Without a doubt, The Galapagos and Antarctica are two of the top wildlife destinations in the world. But if you’re ready to discover other wildlife destinations at a fraction of the cost, look no further.

We have a list of top five. From the national parks in Sri Lanka and Costa Rica to the jungles of Malaysia and Uganda, you’ll be enthralled by the most remarkable wildlife on earth.

1. Sri Lanka

Whatever time of year you visit, the trees in Sri Lanka’s national parks are always green, and creatures of the earth, either flying, crawling or stomping are easily sighted.

Sri Lanka, a teardrop-shaped country located south of India in the Indian Ocean has 16 national parks – home to a range of exotic faunas and floras. Most of these parks are easily accessible by jeep, yet offer an amazingly raw environment. The top national parks to visit are Yala National Park, Udawalawe National Park, Horton Plains National Park, Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks.

Most visitors flock to Yala in search of leopards, buffalo, spotted deer, langur and toque monkeys, and over 200 types of birds. The chances of spotting leopards are quite slim as there are only about 30 left.

My favorite is Udawalawe National Park where elephants, young and old are in abundance. With an experienced guide, we managed to see over 20 elephants, a herd of deer, buffalo, langur and toque monkeys and grey-headed fish eagles.

Blue and sperm whales are commonplace off the coast of Mirissa (south Sri Lanka), Kalpitiya (south) and Trincomalee (north-east Sri Lanka).

2. Costa Rica

Costa Rica, a country about the size of West Virginia is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world. The country’s 12 distinct climatic zones, from hot and humid coastal areas to the cloud forest mountains gives visitors a large choice of wildlife sightings.

Poison dart frogs, sloths, and white-faced capuchin monkeys are often scouted in the Osa Peninsula. See toucans, hummingbirds, monkeys, and parrots in Arenal National Park. Sloths, anteaters, coatimundi, and monkeys are in abundance at the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

Those who prefer watching leatherback turtles should head over to Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast from March to July and the Pacific from September to March.

For a list of weird and exotic animals, read Top 10 weird and exotic animals of Costa Rica.

3. Indonesia

Wonder where to spot dragons? Go to Komodo National Park. The national park consists of four islands, Komodo, Flores, Rinca, and Padar, located between the Sumbawa and Flores islands in the Wallacea region of Indonesia. Home to the Komodo dragon, lizards, Timor deer, and 12 types of terrestrial snakes.

The sea surrounding the islands is perfect for divers who like to encounter tropical fish, sharks, sea manta, turtles, dolphins and Pygmy Seahorses.

4. Malaysia

Whether you venture out to the east (part of Borneo) or west (peninsula) Malaysia, there’s wildlife to feast your eyes. Malaysia, a country in South East Asia is divided into two regions separated by the South China Sea. East Malaysia, often known as Borneo is where you’ll find the famous orangutan. See orangutan in the wild in Danum Valley in Sabah, East Malaysia. Or check out The Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre, one of the three orangutan sanctuaries in the world.

In West Malaysia or Peninsula Malaysia, you can find rhinoceroses, clouded leopards, Malayan tigers and Asian elephants in Taman Negara National Park.

Named initially as King George V National Park, Taman Negara is the world’s oldest rainforest and home to 3,000 plant species and more than 246 species of ferns. You can get a full list of fauna and flora from UNESCO’s site.

5. Uganda

If seeing gorillas in the wild is an absolute must on your list of things to do, then you must get to Africa. Gorilla sightings are possible in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

To Sir Winston Churchill, Uganda was the “Pearl of Africa” because it’s a country where the mighty Nile flows through, gorillas roam freely in the mountains and houses one of the world’s largest lakes – Lake Victoria. Over half of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas are found in Uganda. So, you can combine gorilla tracking with adventures in the mountains, lakes or on the Nile in Uganda.

And, of course, you’ll still have to get to Galapagos, Antarctica and the African safaris when your pocket allows. If you have questions on any of these destinations, become a Trippy user and get your questions answered by travel experts and locals.

Photos and article by Claudia Looi

Mentioned in this post
  1. Sri Lanka

    Sri Lanka
  2. Costa Rica

    Costa Rica
  3. Indonesia

  4. Sabah

  5. Taman Negara National Park Malaysia
    Attraction in Kuala Tahan Malaysia

    Kuala Tahan Malaysia
    03-2149 9235
  6. Uganda