Kinabalu, what Kinabalu? – Day 69 – 28 Mar

Today we got the bus to Mount Kinabalu National Park there was no way were we going to attempt the climb up the mighty mountain but we were quite happy to look at it from a distance possibly even close-ish. The bus journey was quite long one but as we got closer to the mountain the route was more scenic. Once in a while we thought we saw a glimpse of the mountain but realistically it was probably just wishful thinking on our part as Kinabalu was covered in cloud and was not playing ball, still we were there all day so it could wait.

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When you reach the national park the entrance is very impressive and we picked out what looked to be a good route for a trek – not too long / not too short – to test our legs out and one which took in both a place to view Mount Kinabalu in all its glory and the park’s botanical garden, this was too good to be true wasn’t it? Our route was to be up on the Silau-Silau trail and down on the Mempening trail to enable us to see the stream and the mountain.

The walk was well laid out and although some of the signs perhaps could have done with some translation or perhaps even have the arrows pointing in the correct directions – even the locals seemed confused before you start thinking this was us! The first part of the walk was uphill following the stream and besides the running water, boulders and trees there was not a great deal to see with respect to wildlife and the like. Despite the misleading signs the Botanical Gardens were soon reached and we actually turned up just as a guide was ready to go out so we asked him to show us around. The place was not particularly big but he explained it well to us so it was all the more interesting for the information he provided.

There were many plants there some of the smallest, the orchids and tiny pitcher plants we would have walked by if our guide had not pointed them out to us.

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A funny thing happened though when he tried to show us the kerosene plant – the idea being that he took a seed of the plant gave a squeeze and this would then, with the aid of a lighter produce a small flame. On the first couple of occasions this almost worked to a greater or lesser extent then the guide must have pressed a bit harder on a seed with a lot of stored fuel as it behaved a bit like a flamethrower and almost set our poor guide alight – now this was entertainment folks, not many botanical gardens can boast this can they. We asked the guide about the mountain too and he told us his father was a guide to take people up there and that the first time he had been up the mountain was when he was six!

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By this time we were now getting hungry so decided on a bit of a detour to a restaurant which served very nice food with a very nice view – we ate one whilst watched the other and we were both nicely full afterwards – I do not have to tell you which was which (Do I?).

After being fed and watered we were back on the trail once again which was good – the trail was now going more sharply uphill though which was not so good! The walk took us back onto the road and it looked even further inclined and this took us all the way to the Mount Kinabalu viewing area – the only thing missing was Mount Kinabalu – do Malaysian mountains take flight when being viewed, are they that timid?

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Come on show yourself you big fat peak you!

We left somewhat dejected but the wildlife on the way back heartened us somewhat – a noisy cicada we could not see!

By this time it was time to go and we had been walking for a good while so by the time we reached the bus stop so it was all a bit touch and go as to whether we would get a bus or not but very fortunately for us our original bus driver had had bus problems and was actually running an hour late so we caught the same bus we arrived in on.

When we reached KK we decided to get out and feast and for me there could only be one food of choice – a roti. We went to the little place from last night and whereas I greeted him like a long lost friend and inventor of the greatest culinary gift ever – he merely looked somewhat confused by all my fuss. The food was still great though and quite frankly we had learnt it!

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