Mount Kinabalu Park, Sabah Malaysian North Borneo
Of all the places I have been in Asia and regularly visit, Mount Kinabalu (and Sabah generally) is one of my favourite places.
Mt Kinabalu the tallest mountain in South East Asia, is situated about 2 hours drive from Sabah’s capitol city of Kota Kinabalu (KK). Kinabalu park consists of an area of approximately 1200 square kilometres and is an enormous, seemingly endless maze and array of incredible flora and faunistic treasures and delights no matter where you go within the park.
Kinabalu is home to some 6000 species of plants including more than 860 species of wild orchids many amazing gingers and Rhododendron to name just a few of the plant families and at least 250 species of birds (of Borneo’s 650 species) either as visitors or resident have been recorded from there including the spectacular Trogons, Bornean Green Magpie and even recently the discovery of a probable new species closely related to the Oriental Honey Buzzard.
Further there are hundreds of other faunistic elements such as squirrels, frogs, lizards, turtles, deer species, primates, butterflies, odonates, lantern bugs and many other colourful and amazing insects and fauna.
This is a great place for families and naturalists to visit. You may hire your own car, catch a bus or join a tour group to get there. I strongly recommend you plan for and spend at least 2 days there staying in nearby accommodation – as Kinabalu Park is so big a day tour does not even scratch the surface of what this place has to offer. Buses from KK stop right outside the entrance to Kinabalu park headquarters. Accommodation in the park is very expensive and much cheaper and just as nice if not nicer accommodation is available in the surrounding area. There are way too many places to list here and you will need to check them out on the internet.
However, whatever you do, “Do Not” stay at the guest house and restaurant over the road directly opposite the entrance to Kinabalu Park Headquarters. The service here is unfriendly and atrocious, the walls between rooms are paper thin and you can hear literally everything going on in the next room. The male shower block is nothing short of a joke and the hot water system never works and there is no staff in attendance between the hours of 8pm and 8am, so should you experience a medical emergency or need assistance of any kind – you are your own!
The Bayview Lodge and restaurant found about 200 meters down the road from Kinabalu Park entrance back toward KK serves nice food which is reasonably priced and the owner ‘Anna’ is a very nice lady. She also has a variety of clean rooms available from very simple to larger family rooms. Restaurants in Kinabalu park are expensive, but the little shop at the carpark near the entrance to the botanical gardens serves nice cheap food either to eat there or take away and the ladies are very nice.
Visiting Mount Kinabalu Park is an amazing almost life changing experience which every nature lover should do at least once in your life. Places such as this, with such an incredible array of fauna and flora in almost pristine condition are indeed a very rare commodity these days on any continent anywhere in the world.
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