Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Visit to Sabah Borneo’s Poring Hot Springs Recreational Area

I’ve never been particularly afraid of heights; being an avid tree climber and several years of gymnastics lessons cured any doubts I might have had about heights many, many years ago.

Looking up at a tiny netted wooden walkway situated 130 feet above the forest floor made me gulp a bit though.

If you’ve never been tree canopy walking, I strongly urge you to try it. It strikes a healthy balance somewhere between hiking and rock climbing. Tree canopy walking turned out to be my kind of activity, given that my health does not allow me to undertake strenuous or physically challenging activities like bungee jumping or downhill mogul racing.

When I found out that we could do some tree canopy walking on our road trip through Kinabalu National Park in Sabah, Borneo, I called it as one of ‘my’ trip activities. In other words, that means John can’t object, since I then had to do an activity with him of his choosing. (He choose to drive to the Tip of Borneo, but that trip didn’t go so well. We got caught in a flash flood that day.)

A trip to Sabah isn’t complete without visiting Mount Kinabalu, and a soak in the hot springs at Poring Hot Springs in Renau sounded delightful after wandering around Mount Kinabalu.

We had  high hopes for Renau. Unfortunately, our time there didn’t turn out as expected.

Located in the foot hills of Mount Kinabalu, the area is best known for the Poring Hot Spring and Nature Reserve. The hot spring is managed by Sabah Parks, and the various accommodation options and dining facilities are managed by Sutera Sanctuary Lodges, which is where we were headed for a two-night cabin stay.

The hot springs are located in a clearing in the forest, and you have to cross a short suspension bridge over Mamut River. A wooden pathway leads past a grove of giant bamboo, fruit bearing trees, and flowering plants. The walk is really beautiful, but I can’t comment much on the hot springs, mainly because it was extremely busy while we were there, and the pools were not at all clean.

I’ve read that this is normal at Poring Hot Springs, since the complex relies on its guests to change the water in the tubs. The tubs were filthy and we took one look at them and decided we weren’t going in.