I don’t know all the plants found in Kinabalu National Park, but I observed that most plants here are having hard trunks and plants that dominant at certain altitude may not be found when you climb higher. Some other plants will in deed growth abundantly compare to lower altitudes.
As you climb higher, you will see vegetations that adapt to rougher environment factors such as strong winds, dryness, soil conditions & etc.
I almost lose heart for climbing the first 10,000ft although the scenery was great all the way up to Laban Rata. We spend about 4.5Hrs walking up the Kinabalu, we’re probably the slowest group for the entire Kinabalu hiking records.
I almost burst out crying when Laban Rata hostels caught my sight. The main reason is because arriving at Laban Rata is the greatest milestone for hiking Kinabalu (I heard everybody say that) & the secondary reason for almost cried is tomorrow morning hike will be even tougher (I also heard everybody saying that).
I short; this is a tough holiday destination. The very reason I come here is to test my endurance.
I really don’t know why is this peak called Ugly Sister? Anyway, the name does help me to remember for very long time.
Some of my friends were impressed that I can name all the peaks up here, while their knowledge is only stay at Kinabalu as the whole level.
I went to Mount Kinabalu as part of a round tour in Sabah. I booked the trip in Sweden through my travel agent, but the trip in Sabah was organized by Wildlife Expeditions. We travelled with a 'group' of only three people together with our great guide Redzuan (or more easily called by the nickname of 'One'). I guess we had a fantastic stroke of luck that we only had such a small group, it felt more like 4 friends travelling together :-)
The trip I made can be booked at Wildlife Expeditions directly, you can find an overview of the itinerary of this trip on my State of Sabah page. There are separate trips organized by Wildlife Expeditions to only Mount Kinabalu Island as well. A daytrip to Kinabalu Park from Kota Kinabalu will cost around 166 (RM (prices 2004). Take a look at their website for more information: http://www.wildlife-expeditions.com/.
I took this picture in case I won’t make it to Kinabalu peaks. You can see South Peak & Donkey Ears from Laban Rata.
One more thing, the food at Laban Rata is tasteless and overpriced. You will have the tendency to waste** your food although you have paid the high price for it & you’re dying to have some food after the day hike.
** most ppl finish quarter portion
The lodge is situated on a nice location just outside the Mount Kinabalu National Park. And as you can see it is build high up on the side of the mountain. A perfect spot to relax after a long day and do nothing besides enjoying the view over Mount Kinabalu and surrounding areas.
The opening times are very strict at the Mountain Garden, so make sure you know them well and leave the garden on time.
The gardens are open every day 9am, 12pm and 3pm. I think it is open for an hour every time, but I am not sure about that. What is certain is that the garden closes at 4.00pm sharp! Hahaha, it says so on the sign, so don't forget to read that important message!
I haven’t seen anything quite like this. I will say that my efforts of getting my ass here are not wasted. Of course it caused much pain to my legs to get my ass here this far.
If I can find a good traditional Thai foot massager here, that will be heaven.
No time to waste anymore, it is time to hop on the minibus again, and get to Mount Kinabalu. The last bit of the trip wasn't so far and we arrived well before lunch at that 'Wildlife Mountain Lodge'. Our home for the next two nights.
My roundtrip was arranged by 'Wildlife Expeditions' and when you travel with them to Mount Kinabalu you'll most likely end up in this accommodation.
Before you do anything, you have to register at the head office of Mount Kinabalu Park. I was in a luxury position to have a guide with me, so all I had to do was "wait right here".... Hahaha, and yes, he was "right back" after that ;-) It only took about 5 minutes and we were ready to go on our hike.
One of the famous plants of Mount Kinabalu is the pitcher plant. I've seen a variety of the pitcher plant before, but this one was huge. Hahaha, I can't say they are beautiful, maybe special is a better word.
Pitcher plants are carnivorous plants; they get their nutrients from eating insects. The plant uses a special trick for that. The flower has a big 'bowl' with liquid in it. Insects, such as flies, are attracted to this liquid. The flower just waits until the insect gets trapped inside the flower and has his lunch :-)
Mount Kinabalu is not just a mountain, it is the highest mountain in South East Asia. The peak of the mountain is 4101 metres high.
And it is not only the highest mountain between Himalayas and New Guinea, it is also a Unesco World Heritage Site. The reason for that is because it has a very wide range of habitats. You can find anything here from rich tropical lowland, hill rainforest, tropical mountain forest, sub-alpine forest and scrub on the higher elevations. You can find examples of flora here from the Himalayas, China, Australia, Malaysia, as well as pan-tropical flora. What more can I say.... it is beautiful here!
One of my best memories is this balcony. I loved hanging over the railing and enjoy the wonderful view over Mount Kinabalu (I'll put some photos of that view later on this travel page). In the evenings it was pitch dark and most often there was a bit of lightning in the far distance. The sound of the cicades was overwhelming, but it was nice and warm still outside. Although I did need a sweater so now and than because it cools off quickly during the evenings so high up in the mountain.
But it was so relaxing! Having a drink together with Åke and Olle on the deck, waiting for dinner to start, or having an after dinner drink here. Hahaha, we had many laughs here. I guess it was these wonderful surroundings that made us all relax and enjoy the evenings so much, even if we were dead tired of walking around all day long :-)
We started our walk with part of the Kiau View Trail which starts very close to the parks office. It was great to have Redzuan with us as a guide as he knows the area well. So he planned a tour around the area using different connecting hiking trails which made us able to see different parts and habitats of this wonderful area.
I didn't climb up all the way to the top of the Mount Kinabalu, but that didn't mean we had no climbing at all to do! Some parts of the trails had quite steep stretches in them, and phew, that wasn't so easy.
Having just arrived in Malaysia it was rather an exhausting thing to do. A hike that I normally would laugh about in Sweden, was a totally different story here at Mount Kinabalu. Being on this high altitude (1500 metres high) and the tropical moist heat of the rainforest drained a lot of my energy. I certainly needed a bit of time to get used to these circumstances! But with some sweating and persistence I did make it! But it was more than worth it; I loved walking around here.