Best Places to visit in Turkey click here

Best Places to visit in China click here

Best Places to visit in Dubai click here

Best Places to visit in Malaysia click here

10 Best Places to Visit in Turkey

With cities steeped in history, beaches, and beautiful countryside, a visit to Turkey promises an enchanted vacation. Diverse offerings such as the ancient ruins of Ephesus to the luxury beach resorts along the Aegean Sea will enthrall and captivate even the most jaded traveler. Istanbul, once the capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, features prominently in most travel plans but there are many more great destinations. An overview of the best places to visit in Turkey.

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Ankara

Turkey’s capital city, Ankara, is a sprawling, modern city home to government buildings, commercial businesses, universities and foreign embassies. Located right in the center of the country and the Anatolia region, Ankara is an important transportation hub, linking travelers to other major destinations in Turkey. The city itself city offers a lively arts and culture scene with a large concentration of museums, including the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations.

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Mardin

Perched on a strategic hilltop overlooking the plains of Mesopotamia in southeastern Turkey, Mardin is the capital of the Mardin Province. One of the oldest settlements in the region, Mardin is best known for its cultural diversity and Old City of sandstone buildings that cascade down the hill.

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Konya

One of the oldest cities in the world and best known for its remarkable Seljuk architecture and Whirling Dervishes, Konya is a large city in Turkey’s Central Anatolia Region. In the 12th and 13th centuries, Konya prospered as a capital city under the rule of the Seljuk Dynasty. Today, attractive buildings from that era can still be admired such as the Alaeddin Mosque and the ruins of the Seljuk Palace.

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Antalya

Nestled along the beautiful Turkish Riviera on the Mediterranean coastline, Antalya is a large, vibrant city welcoming tourists with numerous resorts, hotels, bars and restaurants. Spectacular scenery frames the city with gorgeous beaches and lush green mountains dotted with ancient ruins. From swimming and sailing to mountain climbing, sightseeing and family fun, Antalya offers something for everyone.

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Marmaris

One of Turkey’s most popular seaside resorts, Marmaris is a picture-perfect setting of pine-clad mountains, sandy white beaches, turquoise waters and historic architecture. Located along the Turkish Riviera in southwest Turkey, this stunning cruise port is a tourist paradise with exceptional sightseeing opportunities, water sports, adventure, fantastic dining and buzzing nightlife.

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Side

A major port in ancient Pamphylia and occupied by Alexander the Great in 4th century BC, Side today is a picturesque town of classic ruins and modern day resorts overlooking sandy white beaches. Located on a small peninsula, Side offers fantastic sightseeing, dining and nightlife. Its star attraction is an excavated site of ancient Hellenistic and Roman ruins that include the remnants of a colossal amphitheater and various temples.

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Bodrum

Located in the southern Aegean region of Turkey, Bodrum was once home to the Mausoleum, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.Today, its intriguing ruins, stunning beaches and cliff-top resorts attract people from all over the world. No visit to Bodrum would be complete without seeing the Castle of St. Peter, also known as Bodrum Castle. Built from 1402 by the Knights Hospitaller it now operates as a museum.

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Ephesus

By the 1st century BC, Ephesus was one of the largest cities in all of the Roman Empire, boasting one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis. The ruins of Ephesus are well preserved and contained within a large archaeological site, making it one of Turkey’s most popular tourist attractions. Its attractions include the massive Theater, the Temple of Hadrian and the magnificent Celsus Library, a two-story structure that was built to house more than 12,000 scrolls.

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Cappadocia

Situated in Central Anatolia, Cappadocia is best known for its fairytale landscape of unusual formations resembling chimneys, cones, mushrooms and pinnacles. Natural processes such as ancient volcanic eruptions and erosion have all sculpted these odd formations over the ages. Thousands of years ago, mankind added remarkable touches to the landscape by carving out houses, churches and underground cities from the soft rock.

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Istanbul

Once serving as the capital of the Ottoman and Byzantine Empires, Istanbul today is the largest city in Turkey and one of the largest in the world. Istanbul stretches across a narrow strait that connects Asia and Europe, making it the only city in the world spanning two continents. Impressive architecture, historic sites, dining, shopping, nightlife and exotic atmosphere all make Istanbul one of the best places to Visit in Turkey.

The Most Beautiful Places in China

China’s vast and diverse territory endows the country with some of the most beautiful natural scenery on earth. From the picturesque karst landscape in Guilin and Yanshuo to the precipitous pillars in Zhangjiajie, from the colorful lakes in Jiuzhaigou to the Rainbow Mountains in Zhangye, China’s diverse natural beauty is as impressive as its splendid culture.

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Zhangye’s Danxia Landscape — Rainbow Mountains
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The best time to visit Zhangye is from June to September when the weather is most comfortable. The best time to take photo of these mountains is in the morning and during sunset, especially sunset, when the colors change continuously, showing yellow and red layers covered by a light gray layer.

The Yellow Mountains — Sunrises and Seas of Cloud
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These mystical and mist-ical mountains are the most beautiful and most famous in China. Their classic attractions are grand dawns and their “four natural wonders”: peculiar pines, oddly-shaped rocks, seas of clouds, and hot springs.

About 300 km (200 miles) west of Hangzhou and 500 km (300 miles) southwest of Shanghai, direct flights from Shanghai to Huangshan city take only 30 minutes, then it’s about 1½ hours to the scenic area. A bus from Hangzhou to the Yellow Mountains takes only about 2½ hours.

Hong Village — Nine Centuries Quaint
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Hongcun is a picturesque village with beautiful watery scenes round its lotus ponds and bridges, as well as charmingly crafted architecture. Villagers have diverted water into “house gardens” and “water yards”, which exist only in this village. The village, in its breathing-taking setting, looks like a Chinese painting. The village attracts many Chinese art students to practice their skills.

Hongcun was a setting for “the best Chinese film of all time” — Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Hong Village is at the foot of the Yellow Mountains, and they are usually combined on a tour.

Wuyuan — China’s Most Beautiful Rural Area
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Wuyuan is hailed by Chinese travelers as “the most beautiful countryside in China”. The classic image of Wuyuan is rural life under colorful blossoms.

The best time to visit Wuyuan is from early March to mid-April when the land is covered in a yellow carpet of rape flowers. The time to see the flowers may be slightly different each year, so please check with your travel advisor when planning your trip. Fall foliage is another highlight of the area. Wuyuan is just 50 km (30 mi) south of Huangshan (Yellow Mountain City).

Xiapu — Mudflats and Traditional Seaside Life
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Xiapu is a hidden gem, yet to be discovered by ordinary travelers. The area has picturesque mudflats and a simple lifestyle, and is deeply loved by photographers from all over the world.The scenery changes constantly. Sometimes there is sea water, and sometimes just mud, with seaweed drying on bamboo poles. Fishermen and seaweed harvesters make a living there, in harmony with the tides that sweep through.

Zhangjiajie — Precipitous Pillars
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The precipitous pillars in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park are the inspiration for the Hallelujah Mountains in Avatar.Zhangjiajie is famous for its towering peaks, grotesque rock pillars, and deep valleys. The forest of massive pillars is one of the best muses for photographers in China.

The Li River & Yangshuo — China’s Most Beautiful Karst Landscapes
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The Li River is like an artist’s masterpiece, bounded by classic sheer karst hills, which have inspired many poets and ink painters. It is listed as one of the world’s “Top 10 Watery Wonders” by America’s National Geographic Magazine and the World’s “15 Best Rivers for Travelers” by CNN Travel.A Li River cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo is the essence of all Guilin tours, offering an easy and relaxing way to enjoy the picturesque scenery.Chinese tourists first think of Yangshuo when looking for natural beauty. Yangshuo is famous for its karst hills and rivers. Taking a bamboo raft or having a cycling tour into the countryside, you can enjoy the idyllic, painting-like scenes.

The Yuanyang Terraced Fields — Steps to Heaven
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There are many things that you know will never be surpassed once you see their beauty. And you will find Yuanyang’s terraced fields are the most beautiful terraces in the world, once you have been there.

Jiuzhaigou — Colorful Alpine Lakes
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Jiuzhaigou, in remote west China, has inspired dreams of a colorful fairyland among many travelers. Jiuzhaigou features multicolored lakes surrounded by vast mountain forests. These lakes change color throughout the day and year. The colors come from the reflections of surrounding mountainsides and algae and minerals in the lakes. Fall is the most beautiful season in Jiuzhaigou, when the landscape changes color, providing a vivid backdrop of autumnal hues — an unspoiled, dazzlingly beauty rarely rivaled in China.

Tibet — Lofty Mountain Splendor
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Tibet, locked in the Himalayas, holds travelers’ imaginations of the lost Shangri-la. From the unspoiled sacred lakes to the world’s highest peak — Mount Everest; from the vast untouched Changtang Grasslands to the depths of the Yarlung-Tsangpo Canyon, the Roof of the World is filled with awe and pristine beauty.

10 best things to do in Dubai

Dubai local Tripbod Alex takes us on a tour of the sky-scraping sights of the Emirate, with some insider tips thrown in to help you get the most out of your visit.

1. Burj Khalifa

Dubai has the glitziest, the widest, the deepest… and Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building. Check out the exhibit on the building’s history, then take the fastest lift in the world. Hold on to your hat – it only takes a few seconds. It is not for the faint-hearted but is well worth it, as the views will blow your mind. If you are a passionate photographer, as I am, you can even take a tripod with you to shoot the views out towards the beach and over the city. Book tickets online in advance and go at sunset, which is my favourite time as you get to see both day and night from the top.

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2. Dubai Creek

After the world’s tallest building, I love the contrast of a simple abra ride on Dubai Creek. The creek is one of Dubai’s oldest and most beautiful areas. For me, nothing can match the sheer joy of riding an abra across the creek for just one dirham at sunset, as the evening call to prayer is singing out across the mosque minarets. Close your eyes and you could be back in the 1960s when the city began. You can even charter a private abra for £10/hour.

At the other side you are met with the aromas of Dubai’s spice souk. It’s a great place to buy a little incense burner and a handful of frankincense, after which I’ll enjoy a walk around the beautiful old area of Deira, with its quirky alleyways and skinny alley cats. Talk about atmospheric!

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3. The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding

A great place for breakfast or lunch, with a twist! If you’ve always wanted to know about Islam but were too afraid to ask, here’s your chance to get the low-down. For example, previously I wondered: why do women wear an abaya? How long can camels survive in the desert? Why do Muslims face a certain way to pray? All the answers came from here, and more specifically the centre’s charismatic host, Nasif. Don’t be surprised if you leave with a whole new understanding and appreciation of the Muslim world.

The centre is run by an Emirati man who married a European woman and is a great place for cross-cultural understanding, as the name suggests. I love to come here for breakfast or lunch, and I always buy a bar of Camel chocolate on the way out. If, like me you are cheeky enough, when everyone has left, ask kindly if they would mind you climbing on to the roof to admire the views. Time it right and you can be up there when the call to prayer is sung – it gives me goose bumps just writing this.

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4. Dubai’s public parks

Parks might not be the first thing you associate with Dubai. But remember how I told you that in Dubai we have the tallest, the deepest, the most expensive everything? Well the parks are no different! Dubai boasts some of the most beautiful, tranquil, clean, green parks anywhere. Pay a 5dhs fee to enter a place quite different to other cities’ public spaces – see Filipino, Pakistani, Indian, local (Emirati), Arabic, European, Asian couples and families having fun, where children and babies run free. Wallets and mobile phones are left on the grass while mums and dads play ball, or barbecue burgers. I head to the park to chill after a hard week or when I’m feeling stressed. Pack a picnic, leave your stresses behind you…. and enjoy.

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5. Ravi

Khamees Bldg. Al Satwa Road, Dubai, U.A.E.; 971-(0)4-331-5353 This is where I take diehard curry fans. We go once a month without fail. One of Dubai’s longest-serving restaurants, Ravi is usually full, with diners from all over the world. There are no white tablecloths, no wine list, no snooty waiters, just honest Pakistani curry served up by friendly staff. My favourite dishes are chicken boti, chicken handi, mutton tika, daal and mutton kebab, and the bread is fresh, fluffy and hot. A whole family can eat here for less than 100dhs. Ravi has recently been refurbished, with the addition of a ‘family’ area, but I think it’s more fun to sit outside or in the main area to soak up the atmosphere.

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6. Burj Al Arab

The Burj calls itself ‘the world’s only 7-star hotel’ and, whether or not you agree, it certainly one of the most iconic buildings in Dubai. Soaring to a height of 321 metres, the Burj is designed to resemble a billowing sail. There are various viewpoints from which you can take photos but one of the best is from the public beach next to it. From here you will get the ultimate Dubai shot of you on the beach with the Burj in the background. It is one of the most photographed structures in the world, and consistently voted the world’s most luxurious hotel. It is too expensive for the average visitor so here’s a little secret tip from me to you: go for a drink at the Dhow and Anchor in the hotel opposite (Jumeirah Beach hotel) and sit out on the terrace for an even better view – but don’t tell anyone I told you!

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7. Ski Dubai – Mall of the Emirates

Want to visit the desert – and hit the ski slopes too? Don’t miss Ski Dubai – a huge ski slope situated in Mall of the Emirates at the Marina end of the city, close to Burj Al Arab. It’s a bit of a shock to go from the 50-degree desert heat to below zero temperatures. There are instructors on hand to help, or you can just do your own thing. There’s even a café-bar halfway up the ski slope in true mountain style, so you can stop to relax and watch the fun. You can hire all equipment and clothing so you don’t need to bring your skis.

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8. Jumeirah Beach Residence Walk and Dubai Marina

Built in the last few years, Dubai Marina throngs with spectacular twisting skyscrapers, while just next door is Jumeirah Beach Residence walk (or ‘JBR walk’ if you want to sound like a local). The Marina and JBR is a city within a city with amazing architecture, pretty cafés and bars – ideal for people-watching, high-end hotels and some of the best restaurants in the city, including Frankie Dettori’s Frankie’s Italian Bar & Grill and Gary Rhodes’ Twenty10. During the day, the views are equally as stunning as in the evening, and many people jog around the Marina for that reason. Behind the Address Hotel you can take the Dubai ferry, which is great for visitors and locals alike as it takes you out into the sea and past the famous Atlantis Hotel on the man-made Palm Jumeirah. The ferry takes you up the coast and drops you just inside the Creek at Bur Dubai where you can enjoy some of the ‘old’ Dubai after experiencing the ‘new’.

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9. Desert Safari

A desert safari is a chance to get a flavour of the Bedouin existence from years gone by. Numerous companies offer desert safaris but check them out before booking (you can also ask me via Tripbod.com). Be sure to ask what time you will finish and be dropped back and whether they plan to stop anywhere on the way, and especially what extras you may need to pay for and what kind of food will be offered. You get driven in a four-wheel drive vehicle to an authentic-style campsite where you can try hubbly bubbly (Shisha) or maybe indulge in some barbecue food. If it’s adventure you want then you can head off on a desert drive, watch falcons fly, and dream of desert adventures. Back at camp after sunset I find it a magical experience just to sit in the darkness and stare at the stars, which is a simple pleasure too often forgotten.

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10. Dubai fountains

Saturday to Thursday 1pm and 1.30pm; 6- 11pm every 30 minutes. Friday 1.30pm and 2pm; 6- 11pm every 30 minutes. Spectacular and exciting and free! If you’ve been to Vegas, maybe you have seen the Belaggio fountains already. But trust me! Dubai does it taller, bigger, louder and it’s just jaw-dropping to watch these fountains. Best to go at night to see the light show too. The fountains are situated at the base of Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall – the world’s biggest mall and something to experience in itself. There are numerous restaurants alongside the fountains and it is a good idea to book into one of them and dine on the terrace (in winter) to see the fountains in all their glory. I think The Mango Tree is one of the nicest places to dine, but the Rivington Grill is also a great spot. The musical repertoire of the fountain show includes Sama Dubai; Baba Yetu (an award-winning song in Swahili), the Arab world’s top-selling dance number Shik Shak Shok, and the signature piece of world-renowned Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, Con te partiro: Time to Say Goodbye. Speaking of which, time for me to say goodbye and wish you a wonderful visit to Dubai!

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10 Top Tourist Attractions in Malaysia

Malaysia offers two very distinct experiences: the peninsula and Borneo (an island shared with Indonesia and Brunei). The peninsula is a mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian flavors with an efficient and modern capital, Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian Borneo features some of the most interesting places in Malaysia with a wild jungle, orangutans, granite peaks and remote tribes. Combined with some beautiful islands, luxury resorts and colonials towns, Malaysia, for most visitors, presents a happy mix. Almost 2 million foreign tourists traveled to Malaysia in 2010. Most of them were citizens from neighboring countries such as Singapore and Indonesia but a growing number of other foreign tourists are discovering this country as well.

The top 10 Malaysia tourist attractions:
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Cameron Highlands

The Cameron Highlands is one of Malaysia’s most extensive hill stations, first developed by the British in the 1920s. It has a population of more than 34,000 people consisting of Malays, Chinese, Indians and other ethnic groups. The Cameron Highlands is renowned for its trails. They lead visitors through the forest to waterfalls and other tranquil spots. Apart from its jungle walks, the sanctuary is also known for its tea plantations and visitors can book several “tea factory” tours.

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Georgetown Inner City

Named after Britain’s King George III, Georgetown is located on the north-east corner of Penang Island. Most of George Town’s population is of Chinese origin. Due to strict controls, George Town retains many of its colonial-era shophouses to this day. It is officially recognized as having a unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in Southeast Asia. The town truly springs to life in the evenings, when most of the locals head to the nearby street hawkers to have their meals and drinks.

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Taman Negara

Taman Negara, which literally means “national park” in Malay, is one of the oldest tropical rain forest in the world. It features massive trees, waterfalls, jungle treks of various duration and the world’s longest canopy walkways. Several trails enable the visitor to explore the forest without a guide. Taman Negara is a haven for endangered species such as the Asian elephant, tigers, leopards and rhinos, but numbers are low and sightings are very rare. It’s unlikely that you will see anything more than birds, small deer, lizards, snakes and perhaps a tapir.

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Pulau Tioman

Tioman is a small island located off the east coast of peninsular Malaysia. In the 1970s, Time Magazine selected Tioman as one of the world’s most beautiful islands. Tourists have surged to the island ever since, seeking a taste of paradises. The island is surrounded by numerous white coral reefs, making it a haven for scuba divers while the interior is densely forested. Visitors outnumber villagers outside the monsoon (November to February), but Tioman can be virtually deserted at other times.

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Mount Kinabalu

With a summit height at 4,095 meters (13,435 ft), Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain in Borneo. The mountain is known worldwide for its tremendous botanical and biological species biodiversity. Over 600 species of ferns, 326 species of birds, and 100 mammalian species have been identified at Mount Kinabalu and its surrounding. The main peak of the mountain can be climbed easily by a person with a good physical condition, and requires no mountaineering equipment although climbers must be accompanied by guides at all times.

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Petronas Twin Towers

The Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur were the world’s tallest buildings before being surpassed in 2004 by Taipei 101. However, the towers are still the tallest twin buildings in the world. The 88-floor towers are constructed largely of reinforced concrete, with a steel and glass facade designed to resemble motifs found in Islamic art, a reflection of Malaysia’s Muslim religion. The Petronas Twin Towers feature a sky bridge between the two towers on the 41st and 42nd floors.

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Langkawi

Malaysia’s best-known holiday destination, Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands in the Andaman Sea. The islands are a part of the state of Kedah, which is adjacent to the Thai border. By far the largest of the islands is the eponymous Pulau Langkawi with a population of about 65,000, the only other inhabited island being nearby Pulau Tuba. Fringed with long, white beaches and with an interior of jungle covered hills and craggy mountain peaks, it’s easy to see why this is Malaysia’s most heavily promoted tourist destination. The most popular beaches can be found on the west coast with a wide choice of restaurants and eateries and some of the best resorts in Langkawi.

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Perhentian Islands

Located off the coast of northeastern Malaysia not far from the Thai border. The Perhentian Islands are the must-go place in Malaysia for budget travelers. They have some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and great diving with plenty of cheap accommodation. The two main islands are Perhentian Besar (“Big Perhentian”) and Perhentian Kecil (“Small Perhentian”). Both the islands have palm-fringed white sandy beaches and turquoise blue sea.

Sepilok Rehabilition Centre

Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation opened in 1964 for rescued orphaned baby orangutans from logging sites, plantations and illegal hunting. The orphaned orangutans are trained to survive again in the wild and are released as soon as they are ready. The Orang Utan sanctuary is located within the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, much of which is virgin rainforest. About 60 to 80 orangutans are living free in the reserve. It is one of Sabah’s top tourist attractions and a great stopover on any Malaysia itinerary.

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Mulu Caves

The Mulu Caves are located in the Gunung Mulu National Park in Malaysian Borneo. The park encompasses incredible caves and karst formations in a mountainous equatorial rainforest setting. The Sarawak chamber found in one of the underground caves is the largest cave chamber in the world. It has been said that the chamber is so big that it could accommodate about 40 Boeing 747s, without overlapping their wings. The enormous colony of Wrinkle-lipped bats in the nearby Deer Cave exit almost every evening in search of food in a spectacular exodus.

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