Boring Poring....Not!!!

Poring Travel Blog

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Rafflesia - largest flower in the world

We caught a local mini bus from Kota Kinabalu where we spent the night after arriving back late from Danum Valley. The mini bus crammed as many people in as possible and took us to a town called Ranau, where we then had to get a taxi to Poring hot springs.

Poring is one of Borneo’s world heritage sites and has earnt this status as it is a patch of rainforest in the Mt Kinabalu park area, however on the site are a few natural sulphur springs, hence the name Poring hot springs.

In all its glory :)
Therefore many artificial hot pools have been made close by to the sulphur pools so you can take a lovely warm dip and at the same time have the smell of fart wafting around your nostrils…lovely. Once I had made this discovery I realized that we were really only here for one thing: frog hunting!

Upon our arrival into Poring we were shocked at how busy it was. There were tourists (mainly local) pouring into the park, it was just like the last day of the January sales at home: manic with screaming children everywhere. We went to check into the hostel at the park only to find that the price had increased by about 200% since the lonely planet was published a couple of years ago. After getting over the shell shock of the price Ben left me looking around the extortionate park shop whilst he took a walk down the road to try and find a cheaper alternative.

Rainforest stream
 After 20 minutes Ben returned and had found a place up the road that was much cheaper, it just meant walking up a hill for ten minutes or so with the backpacks, to save money it was a pain worth bearing and we were soon at the accommodation which was aptly named “The Hot Springs Florida Motel” as soon as I saw the name I knew that we were on to a winner, it was clean and after travelling for a while that’s all you tend to really care about, oh and that its cheap of course!

That evening we ventured into the park after the children had been packed off to bed and most of the adults had vanished, probably into deep sleep too. We walked up to the parks first waterfall which was absolutely beautiful and felt quite cut off from the built up mayhem that was the bottom of the park.

Leaf frog, beaut!
Our first sighting were a couple of skinks who were chilling out at the stream below the waterfall, they were a beautiful slate grey/brown colour with white spots and orange bellies. They seemed to be pretty laid back lizards and when Ben got a bit too close just hopped into the water and gave us a look as if to say “if you come any closer I will just swim away and you will never catch me”… Im sure if they could speak that is exactly what they would have said. As the evening progressed and night set in the strange froggy chorus began and Ben got hunting. I decided that as I nearly died last time I walked up a stream/waterfall I would sit this one out and just wait at the side of the stream for him to bring me his findings, which he did! Ben found loads of frogs, amongst them a huge leaf frog who was sitting on a rock right at the top of the waterfall, if this leaf frog was a dog it would have been a British Bull dog, it was quite mean looking but in a comical sort of way with huge brown eyes and a large stocky body, however I would say that he was more attractive than a bull dog with large points above his eyes and a point at the end of his nose to mimic the look of a leaf, which, if you are looking at the frog from the top is amazing camouflage.
Sambar deer playing hide and seek

The next day we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit a newly flowering rafflesia. Ben was quite looking forward to seeing this flowery giant of Borneo but I sighed and thought it was going to be completely dull.  When we arrived I was actually pleasantly surprised and had to take back my grumbles about paying to go and see a flower. It was actually a really impressive and unique, I have never seen a flower quite as large or odd looking. I was however quite upset that there was a bonfire set up just next to the flower to discuise the smell, I somehow felt that I hadn’t had the whole Raflesia experience as the smell of rotting flesh never even brushed my nostrils, not even for a second. After out visit with the flower was over we headed back into the park and went to see their Tropical Gardens.

Stunning trees on the canopy walk way
When we arrived we were handed a map which had photos of animals placed around the garden. Ben and I exchanged a look that said “Oh no” and then made our way into the gardens. Our first stop was a cage which was home of a Borneo Gibbon. It actually broke my heart to see her. She was very small and from the mess around her hair looked like she had a poorly tummy (probably from just being fed bananas)  As soon as she saw us she came right down to where our faces were and started making little whimpering noises at us, gibbons are not solitary animals and she had absolutely no enrichment at all (other than 2 ropes). She truly looked so sad that it brought tears to my eyes and for some reason really made me miss Raama (our dog).  After the gibbon we swiftly moved on to see the other animals which were actually all really healthy and looked well looked after.
Aquatic skink.
There were free roaming Sambar deer and the garden was just like a bit of the forest that had been closed off. After the tropical garden we went across to the orchid garden and came across a very obese Orang Utan names Jackie just sitting in the path enjoying the sun shine. It was really surreal to actually bump into an orang utan and although she had a nice big garden to move around in, she was so large that she just couldn’t be bothered.

By the time our tour of the park was over it was night again and time for another frog hunt, this time I left Ben to it and he took me back to the motel before setting off. He arrived home at around 11 after another very successful evening of looking for amphibians. The next morning it was time for us to leave Poring. Sadly we didn’t have a chance to actually go for a dip in the pools as when we actually built up the motivation it was completely rammed and we didn’t fancy joining some children in a little bath as it would have felt quite strange and would have probably included bathing in piss so we left the hot springs without experiencing the main attraction. We were however very content with our trip and it was probably the most successful frog hunt Ben has had which was fantastic. Therefore in contrary to those people who have been to Poring and claimed it to be Boring Poring, I would say that Poring is great and is actually quite beautiful if you actually take the time and energy to explore it.

We got a taxi from Poring back to Ranau and had quite an odd experience whilst in the taxi. As well as us, there was another tourist in the taxi who first appeared to be like any other tourist but for some reason he kept glancing at his legs. With horror Ben realized he had leeches on his legs and feet. Ben thought that maybe he hadn’t realized so said to the man that he had leeches on his legs to which he replied “Yes”. It was so odd, and we couldn’t work out why anybody would sit in a taxi, legs bleeding, leeches gorging and just act like everything was normal. Luckily he wasn’t in the taxi for long and as soon as he got out the taxi man asked us if we noticed the leeches to which we all burst out with laughter and then talked about how odd it was. That was the end of our trip to Poring, next stop Mt. Kinabalu!

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Rafflesia - largest flower in the …
Rafflesia - largest flower in the…
In all its glory :)
In all its glory :)
Rainforest stream
Rainforest stream
Leaf frog, beaut!
Leaf frog, beaut!
Sambar deer playing hide and seek
Sambar deer playing hide and seek
Stunning trees on the canopy walk …
Stunning trees on the canopy walk…
Aquatic skink.
Aquatic skink.
Poring
photo by: mpope9