Around Mt. Kinabalu

Mt. Kinabalu is the tallest mountain in southeast Asia at 13545 ft (4095 m). The park entrance is at about 5,000 feet, so it was cooler than Kota Kinabalu. Our room didn't have air conditioning; we didn't need it.
img_0826.jpg
This is a view of Mt. Kinabalu from the plane on the way back to Kota Kinabalu.
img_0853.jpg
We didn't climb Mt. Kinabalu but we went hiking on some of the trails nearby. We read that the climbing trail gets pretty crowded, but this one was empty except for us.
img_0867.jpg
By late afternoon, clouds usually obscure the view of the mountain's peak.
img_0868.jpg
The next morning we had a much better view of the mountain from the balcony of our room.

Poring Hot Springs

The next day we went to Poring Hot Springs, a part of Kinabalu National Park. The hot springs complex was built by the Japanese when they occupied Borneo during World War II. We walked 120 feet off the ground on the canopy walkway, cooled off in a waterfall, checked out the butterfly farm, and lounged in the hot springs tubs.
img_0890.jpg
This is the (steep) trail up to the canopy walkway. Fortunately it wasn't as hot here because of the altitude, about 5000 ft.
img_0891.jpg
The canopy walkway is a series of aluminum ladders with boards on top, suspended in the trees 120 ft above the ground.
img_0896.jpg
Kimberly made sure to hold on with both hands, as the walkway swayed and bounced as we walked between the trees.
img_0899.jpg
We looked straight out into the forest canopy from the walkway.
img_0901.jpg
The walkway provided a close-up view of some giant ferns.
img_0907.jpg
The walkway platforms were rigged up with ropes wrapped around the trunk, so they didn't harm the trees with nails or spikes.
img_0912.jpg
Even at over 100 ft off the ground, the jungle foliage was thick.
img_0920-0923.jpg
This is a view looking out over the dipterocarp forest through a rare gap in the trees.
img_0926.jpg
The walkway had 3 segments, stretching between platforms suspended from xyz trees.
img_0929.jpg
Even this high up, some of the trees still towered above us.
img_0934.jpg
This is looking over the edge of a platform. It was a long way down.
img_0938.jpg
There were many butterflies fluttering around the waterfall.
img_0950.jpg
After the walkway, it was a short hike over to Kipungit Waterfall.
img_0949.jpg
After hiking around in the forest, we were ready for a dip in the waterfall pool. The water was surpisingly cool, but refreshing.
img_0952.jpg
This is view looking out into the rather primeival forest from the waterfall.
img_0961.jpg
img_0965.jpg
img_0966.jpg
img_0970.jpg
The next stop was the butterfly garden. There was an enclosed aviary structure with many different species of butterflies in it.
img_0979.jpg
This is the hot tub area.
img_0980.jpg
The tubs had hot and cold running water. The (very) hot water came straight from the springs and was only slightly sulphurous.
img_0983.jpg
We took a different road back to KK so we could stop at the Rafflesia Forest Reserve. This road was in much worse shape than the main road. Here Paul is recovering a hubcap that was dislodged during an encounter with a giant pothole.
img_0987.jpg
Rafflesia flowers are the largest in the world, and are found only in Borneo. We arrived at the Rafflesia reserve too late for the daily tour, but we talked the ranger into showing us where one of the giant flowers was blooming.
img_0991.jpg
This flower was about 12 inches across, about 1/3 as large as they can get. They are parasitic, growing on roots of trees. Each flower lasts for about a week. The one on the right is past its prime.