Started in 1994 completed in 1998 Mesilau station is part of the Kinabalu Park. It is situated some 14km east of the Park headquartes and also known as Mesilau Nature Resort. Lying at and elevation of 2,000m above sea level it is about in the middle of the Kinabalu montane forest with oak, chestnut and tree ferns dominating the surroundings.
The cool climate and ultrabasic soils of the Mesilau river is home to various Pitcher plant particularly the giant sized Nepenthes rajah.
This 20 minute walk (one way) involves a 10 minute hike to West Mesilau River and another 10 to reach the top of the trail. From the Crocker Range Lodge the trail passes Mesilau Cave down a low ridge above a stream.
The landscape is lush with ferns, liverworts and orchids amidst mossy rocks and boulders. After crossing a suspension bridge over Mesilau River, the trail rises steeply on the opposite bank. Shrubby grasses, rhododendrons and orchids are in abundance. Many are unique to the ultramafic soil.
Mesilau is known for the easy access to its carnivorous pitcher plants that trap insects for food. Attracted to the plant's nectar, insects fall into pitchers which are formed from leaves. An enzyme-rich digestive fluid drowns the victims which are digested and absorbed.
Pitchers found in Mesilau include the rare Nepenthes rajah, the largest pitcher plant in the world. Thriving in ultramafic soil, this has a large magenta coloured pitcher with up to 2 litre capacity.
Frogs, centipedes and even rats have been found in its pitchers. Some pitchers are mini ecosystems supporting life forms immune to the enzymes. These include spiders, crabs ants, tadpoles, larvae and others forming a food chain. Reaching the top, the trail enters lush vegetation with small trees and a range of outstanding pitcher plants including the giant Nepenthes rajah, the tall Nepenthes lowii and tiny Nepenthes tentaculata.
The way back offers spectacular views of the montane forest canopy along Mesilau River, jagged rock faces, cascading waterfalls, and the Mesilau Pinnacles.
To protect the rare pitcher species and to prevent illegal collecting, visitors are not allowed in unless accompanied by an official guide.
An exhibition centre can be found in the research building at Mesilau. It is open from 8.00am to 5.00 pm. Entrance is free and could accommodate 30-40 people. A video show is also available for visitors.
Outdoor social gathering such as barbeque (the designated site within the Mesilau substation hq) can be done in many of the existing shelters. These shelters are equipped with tables and seating of varied design and materials. They can also be lighted at night. These facilities are quite close to the river stream. Other facilities are public toilet, shower room and visitor car park.
Mesilau Meeting Room
There is a meeting room in Mesilau substation which is regularly used by Sabah Parks staffs. However, visitor that keen to use it (rent), please contact park warden / officer in-charge.
Surau or prayer room were available for Muslim visitor
Accommodation & Restaurants
The accomodation and restaurants were built with careful planning and the result is a complex that blends into its natural surroundings so well that visitors staying there feel themselves as one with nature. The chalets are built into slopes surrounded by trees with the Mesilau River flowing past below.
Enjoy breathtaking views of the Mesilau Pinnacles in the mornings as you have breakfast at the restaurant built above the fast flowing Mesilau River.
The Resort's chalets, duplex lodges, and hostel can accommodate 220 persons a night. Surrounded by trees on the secluded river bank, each self catering chalet can sleep 4 to 6 guests. The chalets and lodges are heated. Facilities in the hostel are, however, more basic. The restaurant serves both western and local food.
Booking and more information about the resort should contact Sutera Sanctuary Lodges.