Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Kinabalu Park: At the foot of the climb


The park headquarters where you'll register in and obtain climbing permits for your ascent up Mt. Kinabalu.

Truth, Kinabalu Park is a place without much to see unless you take the time to spend a few days exploring all its nooks and crannies. A day visitor would not be impressed with the offering of this UNESCO World Heritage site, the Park is simply too vast and the attractions a distance too far apart to walk and catch in a single drive by. The most a day tripper can expect if he/she is only there for a few hours en-route to Poring is a peek at the Park headquarters (1,563m) of which the view of Mt Kinabalu is fantastic if you’re early (by 10 a.m. mists and clouds would already be gathering to obscure the top thus it’s better if you stayed overnight in one of the various hotels and rise early for a view), the heritage museum with it’s world heritage marker and exhibits, the Rose cabin with it’s temperate flower gardens and maybe a short drive up to the Timpohon gates marking the start of the trek up to Mt. Kinabalu’s summit. Other than that, you can’t see much else.


The UNESCO World Heritage Site marker near the museum. Kinabalu HQ, Sabah, 2004.

But the place does have its charms, like I said an overnight stay is a great pleasure as the atmosphere is simply divine with fair weather and a cool climate (reaching near 10 degrees at night). By late afternoon, low lying clouds would turn the place into an ethereal wonderland. A walk around the park headquarters is a lovely jaunt with roads connecting the various chalets to the attractions. Take time to view the mountain flora growing wild and if you’re hungry drop by the restaurant for a hot meal and welcomed hot drink (expect prices to be a bit over the average due to its remote distance).


The interior of the Rose Cabin lounge where patrons can order a nice steaming hot drink of have lunch. A mini museum on Sabah Parks is located within as well as well as souvenir shops. Kinabalu HQ, Sabah, 2004.


A cafeteria amidst misty scapes and alpine vegetation is open for visitors wanting a hot meal and drink to get the chill off from their body.

The main attraction of this world heritage site is not at the headquarters itself but a short drive around would bring you to many of attractions found in the hills. The nearest would be the hillside town of Kundasang. The nearest town to the park, roadways are often in danger of landslides and with the only road connecting the east coast of Sabah to Kk often causes broken communication until repairs are underway. Visit the vegetable markets and grab some cheap purchases of fruits, vegetables or fresh cut flowers. Around the foothills are also littered with many of the resorts and hotels taking advantage of the cool atmosphere to lure the brow beaten tourists to stay, more famous would be the Borneo Pines Resort, Perkasa Hotel, Rose Cabin and Borneo Fern hotel. The Kundasang War memorial is also found nearby if you wish for a visit. Another feature prevalent near here is the fact that many of the church retreats are found in the Mt. Kinabalu foothills, most prominent would be the Catholic retreat of Bundu Tuhan. If time is not a concern, the town of Ranau is a little further down past Kundasang and you can go onwards to the Poring Hot Springs.


A view of the peak on good days can be rewarding, here being obscured by heavy cloud cover in the late afternoon.

The sights here are spectacular, often cool throughout the day, you’ll be driving past huge mountain ranges, scattered with rolling clouds, lush hill locks, cows grazing along in pastures and the intermittent afternoon showers. Sweaters advisable if you’re staying for the night, can be a bit chilly especially after it rains which is often.


Adam said...

Have been dreaming of climbing up Mt. Kinabalu. Well here's hoping that I can make it come true some day.

A. said...

You're right. I was there as a climber first and then as a day visitor. As a day visitor, it was difficult to convey how amazing that place is because it seems so unimpressive to the occasional viewer yet I knew that it is so much more. The secrets of the park are in the climb itself.

fish fish said...

Ar~~ your post evoke my thirst to go there. Must go one day!!

Kervin said...

adam: You've got to try it at least once, it's affordable and an adventure you'd not want to miss. Legs aching days after XD

Amelia: The thrill is in the climb and an unforgetable memory and experience.

fish fish: :) someday you will, climbed Mt Fuji?