Mt. Kinabalu – Summit of Borneo
July 3, 2006
Mt Kinabalu, the majestic summit of Borneo is the focal point of the park and the whole Sabah. Such is the importance of this mountain that the state capital Jesselton was renamed Kota Kinabalu in 1964. The highest mountain between the Himalayas and the Snow Mountains of papua Barat (New Guinea Island) this magnificent granite massif stands at 4,095.2m (13,435 ft) tall.
Kinabalu Park is Malaysia’s first World Heritage designated by UNESCO in December 2000 for its ‘outstanding universal values’ and role as one of the world’s most important biological sites.
The Kinabalu Park and the Kundasang War Memorial situated just on the fringe of the Park were both established in 1962 as commemorative symbols for the 2,428 Australian and British prisoners of war who suffered and died at Sandakan and the 3 people who risked their lives to help the prisoners. It was the inspiration of Major G.S. Carter D.S.O. (Toby Carter) a New Zealander employed with Shell Oil Co. (Borneo) and enlisted with the Royal Australian Engineers and parachuted into Borneo in 1945.
The Kinabalu Park covers a staggering area of 754 sq. km (300 sq. miles), from the Park Headquarters area all the way to Poring Hot Springs 40 km (25 miles) away and northwards to Mandalon, almost reaching the Kudat Highway. It is bigger than Singapore island! Established as a state park in 1964, this botanical paradise is blessed with an astonishing variety of flora and fauna that ranges over 4 climates zones, from the rich lowland dipterocarp forest through the montane oak, rhododendron: the corniferous forests, to the alpine meadow plants… and to the stunted bushes of the summit zone. Kinabalu Park has probably one of the richest flora collections in the world.
Highways and sealed roads have made the Park easily accessible. It’s an easy two (2) hour scenis drive from Kota Kinabalu and is popular gateway from the hustle and bustle of the city where the visitors can enjoy the cool invigorating air. In 2004, more than 415,360 visited the Park with more than 43,430 climbers. While the focus of the Park is the mountain, about 80% of visitors don’t climb all the wayto the peak but come simply to enjoy the serenity of this place.
Kinabalu Park Headquarters is situated on the southern boundry, at an elevation of 1,563m (5,000 ft) above sea level. Most of the Park facilities are located here including visitors’ accommodations, restaurants, exihibits centres, Park offices where overnight visitors and climbers must register.