Mt Kinabalu is not merely Borneo’s loftiest summit, but – at an imposing 4,095m / 13,435ft – is also the highest ground between the Himalayas and Papua New Guinea. Thousands of trekkers travel to the island each year to complete the ascent – a trek which, although requiring no technical expertise, demands a good degree of physical fitness and stamina.
Normally covered in the predawn darkness amid near-freezing conditions and at elevations that can cause altitude sickness in some, the final part of the climb can be particularly demanding. The reward is an unrivalled view of the sunrise over Borneo that will linger in the memory a lot longer than any aches and pains incurred on the way down. Two days, with a night in a mountain hut en route, are required to make the ascent, which starts just beyond the Kinabalu Park HQ. The first stage, taking 5-7 hours, winds uphill via a well made
Two days, with a night in a mountain hut en route, are required to make the ascent, which starts just beyond the Kinabalu Park HQ. The first stage, taking 5-7 hours, winds uphill via a well made path through dense dipterocarp jungle and cloud forest filled with orchids and rhododendrons to the Laban Rata Hut, where you spend a short night at altitude, getting up at 2:30am for the final pull to the summit in time for daybreak.
A very steep climb in total darkness using a head torch takes you to the summit – a surreal plateau of inclined slabs and horn-like peaks. From there, it takes 5–7 hours to descend by the same route to reach your waiting onward transport.
If you decide to include the Kinabalu trek as part of your tailor-made itinerary, we’ll ensure all the necessary paperwork, accommodation bookings and peak fees are arranged in advance, along with expert guides and, if required, porters to carry your gear. You will, however, need to prepare physically for the challenge!