The 750sq km Kinabalu National Park is Malaysia's first UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the towering GunungKinabalu (Mt. Kinabalu). The tallest mountain between the Himalayas and New Guinea, it is actually still growing at 5mm a year! 24,000 people come here annually to climb the peak, though the trek is not to be taken lightly. It is a difficult climb and even during perfect weather conditions, the final ascent is freezing and wet. Still, Mt. Kinabalu is one of the easiest mountains to climb, which makes it a must-do on Malaysian itineraries.
Many people come to the park simply to climb the mountain and leave, however if you take some time to explore leisurely, you may discover some incredible plants and animals. Covering a third of the park is the lowland dipterocarp forest, with its massive buttressed trees, and the Rafflesia, the world's largest flower. Oaks, chestnuts, ferns and mosses, including the Dawsonia, the world's tallest moss cover the higher montane forest. Higher up is the cloudforest, which has a thousand orchids and 26 varieties of rhododendron. At the peak, soil gives way to granite and not many plants can survive this tough terrain. You may see birds, squirrels, deer, and pigs on your hike even though orangutans, gibbons, and tarsiers inhabit the park as well.