KOTA KINABALU, MALAYSIA—Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu has launched new immersive guest experiences within its 64-acre Rasa Ria Reserve to showcase the unique Borneo rainforest, home to numerous plants and animals found only on the island. Located in the 130-million-year-old jungles of Malaysian Borneo, the Rasa Ria Reserve’s enhancements focus on local nature conservation and education through scenic walking trails, hiking to the Ria Lookout, a Discovery Centre, Canopy Walkway, Waterfall Garden Area, and an Adventure Point with a climbing wall and playground. Through these new facilities and programs, guests can explore some of the world’s oldest rainforests and one of the most biodiverse places on earth.
At the entry point to the Rasa Ria Reserve, the resort introduces the Discovery Centre to showcase the hundreds of species of flora and fauna that inhabit the reserve. Built with sustainable materials to seamlessly blend with the rainforest for a truly immersive experience, the center is an educational hub for guests to learn about local animals, including the indigenous long-tailed macaques, western tarsiers, bear cats and famous huge-eyed slow Loris, as well as over 60 species of birds, 100 species of butterflies, pangolins and a spectrum of native plants.
The Discovery Centre is also the starting point to the reserve’s six unique trail systems that range in difficulty. Covering five miles of walks through the tropical jungle, each trail can take up to two hours to navigate.
Beyond the Discovery Centre, guests can take in the natural and lively beauty of the reserve at the watering hole viewing platform. With picturesque views, the perch is the perfect place to spot nocturnal animals, including the pangolin, which roam freely around the reserve.
A Bird’s Eye View from Ria Lookout
Views continue at the Ria Lookout summit platform. From here, guests can gaze out onto Sabah’s iconic Mount Kinabalu—a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Early risers can hike to the Ria Lookout for a continental breakfast. Taking in the vista at sunrise, guests can enjoy the area’s beauty with stellar views across the Tambalang River and the resort’s own 18-hole championship golf course, Dalit Bay Golf & Country Club.
Young visitors can enjoy the Rasa Ria Reserve’s children activities including Ranger For the Day, a special program to teach children about the rainforest by helping the reserve rangers monitor flora and fauna.
The new Adventure Point adds to the experience for mini adventurers. Inspired by the reserve, the Adventure Point offers children the ultimate place to run wild, climb on sculptures representing some of Sabah’s famous wildlife, fly through net tunnels on zip lines, climb tree trunks, play on a large basket swing and dig for dinosaur bones in the sandpit.
Malaysian Culture with Local Tribes
Adding to the local experience are the Bajau and Dusun tribes of Tuaran, two of over 30 ethnic groups in Sabah who have preserved their culture by sharing their customs, festivals, crafts and cuisine with visitors. Guests can enjoy dishes such as: Hivana, a traditional dish made of fish with lime juice, chili, shallots and ginger; Kueh Penjaram, a dessert made of rice flour, corn flour and coconut milk; and Pakis Vegetable, a sautéed wild green found in Malaysia. The dinner is accompanied by traditional dance and entertainment.