Kinabalu National Park

Trip Start Apr 30, 2004
Trip End Jan 28, 2005

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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Thu Sep 9th - Day 127
Cold baked beans and scrambled eggs at 6.30am and speedboat back to Sandakan at 7am. From the jetty we took a taxi to the bus station where we were mobbed like popstars by bus touts. We managed to jump on a bus leaving for Kota Kinabalu almost immediately.

Our destination was Kinabalu National Park, home to the highest peak in S.E. Asia, Mount Kinabalu. It's a four hour drive to the Park, which became 5 when the bus broke down. After an hour of banging and removing and with all the men on the bus as an audience, the driver and his assistant had the problem sorted.

The landscape changed as we climbed and wound away from the oil palm descimated coastal plain. Back amongst rainforest, but again great patches destroyed by logging and slash and burn agriculture, make it look like a huge rainforest jigsaw with half the pieces missing.

With Mt. Kinabalu being fairly easy to climb (apparently), it's incredibly popular, which means booking in advance. Most people like to be at the summit for sunrise (it's just about the only time of the day that there's a good chance of no cloud plus the views are spectacular) which means staying in one of the limited number of beds in the resthouse two thirds of the way up. We hadn't got round to booking ahead, which means Sunday night at the resthouse for us.

In the meantime the bus drops us at the Kinabalu Rose Cabin about 2km short of the Park Headquarters. We have 1 night booked but on seeing our room with the stunning views of Mt Kinabalu from its small balcony, we book 2 more. We also discover the food in the restaurant is very good, and being at about 1500m we need to wrap up for dinner. Socks and flip flops are not a good look.

Expenses (RM7 / Pound): Photos 20, taxi 10, bus 40, snacks 7.20, accom 75.70, dinner 25.90

Fri Sep 10th - Day 128
The Kinabalu National Park headquarters is 2km away so we wlaked it. Very strange but pleasant to do a brisk walk and arrive free of clinging dampness.

We secured our resthouse beds with cash, then spent the day exploring trails, gardens and the visitors centre around the headquarters.

The temperature at the summit at sunrise hovers around the freezing mark so we spend the evening seeing if there is anyway we can turn our collection of ragass T-shirts into North Face quality, mountaineering gear. There isn't. So it'll be 4 T-shirts each, a tracky top, socks for gloves and our silk sleeping bag liners as a scarf / turban combo.

Expenses: Bfast 18.70, lunch 27.50, dinner 43.30, accom 75.70, internet 8.50, hat 7, tshirt 30, energy bars 40, park fees 16
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