Location: Penampang, Sabah (near Kota Kinabalu)
Ratings ** Quiet getaway without the crowds near to the city.
Lost Ratings **** For the intrepid local explorer who has run out of places to go to.
Most visitors to Sabah has probably never heard of this substation of the Crocker Range Park, since there is no mention of it in any guide books. Even if they have, they would be hard-pressed to get here without their own transportation. The road to the substation is steep and taxis might not be willing to make the trip. However, if you are looking for a cool and quiet place to escape to that is not too far away from Kota Kinabalu, then it might be time to brush up on your social skills and befriend a local with a car.
Located in Kampung Inobong in Penampang district, the Inobong Visitors and Research Centre was officially opened on 16/1/2003. The construction of the substation was sponsored by JICA, the Japan International Cooperation Agency. The Inobong VRC is located 600m above sea level and the air here is cool and fresh. From this height, there are all-round views of Kota Kinabalu and the islands surrounding it. The sunsets viewed from here are said to be beautiful.
Views and fresh air aside, there is nothing much to do here besides trekking. But perhaps that is the charm of this place. Anytime you want to escape from the busy world down below, just drive up here, relax and read a book or look at the clouds. During my visit, chalets and a restaurant was under construction, so if you are looking for a weekend highland escape, but don’t want to drive to far, you know where to go.
As mentioned earlier, trekking is possible here. Be sure to inform the ranger if you want to venture into the jungle, and never go alone.If you are game for a more challenging hike, you can join a tour to trek along the salt trail.
About 30 minutes from Kota Kinabalu. Drive to Donggongon town and from there take the road leading to the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park. On the left hand side of this road, look out for a sign that says Inobong. There is also a signboard for a church here. Turn into this junction and drive straight ahead. You will pass by an abandoned old mansion along the way. The turning to InobongVRC is on the right. It is a small sign and easy to miss. The road is unpaved but there should be no problems going uphill until you reach the entrance to the VRC. I was able to drive all the way up to the power generator. From that point onwards, it was too steep for my Avanza. If you are confident, you can attempt to drive all the way up, as another Avanza was parked right up there. But one wrong step and your car will end up in the drain. So be careful.
Foreigner: Adult RM10
Malaysian: Adult RM3
Opening hours: 9am to 8pm
Telephone: Abdul Momin Jalil (Ranger): 019-8620808