September 16th, 2007 – by: sissanoel
Rothschild Orchid, Kinabalu Park.
Have decided not to climb Mount Kinabalu as it looks like too much hard work, and over 200 people do it everyday so gets a bit crowded. Therefore, we took a day trip today to Kinabalu Park
and the Poring Hot Springs. The road up is quite windy and very pot-holed, so if you suffer from travel sickness, taking your tablets before heading off would be a good idea. First stop was a small market town to look at the tourist tat and take photos of the mountain from a distance. They have provided a tower you can climb to get a better view but cloud was covering the top of the mountain, so not much to photograph. Noel did manage to get a couple of clear photos during the day, but it's pot luck because often you saw a great view but by the time you stopped the mini-bus, it had clouded over again.
Noel and Melissa looking happier than they felt on the swing bridge, above Poring Hot Springs.
Our guide took us for a walk around the Park's botanic garden and pointed out lots of interesting plants, and even a toad hiding in a little hole. Saw the tiny pinhead orchid, as well as the very expensive Rothschild slipper orchid, apparently the most valuable in the world - we note that it was well-protected behind a strong fence. After another hour's drive, we had lunch at the Poring Hot Springs and then walked up about 400 metres to the canopy walkway - this turned out to be planks of wood lashed to what appeared to be aluminium ladders, tied up from big trees 42 metres above the ground with steel rope and fishing nets - not the most confidence-inspiring rope bridge we've ever been on! Our guide also said that a section collapsed a couple of days before after a big storm, and it turned out that the tree supporting that section was termite-ridden - this did not make us feel any safer! You actually don't get a particularly great view up there because the rainforest is quite thick so don't see much below or above, but gets the heart rate going.
We celebrated getting down alive with a dip in the cold pool at the springs - this was just what we needed, and cooled us down nicely. The hot pools had quite a strong sulphur smell so didn't really fancy immersing ourselves in them and then sitting on a bus for the 2 1/2 hour drive home. Got home about 5pm and had dinner at the restaurant across the road - more expensive than our usual street restaurants, but good quality of food.