Kinabalu National Park
The unique flora found on the slopes of Mt. Kinabalu is protected to some extent by the steepness of the terrain and poor soil conditions, which discourage logging and farming.
Nevertheless, some of the surrounding slopes outside the park boundary are being cleared for farming. Road construction has enhanced tourist access to Kinabalu Park, which has led to the construction of more facilities. Some of these developments have been poorly planned and even detrimental, such as government development projects such as a golf course and the 1984 redesignation of Trus Madi from a watershed protection forest to that of a commercial forest reserve allowing logging to take place.
Commercial logging may have encroached into the park, and a section of the park was excised in 1974 for the development of a copper mine. A number of species, especially the rare and endemic species in the eco-region, are being over collected for the commercial wildlife and plant trade. These problems are exacerbated by the absence of buffer zones around the park and insufficient staff to enforce regulations.
PLACES OF INTEREST AND ACTIVITIES
Mount Kinabalu offers a range of opportunities for hikers, scramblers and rock climbers.
The greatest obstacles are the altitude and distance. There are two tourist trails that are used to get to the summit. If you are planning an easier and shorter climb, most visitors like to hike to the summit over two days using Timpohan Gate. This trail will usually take you about 4-6 hours to reach Laban Rata rest house 10,850 ft. You can watch the sunrise on the second day and trek up to the summit and descend on the same day.
The other trail is the Mesilau trail, which takes slightly longer but is more scenic compared to Timpohan trail. This trail will usually take you about 6-9 hours to reach Laban Rata rest house.
For those who love rock climbing, the Western Plateau boasts the largest number of peaks and rock climbing opportunities with several approach options.
When to go
Any time of year but it is best to avoid the rainy periods (November to February).
Overland to Kota Kinabalu from Sandakan or Tawau. The main park entrance lies just off the main Kota Kinabalu-Sandakan highway. The largest towns nearby are Kundasang or Ranau. From Kundasang, it is possible to access the recently opened Mesilau Visitors Center. South of Ranau is Poring Hot Springs.
A nominal entrance fee is charged at the park entrance (at Park HQ, Mesilau or Poring), but, a permit and guide fees are compulsory for those wishing to climb Mt. Kinabalu.
A variety of overnight accommodation is available here. Simple chalets and dorms are available at the Park HQ, Mesilau and Poring. However, it is advisable to book the accommodation in advance at Kota Kinabalu. Other facilities include an information center, gift shop and restaurant at Panar Laban Lata at 10,850 ft. At Poring, you can also find accommodation, a restaurant, hot spring bathing tubs, canopy walkway, butterfly enclosure, an orchid garden and marked forested trails.
How to get there
Express and minibuses are available between Kota Kinabalu and Ranau or Sandakan to the park turn-off, where it is 100m to the park. Air-con express buses leave the long-distance bus station in Kota kinabalu at 7.50am every day and take about 3 hours. There are also several minibuses daily from KK to Ranau. Four-wheel drive vehicles, coaches, aircraft and helicopters can also be chartered.
You can contact Sabah Parks at:
P.O. Box 10626,
88806 Kota Kinabalu