Mt. Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

“Don’t rush anything, when the time is right, it’ll happen”.

We have once planned for this last year, but we failed. We never run out of faith, not until this year, put down some notes, had 52 weeks money challenge so by the end of this year, we will use the money for the said trip, Mt. Kinabalu Climb. So I personally started my savings on February. Little did I know, my partner of-course my wanderman had already booked a flight going Manila-Kota Kinabalu and vice versa. He was keeping it all along since December 2016. This was actually his birthday gift and to my surprise, you know, yeah I cried.

I talked too much, lets go ahead and we’ll take you to the place where our heart, mind and soul set alight.

About Mt. Kinabalu

Mt. Kinabalu, is a mountain in Sabah, Malaysia. It is protected Kinabalu Park, a World Heritage Site. This mountain is one of the highest and the largest in South-East Asia standing 4,095masl  in the island of Borneo. Why climb Mt. Kinabalu? one good reason is biodiversity. It was tough but it was worth each and every step towards the summit.

Mt. Kinabalu climb was the highlight of our Kota Kinabalu, Borneo Trip – Originally, we booked for 3 Days 2 Nights trip with Sutera Sanctuary Lodges but due to unwanted situation we sorted out to 2 Days 1 Night package with BORNEO ENCOUNTER Tours & Transportation Sdn Bhd. For our first 2 nights stay at Kota Kinabalu, we stayed at The Bunk Hostel(we highly suggest that you book your stay here prior the climb event best for backpackers, affordable, cool, clean and very accommodating, by the way, the receptionist is a Filipina). The best thing about this hostel, it is located at Jalan Gaya(every Sunday morning, the length of Gaya street is closed off to traffic to make way for the Fair). For everyone’s knowledge, it is important to be prepared, most especially your DIY itinerary. Please see at the last part of the article for the sample itinerary.

The Bunk Hostel along Jalan Gaya(they provide free breakfast until 7:00am only)

Day 1

We were picked up from the hostel early in the morning at 7:00 AM going Kinabalu Park by Ms. Olivia(climb organizer) and meet and greet with Silvester(our guide), had our registration, get our climb permit and ID.

Registration area(where you get your climb permit and ID)
Climb ID

Here are few simple tips to remember in climbing Mt. Kinabalu:

1. Bring necessary equipment: climb bag, climb shoes, poncho, fleece jacket, windbreaker jacket/waterproof jacket, head lamp, water bottle, packed lunch, energy/trail foods, emergency kit, medicine, thick socks, toiletries, clothes, beanie/bonnet, sunblock, sunglasses, trekking pole(optional) extra foods, water and camera.

2. Book a Climb and Accommodation package.

With our experience, we manage to reserve the 3D2N package 2 weeks ahead of time, but got some trouble with payment method resulted to cancellation of our reservation. I really thought we will lose our chance but God is always good all the time, and with the help of my brother we were able to get the slot for 2D1N package and paid it in cash(MYR currency). As a lesson, make it a point to book your reservation 3 months ahead and always make sure to settle the payment. You may check out  for schedule and rate or you may visit the official Mountain Kinabalu climbing website ( for up to date information about how to book.

3. Cardio preparation

Few days before our trip, we are reading some blogs and article so as to get some helpful tips. According to some article, it is a major climb, easy trail, and climb difficulty is 6/10. One thing I wasn’t expecting during the Mount Kinabalu climb, it was a very tiring climb, literally we were very exhausted mostly were assault. It may seem very easy because most of it are ladder, but men I am telling you, its a tedious and gasping trek. So better be prepared, go on cardio exercise, run a few miles. Just prepare your body.

4. Overcoming Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness can happen to anyone regardless of preparation for physical strength training, sex, and age. Altitude sickness occurs when altitude increases. In our case, we suffered altitude sickness during our climb. Common symptoms are, headache, nausea and even vomiting. But we can avoid this by this simple tips:

a. Slow and steady-Don’t rush yourself, do not ascend too fast going Laban Rata.

b. Get enough sleep.

c. Do not sleep, take a nap, or lie down while performing the summit assault.

d. Drink plenty of water, bring some emergency medicine(Ibuprofen-headache), bar of chocolate or energy foods.

e. Take the hike seriously and never underestimate the mountain. Mental, physical and spiritual preparation is a must.

After we have registered, get our climb permit and ID at Kinabalu Park we headed our way to Timpohon gate where our jump off start.

With our guide Silvester

We started our climb at 11:00 AM. You need to endure 6 km hike going Laban Rata, again never underestimate the 6 km, it is very exhausting climb, most of the trail are ascending. Along the trail, there will be 4 huts where you can stop, drink water, rest and eat your snack/packed lunch.

Shall we begin?

After couple of hours, we have finally reached the base camp of Mt. Kinabalu at Laban Rata around 5:30 pm. We immediately proceed to Pendunt Hut to leave our things, change clothes and rest for a few minutes. Afterwards we indulged ourselves to a buffet dinner at Laban Rata.

We then spent a few minutes chitchatting with other hikers(mostly were Malaysian, Chinese, and Irish-by the way we are the only Filipino present during the climb). Got some time wandering the place to get some nice shots before we go to sleep at 7:00pm.

Day 2

Wake up call at 1:00am, run some errands, ate our delicious and not so heavy breakfast and prepare ourselves to the summit. Stared our trek by 2:00am.

It was really cold that time, we are covered with layer of clothes and jackets, about 5 degrees Celsius. Sadly, we were not able to get some photos.

Tips: make sure to use thick waterproof gloves for the climb especially in holding the ropes. 

But here we are, finally! At the top of one of the highest mountain in South-East Asia. I can’t believe, I am taking a selfie here at Mt. Kinabalu, in this magnificent and prominent mountain.

It was a moment between us and nature, a moment that we’ll always remember for as long as we live.

Taken at 5:45am

We may not able to witness the sunrise at the peak, still, we are victorious and thankful for reaching the summit. We are blessed with good weather, and with that we are more than grateful for we are given the chance to see the portion of the world at the top of the mountain.

I am in awe of God’s wonderful creation.

As much as we love to stay and watch the greatness of the view, we have to descend to reach Laban Rata at 9am(cut off time).

Yes, that smile means an accomplishment. We are extremely tired, our legs is shaking, our body is too weak but the experience is truly unforgettable.

Please click the sample “itinerary” link below, hope this well help you for your future trip at Kota Kinabalu.  Itinerary

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2 thoughts on “Mt. Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia”

  1. Congratulations on your trip ate Jen, Sir Ahrdo! I really thought the surprise was a proposal. Lol.

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