Malaysia – Mt Kinabalu

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  • Duration: 4 Days
  • Grading: 2B
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Mt Kinabalu (4095m), situated on the Crocker Range on the western coast of Sabah, is South East Asia’s and Borneo’s tallest mountain. It is known to be one of the easiest 4000m peaks in the world to climb. Thousands of tourists visit Kinabalu National Park each year, most with the intention of climbing Mt Kinabalu. The mountain is part of the Kinabalu National Park. The park, covering an area of 754 square kilometres was established in 1964 to protect Mt Kinabalu and its plants and wildlife. It was declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000 and became Malaysia’s first World Heritage Site.

About The Climb

Standard Mt Kinabalu Climb

The standard Mt Kinabalu climb is 2 days via Timpohon Trail. The longer Mersilau trail, is indefinitely closed, after the 2015 earthquake.

The Timpohon Trail, near the park headquarters (1563m), is on the southern side of the mountain. The entire trail from Timpohon Gate (1866m) to Low’s Peak (4095m) is 8.75km.

Day 1 of the trek starts from Timpohon Gate to Panalaban (3273m), where the mountain huts are situated. This section entails a 6km (4-6 hours) vertical ascent on seemingly endless steps. The first 4km, on the lower terrain of Mt Kinabalu, is mostly in the canopy of lowland rainforest. The terrain opens up to montane forest and alpine meadows on the last 2km. There are 7 shelters along the way with flushing toilets. 

Day 2 is a pre-dawn climb from Panalaban to the summit, followed by a descent back to Timpohon Gate. The 2.75km (2-3 hours) trail to the summit from Panalaban is an open terrain trek, mostly on bare granite. The first 1.27km is the new picturesque Ranau Trail, built after the earthquake in 2015. At the end of Ranau Trail, the trail merges back to the original summit trail to Sayat Sayat Checkpoint (3668m), and continues on to the summit, Low’s Peak at 4095.2m. After the summit, return to Panalaban for breakfast, pack up and descent to Timpohon Gate.

Mt Kinabalu Climb with Via Ferrata

A via ferrata, iron path in English, klettersteig in German, is quite literally a route with fixed “protection” that aids climbers in moving safely through the mountains.

For those with more energy to expend and want a higher level of challenge, adding on the via ferrata activity is a good option to consider. The via ferrata activity is an additional activity after the summit climb. It can be done without any prior mountaineering experience and offers a different view of Mt Kinabalu and the Crocker Range.

There are 2 via ferrata routes:

Walk The Torq (WTT) Asia’s first via ferrata located in a UNESCO World Heritage site (Grade: French PD, Italian 2A)

WTT is a 2 – 3 hour route that has a two-wire cable bridge and a Rogimut Ladder. It starts and ends at Sayat-Sayat Hut (3668m) and is a shorter commitment than Low’s Peak Circuit.

Low’s Peak Circuit (LPC) The world’s highest via ferrata certified by Guinness World Records™(Grade: French AD, Italian 3C)

LPC is a via ferrata route situated at 3776m that is designed for individuals with above-average fitness levels. This 4 – 5 hour route passes a variety of obstacles, like a suspension bridge and a three-wire bridge, before linking up to the Walk the Torq path, for the last part of the journey, to end at Sayat-Sayat Hut (3668m).

A 3-day instead of 2-day itinerary is recommended for those who opt to include the Low’s Peak Circuit (LPC) via ferrata into the Mt Kinabalu climb.

Trekking Seasons

Mt Kinabalu is opened for climbing all year round. However, it is good to avoid the rainy season from late October to January. February, March & April are considered the driest and best months to climb Mt Kinabalu.

There are two monsoons that bring rainy seasons to Sabah:

  • South West Monsoon stretches from May to July.
  • North East Monsoon stretches from October to January. This is the monsoon that often brings heavy and frequent rains to Sabah.

Experience Required

This trek is graded 2B.

Good to have below 3000m trekking experience. You will be trekking for two days from the trailhead to the summit with a 5-6kg backpack load. The entire trail is a vertical ascent and descent with many steps rather than undulating mountain terrain. The summit trail is partly on a vast exposed granite surface, with some scrambling required at the last short section up to the summit.

For Via Ferrata:

To be able to take part in the via ferrata activity, it is mandatory to:

  1. Attend the familiarization briefing at Pendant Hut that starts at 4pm.
  2. Arrive at the start point of Walk The Torq or Low’s Peak Circuit at the stipulated start time of 715am and 630am respectively.

Failing to fulfill either (1) or (2), you will not be allowed to take part in the via ferrata activity and there is no refund.

Equipment and Gear

You can wear a quick dry t-shirt or trekking shirt and trekking shorts or pants for the trek to Panalaban. In the evening and for the summit trek, a thermal set, an insulating layer (such as a fleece jacket) and an outer shell jacket are needed. Bring rain gear and waterproof your backpack.

A packing list will be provided to all our participants. Please refer to our Resource Centre page for information on the layering system and how to choose the right gear/equipment for your trek.

Standard Mt Kinabalu Climb

Day Description Meals
1

Arrive in Kota Kinabalu. Transfer to Kinabalu Park.

Overnight: Hill Lodge or Nepenthes Suite (1563m)

-/-/D
2

Transfer to Timpohon Gate (1866m). Trek to Panalaban.

Overnight: Laban Rata Resthouse (3273m)

B/L/D
3

Summit trek – Mt Kinabalu Low’s Peak (4095m). Return to Laban Rata Resthouse. Descend to Timpohon Gate. Transfer to Kota Kinabalu.

Overnight: Kota Kinabalu hotel

S/B/L/-
4 Depart Kota Kinabalu B/-/-

 

Mt Kinabalu Climb with Via Ferrata

Day 4D Mt Kinabalu + Walk the Torq (WTT) Via Ferrata 5D Mt Kinabalu + Low’s Peak Circuit (LPC) Via Ferrata Meals
1

Arrive in Kota Kinabalu.

Overnight: Kota Kinabalu hotel

Arrive in Kota Kinabalu.

Overnight: Kota Kinabalu hotel

-/-/-
2

Early morning transfer to Kinabalu Park (1563m). Transfer to Timpohon Gate (1866m). Trek to Panalaban.

Overnight: Pendant Hut (3289m)

Early morning transfer to Kinabalu Park (1563m). Transfer to Timpohon Gate (1866m). Trek to Panalaban.

Overnight: Pendant Hut (3289m)

B/L/D
3

Summit trek – Mt Kinabalu Low’s Peak (4095m). Proceed to start point of WTT for Via Ferrata activity after summit. Return to Pendant Hut. Descend to Timpohon Gate. Transfer to Kota Kinabalu.

Overnight in Kota Kinabalu hotel

Summit trek – Mt Kinabalu Low’s Peak (4095m). Proceed to start point of LPC for Via Ferrata activity after summit. Return to Pendant Hut. 4D-S/B/-
5D-S/L/D
4 Depart Kota Kinabalu

Descend to Timpohon Gate. Transfer to Kota Kinabalu.

Overnight in Kota Kinabalu hotel

B/-/-
5   Depart Kota Kinabalu B/-/-
DATES PRICE
13-16 Mar 2021 (Nepenthes Suite) $850.00 (SGD)  / person
10-13 Jun 2021 (Hill Lodge) $850.00 (SGD)  / person
16-19 Sep 2021 (Hill Lodge) $850.00 (SGD)  / person

Standard Mt Kinabalu Climb

Price above based on group size of 4 – 15 people. For less than 4 people:

3 people: $900 (SGD)  / person
2 people: $1000 (SGD)  / person

Mt Kinabalu Climb with Via Ferrata – 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 pricing:

ITINERARIES 2 PEOPLE 3 PEOPLE 4-15 PEOPLE
4D Mt Kinabalu + Walk The Torq (WTT) Via Ferrata S$1040 (SGD)  / person S$940 (SGD)  / person S$890 (SGD)  / person
5D Mt Kinabalu + Low’s Peak Circuit (LPC) Via Ferrata S$1440 (SGD)  / person S$1340 (SGD)  / person S$1290 (SGD)  / person

You can also form a private group for this trek. For enquiry, send an email to us at contact@aceadventure.com.sg.

 
 
Inclusions
  • Return airport transfer in Kota Kinabalu
  • All land transfers as in itinerary
  • Meals as in itinerary
  • Drinking water from water dispensers in Pendant Hut for those staying at Pendant Hut only.
  • Accommodation for Standard Mt Kinabalu Climb: 1 night Kinabalu Park (heated twin sharing), 1 night non-heated mixed dormitory in Laban Rata Resthouse, and 1 night local 3-star hotel in Kota Kinabalu (twin/triple sharing)
  • Accommodation for Mt Kinabalu Climb with Via Ferrata: 2 nights local 3-star hotel in Kota Kinabalu (twin/triple sharing), 1 night in non-heated mixed dormitory in Pendant Hut (2 nights for 5D LPC itinerary)
  • Trek support: Trekking guide(s) – 1 guide : 5 trekkers for 16 years old and above (1 guide : 2 trekkers for below 16 years old at additional costs). Via ferrata instructors for via ferrata activity.
  • Permits & fees: Conservation, National Park fees, trek permit, climbing insurance, climbing certificate, via ferrata certificate
Exclusions
  • International air tickets, airline taxes and fuel surcharge
  • Visa fee (if any)
  • Single supplement
  • Malaysian Tourism Tax (TTx) of RM10.00 per bed/room per night. The TTx is to be paid upon check-in and collected directly by lodge/hotel. Malaysians or permanent residents residing in Malaysia are exempted from TTx and is required to present a valid identification for the exemption
  • Meals excluded in itinerary
  • Drinking water during trek:  Balsam Cafe and Laban Rata Resthouse no longer provide water dispensers for trekkers to top up drinking water
  • All tipping
  • Personal porters
  • Sabah Park’s mountain guide overtime charges based on arrival at Timpohon Gate on the descend day: RM15 per group after 4pm, RM30 per group/hour from 5pm onwards.
  • Personal travel insurance (mandatory to cover travel agency insolvency and trekking to above 4000m)
  • Personal expenses like shopping, laundry, etc.
  • Personal travel & trekking gear
  • Compensation for damaged or lost of personal items (eg: climbing/trekking gear and equipment, cameras and any valuable items, etc.)
  • Emergency evacuation and medical expenses
  • Any expenses including accommodation, meals & transfer outside the stipulated trek/climb itinerary – i.e. any person leaving the group for personal travel, illness/injury or any form of extension of stay
Pre-trip Support

1. Trip briefing and information kit
2. Gear list and gear discount from selected Singapore outdoor outfitters
3. Complimentary group training sessions
4. Rope skill workshop (For climbs that require rope up and/or fixed rope skill)

Local Support

We carefully select and establish strong working relationship with our local operator to ensure safe participation by everyone. We engage a regular pool of Mt Kinabalu trekking guides for all our Mt Kinabalu climb.

Visa

No visa is required for a stay of less than one month for nationals of all ASEAN countries except Myanmar. For a stay exceeding one month a visa will be required, except for nationals from Brunei and Singapore.

Nationals or passport holders of the following countries require a visa to enter Malaysia.

Duration

Countries

30 days

Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Montenegro, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Serbia, Sri Lanka, UN-Titre De Voyage, UN-Laisser Passer

14 days

Afghanistan, Angola*, Burkina Faso*, Myanmar, Burundi, Cameroon*, Central African Republic*, Colombia, Congo Brazzaville*, Congo Democratic Republic*, Djibouti*, Equatorial Guinea*, Eritrea*, Ethiopia*, Ghana*, Guinea-Bissau*, Hong Kong (COI), Ivory Coast*, Liberia*, Mali*, Mozambique*, Niger*, Nigeria*, Rwanda*, Western Sahara*

Prohibited

Israel

* Entry by air only

For latest updates and details of visa application, please visit https://www.malaysia.gov.my/portal/subcategory/1543.

Money

In Kota Kinabalu, there are moneychangers located at the airport terminals, in shopping malls and shops in the city centres. You can also change money at the banks and hotels. The rates at the moneychangers tend to be better than those offered in the hotels and banks. It is best to change money in the city, prior to travelling to the National Parks or remote areas where there is likely no moneychanger or bank; or the exchange rates offered by the hotels tend to be high. Double count your money before leaving the moneychangers to make sure the accurate amount is given.

Credit cards, such as Visa and Mastercard, are readily accepted by hotels, major stores and restaurants in the cities and the major tourist areas. The smaller and local establishments typically accept only cash payment. ATMs are widespread in the city and some town areas and accept the common network such as Visa, Mastercard, Plus, Cirrus, etc.

Malaysian Tourism Tax (TTx)

Effective from 1 September 2017, foreign tourists staying at paid accommodation in Malaysia are subject to pay a Tourism Tax of RM10 per room per night. This flat rate of RM10 will be applicable for all room types, based on per room per night. Collection of this tax will be payable to the hotel/lodge directly. Under the Tourism Tax (Exemption) Order 2017, Malaysians or Permanent Residents with MyPR cards are exempted. The TTx is mandatory and regulated by the Ministry of Finance and the Royal Malaysian Customs Department.

Electricity

Malaysia’s electricity is 240 Volt and 50 MHZ. The electric plug is the rectangular blade plug or Type G, used in the UK.

Language 

The official language in Malaysia is Bahasa Melayu, although many Malaysians speak several languages and will use them all in general conversation. English is a compulsory subject in all schools and is widely understood, especially those working in the tourist industry like the tourist guides and hotel staff.

Drinking Water

It is strictly not recommended to drink water straight from the tap. You should boil the water before you drink it or buy bottled water. Bottles of mineral water can be easily purchased in hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and petrol kiosks in Malaysia. Many hotels also provide a small bottle of complimentary mineral water per day to each guest.

Tipping

Giving a tip to tour guides is a common practice in Malaysia but other service staff in hotels, restaurants and taxi drivers in general do not expect a tip from tourists. Service charge of 10% is included in hotels and most restaurants.

 
Travel Safety Advice

With evolving world situations that may occur unexpectedly due to natural disasters, pandemics/epidemics, conflicts and unrests, it is best to read up and keep tabs on news and developments at your destination country and region before the trip. Check on the country’s official website and/or your own foreign ministry website for any travel advisory or safety precautions to be taken while abroad.

As with traveling in anywhere in the world, regardless of the local crime rate, stay vigilant and take care of personal safety. Good to read up on any possible exposure in the country prior to departure.

It is a good practice to register with your respective foreign ministry if there is such a service provided to citizens, to contact you in order to make sure that you are safe and, if need be, assist you should an emergency (e.g. natural disasters, civil unrest, etc.) occur when you are overseas.

For Singaporeans, this is the link to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ eRegister:
https://eregister.mfa.gov.sg/eregisterportal/common/preLoginEregisterView.action.

 

Travel Insurance

It is highly recommended to purchase comprehensive travel insurance(s), upon payment of your trip, to cover adverse situations that may occur while you are overseas or even before departure. Ensure that the coverage is suitable for your destination and the activities that you are participating in. Be familiar with the terms and conditions before purchasing and travelling abroad.

 

Travel Immunization Advice 

There is no compulsory vaccine to be taken to enter Malaysia. You should, however, be up to date on routine vaccinations, especially vaccines against water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (examples: hepatitis, typhoid and tuberculosis) while traveling to any destination. You are encouraged to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition.

Recommended routine vaccinations for travellers in general:

Hepatitis A

Spread through consuming contaminated food and water or person to person through the faecal-oral route. Risk is higher where personal hygiene and sanitation are poor.

Hepatitis B

Spread through infected blood and blood products, contaminated needles and medical instruments and sexual intercourse. Risk is higher for those at occupational risk, long stays or frequent travel, children (exposed through cuts and scratches) and individuals who may need, or request, surgical procedures abroad.

Rabies

 

Spread through the saliva of an infected animal, usually through a bite, scratch or lick on broken skin. Particularly dogs and related species, but also bats. Risk is higher for those going to remote areas (who may not be able to promptly access appropriate treatment in the event of a bite), long stays, those at higher risk of contact with animals and bats, and children. Even when pre-exposure vaccine has been received, urgent medical advice should be sought after any animal or bat bite.

Tetanus

 

Spread through contamination of cuts, burns and wounds with tetanus spores. Spores are found in soil worldwide. A primary series of 5 doses of tetanus vaccine is recommended for life. Boosters are usually recommended in a country or situation where the correct treatment of an injury may not be readily available.

Typhoid Fever

Spread mainly through consumption of contaminated food and drink. Risk is higher where access to adequate sanitation and safe water is limited.

Influenza

A vaccine specific for a given year to protect against the highly variable influenza virus.

For more information and professional advice on travel vaccinations, please consult your doctor or travel clinic.

For people residing in Singapore, you may visit The Travellers’ Health and Vaccination Clinic (THVC) at Tan Tock Seng Hospital:

Travellers’ Health & Vaccination Clinic
Address: Level 4, Clinic 4B, Tan Tock Seng Hospital Medical Centre
Contact number: 6357 2222
Website : https://www.ttsh.com.sg/Patients-and-Visitors/Medical-Services/Travellers-Health-and-Vaccination-Clinic/Pages/default.aspx.

 
General Health Advice for Malaysia

Malaysia’s climate is equatorial and tropical, meaning it is generally hot and sunny all year round. Mosquito & insect bites and sunburn are typical health concerns in such a tropical place, particularly for those who stay outdoors for long hours.

Mosquito and insect bites are common in the lowland areas in Malaysia, especially in the jungle. Apart from acting as carriers of disease, mosquito & insect bites can result in unpleasant and occasionally serious skin reactions. You are advised to take measures to avoid mosquito and insect bites, including using an insect repellent at all times and wearing long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing in the evenings. Some simple ways to minimisation of exposure to mosquitoes:

  • Avoid dark coloured clothing as it attracts mosquitoes as do perfume, cologne & after-shave.
  • Clothing to cover arms and legs in the evenings.  It is common for mosquitoes to attack leg/ankle region.
  • Apply mosquito / insect repellents diligently.