We spent today
at Kinabalu National Park on tour. We started out by
driving to the Mt Kinabalu entrance of the park (with a stop at some markets on
the way) where our guide showed us around the headquarters and the mountain
garden. The mountain garden was excellent, with examples of most plant species
found at Kinabalu. Our guide told us about the various medicinal plants, which
ones to use for fever, high blood pressure, setting bones, and so on, and how
to use them all, such as chewing the leaves of guava trees for food poisoning,
or boiling young bamboo into a paste to cover a broken arm (the calcium seeps
into the bone they say). We also saw many orchids, including the rare (RM 1000
/ flower) Rothschild slipper orchid, and many pitcher plants, plus oddities
like the world’s largest moss, which stand 10cm tall. We saw eight different
species of wild ginger, and the rabbit orchid (or as a guide told us, the
Our guide also showed us the plants to eat to avoid getting
pregnant, which apparently only works ‘50-50’.
For lunch we
went to the Fairy
Garden restaurant for
quite a nice meal and a look over the valley surrounding Mt Kinabalu (most of
which is farmed for cabbages).
After lunch we
continued on to Poring Springs on the other side of Kinabalu National Park.
We had a short trek through the jungle to the canopy walk (so hot and humid! I
felt like I was swimming not walking), which is a series of four suspension
bridges ~30m up in the canopy of the dipterocarp forest.
We had an excellent
view of the rainforest with the lianas, rattan and epiphytes all at eyelevel,
although Jodie wasn’t feeling terribly comfortable on the unstable bridge,
especially when I was stomping along it. To cool down after the hike we went
back to the Japanese springs and hopped into the cold swimming pool (piped from
the river). Then we used the hot baths which were discovered by the Japanese
during possession of Borneo in World War II
(geothermal heating to 40-50°C with a
slight sulphurous smell), relaxing in a private bath for an hour.
With a two and a
half hour bus ride back to Rasa Ria, we were tired enough to have a short dip
in the pool, a meal at Coast (not bad, great bread and terrible music) and then
straight to bed without seeing the nocturnal watch.