TAMBUNAN: The lush greenery and cool temperatures of the Crocker Range Park make Gunung Alab one of Sabah's best "lung-cleansing" destinations.
With temperatures ranging from 11°C to 18°C, this place has become an alternative destination for a nature adventure getaway.
Sabah Parks ranger Benidict Joseph Busin said that trekking trails from the Gunung Alab substation lead to several waterfalls that provide visitors a rich "forest-bathing" experience - a term and concept used in Japan to mean spending mindful time in nature to improve health and wellbeing.
There are three waterfalls along its 1.5km trail, namely Kitomoling Sokid, Kitomoling Tengah, and Kitomoling Siba, he said.
To reach Mahua waterfall will require trekkers to trek and climb through a 12km trail, passing Minduk Sirung peak that sits 2,075m above sea level, he said, adding that the trail to Mahua Substation will take about eight hours.
"Many locals and international tourists have trekked this trail to enjoy the fresh air and nature. There are camping grounds along the trail and some trekkers will opt to camp in the forest," Busin said.
Busin briefed Tourism, Culture, and Environment Assistant Minister and Sabah Tourism Board (STB) chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai who visited the area as part efforts to open up tourism products in Sabah.
Busin, who manages the Gunung Alab Substation, said visitors could also go on a short tour to learn about orchid plants at the Wild Orchid Garden managed by Sabah Parks.
He noted Sabah has more than 6,000 wild orchid species and that many can be found at Gunung Alab.
"We have collected some of the species in deep forest and replanted them in the garden so visitors can view them close up. The garden has over 100 orchid species.
"About two years ago, we also discovered a new species and named it Thrixspermum benidicti," he said, adding that that the Wild Orchid Garden, built among forest trees, features a 400m walking platform that surrounds the park for the convenience of visitors.
In a statement, Bangkuai said there was a market for "lung-cleansing" tourism products, especially when locals are now eager to explore Sabah's nature during pandemic.
"We must continuously develop tourism because of its importance," he said, adding that it provides a source of income to villagers.
Among the popular districts known for their potential "lung-cleansing" tourism products are Kadamaian, Kiulu, Ranau, and Tambunan.