Summer Trip: I Came, I Saw, I Conquered – Mt Kinabalu – 2010

Chris and I both decided to take 2-day trekking tour to Mt. Kinabalu.

FYI, you can find more details here (at

Climbers must be accompanied by accredited guides at all times due to national park regulations. There are two main starting points for the climb: the Timpohon Gate (located 5.5 km from Kinabalu Park Headquarters, at an altitude of 1866 m), and the Mesilau Nature Resort. The latter starting point is slightly higher in elevation, but crosses a ridge, adding about two kilometres to the ascent and making the total elevation gain slightly higher. The two trails meet about two kilometres before Laban Rata.

Accommodation is available inside the park or outside near the headquarters. From there, climbers proceed to the Timpohon gate at 1866 m (6,122 ft), either by minibus or by walking, and then walk to the Laban Rata Resthouse at 3,270 m (10,728 ft). Most people accomplish this part of the climb in 3 to 6 hours. Since there are no roads, the supplies for the Laban Rata Resthouse are carried by porters, who bring up to 30 kilograms of supplies on their backs. Hot food and beverages, hot showers and heated rooms are available at Laban Rata. The last 2 km (2600 ft), from the Laban Rata Resthouse at 3,270 m to Low’s Peak (summit) at 4,095.2 m, takes between 2 and 4 hours. The last part of the climb is on naked granite rock.

I did not know how much work, pain, time, energy and stuff for this trekking tour. We made Timpohon-Summit-Timpohon trekking. I will write in detail later (unavailable internet currently)

in short, Chris made it to the summit while I made it to Km 7.5 (around 3-something km a.s.l), which is 1.2 km left to reach the summit.

Scenery and plants and animals all are so awesome. I will come back for the summit :). I got a little certification as well which looks not bad at all (1R for black and white version).

I love the Mt – love to climbing up and down on feet and hands 🙂

Now, I am back in town – watching movie on a soft couch 🙂 I love it^__^ no more request.


Info about Sabah, Malaysia – Mt Kinabalu part:

Info about Mt Kinabalu – its route, guide, accommodatin, etc.: Sutera Sanctuary Lodges- Laban Rata compound


Trekking is always attracting to me. I have not trained enough to do a lot of trekking though. Must-to-do thing when I came to Kota Kinabalu was to climb to Mt. Kinabalu (you can find more info above – or there are lots on Internet). We booked a package tour with Sutera Sanctuary Lodges, costed 556RM (for group of 4 people), including

– 1 pkg accommodation at Laban Rata Resthouse (in a 6-bed dorm) – we were lucky to get upgraded because originally we were supposed to stay at Waras Hut – a small building, 10mins walking to Laban Rata which is also an only one restaurant in the area.

– 1 pkg packed lunch box (2 boiled eggs, 1 bottle of water, 4 pieces of sandwich with cheese and turkey ham, 1 apple, and 1 piece of fried chicken) from Balsam restaurant at Kinabalu National Park headquarter.

– 1 pkg dinner at Laban Rata Resthouse served as buffet.

– 1 2.00AM supper breakfast at Laban Rata Resthouse served as buffet.

– 1 pkg breakfast at Laban Rata Resthouse served as buffet (you will have it after climbing down from the summit).

– 1 pkg lunch at Balsam restaurant served as buffet.

– 1 climbing permit

– 1 mountain insurance

– 1 guide, who is very helpful later

– 1 2-way transfer from the National Park headquarter to Timpohon Gate, which is around 15min driving.

– 1 black and white certification on which they write the height you reach. (1RM for one)

– 1 2-way transfer from Kota Kinabalu city to Kinabalu Nation Park (15RM per way per pax)

That was a lot for 2 days but it was worthy. I was so excited for the trip and managed to get some sleep on the way to the National Park (I did sleep for a bit :P).

Our CS host was very nice to drive us to the bus station, which is quite on the East of the city. We waited for a bit and saw a bus with route “Ranau – Kota Kinabalu”. Ranau is a town near Kinabalu National Park so they can drop us off on the way. Make sure that you arrive in the bus station before 7.30AM. Duration is around 2 hours (excluding a short stop to drop off other passengers). If you make it later, you can hire a taxi, and of course it is more expensive. This Ranau bus was like that in Viet Nam; they wait until there are enough passengers getting on and then they depart. Luckily, they do not let too many passengers on the bus 🙂

We started to climb on around 11.00AM. In our group, there were 2 Swiss men, Chris and I. I was the slowest one in the group. It took me more than 5 hours to go to our Laban Rata Resthouse at Km 6. FYI, the summit is at Km 8.5. I took a short break after every 500m. Men did create an easy path for trekkers. You hardly recognise which is natural and which is man-made trekking path. I liked that way. 6km was not too long if I walk in the city. There, on mountain, gosh, I could not believe that finally I came to the resthouse and had early dinner with Chris, who came 1 hour earlier, waiting for me.

We had dinner at 5pm-ish and went straight to bed because our new day would start at 2.00AM. It takes around 2-3 hours to reach the summit. I set the alarm at 1.30AM. I slept like a rock after wearing 2 more jackets, 1 more socks, and stuffing myself in 2 blankets. Holy crap, it was TOO COLD for me. I was waken up by flash and noise from the next-door couple in the dorm. I did not like them – just silly couple. I tried to get some food to fill my stomach. I did not want to get cold for sure. I drank a lot of hot black tea with sugar (Sabah tea is good).

Thanks Jaco for your head-flash light and a whistle (luckily I did not use that whistle at all). Chris walked behind me and lighten the way. In first 30min, we walked and rested together. Later, she walked faster than I so I stayed behind. I kept walking and walking. Then, I saw a rope and a kind-of more than 10% straight cliff. Gosh, how could I climb up there? Lots of people stayed in line and slowly walking up to the summit. I followed them while my figures and feet were getting frozen (I felt so). Hardly keep the rope in my hand. It was the hardest part on the trekking. When I reached Km 7.5, I could not breathe, I felt as if I was frozen. Hate my little body which hardly stand the coldness for a long time. I told my guide that I want to give up. Too cold to keep climbing even though I knew the summit was about 1.3km from where I stood. Cold wind kept blowing. My body was shaking. My mind yelled “get out of this fucking cold place… back to the blankets and a warm bed”. Finally, I GAVE UP. I stayed at a shelter and waited until it was brighter to get back my resthouse. Next to the shelter, there was a telephone booth which is located at the highest place, the only one where you can make a phone call before going to the summit. Darn, I did not have any pre-paid card or coins with me.

I climbed down by myself, extremely slowly; as if walking in the dark night without lights. I made it to the Timpohon Gate around 1.30PM. More quickly than climbing up, but more exhausted.

I enjoyed the scenery, plants, birds’ songs along the way. The forest is great, so old and original. People in the National Park are trying their best to keep the nature as the way it is and to help tourists enjoy it. They succeed somehow. The national park is kind of monopoly though. That way is not good in term of economy but super good in term of eco-tourism.

When we met our CS host, we again appeared with exhausting faces :P. Jaco took us to his fav Italian restaurant in town. My dish was so yummy: baked pasta with 4 different cheeses. My legs were painful. I hardly controlled them. They had shaken whenever they wanted. I hardly moved them quickly. I hated stairs a lot. We looked so funny when we walked in the town.

The slogan is great: I came, I saw, I conquered – obviously! The other slogan: Take nothing but photograph. Leave nothing but footprint. Are they good? 🙂 Definitely.

I will come back. Before taking a tour again, I will practice. Running or Jogging more. I can do it. I want to be in the summit! 🙂

Pix are on the way… (I hate this sentence but Internet is too slow for a massive upload)

one part of forest… look awesome!

way to go up

a porter – might carry up to 30kg up and down the mountain for 4hours. They are so strong.

one kind of berry – which was so good and helpful 😛

forgot its name – it eats insects

near Km 6

view from Km 7 – that’s the reason I climbed up to Mt. Kinabalu – Excellent view; just like in heaven!

one of peaks in Mt. Kinabalu

near the summit – 1.3km left

one of paths near the summit


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