Kota Kinabalu Climb

Tips and Things to Prepare ( especially for beginners)

It was a 3D2N package booked for Mount Kinabalu Climb thru Amazing Borneo and indeed, by the name itself they made our experience really amazing!

Mt. Kota Kinabalu is one of the tallest mountains in South-East Asia and is situated in Kinabalu Park island of Borneo, Sabah Malaysia. It is 4,095 metres above sea level and about 8,700 metres traverse from Timpohon gate going to the summit, one-way. Almost 5 months of preparation: from planning a new adventure, deciding what to do, looking for cheap flights, engaging with a reliable tour agent, researching and reading of blogs to get more info's and tips, lots and lots of exercise to make ourselves ready, preparation for our outfit to wear and things to bring on the day. Summing all these, Big smiles were on our faces coz we were able to reach the summit.

A day prior to climb, we were picked up from the hostel where we stayed for 1 night (Borneo Backpackers). Almost 2 hrs travel from Kota Kinabalu City to Kota Kinabalu Park where we stayed and sleep for the night waiting for the next day. They provided dinner buffet for us to load ourselves with carbs and fruits. At the park, the temperature is already different, you will experienced feeling cold at night, so better wear your jacket. There's water heater in the room if you choose to take a shower at night or in the morning. But we skipped having a shower when going to sleep because it was really cold and we needed the heat in our body to keep us warm for the next day's climb. You can use wet tissues to wipe your body. Dont think too much for the next day and sleep well. 

Wake up at 5:30am and prepare yourself for the climb. We had a light breakfast and collected our packed lunch (sandwich, apple and a small bottle of water). Make sure your baggage are already prepared. For the things you don’t need in the climb, you can leave it at Kinabalu Park at 12RM per bag and for the things you need to bring with you, you can ask a porter to carry it at 10RM per kg from Timpohon gate to Laban Rata. Rent out a walking stick at 10RM to aid yourself in balancing during the long hours of walking when your legs are trembling.

Day 1. Meet your guide at the office and ride the van from Kinabalu Park down to Timpohon gate for the starting point of your climb which is approximately 20 minutes. Make sure you are fully loaded of energy for the day. You will go thru an unending stairs and big rocks on the way, approximately 6 kilometres distance till the end of the 1st day journey. Stopped at Layang layang hut for lunch and rest for a while. Don’t rest for too long and as much as possible avoid sitting when resting to avoid leg cramps. After lunch, continue climbing on the big boulders of rocks and you might be feeling cold as temperature become more cooler and cooler as you ascend the summit. You will be seeing different kind of vegetation as you climb which will amaze you and even more admire the beauty of nature. Normal hours of climbing will take about 4-6 hour up to Laban Rata where you will take a rest and wait for the 2nd day's climb. Take note if you do arrive more than 6 hours, you need to pay for the excess hour at 100RM/hr. Luckily, we were able to make it after 6hrs and 30 min, so we didn't pay for any extra fee. Have your early supper at 4:30 and prepare your things for the next day’s climb. Take a rest and sleep early. Make sure everything is already in your bag for the next day’s climb.

Day 2. Wake up at 1:45am, prepare yourself, go down for early breakfast with all your things packed up. Wear suitable jacket, gloves, beanie and neck warmer as it’s already very cold in there in the early morning. Headlamp on and ready your whistle in case of emergency. Around 2:30, you’ll start your ascend to the summit.  This day you need to climb about 2.7 km in 3-4 hrs to summit. First few km is a steep wooden and rock stairs and then came the rope section wherein you have to hold the rope and climb thru big rocks. Don’t be a hero and just follow what the guide says as they knows what’s best for the climbers. One mistake and it will cost your life. You're safe as long you hold on to the rope and just follow the person infront of you. Before 5am you need to reach Sayat-sayat checkpoint to continue your ascend to the summit otherwise you are not allowed to enter. After the checkpoint, congratulation, you can now see the peak but still have to walk for more than 1 kilometre to reach Low’s Peak. Only two magical word that will fuel you and make you keep going, “Almost There” as you are already seeing the view of the peak and some of you are already experiencing the sunrise. When you're up there, you will forget almost all your pains and difficulties that you went through. It's very nice and gives you an amazing feeling that you are able to make it!!! Yes you made it!

Around 8am, it's time for your journey back to Laban Rata, same route when climbing but this time its more challenging as you will be seeing the very steep hill that you were able to climb at dawn when it was still dark. Its very hard to descend especially for people whose afraid of heights. But just put in mind that “You were able to climb up, then your also able to go down thru it”. Faster your pace as you need to reach to Laban Rata before 10:30am to have your heavy breakfast or else no more food awaits you. Check out from your rooms should also be before 10:30 am as you will be paying charges after that said timing. Rest for an hour or less and start your journey back to Timpohon gate which will take approximately 4-6 hrs and exceeding that allotted time means charges will be applied. Don’t worry and bear in mind that if you we're able to make it to the top on time, big chance you will also able to make it down on time. After the long day climb, go for a foodtrip and massage. Prepare for tomorrow’s painful leg effect which somehow says , “Wow, I made it!!!!”

Tips and Things to Prepare ( especially for beginners):

1. Exercise and more exercise to make your body fit. Go with stairs climbing at least a week and hike to test your endurance.

2. Prepare suitable attire especially for the 2nd day climb. Temperature will drop to 5-2 degrees in the morning and colder and more windy in the summit.

– winter jackets, waterproof pants, gloves, headlamp, whistle, beanie, neck warmer, extra battery for headlamp, hiking shoe and poncho

3. First Aid Kit and Medication

– Prepare pain reliever, tablets for headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain and the like that may happen. Better to be prepared.

– panadol, dimenate, cogesic cream, etc

4. Something to Eat/ Snacks

– energy bars, chocolates, sour candies, water, banana

5. Aggressiveness to climb the summit

– Set your mind that you can do it and you will.

– I did experience altitude sickness from the day 1 of my climb, I vomited and felt dizzy but still I was able to reach the summit because I believe I can do it and YES, I did!

6. Be in a group of  aggressive, positive, energetic and supportive people and you will become one of them.

Have fun and be safe ^__^

A few words from my Guest Blogger:

Hi, my name is Ahdy, a civil engineer by profession, an aspiring full time stock trader in the future, a mountaineer, a marathoner & a backpacker by passion. I love to travel- taking new experiences and life adventures. My ultimate goal in life is to be happy and worry-free - living life to the fullest.

Wishing everybody to have a healthy & happy life. Follow your passion whatever it is. Cheers!!!

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Itinerary Reminders:

1. Flight Details
Make sure to write down your booking reference number, be at the airport two hours before your flight and allocate time for your travel to the airport.

2. Accommodation Details
Write down your hotel/motel/resort/bnb booking number. Contact your place to inform them around when you'll be arriving — it really does help.  Also, ask if your accommodation has any discounted activities.  You'd be surprised!

3a. Transportation
List possible times your bus/train/boat arrives and leaves so you don't miss an activity.  Always give yourself an extra 30-45 minutes in case you get lost, get stuck in traffic, or are looking for parking.  Better early than late.  Of utmost importance: check for the last trip and fares!  So you still have time and money to get back.

3b. Car Rentals
Take note of your pick-up address and time allotted.  Our last car rental told us to bring the car back by a certain time with a certain amount of gas.  Allot money for fuel and parking.

4. Budgeting
Set aside a minimum and maximum spending amount for: meals, transportation, entrance fees, activities, souvenirs and emergencies.  3 meals a day + snacks adds up quickly, so keep track!  As well as tips for restaurants and activities.

5. Activities
Call to confirm your booking(s) a day or so beforehand.  Set alarms and/or calendar reminders for things you plan to do (i.e- bungee-jumping, river-rafting, or even city / food tours).

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