Oh What a Day!!
Kota Kinabalu Travel Blog› entry 9 of 53 › view all entries
Today Iâ€™m off to see Mount Kinabalu and the Poring Hot Springs. I arranged it through a perky Malay women who owns a well run company that organizes tours throughout Borneo. Sheâ€™s direct, honest and funny. Prices in Borneo are WAY more than expected. You can literally pay one thousand dollars for tours here. The tour operators have a hold on the tourists here. Its difficult to travel in Borneo and the things you come to do (park tours, rafting, scuba diving, mountain climbing) are far apart and often require a guide. Renting a car here is possible but its not for me, and the towns arenâ€™t close enough to ride around on motor bikes, not that youâ€™d find bikes here anyway. Sigh. What to do.
Iâ€™m on the tour with a bright and outgoing Greek couple and a pair of fabulous Aussie doctors. Weâ€™re dropping the Aussies at Mt. K, theyâ€™re climbing it. Most people come to Borneo to actually climb Mt. K but I canâ€™t be bothered! Iâ€™ve climbed a mountain in North Africa and one mountain is enough for me in this lifetime. Iâ€™ll let others climb this one. Usually the tour companies wonâ€™t take you to up into the park where the climbers start climbing. Typically they drive you by the park entrance (yah I know, cheap eh). So we get a special treat today. The Greeks and I will take pictures of the mountain and move on. But wait , the guide tells us that if we want we can climb the first 2 km of the mountain he can arrange it.
Off to the Hot Springs. Hot water from the mountain is channeled into a series of open air â€śbathtubsâ€ť for people to soak in. I was a bit turned off by all these random people soaking in the water frankly. Iâ€™ve been to a hot spring before but this one felt weird. Where were the showers for one thing? Donâ€™t they have a cleansing ritual here like most places? Apparently not. I wasnâ€™t too interested in sitting in the recycled hot water of a bunch of random people. The Greeks and I went to do a canopy tour instead.
The Greeks and I go exploring after that. We decided to take a path to a waterfall. I lose them on the way (it seems that I walk fast) and then decide to go change into my bathing suit at one of the public washrooms. The washroom is down a clearly unused path. Wow I was slipping and sliding along wet jungle floor, slopping my way through the trees. When was the last time someone walked here, certainly not in many months. Iâ€™ve clearly taken the back road to the washroom. Finally I change and return to the waterfall.
The Greeks arrive eventually. They went off to a cave to explore. By this time there are lots of people at the waterfall. I sit back and watch the Greeks and everyone else put their feet in. No one goes for a swim. I smile knowing I have been given a gift - a perfect private moment to myself in a stunning landscape. I say thank you to the world and give thanks for my blessings and all that has brought me here.