One of the most popular Borneo destinations is undoubtedly Kinabalu National Park, where Mount Kinabalu resides. Each year, thousands of visitors visited Kinabalu National Park for either a refreshing National Park Vacation to escape the hot tropical sun and catch a glimpse of the highest mountain in South East Asia, or to conquer the mystical Mount Kinabalu.
Nevertheless, for a unique National Park Vacation in Borneo, you must make sure that you drop by at the lesser known Mesilau Nature Park, which is just about 30 minutes by road away from Kinabalu National Park. From Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah, Malaysia Borneo, it only takes approximately 2.5 hour drive to reach Mesilau Nature Park.
Mesilau Nature Park is located within the vicinity of Kinabalu National Park on the Pinosok Plateau near Kundasang town. The stretch of the road from Kundasang town to Mesilau Nature Park, which is about 2,000 metres above sea level, is extremely steep and winding. However, the road condition has improved immensely in recent times, which makes the ascending ride a breeze.
On the way, you will surely be captivated by the spectacular views of the Kundasang valley with terraced hill slopes planted with highlands vegetables, and parts of the scenic beauty of the Kundasang Mount Kinabalu Golf Course, a challenging 18-hole golf course for avid golfers, undeniably, the highest golf course in South East Asia.
But once you get to Mesilau Nature Park, you will notice that the place is more natural and “virgin” than the now “commercialized” Kinabalu National Park. As the Park lies at the base of Mount Kinabalu, Mount Kinabalu will look even more spectacular with a sheer wall of granite towering a few thousand meters from the virgin forest floor and ending in jagged peaks. This breathtaking sight is aptly called the Mesilau Pinnacles.
To experience the best of what Mesilau can offer, you will need to spend a night or two at the eco-friendly Mesilau Nature Resort, which is nestled amongst the trees at the foot of the mountain within the Park. The Resort itself is amazing since it was carefully planned and built to blend into its natural surrounding.
The chalets are on slopes surrounded by trees with the full view of the Mesilau River flowing below. And for food, the Kedamaian Restaurant is famous for its piping hot steamboat, and barbecue dinners, which makes it a good excuse to stay overnight.
Mesilau Nature Park is also the starting point for the alternative and more challenging route up Mount Kinabalu. If you are of an adventurous kind, do trek the route up to a kilometres or two even if you are not planning to climb Mount Kinabalu. Since the Mesilau Summit Trail is relatively newer and less crowded than the old summit trail, your chance of encountering (tamed) wildlife is also brighter.
One prominent feature of the route is the seemingly abundance of orchids (Rhododendrons) and pitcher plants. The world’s largest pitcher plant, the “Nepenthes Rajah”, is recorded to grow in abundance here. For most visitors, a less taxing guided nature walk around the Park is recommended. It will leave you with lasting “natural” memories.
Mesilau will not fail to enchant you with its cool temperate climate (temperatures vary around 17-21 degree Celcius during the day and 10-15 degree Celcius at night) and serene surroundings as a truly astonishing nature’s paradise. Mesilau Nature Park and its Resort is an ideal venue for relaxation or retreat.
The bio-diversity of the flora and fauna found here makes Mesilau a haven for naturalists. It is one of the best locations in Borneo for an unforgettable National Park Vacation.