The Kinabalu Park is famous the world over for the highest mountain in South-East Asia. Mt. Kinabalu, a Vast jagged granite massif rising to 4,101m (13,455ft). The mountain is the focal point of the whole Park which covers an area of 754 sq km (291 sq miles), and includes vegetation types ranging from the rich lowland dipterocarp zone through the montane oak. rhododendron, and conifer forests to the alpine meadow plants and stunted bushes of the summit zone an area that probably has one of the richest flora in the world.
The Headquarters is situated on the southern boundary, at an elevation of 1,524m (5,000 ft). Visitor accommodation, restaurants and an exhibit centre are found here as well as the Park offices. It is only a 2 hour drive from Sabah's capital of Kota Kinabalu on a good sealed road and the Park is an ideal spot for day visitors who simply want to get away from it all and enjoy the cool air, as well as those who wish to stay for a few days and climb the mountain or explore the forest trails.
If you are a first-time visitor it is well worth your while to go to some of the free visitor programs organized by the Park. Regular evening slide/film shows and guided trail walks in the mornings are given by the Park Naturalists at the Park Headquarters.
Nepenthes Villa (Chalets)
Many people who visit the Park come to climb the mountain, a tough Walk that takes a minimum of two days. But why not take your time over it! The climb can be made far more rewarding and enjoyable if you use three days, with two nights at a mountain hut. This way you can take the time to look at what you pass - the birds, the animals, the rocks and the soil, the views and the almost incredibly rich diversity of plant life belonging to one of the most ancient vegetations in the world.
Timpohon Gate - Start of Summit Trail
THE SUMMIT TRAIL
To reach the start of the Summit Trail, climbers must drive or walk the 4kms (2 1/2 miles) of the Kamborongoh Road that leads from Mt. Kinabalu Park Headquarters to the PublicWorks Department's Power Station at 1,829m (6,000ft).
The forest on the steep ridge opposite the Power Station is still the montane oak-forest that surrounds the Park Headquarters. Kinabalu has some of the richest oak forests in the world with over 40 different oak species recorded.
Here the Summit Trail itself starts, marked at intervals of 5 chains (50 chains = 1 km.; 80 chains = 1 mile), leading past the Power Station and following the crest of a narrow ridge that dips down onto the main slopes of Kinabalu itself. A little further on, there is a waterfall where water bottles can be filled.
This is known as Carson's Falls, named after the first Warden of this Park. Liverworts and mosses grow luxuriantly in the fine spray of water. A Common moss is Dawsonia, one of the largest in the world, that can reach 3ft (1 m) in height. though it is usually much less. Nearby the KINABALU BALSAM (Impatiensplatyphylla) can usually be found, a delicate little herb growing in between rocks at the edge of the path.
Rhododendrons are now more common - the SLENDER- LEAVED RHODODENDRON (Rhododendron stenophyllum) is a lovely sight in bloom.
The SMALL MOUNTAlN PlTCHERPLANT (Nepenthes denticulate) can also be seen by the Sharp-eyed observer grows along the edges of paths, from the Headquarters to as high as 2,439m (8,000ft).
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Perkasa Hotel Mount Kinabalu-18.1 km
Mercure Hotel-23.9 km
Deepfried Soft Shell Crab, seafood restaurant-13.7 km
Salut Seafood Restaurant-24.0 km
Sabah Train Station-32.5 km
North Borneo Train-32.8 km