I’m no David Attenborough, but if they’ve made somewhere a world heritage site it must be worth a butchers… So off we set for a couple of days in Kinabalu Park.Our accommodation was just outside the park at Borneo’s equivalent of the Villa Bella* – a rundown homestay; cold and damp, with grubby bed linen, and ants in the carpet (dirty little monsters)… But it was cheap and convenient so we decided to brave it.
From what I can work out, people go to Kinabalu Park for 2 reasons, either they love climbing mountains (Mt. Kinabalu is the tallest in SE Asia @ 4095m), or they want to see all the different species of plants and animals… I fell into neither category.
The mountain looked a bit steep and so was the cost of climbing it – they wanted upwards of RM1700 (£340). The missus didn’t look convinced and I wasn’t gonna persuade her otherwise, so we opted for a walk in the park.A guide took us on a trail pointing out various flowers and plants on the way. The only one I was interested in was called the rafflesia (the biggest flower in the world, it smells of rotten flesh to attract insects then eats them), but I’m told “it doesn’t grow at this altitude” – cosmic!
I’ve spent a lot of time in cities recently, so it was nice to be away from it all. The park’s full of life and the mountain provides an impressive back drop. Day 1 was cloudy so we took a steeper trail for a better view, but were scuppered by a downpour.
We had better luck on day 2.
It was an enjoyable visit… So if you’re in Sabah and wanna avoid the morning soup, take a route straight through Kinabalu Park. It’ll give you a sense of enormous well-being.**
*From Only Fools & Horses – The Jolly Boy’s Outing
**Another one for the playlist – Blur, Parklife (1994)