Prior to moving to Sabah two years ago, I had already climbed Mount Kinabalu (very doable and I highly recommend that you do it!) and visited Kundasang briefly during that trip. As such, I decided that there isn’t very much to do in Kundasang, except maybe get some fresh air and I flat out refused to visit the Dairy Farm -because been there, done that and didn’t know why I would pay to look at cows, when I got to do that for free in Denmark one too many a time.
So after two years and a lot of research, I thought maybe I should actually make my way up again and see some of the things I read about, and the 3 day 2 night trip wasn’t enough time.
We started our drive up after a pit-stop for lunch in town and went straight to Desa, just to get some ice cream and have a look around. To be honest, you go to Desa for the views more than anything else cause it’s simply gorgeous when Kinabalu decides to peek out at you – the ice cream isn’t half bad either.
Since we got there pretty late, we opted for a quick pit stop in town to pick up some supplies and headed to our hotel to enjoy the sunset. We stayed at Celyn Resort, which is a little further out and actually in Ranau. The hotel itself is pretty basic, the food is nothing special – but the rooms are clean, beds are comfortable and the view – now the view is why you choose to stay in this resort.
Kundasang – who knew you were so hipster?
The next day, after waking up early for the sunrise and just having a coffee while appreciating the view, we made our way to Mamut Copper Mine in Ranau. Now this is an abandoned copper mine. During its prime it was one of the largest copper mine’s, and was open from the 1970’s up till 1993/1999 (I keep getting conflicting information on this). The reason why it closed was because the company went bankrupt, as they had a leak which ended up contaminating a local water source which had some dire consequences and as such they had to pay damages to the people affected.
It’s a little out of the way and quite a drive. Roughly about 8km from the city itself to the main gate, after which I highly recommend a four wheel drive, as it’s a very bumpy uneven road pproximately 8km also before a 30 minute leaisurely walk more than a hike to the mine itself. My sedan made it up fine, but I’m not sure if she’s forgiven me just yet for torturing her that way. Despite only making it up there in the afternoon, the weather is great and it isn’t too hot, so you can even go in the middle of the afternoon like we did.
The next day we made our way over to Poring Hot Springs. While I don’t get the hype about the Hot Springs – a lot of other people thought otherwise.
We decided to skip the hot springs and the crowd, and try out the canopy walk, which required a little trek before reaching the starting point. Depending on your level of fitness it can take anything from 20 minutes to more. The canopy walk itself is about 175 metres long, and roughly about 43 metres off the ground.
After that, I basically dragged my comrades to the waterfall thats about a 700m walk away. Though they were reluctant at first and I was skeptical as I had not heard much about Kipungit waterfall, it was really very nice, and I think we spent a good hour or so just sitting by the waterfall, soaking our feet in the ice cold water and chilling out.
I feel though, that the main reason to pay Poring a visit is quite simply the surrounding area. I honestly regret not heading there a little earlier in the day, as that meant we would have been able to stop by Langangan waterfall as well, which is an additional 2.5km away from the first waterfall we visited. Langangan waterfall is only one of the tallest waterfalls in Sabah, standing at a cool 120 metres – only 10 times the height of Kipungit!
No trip to Kundasang however, is complete without a pit stop for some Sinalau Bakas (Sinalau = Smoked, Bakas = Wild Boar) on the way home.
So… What’s there to do in Kundasang anyway? Lots. I was there for almost 2 full days, and I still have Pyramid Hill to climb and Langangan Waterfall to visit.
On hindsight, maybe getting up early and not spending half the morning chatting while taking in the view would’ve afforded me more time to do so. But I think, that’s kind of the point of Kundasang; sometimes all you need is a good view, some fresh air and the need to do absolutely nothing with good company.