Poring Hot Springs, Sabah, Borneo
Trip Start Apr 30, 2004
88Trip End Jan 28, 2005
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Woken at 6am by a helicopter taking supplies up to the resthouse. Kinabalu was clear of cloud and looked magnificent. With the door to the balcony open, Rene doesn't even have to raise her head from the pillow to get an uninterrupted view of the mountain. Viewing the wonders of the world, while travelling by magic bed would be Rene's travel nirvana.
Not however travelling by a mitsubishi minivan, which is how we arrived at Poring Hot Springs, 40km away. Steaming, suplherous water is channelled into pools and tubs in a pretty garden setting on the edge of a forest. It's very popoular with aching limbed climbers.
It wasn't quite what we were expecting. We'd pictured natural rock pools and steaming bubbling water, but its a collection of outdoor white tiled sunken baths, each about 4ft deep and able to fit 2 seated adults comfortably. There are 2 taps, one for the too hot to touch sulphured spring water, and the other for the vital cold water. To fill one to the top would probably take about 8 hours, but after an hour there's plenty to sit or lie in. Each bath makes up a quarter sqare of baths and there were about 10 squares.
Being Saturday it was packed with locals, who come and have their weekly bath. Apart from the tiled tubs their are a number of small swimming pools and a deep cold plunge pool. A nearby stall sells fruit and there are changing rooms and showers.
We love a hot bath,and hadn't had one since Hanoi, so we made the most of it and spent all morning in a state of par boiled submergence, and each time we couldn't bear the heat any longer we'd run and dive into the cold pool. Bliss. Lined up round the edge of our bath we had bananas, rambuttan and a coconut with a straw, all just reachable while lying in the tub. Like a couple of orangutans having a spa treatment.
It was all a bit surreal, lying there in the sunshine, in what for all the world looked like a giants urinal, in hot whiffy sulphur water with locals sauntering past in their weekly worn Y-fronts while we drank milk from a coconut with a straw.
Relaxed to the verge of sleep we somehow managed to find a lift back to Rose cabin with a man in a van who looked like a young Chinese Ronnie Corbett, squinting behind large, square glasses. We arrive back in a downpour which lasts well into the night.
A substantial pre climb dinner is followed by an early night, but the thin bedroom walls don't hide the noise of the couple next door being sick over and over. Worryingly, having climbed Kinabalu today, they returned wet and suffering from altitude sickness.
With earplugs in and radio on I discover that World Service reception in the room is very poor, so I have no choice but to get dressed, cover myself in a blanket and listen to the football on the balcony, and with the aerial pointed at the now clear summit of Kinabalu I hear second half commentary of Bolton v Man United and learn that La Ligapool beat W.Brom 3-0. Ole. I decide not to wake Rene to tell her Forest drew 0-0 with Cardiff.
Expenses (7RM /Pound): Transport and entrance to Poring 112, bfast 25, snacks 8.5, internet 7, lunch 14.30, dinner 39.10, accom 75.70, snacks 5.50