Manukan Island, Malaysia. Image courtesy of Tourism Malaysia.
What You'll Get
A 7-day, 6-night trip between extremes: the glitzy theme parks of Universal Studios and Legoland Malaysia giving way to the natural wonders of Sabah's mangrove rivers and Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.
What do you get when you mix theme parks with nature reserves? A trip you'll never forget. It starts in Singapore, where you'll spend your first day at the silver-screen-inspired Universal Studios Singapore in Sentosa, going through experiences that put you right in popular movies like Transformers, Jurassic Park, and the Mummy.
The next stop on the trail is located across the border, in Malaysia's Johor state – you'll tour the coastal resort of Desaru, where you'll see a laid-back lifestyle that feels endangered in this modern age. Tour a fruit farm, visit farms that raise ostriches and crocodiles, and take in southeastern Johor's bucolic setting, before making your way to Johor Bahru for its more modern entertainments, among them Legoland Malaysia and the Johor Premium Outlet shopping center.
A flight to Kota Kinabalu on Borneo Island immerses you in Sabah State's unspoiled natural habitats. You'll visit a Mangrove Forest Reserve accessible from the Klias River Village jetty, taking you in search of wildlife like monitor lizards, birds, and proboscis monkeys.
You'll enter Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park and take in the boomerang-shaped Manukan Island and its watersports activities. And you'll explore Kota Kinabalu's urban attractions, among them the Wisma Tun Mustapha (Sabah Foundation Building), City Mosque and the Buddhist Temple.
Universal Studios Singapore. Image © Sarah Ackerman/Creative Commons.