Kinabalu Park is situated in Sabah and is dominated by Mount Kinabalu, one of the highest mountains of Southeast Asia at 4,095 metres.
Kinabalu National Park or Taman Negara Kinabalu was established as one of the first national parks of Malaysia in 1964.
This botanical site is blessed with astonishing variety of flora and fauna that ranges over 4 climate zones; from rich lowland dipterocarp forest through the montane oak, rhododendron, to the coniferous forests, to the alpine meadow plants, and to the stunted bushes of summit zone. The mountain is famous for its many carnivorous plant and orchid species, most notably Nepenthes rajah. Its is also home to a multitude of endemic animal species, including the Kinabalu Giant Red Leech and Kinabalu Giant Earthworm.
Map of Kinabalu ParkLoad map
There are two vantage points where a traveler can see the inscribed area --- the National Park Headquarters, and Poring Hot Springs in Ranau(What people say about Poring Hot Spring is true - its too expensive, obviously a tourist trap. A bit elitist for budget travelers like me). I never got to climb it. But, going to those two vantage points proved to be still difficult for DIY travelers. For one, asking directions from locals was confusing. It seems that even those from the area don't know much about the ins and outs of seeing the sites. Many would suggest taking a tour, or by renting a taxi, convincing you that its the best way to go to those places. However, buses are available that would lead to the gates of Kinabalu Park HQ. Nevertheless, I felt that the place is truly gifted and is well deserved of a WHS status.
Really deserved the title as one of the WHS. The park is beautiful, and as I happen to manage to climb the Kinabalu Mountain, I could see more of the park area, which is just stunning.
I managed to see a beautiful waterfall from afar... and unfortunately it's quite unreachable there... but I'm glad it's part of the park, so it is also considered as a heritage :-)
For a spectacular view if the mountain, take the 7am flight from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan (home of the orang-utans and turtles). That early the air is clear for an uninterupted view.
We enjoyed taking the canopy walkway near the Poring hot springs,to stroll through the treetops.
The brilliant orchid flowers made a colourful display in the forest.
Buses from Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan stop at the park entrance, but the it is such a large area that you really need you own transport to get around.
Mohan Rao Gunti
Eco Paradise of Malaysia – Kinabalu Park
Malaysia’s First World Heritage Site
The 754 square km Kinabalu Park situated in Sabah is the Malaysia’s first “World Heritage” designated by UNESCO in December 2000 for its role as one of the world’s most important biological sites. One of the earth's last frontiers of wilderness, this is a natural paradise. The park is home to an incredibly diverse range of flora and fauna including the Rafflesia, the world's largest flower.
It has been designated as a Centre of Plant Diversity for Southeast Asia and is exceptionally rich in species. The Park contains high biodiversity with representatives from more than half the families of all flowering plants.
This distinction has earned it considerable attention in myth and legend as well as in geography, and the mountain has for most of history been revered as a sacred spot. The hundreds of square kilometers encompassed by its slopes, from sea level to the jagged stone edge marking its summit, form the Kinabalu National Park.
Towering 4,101 meters (13,455 ft) above the mysterious tropical jungles, Mount Kinabalu is the majestic center piece of Kinabalu Park and is also the highest mountain in Southeast Asia. The majestic mountain has a fascinating geological history.
Today, the allure of this awe inspiring mountain and its great heights act like a powerful magnet and challenge, which attracts eager climbers from all corners of the world. About 30,000 people scale the mountain each year, including more than 10,000 foreigners. Despite its intimidating size, Mt. Kinabalu is the one of the easiest mountains in the world to climb. No special skills or equipment are needed and each year, thousand of visitors climb to the summit of Mt. Kinabalu's Low Peak. Keep in mind, however, that the ascent is a physically tough and challenging climb, requiring a minimum of two days to reach the summit.
The Headquarters is situated on the southern boundary, at an elevation of 1,524m (5,000 ft). Visitor accommodation, restaurants and an exhibit centre are found here as well as the Park offices. It is only a 2 hour drive from Sabah's capital of Kota Kinabalu on a good sealed road and the Park is an ideal spot for day visitors who simply want to get away from it all and enjoy the cool air, as well as those who wish to stay for a few days and climb the mountain or explore the forest trails.
If you are a first-time visitor it is well worth your while to go to some of the free visitor programs organized by the Park. Regular evening slide/film shows and guided trail walks in the mornings are given by the Park Naturalists at the Park Headquarters.
The climb up Kinabalu is one reason why many visitors come. Despite its intimidating size, Kinabalu is one of the easiest mountains in the world to climb. No special skills or equipment are needed, and each year thousands of visitors undertake the expedition, which takes two to three days. Accommodation is available all along the climb, the highest lodging being the Sayat Hut at 12,500 feet. Those with high blood pressure or heart problems should not make the climb because of the high altitude involved.
Though the Kinabalu Park is famous largely for the climb, the climb is in turn as famous for the beauty of its route as for the view from the top. Kinabalu's slopes possess a wealth of plant growth and a large variety of birds, and much of the climb's interest and beauty lies in tracing the transitions from one ecosystem to the next as one reaches ever higher altitude. For visitors with more time to spend in Kinabalu, there are graded paths leading through rich lowland forest to Mountain Rivers, waterfalls, and tumbled bat caves.
The Park at a Glance:
Size: 4,343 sq. km
Highest Point: Mount Kinabalu (4,101 meters)
Flora Fauna: One of the largest flowers in the world grows here. Its giant red blossom, the Rafflesia can grow to over 170 cm in diameter. Several bird varieties including the Mountain Bush Warbler, Kinabalu friendly Warbler, palefaced Bilbul and Mountain Blackeyes. More the 250 bird varieties have been recorded. Small mammals which inhabit the mountain include mountain squirrels, tree shrews and bats.
Activities: Recreation at high altitudes. Bird watching, exploring forest trails (lower mountain forests and lowlands). Climbing Mt. Kinabalu. Spectacular photographic opportunities. Opportunities to see Rafflesia in bloom and various species of Flowers.
When to Go : Any time of the year. But the best time to visit the park, especially for climbers, is during the dry season in March and April, November to December is the monsoon season but do bear in mind, wet or dry periods can occur at any time of the year.
Clothing’s : In the mountainous region, the weather can change without warning, from bright sunshine to mist and cloud to torrential downpour. At night the temperatures can drop to below freezing, so bring warm and extra clothing packed in plastic bags to keep it dry.
How to get to Kota Kinabalu & Mt. Kinabalu : Kota Kinabalu – the international gateway to the rest of Sabah – has direct flights to and from the main capitals in the region, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Brunei, Hong Kong, Taipei, Kaoshiung, Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul, Guangzhou, Xiamen, Shanghai, Balikpapan, Manado, Manila and Sydney. And recently Thai Air Asia has introduced brand new daily flight from Bangkok to Kota Kinabalu with an aim to make fly everybody who loves traveling. Check out for the attractive rates by Air Asia and Malaysian Airlines.
For further full information about the destination, please check the tourism site : www.sabahtourism.com
“Eco-treasures from Mountain high to Ocean Deep” is the new slogan of the Sabah Tourism Board as part of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment in Malaysia.
Believe it … Its True, that's the reason SABAH is known as “The land below the Wind”. Experience it!
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