So what’s the best thing in Poring? In my opinion – trekking to the Langanan Waterfall. Paradoxically it’s the least known and least attended of all attractions in there. On the day I went there I was the only one on the trail – I know because before and after trekking you need to notify Park’s staff (for safety reasons). At the end of the day my name was the only on the list.
Langanan Waterfall lies around 4km from Poring HQ. You might think it’s not much, but the number is very misleading. It takes 2-3 hours to get there. 4km of trekking through the tropical rainforest is not the same as hiking in European mountains. Heat and humidity make you tired much faster than usual. Not to mention that the trail is very steep and slippery at the end (a few times I was really wandering if I’m going to break my leg in there). So you need to proceed with caution. The goal is very rewording though (120m high magnificent waterfall). It’s so beautiful and peaceful (no tourists). It’s also 5-6 degrees cooler (due to the altitude and breeze) than at the foot of the mountain. All together it makes it perfect place to just sit and relax.
One of the must-see things in Malaysia is Rafflasia, which can be found in Poring as well. It’s a parasite plant known as ‘corpse flower’ (due to the smell). Doesn’t sound to appealing, does it? It isn’t pretty either. Being the biggest known flower in the world (some species can exceed 1m in diameter) makes it interesting though. Taking into consideration that it blooms only a few days in a year you should consider yourself lucky if you spot one.
1. Transport – if you’re lucky (or travel with at least 2 friends) you can get direct minibus from Kota Kinabalu (long distance bus station next to Dreamtel Hotel). It will cost 40 MYR. If it’s just you they’ll take you only as far as Ranau (for 25 MYR). From there you’ll have to take a taxi to Poring for additional 40 MYR. You can of course come with a group but the one day trips to Poring, organized by tourist agencies, are not worth the time.
2. Accommodation – trip to Poring is going to be worth the time (and money) spent on transport only if you’ll stay a night (and go trekking). I stayed at the Serindit Hostel inside the park and it was the best hotel/hostel I stayed so far. Its common room was just stunning making me want to sit there all day with a book. I even got a souvenir and Sabah tea as a farewell gift from the hotel (I stayed longer than 1 night). For a hostel it’s quite pricy though (starting from 60 MYR). On the other hand it allows you to enter the National Park for 3 days with a ticket usually valid for only one. There are a few private lodges outside a park as well.
4. Rafflesia – sometimes can be found in the Park’s Botanical Garden (fee 10 MYR). Most often however if you want to see one you should go to one of the private gardens outside the park. Just behind the Chinese restaurant there is a country road. If you walk around 200m there’s going to be one of those gardens (fee 30 MYR). If you walk another 300m the same road you can find another garden with lower entrance fee (20 MYR).