approximately 50km, starting from Rumah Ajai and Rumah Anding in the Baleh River. The final stop is Kapit, three hours away.
The Baleh-Kapit Raft Safari has become one of the most challenging and exciting sports events in the country. Participants are given the opportunity to show their physical and mental skills against various rapids along Sarawak’s notorious Baleh River. The actual goal of the event is giving the competitors the experience of traveling the river, getting to know the rich Iban culture in their natural environment and practicing a different lifestyle for a few days.
Melaka/Malacca River Boat Tour
Visitors must not miss the interesting and unique Malacca River Boat Tour. A couple of hours south of Kuala Lumpur on the west coast, Malacca is famous for its Portuguese and Dutch colonial architecture. Passengers on the Malacca River cruise can enjoy the multi-cultural and historical fabric of the town. They can see old churches, mosques, bridges, clan houses, warehouses and temples. The cruise also sails under several old bridges that link the two sides of the river which offer visitors a pleasant and easy way get a sense of the culture and history of the city.
The ride takes about 40 minutes and is available daily at 30-minute intervals between 9.30am and 12 midnight. Seats at the back of the boat are best for photo opportunities and it is advisable to go on an evening cruise as this is a particularly beautiful cruise after sunset. The tour boats leave from a pier on the Malacca River near the city’s Maritime Museum and it costs only RM10.
Kuantan Village Fireflies
A trip to Malaysia would be incomplete without discovering the wonder of the Kuantan Village Fireflies. The fireflies aren’t flies but are in fact tiny beetles, residing only in mangrove areas; lining the banks of the river, to feed on nectar from the leaves and to attract mates with their sparkling flashing. The sight of the Fireflies dancing like twinkling stars in the black night is one to remember forever.
You can buy tickets for the boat from the visitor centre at Kampung Kuantan. The ticket includes a drink and a snack. The cruise takes about 40 minutes and if possible it’s best to go on a moonless night when this natural spectacle is at its most wonderful.
Kinabatangan River cruises provide an exciting and rewarding trip for nature-lovers and bird-watchers. By cruising down the river, you will experience the rare birds of Borneo and the unique wildlife found in this region. If you are lucky you may spot orangutans, proboscis monkeys, pygmy elephants, crocodiles and various birds.
The best time to go is from April to October which is generally fairly dry and a good time to spot many birds and animals. You can get to Kinabatangan with AirAsia or Malaysia Airlines. Kinabatangan River is interesting at any time of the year, well suited for a family trip, and highly educational for kids.eys, pygmy elephants, crocodiles and various birds.
Source: Asian Correspondence