WHS: Kinabalu Park, Sabah, Malaysia

Back to our wanderings around Borneo today; after visiting Gunung Mulu, next logical stop is to fly out a different way than we came … which leaves us with only one choice, Kota Kinabulu in the state of Sabah (previously known as North Borneo).

And tourists and WHS tickers agree, the #1 place to visit around Kota Kinabulu is the World Heritage Site

Kinabalu Park

Kinabulu Park Sign


Located in the State of Sabah, Malaysia, on the northern end of the island of Borneo, Kinabalu Park World Heritage property covers 75,370 ha. Dominated by Mount Kinabalu (4,095m), the highest mountain between the Himalayas and New Guinea, it holds a distinctive position for the biota of Southeast Asia.  Geologically, Kinabalu Park is a granite intrusion formed 15 million years ago and thrust upward one million years ago by tectonic movements and shaped by forces that continue to define its landscape. Despite its geological youth it is exceptionally high in species with living relics of natural vegetation remaining, over 93% of the Park area.

The altitudinal range of the property, 152m – 4,095m, presents a wide array of habitats from rich tropical lowland and hill rainforest (35% of the park) to tropical montane forest (37%), and sub-alpine forest and scrub at the highest elevations. Ultramafic (serpentine) rocks cover about 16% of the park and have vegetation specific to this substrate. The property has been identified as a Centre of Plant Diversity for Southeast Asia; it contains representatives from at least half of all Borneo’s plant species and is exceptionally rich in species with elements from the Himalayas, China, Australia, Malaysia, and pan tropical floras. With records of half of all Borneo’s birds, mammals and amphibian species and two-thirds of all Bornean reptiles the property is both species-rich and an important centre for endemism…

The centerpiece of the park is Mount Kinabulu, which you can see peeking out past the clouds there past the richly verdant Borneo landscape,

Mount Kinabulu

and if you’re hardcore enough to want to do some peak bagging, this is your best chance for a long ways around Borneo,

Kinabulu Park Map

but for our visit … eh, we went around the side of the park to visit the hot springs. And to visit the orchid garden, which … well, you see any orchids here?

Kinabulu Orchid Garden

Dunno when orchid season is, but clearly it is not the middle of July. Well, it’s still a pretty garden, as tropical jungles go.

The last attraction in the hot springs area is a canopy walk up the mountain a bit,

Kinabulu Canopy Walk

which is … not a walk to take if you suffer from vertigo, or nervousness; couple hundred feet drop to either side, those are very steep cliffs!

That’s about it for Kinabulu Park; worth an overnighter if you happen to be going through Kota Kinabulu, and tops if you want to do a peak ascent anywhere “between the Himalayas and New Guinea” as they say; but if your Borneo time is limited, we’d definitely say Mulu is the destination of preference!

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  1. […] you’re visiting Kinabulu Park, chances are you’re going to be visiting both the main entrance and the eastern entrance where […]

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