KIULU: THE Kiulu district has come up with what is believed to be the first dedicated trekking trails spanning 45km from Tamparuli, here, to the hilly Pekan Nabalu.
It offers the “Riverside Lung Washing Trekking Trails”, which live up to its reputation as a destination for adventure enthusiasts.
The term “lung washing” has a scientific explanation associated with the act of taking a break in nature.
Such an experience, away from city life distractions, is said to boost the immune system and help rejuvenate the body.
Kiulu assemblyman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, who is the Sabah Tourism Board (STB) chairman, launched the trails at Kampung Lubok, here, recently.
He said the trails passed through several villages.
Trekkers were recommended to spend three to four days there. They could start their journey from either Pekan Nabalu or the Tamparuli town, which is about an hour’s drive from Kota Ki-
nabalu. Guides will be assigned to help them and they can spend their nights in community-managed base camps or village homestays.
The routes were categorised from “easy” to “challenging” and trekkers could follow well-marked trails over undulating, small uphill sections.
“Trekkers would be able to explore the Borneo lowland forest, learn basic jungle survival skills from the natives, identify wild indigenous medicinal plants as well as edible plants, and they can experience the culture and hospitality of the local people and see unique species of flora and fauna in the Kiulu forest.
“Kiulu offers you an experience of a lifetime by taking you through one of the loveliest and untouched parts of Sabah,” said Joniston.
Kiulu Tourism Association (KTA) president Dr Edmon Guntis added that trekkers could also expect to cross numerous suspension bridges, rivers and tri-butaries.
“You can have local expert guides who can share their knowledge of the jungle, and at the same time, show you how to use the natural resources from the forest to your advantage
in order to survive,” said Dr Edmon.
The Tourism and Culture Ministry (Motac) Sabah office director Awang Ahmad Zaki Abu Bakar said the move to introduce the trekking trails was timely as the Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz had described Kiulu as a model for rural tourism development in Ma-laysia.
A few years ago, Nazri visited Kiulu’s tourist attractions and had a first-hand experience of white-water rafting along the Kiulu river, as well as trying out Sabah’s longest zip line at Kampung Rangalau Lama.
Ahmad Zaki said locals would also benefit from this by giving the services required by trek-kers.
“Besides offering services as guides, villagers along the trekking trails could also offer homestay services or open up stalls offering authenic local delicacies and handicrafts, among others,” he said.