Introducing Poring Hot Springs
One of the few positive contributions the Japanese made to Borneo during WWII, Poring Hot Springs has become a popular weekend retreat for locals. The complex is actually part of the Kinabalu National Park, but it's 43km away from the park headquarters, on the other side of Ranau.
The hot springs are located in a well-maintained forest park that does a fine job of giving casual visitors a small slice of the jungle – there's various nature paths and the like that the elderly and children can enjoy. But the springs themselves are not natural puddles. Steaming (seriously, it's hot), sulphurous water is channelled into man-made pools and tubs, some of which feel a little rundown. For some, it's a huge anticlimax, but others enjoy it. Don't forget a towel and your swimming trunks.
For our ringgit, the highlight of the place is actually way above the springs: a Canopy Walkway that consists of a series of walkways suspended from trees, up to 40m above the jungle floor, providing unique views of the surrounding forest. Get there early if you want to see birds or other wildlife. A tropical garden, butterfly farm and orchid garden are also part of the Poring complex. Rafflesia sometimes bloom in the area; look out for signs in the visitors centre and along the road.