Kinabalu Park derives its name from Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in Southeast Asia, which is prominently located within its boundaries. The word “Kinabalu” is believed to originate from the Kadazan word “Aki Nabalu,” meaning “the revered place of the dead.”
Situated in the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo‘s northern end, Kinabalu Park spans an impressive area of about 754 square kilometers surrounding Mount Kinabalu. The park, established as one of Malaysia’s first national parks, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It boasts a diverse ecological range, transitioning from lowland rainforests to alpine meadows as one ascends the mountain.
Kinabalu Park was established in 1964 and later inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. This recognition was due to the park’s significant biological diversity, with habitats ranging from rich tropical lowland and hill rainforests to the towering peak of Mount Kinabalu. The park plays an essential role in conservation, research, and promoting environmental awareness.
Highlights of Things to Do
- Mount Kinabalu Climb: Conquer the highest peak in Southeast Asia. This challenging ascent rewards trekkers with breathtaking vistas and a sense of accomplishment.
- Botanical Gardens: Explore the diverse flora of the region, including orchids, ferns, and rhododendrons.
- Poring Hot Springs: Located about 40 kilometers from the main park area, these natural hot springs offer relaxation amidst a rainforest setting.
- Canopy Walkway: Gain a bird’s-eye view of the rainforest from a suspension bridge set high above the forest floor.
- Mountain Trails: Beyond the summit trail, there are several other trails within the park catering to different fitness levels, such as the Bukit Tupai and Bukit Burung trails.
How to Get In and Out
- By Road: The park’s main entrance is about 88 kilometers from Kota Kinabalu, the state capital. Regular bus services ply between Kota Kinabalu and the nearby town of Kundasang. Alternatively, visitors can opt for taxi services or rental cars for more flexibility.
- Tours: Many tour operators in Kota Kinabalu offer guided tours to Kinabalu Park, which often includes transportation, accommodation, and sometimes park entry fees.
Kinabalu Park, with its diverse ecosystems and majestic Mount Kinabalu, offers visitors a unique blend of natural beauty and adventurous activities, making it a must-visit destination in Borneo.