Borneo is a gifted island when it comes to natural wonders and Sabah is a shining jewel in Borneo’s crown. From trekking up to the summit of Mount Kinabalu to exploring the secret islands, there is just so much to see.
Poring Hot Springs is a destination that features on every Sabah traveler’s bucket list. Located close to the town of Ranau within the Kinabalu Park area (near Kota Kinabalu city), these hot spring mineral baths attract various national and international tourists.
After all, a relaxing dip in hot Sulphur water can hardly be refused!
About Poring Hot Springs
Poring Hot Springs tour is a favorite with tourists visiting Sabah. Located in the small town of Poring near Ranau, the sulphur baths are at a distance of 39 km (one-hour drive) from Mount Kinabalu.
Regular public bus service is available from the Kota Kinabalu National Park. However, for those planning to come via Ranau, taking a taxi is a more convenient option.
Visitors planning a trekking trip to the majestic mountain find it a very relaxing experience to take a dip in the hot spring waters here.
The rich water is infused with Sulphur and other essential minerals. This gives the water its healing properties which attract tourists across the globe.
Poring Hot Springs are a result of minor volcanic activity beneath the ground that happens even after the volcano has gone extinct. The heat loss by the rocks beneath comes out in the form of high-temperature gases and overheated steam. As the steam reaches the surface, it cools off to a certain extent, thereby creating a hot water spring.
A rich amount of Hydrogen Sulfide along with other minerals gets dissolved in the spring water, giving it the desired medicinal properties. Spending some time in this water is known to treat various ailments like arthritis, muscle cramps, skin diseases, etc.
Pool Options Available
With a small entrance fee of RM 15 (less for locals), you are given a ticket to enter the Poring Hot Spring Park. A short walk inside will give you a whiff of sulphur in the air. The large boulder situated right inside the open air bathtub area is the source of hot springs. Steaming hot water can be seen bubbling out of the area.
The area has multiple pool options for visitors to choose from. Following is a brief on the choices available:
Outdoor Hot Spring Pools
Multiple large sized outdoor bathtubs are available to soak in your tired muscles. You can simply pick a bathtub that’s available or wait for one that meets your needs. A bathtub may be just right for holding two people or large enough to accommodate a family.
Hot and cold water taps are provided to adjust the temperature according to your requirements.
Multiple changing rooms and toilets are available for use.
For those preferring a little more privacy, enclosed indoor bathtubs are available at a little extra cost. Each enclosed chamber has a toilet, a shower area, and sitting benches. Perfect for those who want a quiet relaxing time!
If hot water baths are not for you, rock pool is the perfect place to be in. the icy cold water coming directly from a mountain stream can get you refreshed within minutes.
There is no separate fee for getting inside the rock pool. The pool area is divided into shallow and deep areas for kids and adults. Spending some time in this pool with your family can be one of the most refreshing experiences of your trip.
This is a regular cold water pool with some slides which could be a fun activity for kids. The additional fee for the pool needs to be paid at the main gate.
Other Activities to do
Dipping in the hot sulphur water or splashing in the icy cold rock pool is not the only thing to do at Poring Hot Springs, Borneo. The Poring Hot Spring and Nature Reserve has a wide range of fun activities for visitors to enjoy. Make sure to enjoy the following while you’re there:
Poring Hot Springs Canopy walkway
The ticket for the canopy walk can be bought for a small entrance fee of RM 5 (less for locals) at the park entrance. The fee is not included in the park entrance ticket and needs to be purchased separately. An additional sum needs to be paid for every camera that is carried. A short walk on a gravel trail leads you to the starting point of the walkway.
Take your time soaking in the rainforest scenes while you reach the Porings canopy walkway.
The treetop walk is a suspension bridge with a wooden plank to walk on and a netted enclosure for safety. Connected between three gigantic rainforest trees, the bridge is around 175 meters long and over 40 meters in height.
Walking on this swaying bridge can give you a major adrenaline rush. However, once you set your eyes on the beautiful rainforest and the magnificent tree canopies, there’s hardly any time for fear. The tree platform in the middle is a great spot to observe some rainforest wildlife and to some bird spotting.
Explore Poring Gardens
The Poring Hot Spring Nature Reserve, Ranau has various conservation gardens. These are meant for conserving special/endangered plants and animals. The gardens are a great attraction for nature lovers looking to get a closer experience of Sabah’s amazing wildlife.
The Butterfly Garden is just next to the hot springs area. A separate entry ticket is required to be purchased to visit the butterfly farm. The garden is full of unique varieties of butterflies flying around. There is a butterfly enclosure for tourists wanting a close-up feel with these beautiful creatures.
The Tropical Garden is another place of interest. It is primarily visited for spotting Rafflesia flower. Rafflesia blooming, however, is a rare event.
You can also visit the Ethnobotanical Garden if you have an interest in botany. The garden has some rare medicinal plants on display.
The Bamboo Garden is a small, open area with a wide range of bamboo species growing within.
Guided walks are available for each of the above mentioned gardens.
Poring Hot Springs Waterfalls
Poring Hot Springs Nature Reserve is also popular for some of the most fascinating waterfalls in Sabah.
A walk through the rainforest takes you first to the Kipungit Waterfall. The area is a great picnic spot. The water is crystal clear and you can see tiny fish inside.
However, the height of the waterfall is only about 10 meters. The Langanan Waterfall, located at a 2-hour walking distance from Kipungit is around 120 meters and is one of the highest in Sabah.
While the rainforest walk leading to the Langanan Waterfall is tiring, the sight of this majestic waterfall is completely rewarding.
Trekking through the Poring Rainforest
Walking up to the waterfalls is the most preferred trekking route taken up by tourists. The trek to the Langanan waterfalls is around 13km. Since Poring is around 400 meters (or more) above sea level, the forest here is a mix of lowland rainforest and dipterocarp hill forests.
If you’re staying for a night at Poring, guided walks are also available for tourists. Make sure to book one is advance for a perfect Borneo rainforest experience.
Other Attractions at Poring Hot Springs
The Bat Cave, also known locally as the Gua Kelawar is on a short walking distance from the Kipungit waterfalls. The cave surrounded by large moss-covered boulders is home to hundreds of bats. The dark and damp interiors are a perfect habitation spot for bats.
The Orchid Conservation Center is another place of interest. Along with various species of orchids (more than 600), the center allows you to get a close look a the most expensive orchid in the world.- The Rothschild’s Slipper Orchid. The cost per stem for this amazing orchid is several thousand USD!
While a good number of tourists come to Poring for day tours, a one night stay is recommended for a thorough experience of the place.
Staying inside the Poring Hot Spring Nature Reserve is possible with multiple options to choose from.
Various lodge options include:
- Sutera Sanctuary Lodge
- Ernah Lodge
- River Lodge
- Jungle Lodge
Hostel options for budget travelers include:
- Serendit Hostel
- Kelicap Hostel
- Round Inn
Rainforest camping options are available. The Lupa Masa Rainforest camp is a short walk from the entrance and located near a waterfall. The open camping experience is a great way to soak in the sounds of the rainforest at night.
The official website of Poring Hot Spring Nature Reserve provides detailed information on prices, facilities and booking options for each of the above.
Tucked deep within the rainforests of Borneo, Poring Hot Springs is a “must visit” place to enhance your Sabah experience. From healing hot waters to thrilling canopy walks, jungle treks and encounter with some rare and precious wildlife, the visit can be an eye-opening experience. The trip is definitely a perfect combination of natural beauty, relaxation, and adventure.