Standing at 4,095m tall, Mount Kinabalu is Malaysia’s highest peak, and the 20th tallest mountain in the world by topographic prominence. This majestic mountain is located at Kadamaian, Kota Belud District on the West Coast Division of Sabah, Malaysia.
The origin of Mount Kinabalu’s name remains shrouded in mystery, though one of the most popular versions is that it derives its name from the Kadazan word ‘Aki Nabalu’ which means ‘the revered place of the dead’, and many native Kadazan-Dusun people believe that the mountain is the sacred resting ground for the spirits of their ancestors.
The only way to travel from Kuala Lumpur to Mount Kinabalu is by plane, arriving at Kota Kinabalu International Airport after an approximately 2.5 hours’ flight. The Kinabalu Park entrance is just under 100km from the Kota Kinabalu city centre; you can choose to go to the Kinabalu National Park area by bus, taxi or by car.
Mount Kinabalu has been accorded as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is protected as part of the Kinabalu National Park. It is also home to an amazing 6,000 plant species! Although it is one of the safest and most conquerable peaks in the world, climbing Mount Kinabalu is no easy feat, thus it is important to be well-prepared to get the most of your Mount Kinabalu expedition.
Here are some tips for you.
To preserve the beauty of Mount Kinabalu, Sabah Parks only issues 185 climbing permits per day. So remember to pre-plan your climbing trip ahead of time and apply for legal climb permits via trusted travel agents. Beware of falling trap to scam websites or parties.
All Mount Kinabalu climbers are required to engage a mountain guide. The ratio of mountain guides depend on the size of the group and the age of climbers. One mountain guide is allowed to take a maximum of 5 climbers aged 16 years and above.
Due to the high altitude of the climb, it is advisable for climbers to stay within the Kinabalu National Park or a highland resort at Kundasang prior to the climb. This can help with altitude acclimatisation. Accommodations at the popular base camp are usually fully booked, so it is highly recommended that you book your accommodation in advance to avoid any disappointment.
Most climbers take 2 days to ascend and descend Mount Kinabalu, with an overnight stay at the huts in Panalaban. There are currently two trails to the peak, the Ranau Trail (the more ‘tourist-friendly’ trail that is relatively easier and safer with wooden staircases) and the Kota Belud Trail.
Everyone can challenge Mount Kinabalu Summit Climb, as long as you are in fit health and have seek approval from your doctor if you have any personal health concerns or on any medication. Yet, estimated trekking time from Timpohon Gate to Panalaban Base Camp differs based on each climber’s fitness and health levels; the average climbers may take an estimated 5 – 6 hours, while fit climbers may take around 3 – 4 hours, and unfit climbers estimated to complete in 7 – 8 hours.
First things first, climbers are advised to wear comfortable clothes for the climb. A good pair of climbing shoes and light clothings that allow free body movement (denim jeans are not recommended) are imperative. A hat, gloves, windbreaker, scarf and climbing glasses that will help shield you from the low temperatures and strong winds at the high altitudes.
Secondly, it is also important to travel as light as possible. Equip your backpack with only the necessities – a copy of your passport or IC, a clean change of clothes, a flashlight and extra batteries, water bottle, energy bar, small face towel, some cash (there are no ATMs on Mount Kinabalu). Remember to pack some along any personal medication you may need and toiletry items.
Each climber will be given an ID tag, it is compulsory to wear your individual ID tags at all times during the climb, for identification purposes and in case of any emergencies. You should also immediately inform your guide if you experience any discomfort, such as vertigo, dizziness, headache, nausea, breathing difficulty, injured yourself, sprained a muscle, etc.
Of course, throughout the entire course of climbing Mount Kinabalu, you should be extra vigilant of your surroundings and be extra careful. There is strictly no running, and if you need to rest, try not to sit or lay down in high altitudes, but maintain as steady a pace as you possibly can to avoid sudden physiological changes.
Sunway Travel’s 2D1N Mount Kinabalu Summit Climb Package
Sunway Travel’s 2D1N Mount Kinabalu Summit Climb package is one of the most affordably priced, from only RM1,050.00* per person. Tour package includes 1-night’s dorm stay at Laban Rata, meals, return transfer between Park HQ and Timpohon, mountain guide, climb permit, insurance and certificate.
Sabah is definitely one of Malaysia’s travel treasures. Check out all the available ground tour packages in Sabah, here: https://www.sunway.travel/packages/domestic-east-malaysia/.
This article is intended to convey general information only. It does not constitute advice for your specific needs. This article cannot disclose all of the risks and other factors necessary to evaluate a particular situation.
Any interested party should study each situation carefully. You should seek and obtain independent professional advice for your specific needs and situation.