On the Foothills of Mount Kinabalu

Picture of Kinabalu.

Mount Kinabalu on a clear morning.

On our last day at the oxbow lake, we did one more boat trip to look at the proboscis monkeys, then we had breakfast and headed out. Our gentle guide Afiq came with us for the first part. We dropped him off at his in-laws’, just a few minutes by road from the Kinabatangan, so he could spend some time with his wife and baby. Then our driver Bop took us to an intersection with the main highway and dropped us off. We thanked him and he took off to pick up the next batch of tourists.

We we going the opposite direction, so we waited for a bus. It was midday and the powerful sun was beating down on us, so we were quite happy when a minibus came with enough empty seats for all four of us. Our driver drove like he was playing a video game, constantly swerving, passing, and jostling for position. But he remained in control the whole time. “I hope you like my driving,” he said as he dropped us off. Yes indeed – we had arrived a full two hours earlier than expected.

We were now in Kundasang, a town at the foothills of Mount Kinabalu, 6200 feet above sea level. The air was noticeably cooler, and the town had a laid-back vibe. We spent a couple days there, hiking in the hills, traversing a perilous canopy walkway, and exploring a dairy farm. On our last morning we were treated to a spectacular sunrise, with Kinabalu looming clearly in the distance.

Kundasang was yet another highlight in a trip full of highlights. Here are some of my photos from the region:

Picture of Kundasang at sunset.

A cloudy sunset on our first day in Kundasang. We knew Kinabalu was hiding somewhere, but it was covered in clouds.

Picture of Katie at the canopy walk in Poring.

The next day we went to the Poring nature reserve. It featured this canopy walkway, where we walked across bouncy suspension bridges, up to 100 feet above the forest floor. It was well-designed, but a bit unnerving. I wouldn’t recommend it for those who are afraid of heights.

Picture of the Poring forest.

There were a lot of noisy people on the canopy walkway, so we didn’t spot much wildlife. But the forest was quite beautiful.

Picture of evergreen plant.

Back on the forest floor, we saw some interesting vegetation.

Picture of red plant.

There were some red plants (I’m not sure what this one’s called).

Picture of dragonfly.

And the ubiquitous dragonfly.

Picture of hibiscus flower.

Poring also had plenty of hibiscus, Malaysia’s national flower.

Picture of rafflesia.

But without a doubt, the coolest flower we saw was the rafflesia, AKA the “stinking corpse flower”. It’s the largest flower in the world, and it emits a foul smell to attract insects, which then spread its pollen. They only bloom for a few days, and unfortunately this rafflesia was on its last legs. But it was still amazing to see an example of this exotic flower.

Picture of beetle.

On our final morning in Kundasang, Courtney found this beetle crawling outside our room. Its claws were so sharp, they dug through her shirt and into her skin.

Picture of Kinabalu from Desa Farm.

After basking in the amazing sunrise, we headed up to Desa Farm, at the base of Kinabalu.

Picture of Courtney and John.

Courtney and John take it all in.

Picture of Katie feeding calf.

We got to feed the calves.

Picture of rock climbing warning sign.

WARNING: Climbing on rocks is extremely dangerous. Never attempt.

More Kundasang photos

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