For those who enjoy a more active holiday or want to be in cool natural surroundings, then visit the Kinabalu Park. It is only about 1½ hours drive from Kota Kinabalu (town area), through spectacular countryside scenery on a good sealed road.
The Park is a paradise for naturalists, botanists, bird watchers, mountaineers and those simply admire nature. The Rafflesia, is the larfest flower in the world. Its diameter can be as long as 1 meter. The other popular plant in the park is the Pitcher plant. It has a nickname called Monkeys' Cup because monkeys in the jungle often use it to drink water.
The main attraction of the Park is Mt. Kinabalu, rising majestically to a height of 4101 meters (13455 ft) above sea level, with its granite massif dominating the surrounding landscape. It's no wonder that, long ago, the Kadazan people named it "Aki Nabalu" or "home of the spirits of the departed". As no climbing experience is required, the energetic visitor can climb Mt. Kinabalu if the main route to the summit is taken.
Those interested in 'natural health spas' can visit Poring Hot Springs (also part of the Kinabalu Park) where you can relax in open-air Japanese-style baths.
For those who prefer to laze under the sun, go swimming, snorkelling or simply relax on the beach of a typical tropical island, the outlying islands of Kota Kinabalu are waiting for you. There are five islands in Kota Kinabalu that you can visit. There are Mamutik, Manukan, Sulug, Sapi and Gaya. Then are only about 10-15 minutes away by boat. Their waters are clear and clean, they have beautiful beaches and coral as well as the best of all, they are uncrowded. On top of that, Sabah is blessed with long stretches of pure white, sandy beaches where the glorious, tropical sunset with its riot of colors is something not to be missed.
For the true diving enthusiast, the island of Sipadan, located off the town of Semporna on the East Coast of Sabah, is a must and is considered to be one of the best diving areas in this part of the world. What makes this island special is that it is the only oceanic island (not connected to the continental shelf) in Malaysia rising 2,000 feet (600 meters) on a limestone pinnacle that 'mushrooms' out near the surface. It has abundant marine life that will thrill and amaze you. And there is yet another diver's paradise located in the South China Sea, about 165 miles due North West of Labuan and Kota Kinabalu, called The Layang Layang Atoll. Oval-shaped and where the water is clear most of the year, one can windsurf, sail a catamaran, dive, snorkel, fish or simply watch the thousands of migratory birds nesting there.
Besides that, Gomantong Caves is also the right places. For centuries, the caves in this limestone outcrop, once accessible by a stream off the Kinabatangan River, have been harvested for their valuable edible birds' nests. Harvesting continues to this day, although it is regulated by the Wildlife Department to avoid over-exploitation.
Copyright © 1998 by Leonard Ng Sze Lung (NH901933).
All rights reserved.