Kinabalu National Park
Established in 1964, Kinabalu National Park was one of Malaysia's first National Parks and is now a World Heritage Site due to the diversity of habitats present on and around the slopes of SE Asia's highest mountain, Mount Kinabalu. The surrounding forests are some of the richest in the world with more than 2000 flowering plants including 1200 species of Orchids, various species of Rhododendron, Pitcher Plants and the largest of them all, Rafflesia.
Kinabalu National Park is located 2 hours from Kota Kinabalu, a scenic journey through countryside, small towns and scattered villages. One of the highlights of the park is the Poring Hot Springs, developed by the Japanese during WW II, where therapeutic hot water is piped into several open-air baths. Here there are opportunities for guided walks on the canopy walkway, or along nature trails in the lowland forest, before taking a hot soak in the baths. Kinabalu National Park's visitor centre showcases the conservation and research work being carried out, and has a superb botanical garden displaying some of the rare and endemic flora of Borneo.
The park is centred around Mount Kinabalu, South East Asia’s highest mountain at an altitude of 4095m, and for the adventurous there is a superb three-day hike to the summit. The first part of the trek is to the base-camp of Mount Kinabalu, a tiring but rewarding climb from around 1900m to 3272m, and a night in basic but clean hostel-style accommodation. The next day starts very early with a push to the summit at 4095m, which can be very cold so warm clothes are required. A good level of fitness is essential for this challenging climb.