My travels around the world


 


My pages about Malaysia
Mount Kinabalu Sukau
Kundasang Libaran Island
Poring Hot Springs Selingan Island
Going to Sukau Karambunai

Roundtrip Borneo, June 2004

Poring Hot Spring

Poring Canopy Walkway
Poring Canopy Walkway

Welcome to Poring Hot Spring

Welcome to Poring Hot Spring
Welcome to Poring Hot Spring

After having had a wonderful morning in Kundasang, we are now on our way to Poring Hot Spring. Poring Hot Spring is most known for its open-air Japanese-style baths. It attracts quite a few people and can be very busy at times. It also is a bit of a tourist trap. Hahaha, in my opinion anyway. But despite it being a bit of a tourist trap, I had a great day anyway :-)

There is more to see and do here than only the hot springs. For me the highlight was the hanging bridge, so that is what most of this page will be about. But I'll also give a general impression of the place and tell you about all the things you can see and do here. I'll hope you enjoy reading my personal story about my visit to Poring Hot Spring.

Huge Bamboo

When you enter the Poring Hot Springs area, the first thing you'll notice are these huge bamboo plants. You can see in the picture how tiny I am compared to those bamboos. I thought they were so impressive.

If I remember correctly it is these bamboo plants that have given this place its name. In Malay 'bamboo' is 'poring'. Please tell me if I am wrong or right about that! Hahaha, I was too busy looking at everything around me to remember correctly what our guide was talking about ;-))

Huge bamboo at Poring Hot Spring
Huge bamboo at Poring Hot Spring

Where is Poring Hot Spring?

Map Sabah
Map Sabah

Poring Hot Springs is part of the Mount Kinabalu Park. The Park headquarters is situated at the southern boundary of the Park. The park is easy to reach, it is about 110 kilometres from the capital of Sabah: Kota Kinabalu.

To get to Poring Hot Springs, follow this road for a further 24 kilometres until you get to the small town of Ranau. From there is is another 19 kilometres northwards and you'll get to Poring Hot Springs.

Banana flower

 Banana flower
Banana flower

While walking the trail to the hot springs of course I got distracted by everything I saw around me. This banana flower for instance. I know bananas, but this was the first time I ever saw a banana plant flower! I thought it was rather beautiful. It is so enjoyable to walk around in a totally new place with so many different things to see.

But lets focus now, the plan for today is first of all visit the hanging bridge. The bridge makes you able to walk in the treetops. Wow! The hanging bridge was constructed here to help with scientific research of the rain forest. This gave the researcher the unique opportunity to study the life high above in the treetops. But since a few years the hanging bridge is now also open for the tourists. And this gives the unique opportunity to see the rain forest from a totally different perspective.. from high above in the trees!

Climbing up the stairs

The bad news about going to the hanging bridge is that it is HIGH up in the tree tops. So this means you have to climb up yourself a lot before getting there. You have to climb this steep set of stairs to get there. And in this tropical heat that is not the easiest thing to do.

Would it be worth it? Would I dare to walk on the Canopy Walkway?......


 Climbing up the stairs
Climbing up the stairs

Chameleon

Chameleon
Chameleon

Halfway the top I felt exhausted and we took a little break. And while I was puffing and gasping for air, our guide spotted this chameleon clinging to a tree. It was brown and very well camouflaged. It didn't move at all, pretending not to be there, but it couldn't fool the sharp eyes of our guide!

I have to admit that I would have walked passed by it without knowing it was there, if they hadn't pointed it out to me. It was wonderful to see, but awfully difficult to take a picture of. With its camouflage colours in a rather dark spot clinging to the tree, it took me several attempts to get my camera steady enough to make a good picture of it.

No need to worry......

Notice at the Canopy Walkway
Notice at the Canopy Walkway

We are at the top, I made it! I can see the Canopy Walkway hanging above me. And in front of me is this reassuring sign, telling me not to worry......

Because it has a....
- Polyester rope with 5 tons strength.
- High quality cable with 10 tons strength
- Aluminium ladders
- Nylon net

Well, I have to admit that that sounded reassuring.... but... but....

Poring Canopy Walkway

Poring Canopy Walkway
Poring Canopy Walkway

But standing up here, looking at the Canopy Walkway, I couldn't help to have this weird sensation and being nervous. No matter what they say or reason, this is high! Eeeeks!!! This is a rope construction in the top of the trees! No matter what you say, hahaha, you can't reassure me! This looks scary! ;-)

Poring Hot Spring

Poring Canopy Walkway
Poring Canopy Walkway

Do I really have to do this???" That was of course the question that popped in to my mind when seeing the Canopy Walkway. I am not such a hero where heights are concerned. And walking in the treetops sounds great, but actually doing it is a totally different story! But I am also very stubborn, so even if I feel scared, I try to do it anyway. Hahaha, I did some crazy things over time, and I wonder how I was ever able to do them. But I did! And I guess I'll cross this bridge as well. Even if I am feeling shaky in my legs at the moment, just by looking at it :-))

Why am I doing this??

Poring Canopy Walkway
Poring Canopy Walkway

A nervous smile, my first steps on the walkway.... eeks, the hanging bridge is moving, rocking from side to side when you walk on it. I am keeping my hands tight around the ropes on either side.... and I start to ask the most important question....

Ooohhh.... Why am I doing this!???

Åke starts to laugh. He knows me too well! And he knows that this is my favourite saying when we travel. And it always is appropriate! Hahaha, just imagine walking on a hanging bridge like this, do an exhausting climb or hike, or maybe something foolish so that you get soaking wet. The question to ask at those occasions is: "Why am I doing this???" And I do know the answer: because I love it! It is wonderful to discover new places, try out new things, just push yourself a little bit further than usual, to broaden your horizons. Just dare to do new things and enjoy it, even if it may look foolish at the time.

But it never hurts to ask this most important question, laugh about it and realize the answer.... "Why am I doing this??"..... because I love it!!!

Walking in the top of the trees

Walking in the top of the trees
Walking in the top of the trees

It is an amazing idea to be walking in the top of the trees. This picture is taken from the Canopy Walkway. The Canopy Walkway is not just one straight hanging bridge, but it is split up in three parts, zigzagging through the treetops. A few huge trees functions as support for the hanging bridge and have a little 'platform' attached to them. The perfect spot to take a deep breath before continuing to walk on the next part of the hanging bridge.

In the middle of the picture (you see it better if you enlarge the photo), you can see a bit of the walkway. The whole construction is 157,6 metres long and the highest point of the Canopy Walkway is about 41 metres. You don't need to worry that it is going to be too crowded on the hanging bridge, as only 6 people are allowed on the bridge at the same time.

View from the Canopy Walkway

View from the Canopy Walkway
View from the Canopy Walkway

Halfway the walkway you all off a sudden come to an open area, where you have a beautiful view over the surrounding area. It is wonderful to be so high up in the trees and look around.

Looking the other way I was in the middle of the treetops. It was fascinating. Many trees, liana and plants living in the treetops, like the 'birds nest fern' and many others.

There was only one disappointing thing. I was hoping to see some birdlife up here in the treetops, but I didn't see or hear anything at all. I guess it is too busy with all the people coming here, that they keep away from this area. I did see some beautiful butterflies fly around, which was wonderful. And everything was dominated by the sound of the 'guitar' cicada.

I made it! :-))

I made it! :-))
I made it! :-))

See that relaxed smile on my face? Hahaha, that's because I made it!!! :-))

It wasn't half as bad as I feared, I have to admit I even enjoyed it! Especially the last bit. The hanging bridge was more stabile here than in the beginning. The first part of the bridge moved much more when you walked on it, making it feel more scary. But at the end I relaxed, enjoyed looking around and even managed to look down ;-)

Would I do this again..... yep, I would!
Hahaha, and without a doubt I will feel nervous again, but it is worth it :-))

Piece of cake! :-))

Piece of cake! :-))
Piece of cake! :-))

You know by now that I was nervous on the Canopy Walkway, hahaha, but as you can see Åke was clearly not! Piece of cake!

We all were in a funny mood, and Åke got so enthusiastic that he started dancing the Cancan on the Canopy Walkway. Eeeeeks! LOL :-)) Not the dancing, hahaha, but that he dared to do it there. I have to admit that I was happy to see him with his two feet on solid ground again :-)

The 'Tarzan' Liana

The 'Tarzan' Liana
The 'Tarzan' Liana

Walking downstairs again we all just had fun and were relaxed. We looked at the forest and the plants and the many types of 'liana'. We found a very prickly one (see picture), which we called the 'Tarzan-Liana'. We all decided that this must be the liana where Tarzan got his call from 'auwwwauwauwwww'! Hahaha, I can just hear him scream that while swinging on this liana, LOL.

Oooopssss.....

Liana
Liana

Everything grows and grows and grows in this rainforest. The trees are huge, the huge liana clinging itself to the trees, branches hanging over the trail. So much to see but also so much to watch out for! You could already see in the previous tip that there are some very prickly lianas which you have to watch out for. But that's not all. Some plants can be REALLY dangerous! And I do know that out of own experience!

Everything grows and grows and grows in this rainforest. The trees are huge, the huge liana clinging itself to the trees, branches hanging over the trail. So much to see but also so much to watch out for! You could already see in the previous tip that there are some very prickly lianas which you have to watch out for. But that's not all. Some plants can be REALLY dangerous! And I do know that out of own experience!

Poring Hot Spring

Poring Canopy Walkway
Beautiful flowers

Of course I can't walk in a place like this without taking at least one photo of a flower. And if I am right this is the flower of a ginger plant. It was fantastic to see all these 'unusual to me' plants and flowers.

Lunch at the waterfall

 Lunch at the waterfall
Lunch at the waterfall

Next stop was the waterfall. I was really feeling hungry and happy it was only a short walk from the hot springs to the falls. It took us about 10 minutes to get there on an easy hiking trail. We had the place to ourselves which was great.

If you want, you can take a little swim at the waterfall. But be warned though! The temperature of the water was really 'Swedish' (= cold). It can't have been over 20 Celsius. That's even too cold for us Swedes!

Poring Butterfly Farm

Besides the Canopy Walkway, the waterfall, and the hot springs (I am going to tell you about those next!), you can also visit the butterfly farm. As we were not really attracted to the hot springs, we decided to give the butterfly farm a try. Getting there they told us that there weren't many butterflies around. So we hesitated. That didn't sound good! So they offered half price... oops, they sounded desperate.... not good! So we decided to skip the plan all together. So all I can tell you that there is a butterfly farm, but unfortunately not what it is like.

On the sign in the picture you can see the opening times and prices for the butterfly farm.

Sign at the Poring Butterfly Farm
Sign at the Poring Butterfly Farm

The Hot Spring

The Hot Spring
The Hot Spring

The major attraction at Poring Hot Springs are without a doubt the hot springs themselves. It looks quite nice in this picture, but I have to admit it wasn't something for me. So we decided not to give it a try. When we were here it wasn't too busy, so I guess we were lucky. But at times it can be quite crowded here at the hot springs.

The Hot Spring
The Hot Spring

The hot springs were developed by the Japanese during World War II and are now quite a popular tourist attraction. The baths are in the open air, and the water is hot and rich of sulphur. If you want to give them a try all you need to do is put on your bathing gear and turn on the tap.

We decided to leave Poring Hot Springs and call it a day. But oops... we were too early and the driver wasn't to be found. So what to do instead?....

Lantern Bug

Lantern Bug
Lantern Bug

So what to do? Go bug hunting! Hahaha, yeah, I know that sounds crazy, but it was really fun to do. There are so many different animals and insects here, that I was fascinated by their weird shapes, sizes and habits. Like this lantern bug for instance, doesn't it look weird, but fun :-)))

Maybe going bug hunting is not the most female thing to do, hahaha, but I love nature, and insects are a part of it. To me they are fascinating to see.

Where is the butterfly??

Where is the butterfly??
Where is the butterfly??

There were several big butterflies flying around us, and they were beautiful. They are attracted by the sulphur in the water around here, making it easy to see quite a few of them flying around.

That inspired Åke to go on a butterfly hunt. And this amazing picture was the result of his 'job'. Hahaha, my 'lawyer' taps me on the shoulder right now and advices me to have 'no further comment'. Hahaha, as I might get into trouble at home if I do, LOL. So take a look at the 'moving' picture yourself to see the result :-)))

Dragonfly

Dragonfly
Dragonfly

The dragonfly is a more usual insect for me, but this was a beautiful one. And as it posed so nicely for me, I couldn't resist taken a photo of it. There were quite a few of them flying around at Poring Hot Springs, quite big ones as well.

Orchid

 Orchid
Orchid

Sabah is a great place to see orchids. I saw so many different varieties at Mount Kinabalu Park, it was overwhelming. But even here in Poring Hot Springs they were growing all over the place. I just loved this beautiful pink one. If you want to see more pictures of orchids, please take a look at my Mount Kinabalu page. I have a whole selection of orchid pictures there.

Market at Ranau

Market at Ranau
Market at Ranau

Our driver showed up, and we were all ready to go. We were feeling warm and sweaty of walking around all day, first at Kundasang and now at Poring Hot Spring, that we all were more than ready to leave. But the nice cool air of the air-conditioning in the bus made us feel better in a matter of minutes.

So instead of driving directly back to our lodge in Mount Kinabalu, we made a quick stop at Ranau. We visited the small market here and did shop shopping for batteries, film etc. Ranau is quite a big place, so a good place to stop if you need to buy something.

Fresh Fruit

Fresh Fruit
Fresh Fruit

The market at Ranau was small but colourful and a great place to buy some fruity snacks. So we walked around a bit and bought some bananas, pineapple and grapes. Yummy! In a hot climate like this nothing seems to taste better than some fresh fruit! :-)

The day has come to an end. And even if Poring Hot Springs was too touristy, I have to admit I still had a great day.

The trip continues.....

Dusty road towards Sukau
Dusty road towards Sukau

My visit to Poring Hot Springs has come to an end, but my Borneo adventures continue!

The previous leg of my journey was a visit to Kundasang, with its lively local market, its war memorial and wonderful views over Mount Kinabalu.

Tomorrow we will be on our way to our next destination. It will be a travel day, but still with quite a few things to see while we travel. I'll be walking on another hanging bridge, visit a huge cave and learn all about the palm oil plantations. You can read all about that in my next chapter on my 'Going to Sukau' page.

I hope you will join me on this virtual trip and enjoy reading my travel stories and see the pictures. For me it has been fantastic to write about my journey because it has made me relive the trip once again :-)

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