In our recent trip to Eastern Malaysia, Elicia and I went from Kota Kinabalu to the Kinabalu Park area so that we could climb Mt. Kinabalu. Well, we successfully climbed Mt. Kinabalu in one day and in case you missed it, I documented our journey here and outlined in more detail on how to attempt the climb in one day here.
After registering one day ahead of time for our climb, we had all day to
kill explore, and the Poring Hot Springs appeared to be the ‘best’ attraction in the area (besides climbing Kinabalu, of course). We didn’t want to expend too much energy as we knew the following day would be super-challenging. We read some info that it’s a good place to check out for their canopy walk and natural hot springs. It had us intrigued, so we attempted to get to the Poring Hot Springs even though it was 45km away from Kinabalu Park HQ. We received advice that the best way would be a public bus, because the taxi fare was just too expensive. So, we hopped on a bus and headed towards Poring. It dropped us off at an intersection, the driver pointed in the direction we should walk, and so we began walking briskly. I didn’t ask how far… I assumed it would be close.
About 15 minutes later, we saw a sign that read, “Poring Hot Springs – 15km”. Well isn’t that just great!?!?! Haha I literally laughed and made jokes for several minutes. Then reality sank in. We hadn’t seen a taxi in a while. Traffic was limited. It was a 2-lane highway, sure, but no houses, businesses, etc. Just the occasional pick up trick or tourist-van packed with foreigners like us (except those tourists planned ahead and paid lots of $ for that ride). So, we had two options: suck it up and walk 9 miles to Poring Hot Springs at 10:00am the day before we climb Kinabalu and waste most of our precious day, OR, put out our thumbs and hitch hike. So option B was the logical, obvious choice. Our thumbs were out as we walked along the road. It was our first time hitch-hiking, and it felt a bit weird, but we needed a ride. Several trucks with room in the bed whizzed right by us. Hmmmm. Do they hitch hike in this country? Is it safe? These thoughts, along with laughter, kept us busy as we trotted along. It was nearing lunch-time and we were hungry. The sun was high, and it was getting hot. Will this work?
Finally, up ahead, I saw a truck slow down and turn around. We chatted with the two guys in the new truck (everyone in Malaysia speaks English), and they agreed to give us a lift to Poring Hot Springs. They were on holiday, along with the rest of the country, so they were keeping busy and visiting their families and in-laws, etc. Yes, we were completely safe, and yes, they were extremely nice people. I offered money but they wouldn’t accept it. We safely arrived at Poring Hot Springs before noon. I asked our two new friends if they could join us at Poring Hot Springs, but they had family to visit. How nice it was of them to take time out of their day to help us travelers who were in need of a lift. We had plenty of time to check out the sights that included the Hot Springs, Canopy Walk, and hiking trails with waterfalls and bat caves. Here’s a few of our favorites from Poring Hot Springs: