Danum Valley is so beautiful, it's like a real life paradise.

Danum Valley 01

If you’ve ever had the urge to visit exotic places, then you must be aware of the growing attraction of tourists towards these destinations. Most vacationers know Malaysia as a hub for nature, culture and adventure. But what most people don’t know is that there are actually many little-known gems scattered throughout our country.

The Danum Valley in Sabah, Malaysia is one of such hidden treasures. Located in the interior part of the state and accessible via a two-hour drive from Kota Kinabalu city, this valley takes its name from the Danum River which flows through it.

River in lowland rainforest, Danum Valley, Sabah, Borneo

Sabah, situated on the northern tip of Borneo, is a haven for nature enthusiasts. With lush rainforests and mountain ranges dotting its landscape (and often hiding its waterfalls), much has been written about this state over the years by visitors who were surprised by how green it still is – and how friendly its locals are with visitors as well! If you plan to explore further north in our country or if you have some extra time on your hand… read on!

Danum Valley: The 130 Million Year Old Rainforest

Danum Valley

The Danum Valley, in Sabah, Malaysia is a 130 million year old rainforest which is home to more than 2500 plant species. The valley also holds the Danum River which drops off into a series of waterfalls and swimming pools.

The area has been declared as a protected zone thanks to its abundance of wildlife and diverse flora and fauna. There are over 200 species of birds that can be found here including hornbills, woodpeckers and hornbills which make it perfect for birdwatchers from all parts of the globe. This region also offers excellent opportunities for trekking through the rich forested landscape.

There are about 8 indigenous tribes living in this area who speak various dialects of Iban and Dusun languages. They share their ancestral land with other ethnic groups like Kadazan-Dusun, Murut and Bajau who occupy the outer reaches of the valley and mostly live on rubber plantations or in settlements near oil palm plantations.

Where is Danum Valley?

The Danum Valley is best accessed from the town of Kota Kinabalu, on the island of Borneo. The nearest airport is Kota Kinabalu (KK) while Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) is just half an hour away by car.

Flora and Fauna of Danum Valley

The flora and fauna of the Danum Valley is one of the most diverse in our country. The valley is home to more than 500 species of plants, including 65 threatened or near-threatened ones. What’s more, there are more than 400 bird species and a large number of reptiles and amphibians.

Danum River which flows through the valley is also a good place to spot some wildlife – from reptiles like monitor lizards, to monkeys, civets, hornbills and bearded pigs! The river itself supports a wide variety of fish – from bream, gourami and catfish to giant freshwater fish like giant gar (a type of sturgeon) and pira.

Why is Danum Valley So Special?

The Danum Valley has been attracting the attention of tourists since it became a protected area in 1978. The valley is located at the base of Mt Kinabalu, making it one of the most sought-after places to visit within this mountain range. Its remote location is partly what makes it so special as you can explore and experience nature in its raw form. It’s a great place for those who want to escape from city life as well!
Although it’s a valley with many attractions, Danum Valley is often overshadowed by other tourist destinations in Malaysia. This is mainly because Sabah doesn’t have an international airport or really any big cities that are accessible by air. This means that people fly straight into Kota Kinabalu and then drive north to reach Danum Valley, making the latter just another stop on their itinerary. But don't let this discourage you!

Danum Valley River

Danum Valley Rainforest

Danum Valley also offers a unique opportunity for those who want to do some camping and camping activities like hiking and river rafting. Since there aren't many people who venture here, it's easy enough to get away from crowds of camp sites and enjoy the serenity of nature up close! You can also find lots of wildlife here including birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians such as deer, monkeys, leopards and crocodiles.

Things To Do in Danum Valley


Bask in the serenity of Danum River as you paddle through it in a kayak. With many rapids and waterfalls along its course, Danum River is home to abundant flora, fauna and wildlife. You can also take a leisurely stroll around the mangroves with your friends or family.


If you’re up for a bit more adventure, an hour-long trek through the rainforest will allow you to explore the many trails that crisscross the valley. Enjoy getting close to nature while taking in some fresh air!

Danum Valley Bridge

Danum Valley Field Centre (DVFC) is among the top tropical biodiversity research centre in the world

Danum Valley Field Centre, a tropical biodiversity research centre in Danum Valley, Sabah, Malaysia is one of the top biodiversity research centres in the world.

Danum Valley River

The centre was established in 2000 and has since been regarded as a global leader for its work on forest conservation, including amphibian and reptile conservation. The DVFC focuses primarily on the promotion of long-term tropical forest related studies such as community based natural resource management programmes, environmental education and biodiversity studies involving students and researchers from different parts of the world.

Culture of Malaysia

Malaysia is a multiethnic and culturally diverse country. The three main branches of the Malay race are the Melano-Makassar, Austronesian and Polynesian. Malays make up approximately 60% of the population while Chinese, Indians, and other ethnic groups constitute less than 5%.

What is the religion of Malaysia?

Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country with Islam being the major religion of the country. While other religions are recognised as well, Islam is the most dominant religion in Malaysia.

How To Travel To Danum Valley, Sabah, Malaysia?

The nearest airport is in Kota Kinabalu city which has daily flights from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Jakarta.

If you decide to drive there, you'll first have to get familiarized with the road sign system by checking out the state highway map. The signs will tell you how long it'll take for you to reach your destination based on the time of day and traffic conditions. You can also use Google Maps for directions and see what areas are closed during certain times of the year so you can plan ahead!

Want to fly? If you're planning on flying out of KK International Airport, then you should be aware that there's a limited number of flights leaving for Sabah at most hours during the weekdays – so book your ticket in advance!

Danum Valley Fog

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