Kinabalu National Park Malaysia – 5 Best Attractions and Things to Do

The mist-crowned summit of majestic Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in all of Malaysia, is undoubtedly the main reason that Kinabalu Park is a top tourist attraction for visitors.

Climbing up Kinabalu Mount

A true test of physical and mental endurance, the trek to the 4000 meter apex is an incredible experience for all those who yearn for the great outdoors and all those who long for a unique and memorable travel experience. A hike to the top takes two days to complete and although the climb is possible even for novice climbers, the hike is challenging, the weather is often cold and rainy and the air is very thin near the top.

Having said all of this, the exquisite views, the unique landscape and vegetation along the way, plus the truly breathtaking sunrise on the second day make the challenge a wonderfully unforgettable experience.

Sutera Sanctuary Lodges manages all accommodations within Kinabalu Park itself as well as on the mountain and due to the 135 climber limit a day, it is recommend that you book six months in advance to secure a spot on your selected dates.

Although, accommodation on the mountain is far pricier than the accommodations just outside the park, it is suggested that you spend an additional night on the mountain prior to the climb as it’ll assist your body in acclimatizing to the altitude. A two-night package (including accommodation in a dorm on the mountain for the first night, a one night stay in Poring, as well as all meals) costs roughly MYR 890. One-night packages with meals and one night sleeping at Panalaban start from around MYR 780. Added to this is a MYR 15 adult and MYR 10 entrance fee into the park and the compulsory MYR 7 Climbers Insurance. Lastly, using the services of a registered mountain guide is unavoidable and strictly enforced; and will cost MYR 230, which can be shared amongst five adult climbers.

Jungle hikes and walking trails

For those who want to enjoy the other natural wonders of Kinabalu Park aside from the resplendent mountain, there are plenty of peaceful and easy-going jungle hikes and walking trails scattered throughout the UNESCO heritage site.

Hikers are richly rewarded with an enormously diverse array of flora and fauna, the chirping of birdsong and nature at its finest. The park is home to orang-utans, Bornean gibbons, squirrels, rats, tree shrews, tarsiers, bearded pigs, mouse deer and plenty of tropical insects, bugs and butterflies. Supporting six distinct vegetation regions, the park also boasts around 1200 species of orchids, an array of oaks, chestnut, mosses, ferns and even the world’s largest flower – the Rafflesia. What a treat for nature enthusiasts!

Visiting Kinabalu botanical gardens and History gallery museum

An afternoon spent strolling through the park’s botanical gardens and paying a visit to the small History Gallery Museum is also a pleasant means of learning more about the plant life thriving throughout Kinabalu. Entrance fees into the botanical gardens are MYR 5 for adults and MYR 3 for children, while entrance fees into the museum cost MYR 3 for adults and MYR 1 for children.

A relaxing bath at Poring Hot Spring and Nature Reserve

For travellers who do not mind traveling slightly out of the park, Poring Hot Spring and Nature Reserve offers visitors a fun and relaxing submersion into nature. The nature reserve is most popular for its open-air and private baths filled with naturally warm water. The calming, hot water contains sulfur which is well-known for its curative properties in soothing stiff muscles and joints– perfect for post-hike aches and pains. Entrance Fees into the park are MYR 15 for adults and MYR 10 for children.

Taking a canopy walk and visiting the Butterfly park

The nature reserve also boasts a beautiful canopy walk which offers walkers a stunning bird’s-eye view of the surrounding rainforest for an additional MYR 5 for adults and MYR 3 for children. For yet another MYR 4 visitors can also pay a visit to the pretty Butterfly Park within the nature reserve and delight in the colourful, fluttering beauties.