Mount Kinabalu, Kinabalu Park & It’s Surrounding Tourist Spots

About Mount Kinabalu

Measuring at 4,095 meters or 13,435 feet in height, Mount Kinabalu, has the highest peak on the island of Borneo, in the Malaysian state of Sabah, South East Asia. For comparison purpose, the peak of Mount Fuji of Japan measures at 3,776 meters while the peak of Mount Everest, the highest in the world, measures at 8,848 meters. Geographically, Mount Kinabalu is located on the Crocker Range, which is located on the west coast of Sabah that stretches from South West to North West of the state. Being the highest mountain on the island of Borneo, it is the pride of Malaysian particularly the people of the state of Sabah. The mountain is also sacred to the local Kadazan community, whom regard it as the revered place of the dead or in their language, “Aki Nabalu”, which is also how the name of the mountain was derived.

Sabah Map

Interesting Places To Visit at Kinabalu Park & Surrounding

Entrance to Kinabalu Park
Entrance to Kinabalu Park

Kinabalu Park, which covers an area of 754 square meters surrounding Mount Kinabalu,  has being granted the status of World Heritage Site in December 2000 by UNESCO. With over 4,500 species of flora and fauna, 326 species of birds and over 100 species of mammals with some of them endemic to the park, it boasts one of the most important biological sites in the world and has attracted many people from around the world to this location to study the floras and faunas, experience the untouched tropical rain forest as well as scaling the majestic Mount Kinabalu. In the park, accommodation with options ranging from single room with double beds to bunk beds are available for booking but due to the park’s popularity, advance booking is required. Restaurant that serves quality food is also available in this park so meals are not an issue.

A Giant Nephentes
A Giant Nephentes

For those who likes jungle trekking and experience the tropical rain forest, there are plenty of treks around the park that can be done in a day with length ranging from 150 meters to 5.6 kilometers. These treks are free to explore once you have paid your entrance fees to the park. If you prefer learning about the plants, there is a botanical garden that exhibits different kinds of plants that available at Kinabalu Park too.

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The highlight activity of Kinabalu Park is of course the scaling of Mount Kinabalu. Normally, the scaling of Mount Kinabalu requires a 2 day 1 night duration with the first day on the mount ascent and second day on the descent. The entire distance from the Kinabalu Park up to the summit is 8.7 kilometers. Due to its popularity and quota set on the number of climbers allowed per day, advance booking (normally 6 months advance) is required. This can be done through local travel agents and normally climb packages offered are inclusive everything namely transfers, climbing permits, guiding, accommodation, meals and certificates.

Starting point at Timpohon gate to reach summit of Mt. Kinabalu
Starting point at Timpohon gate to reach summit of Mt. Kinabalu

Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon is held annually and involves climbers from all around the world for this competition. It is normally held in the month of October, a day event and accept only participants who have certain level of body fitness.

Watch video of Mount Kinabalu climb in 4 minutes here.

There are plenty of accommodation facilities within the vicinity of Kinabalu Park in case all accommodation at the park are fully booked. Accommodation rates varies and some offer spectacular view of the Mount Kinabalu as well as bird eye view of local villages and nearby townships such as Mt.Kinabalu Heritage Resort & Spa. These accommodation facilities become hot tourist spots for the locals especially during public and school holidays just to experience the cooling atmosphere on the highlands.

One of the places of interest outside Kinabalu Park is the Nabalu Township. It is situated about 13 kilometers away from the entrance of Kinabalu Park if you are coming from the direction of Kota Kinabalu city. The main attraction here, is it’s perfect view of Mount Kinabalu. Tourists come here to take selfies or group photos in front of the majestic mountain. The visibility of the mountain is of course subject to the weather condition but the best time to visit here is early morning and late evening. Other than the suggested time, the mountain may be heavily covered with clouds. Aside from mountain viewing, Nabalu Township is also famous for its handicrafts and local fruits and vegetables too. Do drop by here if you’re looking for local products.

Handicrafts at Nabalu Town
Handicrafts at Nabalu Town
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Nabalu Handicraft Stalls
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Clear view of Mount Kinabalu at Nabalu Town.

Kundasan Township which is located about 6 kilometers away from Kinabalu Park is another must visit place. The attraction of this township is its many stalls selling temperate vegetables and plants harvested from the nearby villages. Their stalls are visible along the roadside and is popular for the locals especially folks from the city of Kota Kinabalu to get their fresh vegetables here such as cabbages and asparagus.

Another tourist spot in Kundasan Township is the Kundasan War Memorial which is within walking distance from the township itself. The Kundasan War Memorial was erected to commemorate the tragic loss of Allied infantries (mostly Australian and the British) Prisoner Of War (POWs) who died in 1945 during the infamous death marches from Sandakan to Ranau. The memorial is comprised of three interconnected gardens of flowers with each garden representing memorial for the Australian, English and Borneo.

Another must visit tourist spot is the Desa Cattle Farm. As the name implies, it is a dairy farm located on a flat highland with Mount Kinabalu as its backdrop. The locals like to visit this place because of it’s beautiful scenery similar to those dairy farms in New Zealand. Besides the view, visitors get to learn about the milking process as well as get their hands on dairy products sold at the farm.

Desa Cow Farm
Desa Cow Farm

Read more about day trip to Kinabalu Park and its surrounding tourist spot here.

Conclusion

If this is the first time you’re dropping by Kota Kinabalu, do try to drop by above mentioned places. They say if you have not taken a photo of the majestic Mount Kinabalu, you have not being to this part of the world. Have a short visit to Nabalu Township and take a selfie there so you can boast to others of your presence there. In case you need assistance on how to visit above places, please do not hesitate to do drop me an email. Feel free to comment below too!

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