Sunday, June 10, 2007

Poring hot spring worth the drive

By Dwi Abdullah

The Poring Hot Spring proved to a be a worthy visit despite the long drive from Bandar Seri Begawan which took us six hours to reach Kota Kinabalu, then another three hours to cover 128 kilometres before reaching the tourist attraction.

Homing in after about an hour, we reached Kinabalu Park, the home of the world's most diverse flora and fauna. Another one hour passed before we reached the hot springs and we were surprised to find that we were not the only visitors from Brunei.

We walked along a trail inside tropical lowland rainforest that led us up the canopy walkways, suspended 157.8 metres long and 41 metres high.

The Forest Canopy walkway is constructed high up in the forest top for use by scientists to conduct research.

With magnificent views, tourists can walk on it, seeing new insights into the canopy. On the ground, humans are characteristically regarded as hunters and are feared.

Therefore, animals rarely can be seen. Artificial lighting at night is used to observe species not active by day.

We did not take a dip in the sulphuric spring water in an opened Japanese-style bathtub. But many visitors did, which they said has curative properties for skin diseases such as eczema.

A historical description of Poring Hot Spring stated that it was first developed by the Japanese during World War II. Pipes are inserted into several open-air Japanese-style baths.

For visitors with more time, there are graded paths leading through rich, lowland forest to the mountainous rivers, waterfalls and the bat caves.

Visitors often see birds and wildlife along the trail. A playing field and courts for volleyball and sepak raga are also available.

The hot springs' water contain sulphur, which have health as well for skin diseases.

At Poring, one can find the world's biggest flower, the Rafflesia which if you are lucky, can see in bloom.

Also, an orchid garden containing most of the native species, and a butterfly farm are some of the attractions at Poring.

On the way back to Kota Kinabalu, we passed by small towns and scattered villages of the Kundasang Valley where we bought vegetables, fruits and souvenirs to take home.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Sunday

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