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Kinabalu National Park is a park that contains Malaysia's highest mountain. The attraction in Sabah, on the island of Borneo, covers an area of around 300 square miles (more than 750 square kilometers). The area became a national park in 1964 and, as of 2011, is governed by the Sabah Parks body. It is estimated that the park contains more than 100 different species of mammal, more than 300 bird species and nearly 5,000 species of plant.
In northern Malaysia, Kinabalu National Park is on the western coast of Sabah. There are four climate regions that make up the park, including coniferous forests and alpine meadows. This is one reason why there is such a diverse range of plant and animal life. There are several species that aren’t found anywhere else in the world, including the Kinabalu giant earthworm. Kinabalu National Park also is home to the largest flower in the world, the Rafflesia, which only blooms for a few days and at irregular intervals.
Tourists come from around the world to visit Kinabalu National Park, and it has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Malaysia. It is estimated that more than 400,000 people visit the park each year, and that number continues to increase. The governing body of the park provides various types of accommodations, including chalets, for people to stay in while visiting the park.
One of the biggest attractions of Kinabalu National Park is Mount Kinabalu, which stands at more than 13,000 feet (more than 4,000 meters) tall. There are two trails that lead up the mountain, one of which starts in the area of Timpohon and another known as the Mesilau trail. Aside from the challenge of climbing the mountain, many people are attracted to it because of the many orchids and carnivorous plants that live on its slopes. Tourists who want to climb the mountain, which can be a difficult trek, are required by the park authorities to hire a guide for their trip.
Kinabalu National Park also is a World Heritage Site. It was first recognized by UNESCO, the governing body of education, science and culture organization, in 2000 because of its strong values and wide diversity of plants and animals. Despite being visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists each year, away from the trails most of the park is relatively untouched by humans.