The Kinabalu National Park, which covers an area of 75,400 hectares, is one of the greatest attractions of Sabah. In 2000, it was declared Malaysia’s first World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its biological splendors.
The park, which is also the Centre of Plant Diversity for South East Asia, features more than 5,000 vascular plant species, an estimated 1,000 orchid species, 621 fern species, 29 Rhododendron species, 9 Nepenthes species and two Rafflesia species. It is also home to some 21 bat species, 90 lowland mammal species, 22 mountain mammal species, 326 bird species, 62 frog and toad species and a large population of the 850 butterfly species available in Sabah.
The Kinabalu National Park will definitely not fail to delight visitors with its many wonderful natural treasures.
On top of the abundance of flora and fauna, the Kinabalu National Park also features the granitic massif of Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Southeast Asia.
Standing at 4095.2m, it is Southeast Asia’s greatest challenge for mountain climbers and the venue of the annual Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon. At least three days will be required to scale the mountain and climbers must possess a climber’s permit which can be purchased at the park. Adult fee is RM50 and the fee for children below 18 years old is RM20.
Other than mountain climbing, visitors can also experience exhilarating adventures of Mountain Torq, the world’s highest and Asia’s first Via Ferrata or ‘iron road’ at 3,200 meters to 3,800m above sea level. There are also various other activities for visitors to partake such as sports climbing, abseiling and rope ascending.
From the tired city dwellers to the restless mountaineer and to the nature lovers, the Kinabalu National Park has much to offer to its visitors. It is open at all seasons and is self-contained with all the facilities for the casual visitors as well as campers. There is also a variety of accommodation available within the park and its surrounding areas including basic hotels and chalets. Surrounding the park are numerous other attractions where visitors of the park can drop by. For example, the Kinabalu Natural History Gallery is a great place to familiarize with what the Kinabalu National Park has to offer through a fascinating exhibition on the flora, fauna and geological make-up of the park. Approximately half an hour from the Kinabalu National Park headquarters is the Poring Hot Springs, a great place for visitors to soak up in therapeutic hot springs while enjoying nature.
A drive to the Kinabalu National Park takes approximately an hour and a half from the city of Kota Kinabalu. Of course, upon your descend from the mount, take time to explore what Kota Kinabalu has to offer too.