6 of the best… jungles

As Matthew McConaughey braves the Indonesian rainforest in the movie Gold, we round up the lushest jungle destinations


In Matthew McConaughey’s new film Gold (in cinemas today), he plays an unlucky businessman with a wild dream.


After teaming up with a geologist (Edgar Ramirez), he journeys into the uncharted jungles of Indonesia in search of gold. He doesn’t just find gold: he finds acres of stunning jungle and cloud forest.

We can’t show you where to find gold, but if your dream is a jungle holiday, here’s where you can glimpse mountain gorillas, tigers and the world’s largest lemur…

1. Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesia

Established as a Unesco biosphere reserve in 1977, this national park is home to Camp Leakey – a renowned research and rehabilitation centre dedicated to orangutan conservation, so you’re guaranteed to see our primate cousins up close. Reached by a lazy river journey on a klotok (Indonesian houseboat), it’s a trip so stunning that people have been known to get married along the way.

Visit: indonesia.travel/en 

2. Madre de Dios, Peru

Bordering Bolivia and Brazil, Peru’s Madre de Dios region is known for its never-ending forests, winding rivers and copious wildlife. Regular flights from Cusco (the same town from which Machu Picchu treks depart) land at the region’s main town Puerto Maldonado, from where you can jump off into the wild. Though areas have fallen foul of logging and mining, the Tambopata National Reserve and Bahuaja-Sonene National Park remain refuges for endangered species, and home to indigenous communities that promote ecotourism in one of the world’s most biologically diverse areas.

Visit: gotambopata.com

3. Khao Sok National Park, Thailand

Estimated to be 160 million years old, Khao Sok National Park is a remnant of a rainforest older and more diverse than the Amazon, and is the largest area of virgin forest in southern Thailand. The thick native rainforest, waterfalls, caves and limestone cliffs provide an incredible backdrop for trekking and canoeing, while the stunning Cheow Lan Lake offers floating raft houses and luxury tents to lie back and relax.

Visit: khaosok.com

4. Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

When David Attenborough met a family of mountain gorillas in 1978, it became one of the most iconic moments of natural history television. If you dream of following in Attenborough’s footsteps, we’d suggest putting the Volcanoes National Park on your bucket list. Known locally as “ the land of a thousand hills”, the rugged terrain and equatorial rainforest are home to a vast number of flora and fauna, while the Musanze Caves and Iby’lwacu cultural village offer a chance to better understand the people who live in this beautiful region. Along with the Congo and Uganda, it’s the only country where you can do gorilla trekking, which is carefully regulated in order not to stress the apes.

Visit: rwandatourism.com 

5. Pench National Park, India

India has dozens of parks and reserves, but if the Indian jungle conjures tigers to mind, Pench National Park is the one for you. In the central state of Madhya Pradesh, it’s named after a river and home to the Pench Tiger Reserve. Dominated by mixed forests with shrub cover, open canopies and grassy patches, this magnificent expanse is rich with wildlife. The park’s gates are open from mid-October to June, but go between March and May for the best chance of seeing a tiger.

Visit: penchnationalpark.com

6. Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, Madagascar

Madagascar is famous as an oasis for flora and fauna, and the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park won’t disappoint. It’s actually two parks: the smaller Analamazoatra Reserve in the south and the much larger Mantadia National Park in the north. Among the many rare and endangered species are 11 lemur species, including Madagascar’s largest lemur, the indri.

Visit: madagascar-tourisme.com

Radio Times Travel escorted tour:

India, 12 nights from £1,499pp. Search for tigers and see the unforgettable Taj Mahal on this enthralling tour of Northern India. You’ll discover a beguiling Himalayan hill state, beautiful Himachal-Pradesh, and witness the Golden Temple’s sacred ceremonies at Amritsar, in the prosperous province of the Punjab. Click here for more details and to book

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