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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Answer the call of the wild with these exotic getaways

After slogging it out in the urban rat race, a wildlife retreat is just the thing for some well-deserved R&R (rest and relaxation). And luckily for us, we’ve got plenty of nature escapes right in our own backyard in Thailand or just a short flight away. Check out Agoda’s (https://www.agoda.com/?site=id1811392) five ‘wild’ holiday ideas to get you started.

Soar sky high with Phuket’s nature, Thailand
Perched high above the Phuket jungle are the amazing Keemala Hotel (https://www.agoda.com/keemala/hotel/phuket-th.html?site=id1811392) ‘bird nest’ villas.

With a strict ‘Anti Animal Exploitation Policy’, the resort houses several rescued animals onsite. Guests can meet Keemala’s resident water buffalo – rescued from Thai slaughterhouses – and learn about the species’ daily routine and significance in Thai culture. The resort is home to other rescued animals including goats, ducks, peacocks and chickens, which make an especially thrilling experience for kids.

Discover Malaysia’s homegrown species
At 130 million years old, the Belum Temenggor rainforest in Perak is one of the oldest rainforests in the world. There is plenty to do here for nature and outdoor enthusiasts, from wildlife watching and jungle trekking to kayaking and camping. If you are lucky, you may catch a rare sighting of some of the world’s most threatened mammals including the Malayan tiger, Asiatic elephant or the white handed gibbon.

Sleep with the rainforest right at your doorstep at the Belum Rainforest Resort (https://www.agoda.com/belum-rainforest-resort/hotel/gerik-my.html?site=id1811392), where many of the luxury guest rooms feature stunning nature views.

Swim with Miniloc Island’s marine life
Surrounded by a beautiful cove, against a backdrop of sheer limestone cliffs, the El Nido Resort (https://www.agoda.com/el-nido-resorts-miniloc-island/hotel/palawan-ph.html?site=id1811392) in Miniloc Island, Philippines is a great destination for those seeking crystal clear waters and vibrant marine life.

Resort activities include guided sunrise and sunset hikes, boat trips to the nearby lagoons and caves and snorkeling excursions with the local fish. Keep an eye out for the giant trevally, known to the locals as Talakitok. Weighing up to 80 kilos and up to 170 centimeters long, these massive fish are often mistaken for sharks.

Be a marine conservationist for a day (or two)
For a feel-good holiday, head to Gayana Marine Resort (https://www.agoda.com/gayana-marine-resort_4/hotel/kota-kinabalu-my.html?cid=id1811392) in Kota Kinabalu, which has its very own on-site Marine Ecology Research Centre, a learning and educational organization that raises awareness about the marine ecosystem and the increasing threats on marine life. Guests can participate in rehabilitation activities such as replanting corals in the reef or get up close with sea creatures from seahorses to bamboo sharks.

Go off-grid with India’s majestic predators
Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan is one of the largest wildlife sanctuaries in Northern India, and is famous for its large population of Royal Bengal Tigers. While the tigers are the main attraction for wildlife enthusiasts, don’t forget to keep an eye out for the Indian leopards, nilgai, wild boars, striped hyenas, sloth bears and chitals.

The glamping tents at the nearby Oberoi Vanyavilas Ranthambhore Hotel (https://www.agoda.com/the-oberoi-vanyavilas-ranthambore-hotel/hotel/ranthambore-in.html?site=id1811392) are luxurious enough for a Maharaja. A walk around the wooded grounds will acquaint you with the diverse bird life, including magpie robins, purple sun birds and oriental white eyes.

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