Via the reception counter (in my accommodation), I booked a day tour to the ever famous Kinabalu Park. At the price of RM185 per pax, it covers a couple of places as well as lunch meal included. Since there was a pick up service at my accommodation, I woke up at 7am and had my breakfast at the pantry area.
As I mentioned earlier, Lavender Lodge provides a simple breakfast every day. Coffee, tea, bread, butter and jam. Nothing to shout about but at least it filled my stomach a little bit. At about 8am, the tour agency came and picked me up and headed to another pick up point. And by 8.30am, we were ready to leave the city.
The journey took quite a while to reach to our first pit stop; Nabalu Town. IIRC, the drive took about 2 hours or more as the road involves hillside and narrow roads. Besides, the transportation that took us around was a mini 27-seater air-condition bus. With the weight and all… you’ll get what I mean.
Upon reaching to Nabalu Town, one could see that it is meant for tourists to shop and look around / stretch their legs.
There were dedicated shops / stalls that sell souvenirs, crafts, fruits and food.
Apart from souvenir-shopping, the main reason we stopped there was to have a good view of Mountain Kinabalu. There were a couple of places to view the famous mountain.
One of them was the tower which was quite easy to spot it as it was standing tall and all in the middle of the town. And it’s red in colour.
There was also a platform to get a closer view of the mountain without any distractions.
Me : Did you know that there’s a platform to view Mt. Kinabalu at ‘closer’ range?
Uncle : Really?! I didn’t know about it (the platform).
I was lucky enough to spot that platform as none of them (the tour group I went with) knew about it.
Besides, I guess they were in hurry to look around at the souvenir shops as we were given only 30 minutes to walk around.
Thank god the weather was fine on that day as the view of the mountain was clear and it was covered with little clouds around it. There’s this saying that the locals called Mt. Kinabalu a ‘shy’ mountain. Occasionally, it will hide within the thick clouds and it won’t reveal itself to the public.
At 10.35am, we left Nabalu town and made our way to another pit stop; the Botanical Garden in Kinabalu Park. It took us about 45 minutes or so to reach to the entrance of Kinabalu Park. It’s the very same place whereby hikers meet at this place before they begin their journey up to the Mt. Kinabalu.
It was rather a good weather on that day. Though it was sunny, I could feel the cool breeze motioned around aimlessly in an open air space.
From the entrance itself, the drive to the Botanical Garden takes about 5-10 minutes as the road was winding and narrow.
This was our tour guide of the day; Ben. Before going into the garden, we were briefed on Do’s and Don’ts. The overall tour in the garden took around 45 mins to 1 hour. The tour guide explained and elaborated on rare species (plants) that can be found inside of the Botanical Garden.
At 1500m above the sea level, there were about more than 1500 types of orchids inside the Botanical Garden.
Some were really tiny.
Some looked alright.
One particular orchid, which I remembered easily was called the Laughing Orchid. Weird name… I know.
There were other plants as well. The tiny banana which humans only consumed at desperate times. I mean really really desperate times as the inside of the banana doesn’t look like ordinary ones.
In the middle, it contains really hard seeds. The locals called them ‘pisang monyet’ as they are meant for monkeys only.
Then, there were rare orchids which could fetch really high price in black markets.
Due to that, it was locked inside a cage far far away from human’s touch / hands.
From what I saw, only a few (in the group) that were interested to listen while the rest… let’s just say they were there for the experience. I was there because I had to of the calm soothing walk in the forest.
At about 1pm, we left the place for Poring Hot Spring which was 30 minutes drive away. I was famished by then but thanks for folks from the group, they were sharing bananas around. Hehe.
An orange-flesh with thick skin banana was my saviour (apart from the uncles who gave them to me) of the day. Oh yes, the banana was different from the ones in Peninsular.
But before our final pit stop, we stopped at a nearby Chinese restaurant for lunch.
It was then when a couple of people asked / told the tour guide to take them to see the Rafflesia flower, which was located nearby. Though I felt it was a rip off to be charged at RM30 to see the biggest flower in the world, but that’s the whole point of trip; to experience something I might not be able to in (near) future.
It takes 12 months to grow and only 7 days to ‘see’ the world. By the 7th day, it will start to rot. Besides, Rafflesia is a parasitic plant and hence, it relies on other plant to grow. Moreover, it chooses to grow on its own randomly and it starts with a pulp. Though it is coined as ‘corpse flower’ due to its emission of rotting flesh smell, it wasn’t really that smelly. Maybe, I was far apart….
15 minutes passed by and off we left for Poring Hot Spring.
to be continued…
Chronicles of Sabah Trip 2009 :-
- In Sabah – Day 6
- In Sabah – Day 5
- In Sabah – Day 4 (Part 2)
- In Sabah – Day 4 (Part 1)
- In Sabah – Day 3 (Part 2)
- In Sabah – Day 3 (Part 1)
- In Sabah – Day 2 (Part 3)
- In Sabah – Day 2 (Part 2)
- In Sabah – Day 2 (Part 1)
- In Sabah – Day 1
- In Sabah – Prelude