The Kinabalu National Park is Malaysia’s First World Heritage site. The area is approximately 75,370 ha of land which includes parts of 3 districts of Sabah; Ranau, Kota Belud and Kota Marudu. To put into perspective, the park is bigger than Singapore (said some on Google).
Kinabalu National Park, houses 2 mountains which are Mt Kinabalu (highest in Malaysia) and Mt Tambayukon (3rd highest). The Mountain is the anchor tourism product in this area. It also serves as a playground for scientists and researchers due to its accolades of: covering 6 types of vegetation zones from lowland rainforest to alpine scrub, hence it was dubbed the center for plant diversity for South East Asia. For more technical information, it’s best to click off to the Sabah Park’s page as here on, we’ll take a cheat sheet approach and give you the quick must-see’s and do’s of the area.
We begin with a fair reminder as we know many enjoy gardening. But. Never ever help yourself to any plants in the park vicinity! That’s pretty much the biggest DO NOT DO in the park.
We know for a fact that, the view from certain parts of the park is picturesque (your kids would say Instagrammable or is it InstaWorthy now?)! And that’s why day trippers would enjoy is the pit stop for the view and a short walkaround the area for some flora spotting and squirrels. Can you stay in the Kinabalu Park? Yes. There are several lodges and villas.
The Park offers an abundance in flora and fauna sighting. Here are some things to do:
1. A visit to the Botanical Garden
2. Nature Trails
3. The Summit Trail
The Botanical Garden is open to public from 9:00am to 4:00pm daily. You could also opt for the scheduled guided tours conducted by a Sabah Park’s guide at 9:00am, 12noon and 3:00pm. This is only applicable to the Silau Silau Trail.
There are 8 possible trails to explore:
T1. Kiau View Trail
This trail starts at the Park’s entrance and is about 2.5km. High chance of spotting a pitcher plant along this route!
T2. Bundu Tuhan View Trail
It’s the shortest trail among the 8 trails and it brings you to an area which has a beautiful view of the Bundu Tuhan village. Trekkers could opt to continue another 5km which brings you to the Liwagu River Trails.
T3. Liwagu River Trail
Named after the river that this trail follows, the Liwagu trail crosses small streams and crosses narrow ridges before greeted by a lush canopy of trees. In total this trail is about 5.6km.
T4. Silau Silau Trail
This trail is easy and has many exit points, giving trekkers much flexibility of completing the 3km trail of not. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, pick a trail and off you go, you might be rewarded with spotting wild orchids.
T5. Bukit Burung Trail
This short trail leads up to a hill, perfect for bird watching. Thus its given name, Bird Hill.
* The Kinabalu Park is 1 of 31 Important Birding Areas in Sabah.
T6. Mempening Trail
Mempening in layman’s terms mean dizziness, but apparently it also refers to the Oak tree, which happens to grow abundantly around this trail.
T7. Pandamus Trail
Although this trail is a mere 598 meters, it is pretty steep and crisscrosses into the Kiau View Trail.
T8. Bukit Ular Trail
First, hitch a ride to the Timpohon Gate. Then use the Bukit Ular Trail to return to the HQ area. The altitude here is significantly different from the rest (Timpohon Gate is where you begin your ascend on the Summit Trail). At such an altitude and distance, it is the trail less travelled which makes it ideal for those who really enjoy trekking and taking time for the opportunity to sight more natural wonders of the Kinabalu National Park. Among them are squirrels, birds, pitcher plants and other types of flora.
The Poring Hot Spring is also part of the Kinabalu National Park. However, do note that it is quite a drive away, approximately an hour (42km) from the Kinabalu Park Headquarters.