In our previous trip to Sabah 3 years ago, we didn’t give ourselves enough time to explore the various towns we visited, as we were more focused on covering our road trip all round Sabah. This time round, we didn’t make the same mistake, but we still wished we had more time to properly explore it. We think for that, it requires moving to Sabah, because there’s just so many wonderful parts to visit.
One of those is the Poring Hot Spring northeast of Ranau. It’s about twice the distance from Kundasang to Ranau. In truth, if you were to properly explore Poring Hot Spring, you would need at least two days just here. You can also stay here, but the cost of the villas were about 10x our budget 😅, so nope for us.
Besides the hot spring where you can soak your feet, or even your whole body, there is a canopy walk through the trees which takes about 45 minutes, and two waterfalls to visit. The first waterfall takes about 15 minutes to reach from the hot spring, while the second waterfall takes 1.5 hours of hiking through the forest.
We didn’t allocate enough time to this location as we didn’t know there was more than just a hot spring. It was a Saturday morning when we came here, so the place was more crowded than usual. It was also where we saw our first tour bus, which indicated that it is a fairly popular place. Indeed there are many locals who come here to use the hot spring.
After paying the entrance fee, you make your way up a slope where there are two types of hot spring pools. The first kind is a long pool similar to a lap pool, but only deep enough for your legs to go in. You sit along the side and place your legs into the pool that you share with some 15-20 other people.
The second kind is a central fount with 4 taps that pours hot spring water, and cold mountain water, into 4 sectioned pools. These are deep enough for you to immerse your whole body, and can fit a reasonably-sized family. However, it takes ages to fill up the pool. We observed, and copied, some families who chose to unscrew the hot water tap to increase the rate at which the water came out.
The average temperature of the hot water spring is 59 degrees Celsius, but it will have cooled somewhat by the time it reaches your pool of choice. It’s still hot though, which is why there is the cold mountain water to help reduce the temperature further to your liking. It is recommended that you don’t soak for longer than 15 minutes at a time.
For what the hot springs look like, you’ll have to wait for our video when it comes out.
Besides the hot spring, there are also a canopy walk which we skipped due to lack of time. In fact, we didn’t have time for anything else except to walk to the nearest waterfall, called Kipungit Waterfall. Wikipedia says it takes 30 minutes to get to this waterfall, but we took only 15 minutes up an easy slope. There were not many people at this waterfall when we visited and, if we had allocated more time, we would have definitely hiked to Laganan Waterfall, which is larger and deeper into the forest.
All in all, it was an unexpectedly enjoyable place to visit, and one that we will definitely return to.
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