Kinabalu National Park was declared as Malaysia’s first World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000 and it has became a popular destination for both the locals from all over Sabah and the peninsula as well as foreign tourists across the globe. Its diversity in plant species, variety of wildlife and housing the one and only Mount Kinabalu are factors among many other interesting attributes that cause the continuous arrival of visitors that came either for the most common reason ; climbing the Mount Kinabalu or staying in one of the lodges or homestays with their family while enjoying the cool and breezy air. However, if you are not planning to climb the mountain, there are plenty of other things you can do including jungle trekking or hiking at the nearby trails that are laying on the foot of Mount Kinabalu. Below are the list of 5 trails that loop around Kinabalu Park.
1. Liwagu Trail
Trail Distance : 5620 meters
Hike Time : 3 – 4 hours one way
If you are a hiking enthusiast, you will like this trail. The Liwagu trail has the longest path starting from the Kinabalu Balsam Restaurant near the park headquarter. There is a river that runs down the Mount Kinabalu which is also where the majority of the trail follows. If you are wondering about the level of difficulty trekking this trail, it is not as hard or as easy as you think. It can be said that this trail is quiet challenging, moderately with a fair amount of ups and downs. As you look around, you will be amused by the canopy of greenery and if you are lucky enough, you might stumble upon unique animals be it the monkeys, squirrels, geckos or birds. As you reached the highest ground of the trail, you will be presented with a stunning view surrounding valleys and the mountain.
2. Mountain View Trail
Trail Distance : 150 meters
Trekking Duration : 15 minutes
A small but steep trail can be seen at the top of Liwagu Trail just a few meters away from reaching the entrance to the Mount Kinabalu trailhead. Even though the trail is short and required only a short minutes to complete, the steps may be quiet challenging as its slopping upward paths make you work hard on your feet to make sure you have a good grip of the soil, but chill because at the end, it offers you some of the best views of the standing tall Mount Kinabalu as well as the fascinating pouring Kadamaian Waterfall that make this one of the worthy and rewarding trails to explore.
3. Kiau View Trail
Trail Distance : 2344 meters
Trekking Duration : 1 hour
If you are looking for a fairly long trail with adequate uphill climbing but shorter than Liwagu, Kiau View trail will be the best choice. The starting point will be the same which is near the entrance of the park . Like the other trail, it also offers the picturesque surrounding. You will also get to see the colorful species of birds on your way completing the trail. Unlike Liwagu, Kiau View trail does not have a river for trekkers to follow but during the final reach, if it is a clear day you will see the excellent view of the Kiau Valley that are covered with lush greenery of vegetation.
4. Silau-Silau Trail
Trail Distance : 3396 meters
Trekking Duration : 1 hour- 1 hour 30 minutes
Silau-Silau trail joins several other connecting trails that form the loop around Kinabalu Park. The humidity in that area has encouraged the growth of mosses, ferns and orchid. It’s a long trail but also almost completely flat. Hence, it does not fall under the category of challenging trail because it is very easy to complete. This trail gives the hikers a freedom to choose the length of their journey as there are several entrances and exits to it. That must be one of the reasons why this is among the most famous trails for trekkers and hikers to do some long distance training for their adventurous soul as well as good for people who have a sedentary lifestyle that usually do not opt for some ups and downs of a hill.
5. Mampening Trail
Trail Distance : 3396 meters
Trekking Duration : 2 hours
Another flat trail with little climbing is the Mampening Trail. The name is derived from the oaks that grew around the trail. You can continue onto the Kiau View trail to form another loop. This is also one of the most preferred trails in the park. It will suit the hikers or trippers like family with children who look for nothing far than a quality recreational activity while enjoying the rich nature with no rush and pressure. From this trail, you may reach for some tiny shelters with a scenic viewpoint by going up the steeper ridge to Bukit Tupai and Bukit Burung.
I wonder if many people know about how fun it is to get a little adventurous, just below the extreme adventuresome level of climbing the majestic Mount Kinabalu. Maybe there are some people who like to go for an expedition but are yet to climb the mountain and others might be tight on budget. No matter what the reason is, it is such a waste not to explore the scenic nature trail in Kinabalu National Park.