Kinabalu National Park or Taman Kinabalu, spread across 75,400 hectares, is Malaysia’s first World Heritage Site, designated by UNESCO in December 2000. It was also one of the first National Parks of Malaysia, established in 1964. It is densely populated with a huge variety of flora and fauna.
It is located on the Crocker Range on the west coast of State of Sabah, Malaysia, on the northern end of the island of Borneo.
Best time to visit:
Though Sabah can be visited year-round, heavy rainfall might spoil your trekking experience. Going during the dry season, around March to May, might be a good option, though you can never be sure about the downpour.
How to reach:
The best possible option to reach Kinabalu Park from Kuala Lumpur is by air. It takes around an hour to reach the Kota Kinabalu Airport. From there one can travel overland which takes less than half-an-hour to reach.
Places to explore:
Kinabalu Park is home to several natural habitats offering the explorers and nature-lovers a number of natural treasures, located 1,585 meters above the sea level. But that’s not all to it. It sits at the entrance of the giant Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Southeast Asia. The climb of the mountain begins at Timpohon. It is a big challenge for climbers taking around three days to complete the trek. It is also the venue for the annual Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon.
Another wonderful adventure could be experiencing Mountain Torq, world’s highest and Asia’s first Via Ferrata or ‘iron road’. One can partake in different activities like abseiling, sports climbing or rope ascending.
You can also visitKinabalu Natural History Gallery, where you can learn a lot more about the Park.
There is also Poring Hot Springs, where one can sit back and relax, enjoy the hot spring while appreciating nature.
There are several other places visitors might enjoy while in Kota Kinabalu.
Accommodations are available near the Park Headquarters in the form of chalets. It is recommended to make a reservation in advance. There are also several other hotels surrounding the area.
- Kinabalu Park is also the Centre of Plant Diversity for South East Asia housing more than 5,000 vascular plant species
- It also houses around 850 butterfly species, 326 bird species, 90 lowland mammal species, 62 frog and toad species, 22 mountain mammal species, 21 bat species.
- The highest peak of Mout Kinabalu, Low’s Peak, was named after the first recorded man to reach it, the British colonial administrator and naturalist Hugh Low.
- Mount Kinabalu is the highest point between the Himalayas and Papua New Guinea, being 4.095 meters high.
Things to keep in mind:
- Since the unfortunate earthquake experience in 2015, it is a must to hire a guide while climbing Mount Kinabalu.
- Guides should be booked at least a day before the actual climbing.
- Book your trek at least 6 months in advance since climbing is now limited to only 135 people per day and vacancies fill up faster than you know.
- You will be required to pay several different types of fees while climbing, including permit fee, guide fees, park fees, food and accommodation fees. Sutera Sanctuary Lodges (also known as Sutera Harbour), a private company, provide complete packages.
- Even though Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur belong to the same country, your passports will be stamped at Kota Kinabalu by immigration officers to mark the in and out in West Malaysia and Sabah. Don’t worry, this will in not affect your Malaysian Visa in any way.