Mount Kinabalu is Malaysia’s highest peak and it holds a special position in the Malay people’s heart. Like many “sacred mountains” in the world, climbing to the peak of Mount Kinabalu is a pilgrimage to not only the locals but a lot of tourists around the world. The peak is part of the Borneo’s Crocker Range, and it’s the country’s very first World Heritage Site.
The mountain and its surroundings is an important biological site that covers a wide range of fauna and flora; while some of the most unique species of plants, birds, and mammalian species could be seen.
Although we were not quite prepared to climb the mountain when we were in Kota Kinabalu, we signed up for a day tour in SabahYou.com and had a glimpse of the beauty of the mountain and walking through the suspension bridge and had a taste of the milk from the Desa Cow Farm.
We took off from the hotel early in the morning and headed north to Nabalu, a small town an hour and a half away from the coast where it offers a good view of the Mountain together with nice fruits and local handicrafts. I was told that due to the heavy clouds that usually cover the mountain, we had to be really lucky for us to see the peak of the mountain. Once we arrived at the small town we headed to the lookout and I guess we were pretty lucky that day. We had an unobstructed view of the mountain with a clear, blue sky!
We were very excited and we took a lot of pictures. The cloud-hugging peaks look breath-taking and enchanting. We all felt that we should probably come back for a serious hike to the peak of the mountain (hikers need to be prepared because it takes about 2 days to go up and down the mountain, and the temperature drops significantly to below 0 degrees, not to mention the possibility of high altitude symptom for reaching over 3,000 meters above sea level.)
After spending about an hour in the town we continued our journey in the Kinabalu Park Complex and walk through the suspension bridge in Poring. The entire park covers an area of 754 square kilometers and it’s impossible to discover the entire ground in one day. By that time, we were actually at 1,500 meters above sea level and the temperature dropped quite a bit.
Treetop Canopy Walk
The suspension bridges of the Treetop canopy walk reach 40 meters high and so it’s not recommended to those who are suffered from acrophobia. The 175 meters long walkway, connected by bridges, offers a stunning view of the hundred-million-year-old rainforest. It was a special experience to observe the unique jungle from a bird’s eye view, (while watching our steps on the shaking bridge), we actually saw some beautiful animals and birds in the woods.
Remember tourists are required to pay a little extra for taking photos on the bridge and they have staff keeping an eye on those who steal a shot without paying.
Poring Hot Springs
The Poring Hot Springs is a soothing sulfur bath that relaxes your muscles and heals your body. It was an open area and families usually gather around and enjoy a dip in the water in the slide pool or outdoor bathtub. Prepare a towel and change of clothes if you decided to take a bath, or you might just soak your feet and wash away the exhaustion after a day of walking in the mountains.
The Corpse Lily
Another unique experience is the viewing of Rafflesia, commonly known as the corpse lily. We headed to the Soulin’s Garden while it was just a privately own small garden that has the flower for tourists. The species belongs to the parasitic genus and it’s famous for its large size. In fact, this is the largest individual flower on earth, and it is endemic to the rainforest of Sumatra and Borneo. It’s called the “corpse lily” because of its strong and unpleasant odor that basically attracts insects like flies. Although the flower that we saw in the garden was a little bit smaller than I expected, the largest Rafflesia in the wild could reach up to 3 feet across in width and weigh up to 15 pounds!
Desa Cattle Farm
Finally, before we head back to the city, we needed a few refreshments and stopped by the Desa Cattle Farm. This farm is located at Kundasang by the mountain foot of Mount Kinabalu, and it’s about 2,000 meters above sea level. This is one of the biggest highland cattle farms in Sabbah and tourists could enjoy the great view of the mountains, the adorable cattle, and a carton of milk or creamy soft ice-cream. The most interesting part is, the milking process starts at about 3 pm every day and the cows would queue up by themselves to the station waiting to be milked! If you are there at the right time you could witness this process.