Kundasang is in Sabah in Malaysian Borneo 6 km from Mount Kinabalu Park. It is also the location of the Kundasang War Memorial. Kundasang has grown into a popular leisure destination with many resorts in the vicinity. It is popular for its fresh vegetables, and plantations and farms suitable for temperate climate.
Historically a small village, it has today grown into a small town. With an elevation of about 2,000 metres above sea level, it is one of the coolest places in Sabah with temperatures dropping to 13ºC at night.
Kundasang is also associated with the infamous death marches which took place near the end of World War II in 1945. Over 2500 Australian & British POWs died in Sandakan and during the three forced death marches inland through the jungle towards Ranau.
Kundasang is popular among locals from around Sabah especially during weekends and public holidays, school holidays also. So if you are planning a visit during these times, do book in advance as accommodation in almost all lodgings will be full.
The nearest big town is Ranau, about 20 km east.
1 Bus stop. Local buses bound to Ranau and Poring Hot Spring wait at this stop with departures every 30-40 minutes. Long distance coaches for destinations like Kota Kinabalu (2 hours), Sandakan (4 hours including refreshment stop), Lahad Datu can also be hailed down here.
Long range taxis are another option. As of 2017 Uber/Grab cheaper taxis fares are available in and around Kota Kinabalu. At this time they do not extend their service up to Gunung Kinabalu tamen/Kinabalu Mountain park entrances.
Self-drive is easy from Kota Kinabalu with a mostly decent bitumen road and adequate sign posting. It does become mountainous and windy on approach but also very scenic. The journey from KK is about 90-100 km and takes approximately 2 hours depending on how confident you are overtaking very slow trucks doing 20 km/h. Exercise patience and caution as locals do overtake on blind corners, over double lines, and occasionally with on coming traffic.
Also as you ascend the weather changes, mist then heavy rain along with speeding traffic and very tight bends cause accidents, just allow a little more time or stop for a while.
- [dead link] Kundasang War Memorial. This tranquil garden memorial was established by a New Zealander in 1962. It was one of the foundation memorials to commerate the tragic loss of Allied (mostly Australian and also British) POWs who died in 1945 during the infamous death marches from Sandakan to Ranau. Furthermore, it commemorates the brave Sabahan people who, at grave risk to their own lives, tried to help the dying POWs. The memorial comprises a series of connected gardens - the first is the Australian Garden, followed by the English Garden and the Borneo Garden. There is a long reflection pool where ceremonies are held and also an uninterrupted view point of Mount Kinabalu from a balcony. An open air shelter has been erected where there are newspaper articles and other memorabilia. Here you will be offered a seat and there is also a short video (20 min) of an Australian-made news/current affair program about a re-enactment of the death march route (akin to the Kokado trail). Entry RM 10.
- 1 Mesilau Park. It is on the slopes of Mount Kinabalu, accessible by a tarred road from Kundasang. They conduct guided 40-minute walks through a protected area which abounds with pitcher plants and orchids at 7AM and 11am, and sometimes in the afternoon too. The morning walk is best for seeing wildlife. It is also possible to climb the initial section of the route up Mount Kinabalu, or to walk the whole way to the summit along an alternative route to that taken from the Park HQ. At 2,000 m, it is a very cool, temperate climate with a lovely landscape, and quite different flora and fauna to the lower regions of Mount Kinabalu. There is a very nice (albeit slightly expensive) cafe with good views (coffee RM11, lunch from RM15), and it's possible to see lots of birdlife from your table. RM15 conservation fee is charged at the entrance for foreigners (RM3 for Malaysians). Accommodation is available from Sutera (RM135-2600 per room/lodge per night - 2-6 people).
- World War II history
Kundasang is renowned for its fresh vegetables and strawberries. In fact, merchants from all over Sabah and Northern Borneo come here to source vegetables. Stalls selling veggies are abundant along the main road passing through the town.
The hotels and resorts have their own restaurants, which are mainly along the main road, outside of the township. There are local open-air eateries in the township.
Alcohol is available at restaurants but may not be mentioned on the menu.
- Kinabalu Pine Resort, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. It's on the main road between the Kinabalu National Park and Ranau is a great place to take your photos of the mountain. Meals, including beer, are available at the restaurant. Credit cards are accepted. From RM170.