Standing in its might in the region of Sabah is Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Southeast Asia. This mountain is protected by Kinabalu Park, a World Heritage Site and is one of the most famous mountains across the Malay Archipelago.

This mountain is approximately hardened at about 10 million years ago and is considered young in terms of geology.

Above the sea level, it is measured more than 4000 meters and the trailhead covers 8.72 kilometers to reach the summit. If you wish to reach the summit, it is almost impossible to do it independently and it might cost more than you expected.

Sunrise in Mount Kinabalu
Sunrise in Mount Kinabalu

Before deciding to climb Mount Kinabalu, it is recommended to do some preparation and some training to get ready. Climbing Kinabalu will take approximately 2 days and one night to reach the highest summit called the Low’s Peak.

However, due to busy climbing activities, the authorities give the preference who choose to pick 3 days and 2 nights package. Climbing with a guide is compulsory as the rule has changed quite a lot for the last couple of years.

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The route to reach the summit is relatively easy to follow. However, it can get slippery during the rain and the visibility can be bad during the dense fog. Some parts of the climb may also include guided ropes to get through the steepest part. After reaching the summit, you will be greeted with the most spectacular view.

The combination of tropical rainforest and subalpine near the summit is something to be admired endlessly. Once you reach the summit, a dreamy scenery of jungle on the fluffy cloud and blue sky as your roof is truly unbelievable.

Mount kinabalu street
Photo by Mahosadha Ong on Unsplash

Things You Need to Know

Preparations

Kinabalu might not be as difficult and dangerous for first-timers. However, the long route to reach the summit do need some experienced guide and rope system. Fitness can help you with the trekking and not making you easily exhausted. The approximate time for climbing is 4 to 5 hours each day and you certainly need some stamina to get through it.

Bringing the proper equipment will also help you during the hike, especially if you are a beginner. Basic hiking gears such as headlamps will help you to see the surroundings.

Proper hiking boots will help you to get through the slippery route, while a pair of gloves will help to pull yourselves up (literally, get the joke?) Others hiking essential you can consider are hiking poles, flashlights, sunblock, sunglasses, and certainly a water bottle.

Mount Kinabalu
Image by Taras Kretyuk from Pixabay

Rules

Hikers are limited to 120 people per day and staying overnight is mandatory. You can choose mountain accommodation to rest for the night before continuing your journey. There are two options of climbing Mount Kinabalu, standard summit climb or via Ferrata.

Via Ferrata is a special mountain pathway to get to the peak of Kinabalu at 3,776 meters above the sea level. It’s a protected path consisting of rails, bridges, and cables to avoid steep rocks that can be climbed by mountaineers and rock climbers generally. Climbing via Ferrata can be done by almost anyone.  

Registration

Due to its very busy climbing activity, a standard booking can be done 30 days in advance and is getting difficult nowadays to secure a spot. The spots are preferably given to 3 days and 2 nights and via Ferrata climbing option. For a lone climber or smaller groups consisting of 4 people or less, several months ahead are recommended to secure your spots. For larger groups consisted of 6 to 8 people, wait time can even be more difficult, approximately more than 8 months.

Especially during the busiest seasons from March to September, early booking is highly recommended. Booking to climb Mount Kinabalu can be done via tour packages, and usually, they offer a discount for children. Please also keep in mind that fees upon booking may be required, depending on the packages. Before climbing, you will also need to register with the mountain authority called Sabah Parks, prepare your passport and other important identities.

Getting There

Getting to Mount Kinabalu from Kota Kinabalu (Kinabalu City) is easy. There are several options such as long-distance bus, by shared taxi, or self-driving. If you’re a first timer in Malaysia, consider tour companies that include pickup, admission fee, and lunch. Now that you’re all covered, what’s the wait? Book your flight with us to get the best flight deals! If you happen to have special tour packages, cars to rent out, or any attraction, don’t hesitate to join our growing marketplace to give the best experience!

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