Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Kinabalu National Park - Page 1

There are four UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Malaysia. George Town of Penang, Bandar Hilir in Malacca, Mulu National Park in Sarawak, and Kinabalu National Park in Sabah.

Mount Kinabalu, with the height of 4095 m, is the highest mountain between the Himalayas and the Snow Mountain of New Guinea. In 1964, the park was established as state park. Then in 2000, the area which is bigger than Singapore Island was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for its mega biodiversity and the value to the world.

We both visited Kinabalu National Park around 20 years ago, when we were still kids, long before we met each other. Our recent two days trip to the park refreshed our old memories. Really, not much had changed. We should said the park was well preserved. The development took place here and there by the indigenous Dusun people, but basically, the nature beauty of the Crocker Range was remain untouched. Together with us, our parents and 25 other members from Sibu Peace Methodist Church.

Our bus departed from Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah at around 10:30 am. We took 20 minutes to reach Tamparuli. From there, we started the ascending. We reached our first stop on the highlands, Pekan Nabalu at 12 noon. The town was not very attractive, except for the souvenir shops. If you wish to get some souvenirs somewhere on the top of Borneo, Pekan Nabalu is the place for you. We found that not much we could see from the observation tower at the middle of the town. We stopped at Pekan Nabalu for 30 minutes to shop for a while.

Pekan Nabalu is not far from Kinabalu Park Headquarters and Kundasang. We took our lunch at Fairy Garden Resort- Chinese style, 8 dishes, big portion for a table of 10 person. The price, RM 18 (USD 6) per person. The taste, not too bad for hungry visitors.

Panoramic view from observation tower at Pekan Nabalu. Click the photo for larger view.
 A few rows of single storey shops at Pekan Nabalu.

Fairy Garden Resort by the road (upper left). The seat arrangement in the restaurant (upper right). The dishes served were quite nice- roasted chicken, curry chicken, tofu, sweet sour chicken, soup, and vegetables.

 Nice view from Fairy Garden Resort.

In just a few seconds, the view is blocked by clouds. This is the magic show of Kinabalu National Park- Now you see, now you don't.

Then, we travelled further east to Pekan Kundasang. Kundasang Town was even smaller compared to Pekan Nabalu. But it was well-known for its Kundasang War Memorial Park. The memorial was built in 1962 to commemorate 2,428 soldiers who died during the World War 2, when they were transferred from Sandakan to Ranau in 1945, by foot. Their journey from Sandakan to Ranau was the last for all but six survivals, who lived to tell their horrific story- the Dead March.

The park was designed by J. C. Robinson, with 4 interlinking gardens- Australian Garden, England Garden, Borneo Garden and a contemplation garden engraved with all the names of the fallen soldiers. The memorial is now maintained by a devoted volunteer- Mr. Sevee Charuruks from Thailand. A minimal maintenance fee was collected- RM 2 for locals with MyKad, RM 10 for the visitors without MyKad, and RM 1 for students with uniforms and children under 12.

We reached the memorial park around 1:30 pm. The strong wind and shrubs in the park cooled us down in the middle of the day. We spent more than 1 hour in the park. By the way, the park was easy to locate- just behind the only concrete shop lots beside the main road in Kundasang Town.

Kundasang Town in fact consists of two rows of concrete shop lots. The war memorial is at the back of the shop lots. Please click on the photo for larger view.

The white gate marks the entrance of the war memorial can be clearly seen from the road. We don't have to speak "Friend" to enter, but we need to pay a minimal fee of RM 2 per person. Awaiting behind the gate are the stairs.

First stop, a small hut with the newspaper cutting, reports, and the photos of the memorial park. From the hut, we turned left and walked upstairs to reach the gardens.

The Australia Garden is the first garden on our left (upper row), followed by the English Garden. The gardens are not big but well-maintained. According to our tour guide, the grass in Australia Garden was imported from Australia. The park has been recognized by Australian Government with grants allocated for maintenance.

Borneo Garden can be assessed through English Garden. Borneo Garden was planted with rare local orchids.

Contemplation garden is decorated with pillars and a pool. This is the place where we paid our respect to the fallen soldiers.  We can see the stone plates engraved with the names on the right. For all the visitors, we would like to advise that we should be quiet and be respectful in this garden.

Several of the fallen soldiers were brothers, twins, and father and son.

We had the privilege to meet Sevee Charuruk. He restored the memorial in 2005, which made the park to be known to the world as it is today. He received recognition from both England and Australian Governments for his commitment in restoring the memorial. You still can meet him at the memorial if you are lucky enough. "Sabah is a good place, you two should come back." This was his message to both of us before we left the memorial.

Then, we continued our trip to Desa Farm, 20 minutes from Kundasang War Memorial. The farm was located along Kundasang Kauluan Road and Cinta Mata Mesilau Road. With light green grassland lined by white wooden fences, and the dark Mount Kinabalu at the back, The view at the farm was stunning! The cooling strong wind blew away the heat from the sun. We visited the farm by looking at the milking process and how the calves were brought up from the nursery. We bought some dairy products too. However, we spent most of the time walking around, enjoying the nice view and the cooling air.

The farm was not big. Not many places were opened to visitors as well. However, in a squeezing room, we observed how the automatic milking process was done (upper left). Calve raising nursery was located in another building in the farm (upper right). While the cattle were lined up to be milked, visitors lined up to buy the dairy products.

Mount Kinabalu showed its face when we were at the dairy farm. Clear view of this mysterious mountain was really treasured.

Our photo at the farm.

Photo of the grassland.

You won't get bored by staring at the pictureque scenery like this for one hour.

Grazing cattle.

Even the workers' quarters look nice from the farm.

We stayed at Desa Farm for two hours until 4 pm. We took 20 minutes to go back to Kinabalu Park Headquarters for a quick visit. As the sky turned dark under the raining clouds, we didn't stay long in the park.

Our journey turned disastrous when we came to the smaller road lead to our hotel. Stay with us as our journey continued.

[Page 1][Page 2]

No comments:

Post a Comment