Kiansom Waterall Park

Kiansom Waterfall
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Kiansom (or Kionsom) is a familiar picnic spot to people of Kota Kinabalu (KK). I call Kiansom a “Waterfall Park” because it has 7 waterfalls! This recreational park is only 20 KM away from KK and highly accessible by paved road. Kiansom is known as “建山” in Chinese and sometimes misspelled as “Kionsam”.

entrance of Kiansom Waterall Park (Pusat Air Terjun Kiansom)
When you reach the big roundabout of Inanam town, just turn to the junction where you will pass by Yick Nam SJK (C) School, and follow the main road. You will see village houses and Mari-Mari Cultural Village on the way. After 10 minutes, you will see Kiansom Waterfall Centre (Pusat Air Terjun Kiansom) at the end of the road. See the map below:


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ticket counter of Kiansom
Above: ticket counter & entrance of Kiansom
Once you step out of your car, you will sense the fresh air packed with negative ions. Kiansom Park is at the foot of hilly terrain covered with lush forest and next to Kiansom River. The entrance fee for adult is only RM1.50 (USD0.45), RM0.50 (USD0.15) for child. The opening hours are:
Mon – Fri: 6am – 5pm
Sat – Sun: 6am – 6pm

Important: there are a lot of mosquitoes in Kiansom. Do bring Mosquito Repellent with you.

First 3 Waterfalls

You can see 3 waterfalls of Kiansom in less than 10 minutes. FYI, there is no lifeguard in Kiansom, so you swim at your own risk.

walkway to wateralls
At the right of the entrance is cement walkway that leads you to first 3 waterfalls of Kiansom, where 90% of the visitors congregate for picnic and swimming.

first Kiansom Waterall
Above: the first Kiansom Waterfall. It’s so small..

first Kiansom Waterall
The small pond of 1st waterfall. The water is not too deep, so most parents bring their kids swimming here.

second Kiansom Waterall
Above: a bit further upstream is the 2nd Kiansom Waterfall, not very big either..
The water here is deep and is known for drowning people occassionally. Many fearless youngsters like to jump into this pond from top.

third Kiansom Waterall
Above: 3rd Kiansom Waterfall
At the end of cement walkway, just walk forward a few Meters on the rock surface and you will find the 3rd waterfall. To me, this so-called waterfall looks more like a stream flowing on a slope. I’m not impressed.

You see nobody in my photos b’coz I came here early morning. This place is crowded in afternoon, especially on weekends and holiday, as most visitors are students and family group. If you want quiet place with bigger waterfalls, you can enter the jungle.

Jungle Trail to Bigger Waterfalls

jungle trail to Kiansom Waterall
Not far from the park entrance, there is a hilly trail at the left that leads you further upstream for bigger waterfalls. The route is not so inviting and the trail is mostly steep and uphill path. Be careful when you walk on boulders as they can be VERY slippery. The trail is obvious but there is no signage at all. Forest leeches may present in wet season, but they are tiny brown leeches and small in number.

river next to Kiansom trail
I didn’t feel really warm during jungle trekking b’coz the trail is next to the Kiansom River. There are quite a number of waterfalls and ponds along this cascading river. The water looks so clean and fresh that I was tempted to take a dip (and let those at downstream enjoying my bath water LOL).

black-spotted rock frog
I was not alone in the river. I can see many tadpoles and sucker fishes in the water. The Black-spotted rock frog (see photo above) is quite common here.

Flora of Kiansom

red flower at Kiansom Waterfall Park
Since I was walking on jungle trail, I saw some flowers and fruits along the way. Like the “red-nosed” flower above.

flowers of Kiansom
The flowers are quite small in the wood. Can you name them?

fruiting at Kiansom
Above: unknown blue fruit

poisonous plant of Kiansom
Above: Poisonous Plant!!!
Then I saw a very interesting tree next to the river. It has pink flowers and translucent fruits, so cute… The fruits are above my head, so I grabbed their hairy stems to pull down for a closer look. A few seconds later, my fingers felt like being poked by many needles continuously, really hurt… the nasty pain lasted for over 10 minutes then subsided gradually, but the tingling sensation remained for hours. I used sticky plaster to stamp on my fingers to pull the venomous hairs out of my skin and that really worked.

Tallest Kiansom Waterfall

trail to Kiansom Waterall
After 15 minutes on the trail, I saw a big waterfall far below. That must be the tallest waterfall of Kiansom. Climbing downhill to this waterfall is quite dangerous as it is steep (more than 50° inclination).

biggest Kiansom Waterall
Anyway, I struggled climbing down 30 Meters for 10 minutes and reached the waterfall finally.

people at Kiansom Waterall
This waterfall is over 20 feet high, though it looks small in photos.

cascading Kiansom Wateralls
There is a smaller waterfall downstream that makes a lovely shot with the big waterfall behind.

Kiansom Waterall
You can click photo above for bigger picture. The cliff of this waterfall has very interesting rock face.

close up of Kiansom Waterall
Another close-up shot.

You can watch this waterfall in 40-sec video below:

Click Here for wider video

Other Waterfalls

Below are a few other waterfalls that I saw along this 1-KM jungle trail.

4th Kiansom Waterall
Above: 4th waterfall

6th Kiansom Waterall
Above: 6th waterfall (5th is the tallest)

7th Kiansom Waterall
Above: 7th and last waterfall of Kiansom.

Warning: Everyone loves waterfall and can’t wait to dash into it when they see one. However, waterfall is a beautiful death trap even for experienced swimmers. Be extra cautious not to swim right under waterfall, as the water can be deep and swift. The falling rock from top can cause serious injury too. Stay away from waterfall during heavy rain, due to possible occurrence of flash flood. A small boy was washed away by flood here in 2010.

Fauna of Kiansom

The jungle trail is flanked by dense wood and shrubs, and you can spot interesting bugs among them. The variety is not as good as primary forest, but you still can find cool creatures.

insects of Kiansom
Mantis and Stick Insect.

millipede of Kiansom
Millipede that mimicking Centipede.

pill millipede of Kiansom Waterfall Park
Pill millipede from forest floor

bug of Kiansom
Note the mating Stalk-eyed Flies at the right in photo above. The wider the eyestalks of the males, the sexier they look to females hence better chance to mate.

insect of Kiansom

spider of Kiansom Park

Bird's Dropping Caterpillar
Above: a swallowtail butterfly caterpillar (species: Papilio polytes) tries to look less tasty with its bird dropping appearance.

I saw Rajah Brooke Birdwing Butterfly and Green Tree Lizard, but they fled before I took picture.

Facilities of Kiansom

Kiansom Park is open for everyone and it has basic public facilities. However, they don’t seem to have electricity supply.

toilet of Kiansom
Kiansom Park has a public toilets (male & female). It’s only RM0.20 per entry, RM0.50 if you take a shower.

toilet of Kiansom
The toilet is reasonably clean, but the floor is always wet. No toilet paper is provided so you need to bring your own.

stalls of Kiansom Park
There are a few small stalls that sell drink and snacks in the park. They usually open after 8am during weekends. Food stalls that sell simple food such as burgers and Nasi Lemak (rice with anchovy fishes) are open after 9am during weekends.

rubbish at Kiansom
Kiansom is important as it is the nearest place where KK folks can enjoy waterfalls and nature view. However, the rubbish is such an eyesore to those who come here to enjoy the clean air and water. Sabah has the most beautiful nature in Malaysia, but we also have the most Litter Bugs in Malaysia. I also saw many candy wrappers and mineral water bottles along the jungle trail. I believe most garbage are from school kids. What did your schools teach you huh? Do they fill your brain with junk? Throwing rubbish is an act of low life. Keep our environment clean and don’t be “kurang ajar” (lack of upbringing).

Photos taken in Inanam, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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By Murphy Ng
  • jipp

    Wah, I haven’t been to Kionsom waterfall for like ages. I can see the facilities are far better now but the water seems to have downsized a lot from the last time I went there. People used to plunge right into the water back then looking at the pics, I don’t think anybody has the gut to do it now. Hopefully the waterfall will be there for much longer. 

  • mysabah

    Hi Jipp, believe or not, this is my 1st time going to Kiansom haha. I hope it can become my next favorite outing spot as it’s so near to KK. Sadly I see more rubbish than wildlife..  🙁

  • Kelly Yin

    Hi Murphy,
    Been following your blogs for years.
    You’re very good at spotting small bugs/insects. Very good pair of eyes!
    Are there any signs to leads to the final 3 waterfalls after the concrete footpath ends?
    Are there lots of leeches? >.<