Monday, August 20, 2012

Kinabalu Park & Poring Hot Springs

We visited yet another part of Malaysia which we went 5 years ago, Kota Kinabalu. As mentioned in my previous post, we regretted not going to see Kinabalu Park and Poring Hot Springs the last time we went.

So when I won the 3 days 2 nights stay at Hyatt Regency, KK and a full day tour at Kinabalu Park and Poring, KS and I decided, why not.

The room at the Hyatt Regency Kota Kinabalu
The open concept of the bathroom area
The gorgeous sea view from our window. Love the shades of blue .

We arrived in the afternoon and just walked around the town a little. Nothing much has changed so we just chilled. Found this abandoned place with quite eye-catching graffiti though.

The next day, we met up with our tour guide, who turned out to be a most entertaining guy. The stories that he told! I must say I don't know whether to take his stories with a pinch of salt. For example, he told us an incident that happened to his teenage cousin sister. Her stomach started swelling and her parents thought she was pregnant and gave her a good scolding, as you can imagine. So they brought her to see a gynae to check up. However, the doctor was puzzled and confirmed that she wasn't pregnant.

After careful cross-examination, they found out she had bathed in the river several weeks before. Suspecting something, the family then got her a big tub, half filled it with fresh cow's blood and made her sit in it naked. Sure enough, a whole bunch of leeches came out of her, enough to fill a bucket. Apparently the leech went into her and made a home (and nest) inside her and were then attracted to the fresh cow's blood and came out. Our guide said when he saw the mass of squirming leeches, he also felt like vomiting. He then warned us never to simply go into the rivers.

Anyway, I digress but it's such a fascinating story I had to retell it. Along our two hour over journey, we passed by the following places:

The floating mosque in Kota Kinabalu
We passed many churches along the way with signages such as this.

Along the way, we were also stopped by a village to see the Rafflesia flower. Finally! I get to see the largest flower in the world! However, it didn't stink at all as it is famously known. So much so that I was wondering if I was seeing a real flower because it looks like it's made of plastic. The bud (seen on the right in the picture below, the dark red round thing) takes 12-15 months to bloom and when it flowers, it only lasts for about 7 days. Flower below is about 80cm in diameter.

Upon reaching Poring, we took a short hike up to the suspension bridge. This is quite an amazing suspension bridge because there are 5 bridges in total and the drop is very very significant (eek! I can't remember what height! 40 meters?). Our guide assured us that if we fell, it would be almost impossible for them to come pick up our pieces. Thanks.

At the start, before KS turned green.
Long way to fall

After the trek, we then headed down to the hot springs.

Open pools
Separate individual tubs. Taps with the hot water fills the tubs and you're supposed to drain the tub after use. I didn't want to soak my whole body so just soaked my aching feet. 

For lunch, we went to Kinabalu Pine Resort. The place is full of, well, pine trees. Very, very nice. Felt like we were in a different country.

Lunch surrounded by pine trees

Then we went to the foot of the mountain where there was this museum which explained about Mount KK. Found out the highest peak is called Low (after Hugh Low who claimed to be the first to conquer the mount). Apparently the natives believed there were spirits on the mount and did not dare to climb it.

Saw this big moth resting on the outside of the glass panel at the museum

By the time we left, it was pouring hard. So this was the only shot of the majestic mountain through the mist and clouds, framed by the pine trees. Flat jagged peaks.

On the way down, I had to keep up a bizarre conversation because our guide was falling asleep at the wheels. Asked him about the beliefs in spirits and black magic in the villages there, what animals he has encountered on his trips into the jungles (wild boar, and he and the team he was looking after had to quickly climb trees)... so it was quite an interesting conversation coming back.

If we were to go back to KK, it would be to stay at the Kinabalu Pine Resort. Really felt like we were in another country with the cool weather, majestic views and foreign trees.

Flight cost = less than RM1,000. For everything else, thanks MasterCard. :)

1 comment:

Kau Sern said...

The canopy walk is 175 meters long and the height is 41 - 43 meters. But it felt like forever to cross it. It was a priceless experience. For other things, there's MasterCard.