Getting its name from the Kadazandusun words “Aki” (meaning ancestor) and “Nabalu” (Mountain), Mount Kinabalu (or Gunung Kinabalu) is considered a sacred resting place of the ancestral spirits.The Kinabalu Park is known for the abundance and diversity of its plant life with over 1,200 species of flora and fauna."
The Kinabalu Park - Malaysia's first World Heritage was designated by UNESCO in December 2000 'for its universal values' and vital biological sites. Covering an area of 754 sq km, the focal point of the Park is of course the majestic Mount Kinabalu, (or Gunung Kinabalu) the highest mountain between Northern Burma and New Guinea.
The Kinabalu Park (Taman Negara Kinabalu) also houses numerous unique plants such as the pitcher plant, about 1000 orchid species and the largest flower in the world, Rafflesia. More than 250 bird species have also been recorded in the Park, namely the Mountain Bush Warbler, Kianabalu Friendly Warbler, Palefaced Bibul and the Mountain Blackeyes.
In a nutshell, the Kinabalu Park is one of the world's most unique ecological systems with an altitude between 152 metres to 3,952 metres above sea level: having beauty, splendour and charm to delight any category of visitors, from the tired businessman in need of a rest to nature lovers.
View to get to the top
Standing at 4,095.2 metres high, the name Kinabalu is derived from the Kadazandusun words aki and nabalu, where aki literally means 'ancestor' and 'nabalu' is the Kadazandusun word for 'mountain'. The local Kadazandusun believed their spirits dwell on the mountaintop and as such the mountain remains sacred to them.
Hence, in the silence up the mountain and misty, swirling clouds surrounding it, climbers are strongly advised to always keep their behaviour in check and respect the “unspoken law of the nature”.
So well revered is the imposing Mount Kinabalu the led to the renaming of the state's capital from Kinabalu Fort to Kota Kinabalu in 1964.
Kinabalu Park and Mount Kinabalu is a popular gateway from the hustle and bustle of the city where visitors can enjoy the cool invigorating air. The climb up Mount Kinabalu is one reason why many visitors come to Kinabalu Park. It is said that despite its size, Mount Kinabalu is one of the easiest mountains in the world to climb.
Visitors can also walk up a bit on the trail to Nepentheses Garden at the Mesilau Nature Resort in Ranau.
The amazing mountain slope is covered with naturally growing insect-eating pitcher plants, which can hold up to 3.5 litres of water – a real haven for botanists!
With more than 12 alpine granite peaks above 4000m on the East and West Plateau of the mountain, the 60 routes on the various peaks of Mount Kinabalu offer some of the most thrilling rock climbing experiences for climbers.
Special permits are needed to climb the mountain and rock climbers will need to apply for a Multi-Peak Climbing Permit much earlier.
Porters climbing and bringing bags and supplies
It is advisable to spend at least a night at the Laban Rata Guesthouse to get used to the altitude before spending your time on the summit. Be prepared for temperature changes, which can drop suddenly to nearly 0 degrees celcius during heavy cloud cover and strong winds.
Last viewed - May 22, 2013
For a proper appreciation of Kinabalu, it is essential to spend at least a couple of nights in the park, preferably more. A variety of accommodation is available at Park HQ, Poring and Mesilau as well as at Panar Laban (at 3,272 meters/10,735 feet on the Summit Trail of Mount Kinabalu).