A trip to Poring Hot Springs combines nature, relaxation, and excitement in large doses. Located in the Malaysian state of Sabah, Poring Hot Springs is within Kinabalu Park and close to the town of Ranau.
Popular during the period of Japanese occupation in Borneo, Poring Hot Springs attracts many international visitors today, with people keen to soak in the mineral-rich waters and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
Here’s a bit of what you can expect from a visit to Poring Hot Springs:
Relax in natural hot springs
A slight smell of sulphur lingers in the air and a number of concrete bathing areas await. Built by the Japanese around naturally occurring hot springs, parts of the complex are rather like what you may expect if you visited a basic Japanese onsen (resort around hot springs).
With a high mineral content, the waters are said to have curative and therapeutic properties. Soothe away any stresses and strains, revitalise, and give yourself a little boost!
Admission to the complex costs 15 MYR (approximately 3.70 USD) for non-Malaysian adults, and 10 MYR (approximately 2.50 USD) for non-Malaysian children under the age of 18. Whilst there are some outdoor pools that you can just hop right into, many people prefer to pay extra to luxuriate in the steaming waters inside a private shelter. An hour’s soak will cost between 15 and 20 MYR (approximately 3.70 - 5 USD). Don’t forget to take your bathing gear and a towel! Females should note that bikinis and swimming costumes are not the cultural norm; take shorts and a t-shirt instead.
If you’re feeling brave, you can really get your heart pumping and your circulation flowing by alternating dips between the hot baths and an icy plunge pool.
Explore long nature trails
Poring Hot Springs are within a large forest park, and there are various nature trails to enjoy. Varying in length and difficulty levels, you’ll find trails that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels. A great way to experience a little bit of life in the jungle, the trails allow you to really get into the thick of nature, with an abundance of flora and fauna all around.
Large fronds of fern and interesting native plants cover the ground like a green carpet, with towering trees blocking out much of the harsh sunlight from above. The fine gossamer of large cobwebs spun between branches glints in the beams of light that make it through the dense foliage. If you hear rustling in the leaves it may well be wild monkeys. Ants march in military-like formation across the ground and different species of bird can be heard and seen. Look closely and you’ll see numerous insects and bugs in the forest. The mosquitoes can be quite persistent, so make sure you cover up with mosquito repellent and long clothing.
Visit two lovely waterfalls
The thick forest around Poring Hot Springs yields to reveal two fairly small but pretty waterfalls. The route to the falls is well-signposted. The first waterfall that you’ll come to is Kipungit Waterfall. Set in a small clearing, it’s a nice spot to relax for a while. The walk is pretty easy and it should take you around 20 minutes.
The second, and larger, waterfall, Langganan Waterfall, can be reached in around an hour. The path does become more challenging and slippery though, so watch your step!
See the forest differently from the canopy walk
Raised up to 40 metres (131 feet) above the forest floor, the canopy walk definitely isn’t for those who are afraid of heights! If you feel giddy just looking up at the walkway whilst your feet are still on solid ground, it really might not be a great idea to try and complete the high walk. Once you have started you must continue to the end – there are no exit points along the way, and you cannot turn around.
The highest canopy walkway in Sabah, it stretches for 175 metres (574 feet). That might not seem so far when your feet are firmly on the ground, but it can seem like an eternity up in the treetops! The narrow sections swing and bounce as you walk across them. Strung between sturdy trees, a maximum of six people are permitted on each section at any given time. There is a platform at each tree, however, where you can linger to soak up the views and take some great pictures.
Gain a true bird’s eye view of the forest, and spot creatures that you might never notice if you were lower down. Indeed, some of the creatures that live in the tops of the trees never go down to ground level.
There is a fee of 5 MYR (approximately 1.20 USD) to enjoy the thrilling canopy walk. If you want to take photos though (which you will!) there is an extra cost of 5 MYR.
Other attractions within the complex
Spend as long as you like at Poring Hot Springs – onsite eateries ensure that there’s no need to feel hungry or thirsty. There is also a small shop where you can purchase gifts and souvenirs.
An array of colourful butterflies paints a pretty picture in the Butterfly Farm, and there are also display cases filled with labelled specimens of butterflies and insects. Inhale deeply and enjoy the scents of the attractive flowers in the Tropical Garden, and see various species of orchid in the Orchid Garden. You might even be able to see the biggest flower in the world – the Rafflesia. None were in bloom at the time of visit, but you may strike it lucky.
Plan your trip to Poring Hot Springs when travelling around Sabah and enjoy many varied attractions and activities in one handy spot.
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