When the thermometer dips in Europe, Northern Asia (e.g. Japan, China, Hong Kong) and Australia, some companies reward top performers with incentive trips or team building retreats in Malaysia, an affordable destination that would be well worth exploring by U.S. and Canadian companies. The variety of experiences available to corporate groups in Malaysia is impressive. Today, we'll explore jungle team building in Malaysia, an off-the-beaten track adventure that taps into team resourcefulness and connects team members at a deeper level.
After arriving in Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi or Kuching in Malaysian Borneo, spend a couple of nights at a hotel to rest from the flight and participate in a team briefing to link the jungle experience to business and specific organizational challenges. Case studies, small group exercises and a safety briefing to prepare the team for its jungle adventure will fill the first 2 days. It's also an opportunity to go on tours, sample the local cuisine and take advantage of some of the great shopping for which Malaysia is known. Then, it's off to the jungle.
It's best to start out early to build in enough downtime in the jungle. In peninsular Malaysia, Teman Negara, Endau-Rompin and even rainforests in Cameron Highlands are perfect for jungle safaris. Amp up the fun factor by giving teams clues to guide them to their jungle hideaway. After a canoe trip or trek, the group will reach a canopy of trees. As soon as they set up camp, the group would welcome some free time to relax.
A few hours before sunset, it's time to make bamboo water bottles, cups, cutlery and plates, Before dinner, a team firestarter challenge to get a fire going without matches is fun. A cooking challenge can involve preparing tasty bamboo rice and cooking chicken in the ground using traditional techniques perfected by Malaysia's indigenous people. After sunset, the group go on a night safari and then relax around a campfire before retiring early and camping out in the jungle.
In the morning, it's time to explore the jungle in the light of day. Depending on which location you selected, a GPS challenge after breakfast can help teams discover a canopy walk to traverse or a waterfall with a natural pools for swimming. A photo safari in search of birds and animals that live in the jungle can easily be incorporated into this challenge.
After lunch, carve out time for jungle-themed business exercises and for teams to discuss the relevance of their experience to business in preparation for debriefing. For a snack, tea can be prepared from bamboo. Using the emergency fishing rods that they make, teams can go fishing and then cook the "catch of the day" over an open fire for an early dinner.
Before sunset, the group will strike camp and head to jungle chalet for their second night. Keep evening activities light. Consider a blow torch competition and indigenous Malaysian games like Congkak (known as Wari or Awari in Africa and Mancala in South America).
The next morning, an orientating challenge can bring the group into content with the Orang Asli, Iban or other indigenous people who will "rescue" them. In gratitude, the group can help with gardening, chores or a philanthropic project before returning to their hotel, late in the afternoon.
On the final morning, a full debriefing is essential. Schedule a late return flight to give the group ample free time after lunch before heading to the airport.