Mount Kinabalu, Rain
Forests & Klias Wetlands in Sabah.
The Tropical Rainforest.
towers 4095 meters (13,435 feet) above sea level. It is the highest
mountain between the mighty snow-capped Himalayas and Wilhelmina (4509
meters / 14,793 feet) in Irian Jaya. It is also one of the most accessible
and spectacular mountains in the world. Because of the earth movement, it is
still growing with the rate of 5 mm (1/4 inches) a year.
Ever changing, it is the mountain
of tropical rainforest, colourful blossoms and golden sunset, but also dark
and violent storms. At times, a ghostly mist shrouds the mountain and it is
easy to believe the local Kadazandusun's claim that it is the
homeland of their spirit world.
Kinabalu Park was established to
protect Mount Kinabalu and its plant and animal
life. Its 754 square kilometres (291 square mile) terrain stretches upward
forest to mountain forest, cloud forest and sub alpine meadow,
before finally reaching a crown of bare granite.
Only at Mount Kinabalu can you eat breakfast in
a lowland rainforest, lunch in a
cloud forest, and enjoy dinner in a
Kinabalu Park, which covers an area 754 sq. kilometres, is one of the
greatest attraction of Sabah. The Park is visited yearly by thousands of
tourists who come to enjoy its climatic, scenic, floral and faunal
Among other things, it also contains the granitic massif of Mt. Kinabalu. At
4,095 metres, it is South East Asia's greatest challenge for climbers. Mt.
Kinabalu is the highest mountain in South East Asia. It is part of Sabah's
beautiful Crocker Range and the 2,572 metre Mt. Tambuyukon.
Having an altitude which varies from 152 metres to 3,952 metres above sea
level, the vastness of the Park enables the preservation of tropical lowland
forest and wildlife, as well as the alpine-like associations of the summit
Preserved for posterity, the Kinabalu Park is one of the world's most
unique ecological systems: having beauty, splendour and charm to delight any
category of visitors. From the tired businessman in need of a rest to the
restless mountaineer and the nature lover who is eager to study and enjoy
its natural treasures
The park opens at all seasons. It is self-contained with all the facilities
for the casual visitors as well as campers. Those who wish to have a longer
stay, nearby hotel or park's chalets are available.
Sabah's pristine tropical rainforests is home to many protected rare animals:
the Orang Utan, Proboscis monkeys which are endemic to Borneo; elephants, the
endangered Sumatran Rhinoceros and rich birdlife which include eight species of
Sabah is one of the last places
in the world where you can still find magnificent virgin rainforest. The largest
virgin rainforest is in Danum Valley, which has now become a conservation
area. It is home to many rare birds, monkeys, deer, insects and plants. Many
visitors will remember it as a very beautiful place although it may be quite
difficult to see some of the larger animals. There are only two places to stay,
one is for scientists and the other one is for tourists.
Danum Valley is
about 70 kilometres (44 miles) west of Lahad Datu, Sabah's fourth largest town.
It comprises 43,800 ha of virgin forest. It is a vast reserve of lush tropical
lowland forest rich in Sabah’s unique flora and fauna. The area has been
recognised as one of the world's most complex ecosystems.
The Danum Valley provides visitors with ecological experience into the wilds
and wonders of ancient tropical forests. The hot and humid jungle teems with a
variety of towering tropical trees, lingering lianas, exotic orchids and
Danum Valley lies within the upper reaches of Sabah's second largest river, the
Segama and its tributaries. Danum Valley is generally hilly but not
mountainous. Its highest point is Mount Danum, of 1093 meters (3585 feet) in
Sepilok Orang Utan
This world-famous Sanctuary enables visitors to come in
close contact with the remarkable "Orang Utan" which means "man of the
forest" in Malaysian. The red-haired Orang Utans are a must see, when you
bring a visit to Sabah. Here, in the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation
Centre, young orphaned or captive orang utans are taught survival skills so
that they may return to their natural habitat. After that, they are released
into the forest.
The Rehabilitation Centre is set in 43 square kilometres of beautiful
virgin rainforest. The Sanctuary started in 1964 to help once-captive Orang
Utan and to teach them to fend for themselves in the wild. After watching
orphaned orang utans being taught how to climb, visitors proceed to a
platform. At that platform they can watch the semi-wild orang utans come in
from their jungle hides for their twice-daily ration of milk and bananas.
These large red apes - man's closest relative- are
astonishingly gentle and highly intelligent, gazing at visitors with almost
To avoid the spread of disease, touching the animals is not permitted inside
the Rehabilitation Centre. However, it is usually possible to meet and
photograph a couple of the mature females, who are so fond of human company
that they refuse to go back to the wild, just outside the Registration
The Sanctuary also houses a couple of highly endangered
Sumatran rhinos, and occasionally other animals such as elephants. There is
an Information Nature Education Centre, and a mini-theatre where a
documentary video about the work of the Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary is
shown. Visitors are advised to arrive about one hour in advance to register
and enjoy activities prior to the feeding. It is possible to take a taxi to
Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre and have it wait for your return. There are
also infrequent buses marked "Sepilok" leaving from the station near the
Central Market. All tour operators offer guided tours which include
Note: Orang-utans have brown and rust-coloured shaggy fur.
They weigh an average of 50 kg (110 lb) and can weigh over 90 kg (200 lb).
The orang-utan lives in tropical, swamp and mountain forests, where it eats
mostly fruit, leaves and insects.
"I've never seen so many fire flies, it's
like a street of brightly lit Christmas
trees!" is the usual remark by visitors
when they discover this new destination in
Sabah. Located about 120 km from Kota
Kinabalu on the Klias Peninsula are the
Klias Wetlands, a Mangrove Forest Reserve
rich with river wildlife and birds. Among
the wildlife that can be spotted on a
mangrove cruise on the Klias River are
proboscis monkeys, long tail macaques, with
some luck silver langurs and of course an
amazing variety of birds.
A trip to the Klias Wetlands is usually a
day trip which normally starts in the
afternoon at around 3.00 pm and departs from
the Kota Klias Jetty. Light refreshments are
served before the tour starts, and a local,
kampung-style dinner will be served upon
arrival back at the jetty. It is highly
recommended to engage a tour operator for
this tour. The operator will provide you
with an experienced wildlife tour guide who
can give you detailed descriptions of the
unique nature and wildlife you see and thus
make your tour much more interesting.
The Klias Wetlands have become popular
amongst visitors who do not have enough time
to go to the east coast and experience
Sabah's wildlife in Sukau. Klias is much
nearer and does not require a flight from
Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan. However, the
proboscis monkeys in Klias are still "wild"
and they are not so much used to see
visitors like their cousins in Sukau. The
Klias Wetlands should not be treated as an
alternative to the east coast, with its
fantastic wild life destinations. Klias has
its own unique features which must be
explored and enjoyed on their own!