Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia
Things tend to get wild in Sandakan, located along the northeast coast of Borneo in the Malaysian state of Sabah. Its famous Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre was the first to rescue and rehabilitate orphaned orangutans, the only great ape found in Asia. The rainforest sanctuary features a feeding platform and outdoor nursery where you can spy these “wild gingers,” while the expanded Sepilok complex includes a center dedicated to protecting the endangered Borneo sun bear. The Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary offers a window into these curious creatures with their large, bulbous noses, while elevated walkways at the Rainforest Discovery Centre take you inside the magical world of the rainforest canopy. You can visit the turtle hatchery on Selingan Turtle Island just off the coast, or go spelunking in Gomantong Cave—an extensive subterranean system that is home to millions of bats. Take a cruise along the Kinabatangan River, second longest in Malaysia; visit the Puu Jih Syh Temple with its ornately caved dragons; and stroll the Buli Sim Sim Water Village, set on stilts over the water and famous for its seafood restaurants.