14 December 2010

Kundasang: Discovering Further

*This is a continuation to my previous entry: Kundasang: My Highland Vacation
I started my second day in Kundasang by driving over to the adjacent Kinabalu National Park. I had come here a few times before but I’d never really explored any further that what was offered along the main road. It has changed a lot now.

The road has more proper pavement and there were walkways so that it is much easier to walk around.
Bearing the reputation as a UNESCO World Heritage site seems to have brought in a lot of transformation now. There was even a UNESCO gallery but sadly it wasn't open yet. :-(
It was a reminiscent of the past for me. I came here for the first time back in 1992 to do my very first climb as a 14 years old school virgin kid.
I stayed on the first night right at this dorm hostel here before beginning our climb up the mountain the next morning. It's veranda is facing directly to the majestic Mount Kinabalu. I only paid like RM70 and we did our own cooking and everything and it was great. I kid not. RM70 to climb Mount Kinabalu back then!!
Of course that kind of fees has long gone now. Thanks to Sutera Sanctuary Lodges who seems to own the whole mountain up their asses, most Sabahan or even Malaysian can only look at Mount Kinabalu from a distance now but cannot afford to climb it. This majestic Mount Kinabalu seems to be getting more and more untouchable especially among the local people.
I really hope the WikiLeaks would soon come up with some leak behind the awarding of such an exorbitant deal to one single company with such an irrelevantly long contract period. Let's begin by sending our complaints to the relevant authority - if they ever give a shit.

Apparently, this giant replica of Rafflesia was still there, still intact by time.
The garden that I went to was now named Botanical Garden and RM4 entrance fee applies for Malaysian citizen while you gotta pay RM1 extra if you’re not (Malaysian).
There was a beautiful concrete walkway that led up to the gate.
I was standing at the front gate 30mins after it was supposedly open. A group of Malay family was leaving when I got there. If only they knew that there was this term we call 'Sabah time', they would have waited a little bit longer like I did.
And sure enough, 10 mins after they left, a woman came rushing apologetically, telling how she already came earlier only to find out she brought the wrong keys. Amehhh. What a lame excuse. But then, if you're familiar with Dusun language, you'd know that there is a variety of slangs and tones in the way they speak. They one that they use here in Ranau is one of the softest. You can't get angry with them with that tone of theirs. Ahaks!
Well, it really is an easy walking tour at the Botanical Garden. They have arrows pointing to the direction that you should take so you wouldn’t tag behind your own tail.
Most of the plants seemed quite so familiar to me so I wasn’t really as fascinated as I should be. Like this one here, it used to be widely used as rice wrapper as a traditional alternative to dish plates.
Oh well, at least I got to learn that it is called Prayer Plant and I am gonna tell that to my mom. :-D 
And this plant which seems to be outstanding with its pinkness is called Pink Maiden.
They seem to be all over the place, putting some colors to the greenery.
Ohh, and when was the last time you saw these? Called ‘pisang kara’ (monkey banana?) among Dusun locals, I don’t get to see them a lot nowadays. Each of the bananas is stuffed with inedible seeds so people don’t really eat them.
The Botanical Garden was smaller than I had expected and it wasn’t long before I made a full circle back at the gate.
It was an easy access to lush greenery and its tropical charms are worth to fall for.
Some people seem to come here for bird watching - an activity that has been gaining popularity in Sabah in the last few years. I'm sure the high altitude brings more variety to the number of birds that can be found in Kundasang.
By then, it was time to say good bye to Kinabalu National Park.
Driving out through the gate, it was good to see they had now built additional parking space since it was impossible to get a parking space inside the gate at times.
Next, I drove down to the villages.
It was my very first time there so I let my instinct to decide where to head to.
The first thing that prompted me to pull over for was the sight of a beautiful river that seems to flow ferociously down its rocky path.
It looked like what was used to be a glorious attraction in the past but has lost the glory over time.
It must have been so popular in the past that some people were actually making some money out of it.
The place seemed to have run down and deserted and largely ignored as if it had not been visited for such a long time.
The river is actually quite beautiful. Cascading down the rocks in torrents of turbulent flow, it gives the excitement of being at a waterfall or something.
The growling sound can be quite scary and intimidating as if a giant monster was thumping its steps and would leap on me any minute. Although it was such a crazy thought, I couldn’t believe I was actually having a goosebump. LOL.
I continued driving on the road which appeared to be heading towards the foothill of Mount Kinabalu. The countryside was breathtakingly beautiful I almost forgot that I was actually in Sabah.
I was attracted by this deserted cabin house and was taking some photos of it when realized my car was moving on its own in the reverse direction! Apparently I didn’t pull the handbrake tightly enough. I had to promptly hop back into the car and pull the handbrake as tightly as it could to make it halt. It was a moment of panic but I found myself laughing about it later. LOL!
It really was a venture. I had no idea how much longer the road was going to take me and I actually had no idea where exactly it was going to. I just kept driving.
The road was quite steep at certain points and my driving skills, or rather my car, was tested to the fullest.
More than once I had wanted to return but my curiousity stopped me from doing so. And of course we spare about where the road took me to in the next post. :-P


Anonymous said...

Looks like the mountain have been too commercialized,there should be strict rules on how much can be charge on visitors,
they are suppose to promote not slaughter,these ass company must belong to some id$$t politician.
Mine you the mountain belong to the public and we have the bloody right,
so it is time to show people power in our votes.

thomas said...

Looks like the mountain have been too commercialized,there should be strict rules on how much can be charge on visitors,
they are suppose to promote not slaughter,these ass company must belong to some id$$t politician.
Mine you the mountain belong to the public and we have the bloody right,
so it is time to show people power in our votes.

JIPP said...

Indeed Thomas. People have been upset but then whenever they turn to YBs for support, there's always a line drawn to make it disappear into thin air. Mount Kinabalu belongs to the people or rather it belongs to nobody. Yupp, those money-sucking ppl may do certain things to make to mountain much more explorable but then what they are getting now with those luxurious deals have surpassed everything they did. How are we supposed to be proud of someth that we cannot even 'touch'. It's sad really.

Kelvin said...

I thought the Rafflesia was real! Imagine the smell if it was a real thing XD

Sad to say, its all about money nowadays.

ArMs said...

Ya damn... the mountains belong to the ppl. Of course there is a maintenance cost but RM70 compared to now does seem harsh. Dunno la...

I haven't climbed up myself even though I'm a Sabahan. Nakan, menyesal suda, dulu nda panjat :P

JIPP said...

Kelvin: Haha. You wouldn't want to take a picture like that on a real Rafflesia. It's not only famous for its size but it stinking smell. LOL!
ArMs: Yupp, true. It belongs to the people. Yeah, it really is hard to get a good deal to climb the mountain nowadays. the tourists agents really know how to play the chess and even more saddening we hv to get thru them. :-(

Olive Resorts said...

Wow nice.....you also get the various fun places in pench.Pench is a beautiful resort.It is famous for its tracking.For more details visit resorts in pench national park


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