Friday, May 01, 2015

Botanical Garden (Part of Kinabalu Park and Poring Hot Spring Tour) @ Sabah [East Malaysia]

Climbing Mount Kinabalu was not on my agenda and the closest i ever got to the sacred mountain was actually at a Botanical Garden at Kinabalu Park.

I figured a short walk in the cool highlands would be sufficient and i bet the rest of the seven members in my tour group had that exact same sentiment when they signed up for the day trip.

Hailing from a little red dot in Southeast Asia has its disadvantages; we have no lack of rainforests in our country and are also blessed with a good sized botanic gardens (that might possibly be awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site).

Thankfully, we had Priscilla (the local guide) who took pains to explain interesting facts of the flora in the garden to us ignorant urbanites.

As it wasn't the flowering season, there was honestly not a lot to show us except for the green towering mass surrounding us. 

By the way, we had yet to arrive at the botanical garden.

Main entrance of Mount Kinabalu Botanical Garden; situated at about 1,500 meters above sea level, this was still pretty low compared to mountain climbers who would start at a higher 1,800 meters which was about four kilometers away. 

I am happy so far with the climb i made and have absolutely no complaint! Actually, one of the main reasons for not attempting the climb to the peak of Mount Kinabalu was the healing period post-descent which could take two days! 

Time could be spent in better ways. Whatever the case, there was supposedly a charge for entry to the fenced up garden but our tour package had already included the admission charge of RM 5 for foreigners. 

The highlands are blessed with many orchid species although what we can see in the wild cannot be on the same scale as purposed built gardens. For those crazy about orchids, you may consider the National Orchid Garden in Singapore; note that it could be extremely hot and humid. 

Squirrel tail grass - an apt name for a plant. Should the colour be brown, i bet many people could have mistaken them for the real thing.

Crossing a bridge. 

As it had not been raining for quite a while, the riverbed was dry with hardly any noticeable life forms; it might have been more mesmerizing otherwise.

Information panels were put up at some locations but their assistance was severely limited compared to a personal guided tour. Talking about a guided tour, you could gather at the entrance of the botanical garden at 9am, 11.50am and 2.50am where a guide would bring you around. 

After a while, i got bored. Although Priscilla had been enthusiastic and managed to point out some plants to us, what i experienced was similar to a nature walk in Singapore! I had a way more invigorating time at Mossy Forest in Cameron Highlands.

This fruit is used a type of henna plant even though its usage isn't for tattoo. For the tribes in Sabah, its intense colour was used as dye for clothing. 

Rattan - Priscilla explained to the Caucasian tourists that this vine is heavily utilised to make furniture in Southeast Asia. I had to add that the kids in the region would also remember it, albeit fearfully as a cane used for physical punishment! 

Vibrant flowers that added splashes of colour to the generally green surrounding.

Once you got into the garden, do not expect to have any sheltered pavilion where you can take a breather; frankly, the garden was rather small. 

Bring along an umbrella in case it rains!  

Figs! 

Pitcher plant -it was said that the water in pitcher plant was not drinkable unless they are found at a height of about 2,500 meters in the mountains. I am unsure how true it is since my mom ever told me that monkeys in Singapore drink from the pitcher plants and as we all know, the highest natural point in Singapore is only about 168 meters.

Ferns!

Known as kerosene fruit, it was commonly used locally by the villagers as a source of fuel! Someone should conduct an extensive research on it as a replacement for the expensive petroleum we are paying for!


Broken heart leaves even though i personally thought the shape was more like a butterfly than a heart broken into two. 


Seems like a periwinkle flower; we planted loads of this in our kampong backyard although kids were always warned not to touch the milky secretion when we plucked the flowers as it was poisonous! 

Looked like a mini lantern flower.

A moth or a butterfly? 

Morning dew on moss. 

End of tour. I would be blunt here in my review; it was a tad boring for me but i could not help it as i had been to quite a few rainforest tours. There were some new insightful information though; like the kerosene flower. 

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Map
As above


For the summarised itinerary of my 7 days, 6 nights Kota Kinabalu (Sabah) trip, please click here

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