Borneo - Getting to know Kinabalu National Park
At nearly 300 square miles, Kinabalu is easily the largest of Sabah’s National Parks, and its location just two hours south of Kota Kinabalu makes it easily included on any holiday in the Malaysian State. The cooler air, stunning natural habitat and immensely diverse flora and fauna make this one of Asia’s most impressive National Parks.
Every day up to 150 climbers make the ascent of Mt Kinabalu with the assistance of guides and porters, most using the Laban Ratan huts near the mountain peak for an overnight stop before an early morning completion of the ascent. The ascent (4,095 m) is not considered to be particularly testing, although a good level of basic fitness is required, as well as good walking gear and waterproofs.
Kota Kinabalu National Park was designated with UNESCO status in December 2000, for the incredible diversity of flora and fauna, many species being unique to the region, and some only existing in specific localities or on particular slopes of Mt Kinabalu. Many botanists and zoologists consider the region to be amongst the world's most important.
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Although no Kilimanjaro, the climb up Mt Kin does require a certain amount of effort. Breathing can become hard from about half way up, and some climbers do suffer from altitude sickness, especially nearer the peak. As long as you have a basic level of fitness, though, you should be absolutely fine.
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A number of day-trippers make the journey from Kota Kinabalu to the National Park to enjoy fantastic walking trails and the extremely popular (read over-crowded and, in our opinion, disappointing) Poring Hot Springs.
Whilst the extremely pleasant day-trip should not be discouraged, a night or two in the park is the ideal way to enjoy the scenery, the flora and fauna, and the cool climate, with plenty of time to climb Mt Kinabalu and enjoy a spectacular sunrise from its summit.