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Nature Destinations



Kinabalu National Park/Sabah

Kinabalu Park

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About 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Kota Kinabalu.

When to go

Any time of year. For ascents up to the peak, its is best to avoid the rainy periods of the year (November to February).


Overland for Kota Kinabalu or from the south (i.e., Sandakan/Tawau). The main park entrance lies just off the main Kota Kinabalu-Sandakan highway. The largest towns nearby are Kundasang or Ranau. From Kundasang, it is possible to access the recently opened Mesilau Visitors Center. South of Ranau are the Poring Hot Springs.


A nominal entrance fee is charged at the park entrance (at Park HQ, Mesilau or Poring). A permit and guide fees are compulsory for those wishing to climb Mt. Kinabalu. Guides are both compulsory and a necessity in case something goes wrong on the peak (altitude sickness, fatigue or injury); these guides are prepared to carry you off the mountain!


Light clothing in the lowlands (Poring) and warmer clothes if you intend to stay at the park (Park HQ and Mesilau). For those climbing the mountain, warmer clothes (including stout footwear, windproof jackets, gloves) will be handy as the exposed peaks in the early morning can be very cold.


Information center, a bookshop, and restaurants. Accommodation (simple chalets & dorms) are available at the Park HQ, Mesilau and Poring. It is advisable to book accommodation in advance at Kota Kinabalu or Sandakan (managed by Kinabalu Gold Resorts). Sign-posted trails around the Park HQ and Mesilau area. At the Park HQ a wonderful mountain garden with guided tours at certain times of the day. On the mountain, basic accommodation and restaurant facilities [e.g., Panar Laban at 3,300 m (10, 850 feet)], and simpler accommodations at slightly higher elevation. At Poring, accommodation is available, also a restaurant, hot spring bathing tubs, canopy walkway, butterfly enclosure, an orchid garden and marked forested trails. You can also find accommodation and restaurants outside the park area (Park HQ and Poring).


Very good bird watching in montane (park hedquarters and towards the peak) and lowland areas (Poring). Few large mammals. Many curious botanical delights (e.g., pitcher plants, rafflesias, orchids).

Visitor Activities

Recreation at high altitudes. Birdwatching, exploring forest trails (lower montane forests and lowlands). Climbing Mt. Kinabalu. Spectacular photographic opportunities. Opportunities to see Rafflesias in bloom (Poring).

Further information

Updated: Feb 2002



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