The botanical garden within the national park is hidden gem and is only 1.4 hectares in size. The nursery hosts some of the rarest species of orchids and pitcher plants found exclusively in Borneo and South East Asia. The garden consists of a 700mt long trail which you can explore by yourself. However, I would advise you to join the 1-hour guided tour (at 9am, 12pm and 3pm daily) conducted by the staff at the garden. They will provide you with deep insight and knowledge that you will miss out on otherwise.
Canopy Walking at Kinabalu National Park
Canopy Walking is not for the faint hearted. The walkway at Kinabalu is over 175 Meters long and 41-43mt in height, which is higher than an eight floor building. While this activity gives you an adrenalin rush, it is also a wonderful opportunity to observe birds and animals since 75% of rainforest animals spend their time on forest canopy.
Notice the width of the platform!
Calf Pen at the farm
Dining with locals
For those of you who have not heard this name before, Raflessia is the world’s largest flower that is often over 100 centimetres (39 in) in diameter, and up to 10 kilograms in weight. These flowers look and smell like rotting flesh, hence its local name that translate to "corpse flower". The foul odor attracts insects such as flies, which transport pollen from male to female flowers.
These flowers are endemic to a bunch of islands in South East Asia and Borneo happens to be one of them. Do not miss this rare sight!
A 15 minute trail leading up to the canopy walkway
A trail within the Botanical Garden
1) Carrying a raincoat and an insect repellent is an absolute must
2) Fees - Botanical Garden - MYR 5, Canopy Walkway MYR 30, Desa Dairy Farm MYR 2, Rafflesia Farm MYR 30. Additional MYR 5 per camera at the Canopy Walkway.
3) There are several cheap (MYR 5-7) buses from Kota Kinabalu that take about 2 hours to get to the National Park. Alternatively, you could also book an all inclusive package that includes pick up and drop.
Eight floors high
Desa Farm is located along the Kundasang Kauluan Road. With light green grasslands and grey skies, it is easy to see why this place is called the New Zealand of Malaysia. Here, you can check out the cow farm, the calf pen, the restaurant and the souvenir shops. Do not forget to get some ice cream!
Hike, get Chinese food or idle by the pools at the Poring Hot Springs. There are several trails withing the national park that cater to all kinds of hikers, from beginners to experienced. And for when you are drained of all energy, you can make your way to one of the many Chinese restaurants at the entrance of the National Park. Finally, dunk yourself at the hot springs for a warm end to the day.
Raflessia in full bloom
Kinabalu National Park is Malaysia’s first World Heritage Site. Also the Centre of Plant Diversity for South East Asia, the Park boasts of more than 5,000 species of flora and 90 species of lowland mammals. The main attraction at the Park is the gigantic Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in South East Asia standing at 4095 mt.
Adventure junkies make their way to the national park solely with the intention of climbing this mountain. However, as they soon find out, the cost is often prohibitive (MYR1000-1600). Having said that, a trip to this majestic nature reserve is still worth it considering there is a multitude of natural and man-made attractions at the Kinabalu Park. Here I list a few ways to spend a day in Kinabalu National Park!
Green meadows at Desa Dairy Farm
Pitcher Plant, Kerosene Flower and Laughing Daffodil
At the entrance of the botanical garden
Balancing A Regular Life with Extreme WANDERLUST
One of several trails within the park