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Wildlife in Asia: Top Trips to Take for Close-Up Encounters

Come face to face with Bornean orangutans, Sri Lankan elephants and Bengal tigers when you visit these wildlife destinations in Asia with TRIPS by Culture Trip.
Nick Dauk
21 Mar 2022
There’s no denying that seeing Asia’s nature up close is an experience like no other. If the eyes are the windows to the soul, imagine what raw beauty you’ll find when staring into those of orangutans, sun bears, tigers and crocodiles. From the jungles of Borneo and Sri Lanka to the beaches of Thailand and beyond, these places in Asia brim with breathtaking wildlife. All eyes are on you when you book these TRIPS by Culture Trip for close-up wildlife encounters in Asia.
1 . Walk with pygmy elephants through the Bornean wilderness
You’ll be far from alone when you take a trip around Asia’s largest island. A local insider will accompany you and your small group through the Bornean wilderness, and introduce you to resident orangutans, pygmy elephants and sun bears. Meet more friendly faces on a night safari along the Kinabatangan River and break bread together during a Dusun cooking class – but don’t worry, the crocodiles won’t be joining you at the dinner table.
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2 . Encounter Sri Lankan wildlife and explore ancient temples
There’s something about watching an elephant stroll delicately around the ancient jungle temples of Sri Lanka that feels otherworldly. It’s an almost cinematic experience; the mix of two things you’d only ever viewed through a screen and never imagined witnessing with the naked eye. If you’re lucky, you may even encounter leopards on this 12-day Sri Lanka wildlife trip as you cycle, climb, paddle and abseil your way across the country.
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3 . Top up your vitamin D on a watery safari in southern Thailand
Add southern Thailand to your list of top world destinations and live your life tanned, toasted and a little tipsy. Get that glow as you kayak through the Bor Thor Mangrove Forest, swim with tropical fish off Hong Island and float across Khao Sok Lake on a watery safari. Watch the sun go down, signalling that it’s time to munch your way through night markets and dance in the moonlight with the sand between your toes. This 10-day journey of discovery is your chance to soak up the tropical nature of southern Thailand.
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4 . Search for elusive Bengal tigers in Nepal
In the wilds of Nepal, you’re more likely to see a one-horned rhino, but keep your eyes peeled for sloth bears, bison and crocodiles as you roam Chitwan National Park. Just don’t let them distract you from your ultimate mission: to spot an elusive Bengal tiger. Get a few more eyes on the case with this 11-day small-group trip through Nepal, one of the best places in Asia for wildlife spotting. Feeling unprepared? A rickshaw ride through the urban jungle of Kathmandu is all the training you’ll need.
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5 . Snorkel with sea turtles in Indonesia
After days spent swimming in waterfalls, learning to cook Balinese delicacies and attempting aerial yoga, this 12-day Indonesian adventure switches up the pace. Take an early morning hike up the active Mount Batur volcano for bird’s-eye views from the top. Next, hightail it to Gili Trawangan to snorkel with sea turtles. Back in Bali, go surfing off the black sand beaches before capping off your trip with a traditional blessing ceremony.
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Next available from27 Aug 2022
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Angela Symons and Grace Beard contributed to this article.