Kinabalu Park – a World Heritage site
Kinabalu Park is located in the northern part of the island of Borneo in the state of Sabah, East Malaysia, and is Malaysia’s first World Heritage Site. It is believed to be the home of the Dusun tribe’s ancestors. I rented a car from Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah, and drove approximately 100km to the park; there are various options for you to access the Park, to include coaches, minivans, shared taxis, booked tours and of course renting a vehicle. The park’s most famous landmark is Mount Kinabalu which is one of the highest mountains in South East Asia at 4095m. It is the tallest mountain in the stretch between the Himalayas and New Guinea. Mountain Torq also stands out in Kinabalu Park; it is the world’s highest and Asia’s first Via Ferrata or ‘iron road’ at 3,200m to 3,800m above sea level. The climb to the top of the mountain is relatively easy in terms of technical climbing skills, but will challenge your cardiovascular endurance. Do make sure to wear comfortable shoes and check the weather predictions before your ascent!
The Park has been designated as a Centre of Plant Diversity for Southeast Asia and is exceptionally rich in species with examples of flora ranging from the Himalayas, China and Malaysia, all the way to Australia, as well as pan-tropical flora. Kinabalu Park boasts an estimate of 4,500 species of plants which include 1,500 species of orchids, 77 of which are endemic to Kinabalu, and all of which are beautiful; the Park is definitely a must for nature lovers and avid photographers. The park also supports 289 species of birds and 290 different types of butterflies, so do make sure to bring your binoculars and your Bird’s Guide. I was happy to see that respecting the animals’ natural habitat and the vegetation is taken very seriously in the Park.
Poring Hot Springs
The Poring Hot Springs get their name from the tall bamboo plants that dominate the surrounding area. The springs can be accessed via the 47km road from Kinabalu Park. Here, visitors can enjoy the offerings of the natural hot spring which include Japanese baths and therapeutic sulphurous waters, as well as engage in a small adventure by trekking on the Treetop Canopy Walk. Walking the 157m of the path, 41m above ground is a wonderful hike!
- hiking clothing and shoes if you decide to go hiking
- if you are renting a car make sure you have a gps or a map
- bathing suit if you decide to try the hot springs