Climbing Kinabalu - Mount Kinabalu Trek

Route: Kota Kinabalu - Mount Kinabalu National Park - Kota Kinabalu

Fancy climbing the highest mountain in Southeast Asia? Gunung Kinabalu is the pride of Sabah and its majestic peak soars high above the jungle, usually surrounded by a veil of clouds. Your Borneo trek begins in the tropical rainforest and continues across twisting paths through various vegetation zones on your way up the mountain. At the end of the day, you'll spend the night in a basic mountain cabin. Early in the morning you'll be awakened by your guide and continue your Borneo trek to the top. Just before sunrise you'll reach Mount Kinabalu's peak and see the first beams of sunshine will spill out above the horizon - incredible...

Feeling inspired? You can build your own Borneo itinerary using our bite-sized Borneo trips. Or take your pick from our range of suggested Borneo itineraries.

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3 days / 2 nights
departs daily from Kota Kinabalu 
Please note: availability is limited during peak travel season, July to September 

Price: £438 per person - based on 2 people sharing 
Accommodation: Basic - Dormitory room in rustic mountain cabin. Category 1 (see accommodation).
Transport: Minibus
Includes: Return transfers Kota Kinabalu to National Park, park entrance fee, permit, English speaking guide, accommodation incl. 1x breakfast / 2 x lunch (of which one is a packed-lunch) / 1 x dinner
Excludes:    All optional extras
Borneo Treks - Forest at dawn

Day 1: Kota Kinabalu - Mount Kinabalu National Park

This morning you'll be picked up at your hotel for a 2 hour drive to Kota Kinabalu National Park. The entrance of the park is located at an altitude of 1600m, so you won't have to start this Borneo trek at the base of the mountain. After you fill out your personal contact information, you and a guide will walk through the national park gardens filled with unique plants and flowers. In the afternoon you'll have time to go out and explore the park on your own and in the evening you'll spend the night in a rustic park chalet. 

Day 2: Mount Kinabalu National Park

After breakfast on the second day of your Borneo trek you'll be picked up at your hotel for a 30 minute drive to the 'power station' at 1830m. This is where you and your guide will start out on the first segment of your trek to the highest point of South East Asia; Mount Kinabalu's peak at 4102m. A slowly winding path up the mountain will allow you to slowly adjust to the altitude. As you climb, your natural surroundings will begin to change. Within a few steps an entirely different world will open up to you. Trees, plants... everything is new and different. 

Borneo Treks - Climbing Kinabalu
Borneo Treks - Bridge to Poring Hotsprings

As you continue on this Borneo trek, the air will become thinner and you'll notice that climbing will become more strenuous. The mountain cabins you encounter as you climb the mountain are the perfect place to rest up for a bit. Have a bite to eat from the lunch bag that was prepared for you and let your eyes feast on your breathtaking surroundings. Depending on how quickly you walk, you can reach the Laban Rata guest house at 3550m within 4 to 6 hours. The guest house is actually an enormous ski hut which also offers a scrumptious buffet starting at 5pm. If the weather is clear, you could have dessert while watching the most spectacular sunset outside. It won't be long until you fall into a deep, yet short sleep in the dormitory filled with other climbers in the sleeping bag provided for you.

Day 3: Mount Kinabalu National Park - Kota Kinabalu - End of trek

Be prepared for a 2:00 - 2:30am wake-up call from your guide. This may seem quite early; however the excitement for the last day of your Borneo trek will definitely act as an instant rejuvenator. Before heading out we suggest dressing for cool temperatures. Once you leave your accommodation you'll meet up with other climbers just waiting to climb the last leg up to the top of the mountain; everyone will be heading towards the large granite rock plates. Iron stairs and ropes have been attached to the mountain to make the more difficult areas easier to climb. The thin air will make this last part of your climb more difficult than the rest of the climb. No worries though, you won't have to rush and can finish the climb at your own pace. After about two hours you'll reach the cold, dark summit. You'll have front row seats for the most spectacular orange and gold sunrise. An incredible proud feeling of freedom and accomplishment will surely sink in when you reach the top. 

Borneo Treks - It's well worth the effort
Borneo Treks - Porter

Then it's time to go back down the mountain, which will be much easier to do. At around 8am you'll be back at the Laban Rata Rest House where a hearty breakfast will be waiting for you. After all of the effort you're sure to enjoy it. One last cup of coffee or tea and you'll start back down the mountain. As you reach lower altitudes, you'll start to notice the return of plants and bushes and the temperature will start to climb. After about three hours you'll be back in the tropical forest near the park entrance where a bus will be waiting to take you to Kota Kinabalu. As you look back upon the mountain you've just climbed, you won't help but feeling quite proud and satisfied by what you've accomplished. You'll find it hard to believe that only several hours back you were at its peak....

A Peek at Your Accommodation (click to enlarge)

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This trip works well in combination with: 

Easy Going Kota Kinabalu

Most travellers begin their Borneo itinerary in Sabah, Borneo's northern state, in Kota Kinabalu. This lively coastal city with the immense Mount Kinabalu as its backdrop is also the starting point for all of our Sabah tours. During this bite-sized trip, you'll be picked up at the airport and taken to your choice of hotel - a modest yet comfortable hotel on the edge of the city, a more luxurious hotel on the boulevard or a relaxing beach resort far from the sounds of the city. The city is an excellent place for shopping and having a bite to eat at one of the food stands on street corners.

Easy Going Kota Kinabalu

Lazing on Lankayan

This island is a hidden tropical paradise, located in the Sulu Sea, north of Sandakan. Lankayan is the perfect place to unwind after travelling around Borneo. You can sunbathe on the white sandy beaches or take a dip in the crystal clear sea. The island is a marine-protected area which is fished sustainably and the turtles also come here to lay their eggs too. You’ll stay in a wooden bungalow, which is located right on the beach, overlooking the sea. This is the perfect place to relax and take it easy for a few days.

Lazing on Lankayan

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Rickshaw Travel also offer great trips to the following destinations:

South East Asia: Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, CambodiaMalaysia, Indonesia

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