Considered as the roof of Southeast Asia, Kota Kinabalu Mount fascinates visitors with its rare beauty. Under the clouds, with the mountain ranges and colorful houses along the hillside, Kinabalu Mount appears majestically.
About Kota Kinabalu Mount
Kinabalu Mountain on Borneo Island is located in Kinabalu National Park in the state of Sabah. The mountain is the highest peak in Southeast Asia. This area is rich with many species of plants and rare creatures. More than 600 species of ferns, 26 species of azaleas, 326 species of birds, 100 species of mammals and countless species of orchids and biggest flowers in the world… appear in Kinabalu Mountain. In particular, the giant flower, belonging to the Rafflesia, is also here. Kota Kinabalu is truly worthy as one of the best ecological tourist sites in the world.
In addition, Kinabalu is known as the unique natural wonder of Sabah and is recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Most visitors come to Kinabalu Mount to admire the scenery when they stand on top of the mountain. From the foot of the mountain, tourists are completely amazed by the magnificent beauty of the land and sky given by nature. As a result, Kinabalu has quickly become an exciting destination for domestic and international explorers.
How to get there
It takes just over 2 hours to fly from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu city. From the city center to Kota Kinabalu Mount, you will take 45 minutes by car.
Experiences of exploring Kota Kinabalu Mount
Anyone climbing the mountain must start from Kota Kinabalu Park. If you have less time, you can go directly from Kota Kinabalu International Airport to this park. To keep healthy, you should take a night in the city.
Malaysia has strict regulations, so if you have not registered in advance, you will not be allowed to climb the mountain. The registration must be made some months, even years ago if the number of climbers is too large. The best way is to collect 6 people and apply through Malaysian travel companies or at the Kinabalu Park Management Board’s website. You need to provide your date of climbing, the number of people, the number of days, your date of birth and passport number. When you are at the foot of the mountain, you will be given a card with your name and code which is checked continuously at each stop. Foreign tourists can book tours from Kota Kinabalu Airport.
2 days – 1 night or 3 days – 2 nights tours are the popular choices to conquer the highest mountain in Southeast Asia. The price of a Kinabalu mountain climbing tour varies from RM150 (163$) to RM2,000 (465$) depending on the service. The tour price includes overnight rooms on the mountain, guides, and meals in the itinerary.
There is no age requirement for Kinabalu climbers, but the most common one is from the age of 10 to 70. The ideal time to climb is from April to September, when it is dry, has no rain and the temperature does not drop too low.
There are two ways to start your journey to the top of the mountain: The first is the trail from Timpohon Gate (at the height of 1,866 m); the second is the trail from Mesilau Gate (from the height of 2,000 m) – where Mesilau Nature Resort is located. The second one is encouraged by Kinabalu Park Management because it was less steep and runs through the primeval forest so it is quite cool, has the beautiful scenery, plenty of vegetation and many bridges and streams.
It takes an average of 4 – 6 hours to go from Timpohon Gate to the overnight stop-over. If you start from Mesilau Gate, it takes about 6-7.5 hours. Timpohon Gate is 60 minutes away from the Mesilau Gate by small passenger car. Two trails are 1,500 m away from each other and met at Layang Layang Hut (at the height of 2,702 m).
Laban Rata Resthouse is one of the most popular overnight stop-overs, at the height of 3,272 m. This is the largest hostel with the capacity of about 80 people. In addition, there are other guest houses like Panar Laban Hut, Waras Hut, and Gunting Lagadan Hut. You need to be at the guesthouse before 18:30 or else you will be hungry because there is no food left for you though the list has your name.
The next itinerary will start at about 2:00 to catch the morning sunrise. Via Ferrata, rock climbing with strings and nails, is a risky adventure but it is a good idea to try if you are not a person with heart disease.
Via Ferrata only starts at the top of the mountain and the total time will be half shorter than normal. To join in Via Ferrata, you must register with the management company. Moreover, in the previous day, you must climb to the guesthouse before 15:00 for the training class. If you do not attend this class, you will not be able to participate in Via Ferrata and not be refunded. In addition, you have to conquer the peak at the height of 4.095m before 6:30 in the next morning.
The piggyback service is available if you have a health problem when climbing at the price of RM300/person/km (70$) to the top of the mountain and RM200/person/km (46.5$) for the opposite side. The luggage carrying service costs around RM9/kg for a two-day itinerary (2$/kg).
You should carry water along the way (ask your guide where you can get free water before you begin your journey).
There are two types of certificates (color and black-and-white). The color certificate is only for people who conquer the top and come back to the original starting point. The black-and-white certificate is available for mountaineers who do not reach the top. The cost for the certificate is RM12/person (3$) and paid when you complete the climbing journey. This is not required if you do not need a certificate.
It is advisable to buy the climbing gear at specialized stores because they are waterproof but sweat escape, especially gloves. If you wear normal gloves and get wet, it will be very uncomfortable. The pants should be lightweight and elastic (avoiding wool or jean clothes because they will be very heavy when getting wet). The specialized shoes with good friction and high neck are highly recommended. Besides, you should choose the enough warm costumes but not too heavy because the higher you climb, the colder it is.
You should climb slowly, do not strain because you will definitely be tired at the end of the journey. Getting too fast can easily lead to a feeling of shortness of breath or dizziness due to rapid heartbeat requiring higher oxygen levels. On the other hand, the higher you climb, the thinner the air is.
The last and most important secret is health. You need to spend 1-2 months in exercising. The best way is to climb the stairs, practice breathing and walking a lot. A month before climbing, you should walk about 5 – 10 km at least once a week. 10 days before climbing, you have to walk every day.
The exciting but challenging journey of conquer Kota Kinabalu Mount is waiting for you. Let’s go with your friends to have a memorable experience here right now.