Welcome to the Jungle (or How the Palm Tree Lost its Luster)

One of the major draws for me to explore Malaysia was its wildlife and nature. Lush tropical rainforests, rolling hills of tea plantations, swinging orangutans, and wonderfully bizarre-looking creatures like the tapir and proboscic monkey. Those were the lures, the push was the staggering statistic that 98% of Malaysia’s rainforests are predicted to be clear-cut by 2020. 2020! That’s incredibly soon and stupifyingly sad. The evidence is overwhelmingly apparent. Both on the peninsular side and island of Borneo were sweeping palm plantations and the ugly aftermath of clearcut wastelands.


When I first arrived, vividly remembering the -40 degree winter I’d left behind in Toronto, the site of a palm tree was awesome. Then they lost their luster. Not because I had started taking my tropical location for granted, but because when you looked closer the miles and miles of palm trees were all perfectly spaced out. It seemed almost like from which ever angle you looked at them, they lined up perfectly.  Then after driving past the seemingly endless in-use palm plantations, you’d see what’s left when they’ve finished their cycle – nothing. Arrid land incapable of growing new life, all nturients from the soil lost and errosion possible because of roots’ new absence.  While both the peninsular side and Borneo side claim “the oldest tropical rainforest,” if you have any interest in experiencing the beauty of nature biological haven, travel soon.

So enough of the scare tactics, the beauty is there now. For more on nature (and urban) travel destinations in Malaysia, see our addicted2travel pieces:

Peninsular Malaysia:

East Malaysia/Borneo:

  • Kinabalu Park
  • Sepilok
  • Kinabatangan
  • Sandakan

These are just a few samples of the many areas in Malaysia one can experience and explore. Wherever you choose, head to the world’s oldest tropical rainforest before it’s too late.


Emer Schlosser

Emer Schlosser

Contributor at Addicted
Emer Schlosser is a Torontonian, cinephile, writer, editor, and lover of food.
Emer Schlosser
Emer Schlosser

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