The Crocker Range National Park is situated in the rugged Crocker range that divides the western coastal plains from the rest of Sabah. Lying more than 300 meters above sea level, it is spread over 139,919 hectares of densely forested terrain. The Padas River, which bisects the range between Beaufort and Tenom on its journey southwest, is just one of the twelve that flow through these mountains. Passage by boat used to be the only option until a railway was built. Nowadays mostly locals travel in these rugged areas, which are completely off the beaten track.
The vegetation is predominately a mix of dipterocarp forest and the montane forest of the upper slopes. The bright yellow flowers of the Dillenia suffruticosa, a woody shrub usually found in fertile, deforested soil are a common feature here. So too are the Tetrastigma, the wild vine, playing host to the Rafflesia Pricie, one of the three parasitic Rafflesia species found in Sabah’s mountain ranges.
The forest is home to at least five species of primates such as Orangutan, gibbons and the furry tarsier.
Here too resides the extremely sociable long tailed macaque. Bears, civets cats, marble cats and wild pigs also roam the forest floor while hornbills, pheasants and partridges may be spotted flitting between the dense foliage.
The Interior, once isolated from the west coast by the knife-edged and densely forested mountains of the Crocker Range, can now be reached by the rail linking Beaufort with Tenom and by scaled road. This road passes through Penampang, today virtually a suburb of the Kinabalu but for generations, an important center for the rice-growing Kadazan.
Winding sharply and steeply up the Crocker Range, the roads affords dramatic glimpses of both Mount Kinabalu and the city and nearby islands. A typical Jungle Trekking tour across the Crocker Range will take at least 3 days trekking across terrains, camping and visiting villages along the way. Some excursion last more than a week. This area is criss crossed by numerous hunting trails used by the local Dusuns who stay in scattered and isolated villages. A 3-4 days trekking through this area from 1,600 m down to sea level is an experience not to be missed.
In Sarawak, well-know trekking sites are at Mount Santubong, starting from Camp Permai, Similajau National Park Bintulu, Niah Mulu and Labir National Parks near Miri and Bako and Kubah National Parks, near Kuching. Trekking can be very informative with the existence of all kinds of tress, birds, unique plants and insects to identified. Treks are also held from time to time by the Malaysian Nature Society, Government bodies, volunteers researchers, scientist to such preserved areas as the Endau Rompin Forest Reserve. Such expeditions are usually organised by professionals for education and scientific purposes.
In a country the size of England covered by an ancient, virgin rainforest the size of Austria, Sarawak offers some of the world’s best jungle treks.
You don’t need to mount an expedition to see the jungle, the national parks have well-marked trails that offer half-day and full day walks to trips lasting a week or more. While the national park trails are well marked, for longer treks you will need a guide and porters to carry camping equipment.
When trekking always wear light and quick drying clothing.
Some people prefer to wear long trousers and long-sleeve shirts to ward off insects, leeches and scratches. But, you will probably find your guide clad in shorts and T-shirt. Good hiking boots or walking shoes are a must, as are sun block, insect repellant, sunglasses and plenty of water.
Whenever you are setting off on a trek, be it a half-day stroll, or a week-long hike, always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to reach your destination. That way, someone will be alerted should you get lost. Leeches give many people the horrors. They shouldn’t. They may be unpleasant but they are harmless. Don’t pull them off, just apply a burning cigarette end or salt and the leeches will drop off.
That’s one of the reasons why your guide wears shorts and not long trousers. He prefers to see the leeches so he can get rid of them quickly.
Short trekking tours through farmlands and virgin forest of Brunei’s Ulu Temburong National Park are ideal for those who enjoy or would like to try trekking. To get the best out of such tours and learn about the unique rainforest, an experienced guide is indispensable and can be booked through a travel agency.
The national park is located within the Batu Apoi Forest Reserved. It has an area of approximately 50,000 hectares. Due to its location, terrain and conservation purposes, human impact here has been limited. The area is rich in biodiversity.
Most of the development of the facilities and amenities have been undertaken by the Forestry Department. Nature trails have been constructed including 7 km of wooden walkways which improve access to step and swampy terrain, protect ground vegetation and prevent erosion.
There is also a forest canopy walkway, giving scientists and visitors an opportunity to examine the upper layer of the forest, so rich in life.
There are also tree houses about 20 metres high connected by hanging bridges. They can be used for nature observation. Panoramic views are often difficult to obtain in tropical rainforest but a number of observation points of river and mountains scenery have been identified.
At the park headquarters located at the confluence of the temburong River and Belalong, there will be an Information Centre, staff quarters and a surau. Accomodation for visitors is located nearby; there are about 7 guest houses and 3 camp sites complete in facilities within the park. Access to the park is by Temuai or long boat.