The depth and breadth of wildlife in Asia might not be apparent at first blush, which makes the revelation of its riches all the more exciting for us at Remote Lands. The entire subcontinent, from the Himalayas to Sri Lanka, teems with wildlife and safari opportunities, while the vast swathe of islands from Singapore across to Papua New Guinea is rife with birds, primates, “dragons” and more. The giant pandas of Chengdu, China are for many a destination in their own right.
India offers some of the best wildlife and safari opportunities outside of Africa. In the northeast, Kaziranga National Park is home to several thousand Asian one-horned rhinos, making it the planet’s preeminent place to spot this vulnerable species. Ranthambore, Bandhavgar and Kanha national parks in central India are best bets for Bengal tiger spotting (as well as posh accommodations like Oberoi, Amanresorts and Taj). And one of Asia’s best bird sanctuaries is just a day trip from Agra – at Bharatpur, avid birders can spot Siberian cranes, crested serpent eagles, raptors, owls, and hundreds of other avian species.
In Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, take a deluxe riverboat deep inland to Camp Leakey, home to a large population of rehabilitating orangutans, the one exclusively Asian great ape and native only to Borneo and Sumatra. (Along the way, you’ll spot proboscis monkeys and other wildlife along the riverbanks.) Indonesia’s other biggest wildlife draw is the famed Komodo dragon. The planet’s largest lizard, which grows to an average length of six to 10 feet and weight of 150 pounds, is found only on the three remote Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, and Flores.
Like its Indonesian counterpart, Malaysian Borneo is one of the only places on the planet to spot orangutans, either in the wild or in wildlife preserves, like that adjoining the luxe Shangri-La Rasa Ria. Key inland spots for wildlife are the Kinabatangan River region, where in addition to orangs you might luckily spot the endangered Sumatran rhinoceros, and the Danum Valley Conservation Area, a 169 square-mile expanse of virgin jungle, a birder’s paradise with more than 340 species catalogued here.
A wealth of wildlife spans the subcontinent, beginning in Nepal. Situated at the base of the Himalayas, Chitwan National Park is a UNESCO preserve of jungle-covered lowlands known as the Terai. Chitwan boasts more than 400 species of birds and is home to endangered populations of the Asian one-horned rhinoceros. It’s also one of the last refuges of the Bengal tiger, though sightings have become increasingly rare. Other species that call this dense landscape home include leopards, sloth bears, spotted deer, monkeys, and flying squirrels.
The highlands of central Papua New Guinea, especially around Tari, are home to about a dozen of one of the world’s great avian species, the exotically plumed Birds of Paradise, which have long been prized by native tribes and ornithologists alike. Other endemic species awaiting today’s birding enthusiast include hornbills, egrets, Kingfishers, and more. And when it comes to wildlife, much of Papua New Guinea’s strength lies not on land but under the sea; as part of the Coral Triangle, it offers some of the planet’s greatest marine biodiversity, as well as many excellent wreck-diving spots.
Sri Lanka’s 22 national parks offer excellent safaris, with large populations of elephants, primates, birds and more. A typical outing will reveal gray langur monkeys, owls, jungle squirrels, and even crocodiles. Bird sightings include innumerable peacocks and hens, parakeets, blue-faced Malkoha birds, black-headed Ibises, painted storks, grey Herons, and white-throated Kingfishers. The parks’ main attraction, however, are their elephant populations. Depending on the time of year you visit, it is possible to see herds of between 50 and 150 elephants, a truly amazing sight, grazing and gathering around the parks’ central tanks, or reservoirs, as they recede in the dry season.
This is just a selection of the Asia wildlife experiences Remote Lands can incorporate into your Asia luxury holiday. Please contact us today for more information and to begin planning your trip.