Kinabalu Park

Mount Kinabalu or the summit of Borneo is located in the East Malaysian state of Sabah. Visible from anywhere on the west coast of Sabah, the mountain stands out like a beacon and seems to call out to the adventurous to come and visit her. Standing at a height of 4,095 metres, it is the highest point between the Himalayas and Irian Jaya, and also among the youngest non-volcanic mountains in the world. The mountain forms the main local point of the Kinabalu Park and draws visitors from all walks of life-trekkers, botanist, bird watchers, rock climbers and anyone seeking cool, refreshing climate.

The Kinabalu Park, which covers an area of 7,537 sq.km., abounds with a wealth of flora. Plants from various parts of the word can be found here. Over 200 species of orchids are found in the Park together with many endemic species of rhododendrons, oaks, chestnuts and other plants. Is is the centre for the curious pitcher plants.

WHAT TO SEE AND DO

Situated at a height of 500 metres, the Park Headquarters is delightfully cool and lacks the humidity of the lowlands. Day temperatures average around 20 degree celcius. The main activity n the Park trekking, with the trek to the summit of Kinabalu being the ultimate experience.

Summit Trail

The trail to the summit takes a minimum of 2 days and night. It is best to arrive as early as possible at the Park Headquarters (around 9.00 am. is good) on the first day. Register Meet your mountain guide and take the Park's transportation to the power station for the start of the summit trail. You will need an average of 5 hours trekking uphill to get to your mountain hut or rest house for the night.

These accommodation facilities are located at two altitudes, Laban Rata at 3,272 metres and Gunting Lagadan at 3,323 metres and serve as overnight rest areas prior to the ascent to the summit. The next morning you wake up at around 2.00 a.m. and continue the ascent up a stretch of bare rock face to the summit with the aid of your torchlight. The idea is to get to the top in time to watch the sunrise at 6.00 a.m. as well as to enjoy the magnificient view and take some snapshots before you make the descent to the Park Headquarters. You can be back in Kota Kinabalu by evening the same day if you wish. Most people, however, take a leisurely trip of 3 days or even more.

Bird Watching

For bird watchers, the Kinabalu Park can be a paradise indeed. Over 300 species of birds have been recorded to be found in the Park with many of them being endemic to Borneo.

An early morning walk at sunrise, along the main road at Park Headquarters, will give you a splendid introduction to birds such as the gray drongo, the Malaysian treepies with their extra long tails, the common green magpie, the bright blue indigo flycatcher and the strange calls of the chestnut capped laughing thrush very easily seen picking moths off the street lamps. Bird watching along the trails at the higher altitudes is also rewarding as some uncommon birds can be sighted.

Guided Nature Walks

At around I 00 am. every morning, a guided walk with a park ecologist is conducted forthe convenience of local and foreign visitors. The walk follows an easy trail in the forest to suit all ages. Lasting about an hour it is a good introduction to the rich flora found on Kinabalu.

Apart from the guided nature walks, a 20-minute slide show on the flora and fauna of Kinabalu with an emphasis on the summit trail is shown daily at 2.30 p.m. in the mini-theatre at Park Headquarters

Mountain Garden

Adjacent to the Kinabalu Restaurant at Park Headquarters is the Mountain Garden, This garden was specially designed to give visitors a chance to see some of the rare plants found on Kinabalu. It has an incredible collection of native orchids, including the famed slipper orchids and medicinal plants used by the local people. Some of the more unique pitcher plants that grow at higher altitudes like the Raja,Villosa and Lowii varieties are also cultivated in the garden. The garden is open daily to visitors with tours being conducted at 9.00 am., 12.00 noon. and 3.00 p.m. daily. An entrance fee of RM2.00 per person is charged and this includes a guided walking tour by a park staff. There is a souvenir shop next to the main entrance of Kinabalu Park which sells a good collection of local handicrafts, tee shirts, post cards, books and other items for those who wish to take home mementos of their visit to Kinabalu.

Poring Hot Springs

Situated 39km from the Park Headquarters, the Poring substation at the southern end of the Kinabalu Park is a must if you have the time. The main attractions in Poring include the hot sulphur springs, a butterfly farm, the canopy walkway and the Langanen Waterfalls. The hot sulphur springs at Poring occur naturally and have been piped into open Japanese-style baths for the convenience of visitors. For those who want some privacy, enclosed bathhouses are also available for a fee. The hot springs are very popular with visitors for its therapeutic properties as the hot sulphur waters can soothe sore muscles.

Category: