The old and the new of Kota Kinabalu

I received emails from Mr. Anthony Catherall, served in North Borneo May – November 1960 with 11 Independent Field Squadron RE. He shared with me his extensive writings and vintage photos on some part of Kota Kinabalu in one of his friend’s website. It’s really nice to see those old photos, and I hope you can gain some information from it too!

I hope you are very well today.

Some of you may know I and my great pals served in ‘Malaya’ (Malaysia) in the late 1950’s and early sixties.

We all loved it there, the climate was and is most pleasing even to European skin.
We were very fortunate to serve in a unique unit there ’11 Independent Field Squadron Royal Engineers’, both on mainland Malaya and in North Borneo (Sabah) during May – November 1960. Some of our officers went on to reach Army Generals later in their careers.

I was inspired to write something down to try and record an important time in many peoples lives. I started off by writing some factual articles with plenty of photographs, followed later by some stories of mine. M good friend Hank who served a little later at Malacca has placed on his website.
If such a thing may interest you and you care to read them, you will certainly have a good insight into the still wonderful country of Malaysia and how it was all those years ago.

One called ‘Shangri-La in the Coconut Grove’ is all about the camp we lived in at Butterworth from 1959, with an interesting history dating back to the early 1940’s.

Another called ‘An Enlightening Ride on the Railway Tracks of Malaya’ tells the story of our long rail journey from Singapore to Prai.

Then we have, ‘Sunsets Never Change – Awang’s Story – my own fiction tale, some based on fact all about the Island of Penang from the middle 1930’s.

Click on the link below to take you to direct to the section (Malaya/Malaysia Past Present).
You never know, you may even take a holiday there one day?
Happy reading.
Sincere wishes

Anthony Catherall

Good morning Dr Ruhaizad Daud
Thank you for looking and reading some of my articles ( I’m sure you haven’t got through them all in one day) in the a link that I sent you.
Hopefully I will do another on our time in North Borneo During 1960. Then a lot of your countrymen will through you, be able to see and understand what it was like in those far off days.
Yes by all means share the material on your Blog, I will send you an up to date photograph of my self that you may want to include as a header so to speak, I will do that today, so wait for it.
Also on Hanks website, Is a photograph I took at the National Arboretum Memorial in Staffordshire, of our lost Colleagues messes Hall & Cooper who were drowned at Tamparuli.
I am still hoping go come back to KK before too long and we can meet.
Let me say also how sorry I was go hear about the recent earthquake you experience recently.
I was also disgusted with the behavior of the group who took their clothes off at the top of Mount Kinabalu. In my opinion your Judge was a little lenient with them in the sentencing.
Okay listen out for me later in the day with the photograph.

Warm wishes Tony

29 moth species that you can find at Kiram’s Village, Kundasang at the foothill of Mount Kinabalu

I actually took these photos in 2009, when Kiram’s Village was in its infancy. My family and I stayed in one of the chalet for a night, and we had a barbecue dinner. As usual, the weather was cold and wet. When I woke up the next morning, I was amazed by the numbers of the moths that swarmed the unit. Well, literally. More than 30 species spotted, and I bet that the owner of the chalet did not know about it. Kiram Village is known for its flowers before, and maybe with this post, it can be known for its moths!

kinabalu-moth-29 kinabalu-moth-28 kinabalu-moth-27 kinabalu-moth-26 kinabalu-moth-25 kinabalu-moth-24 kinabalu-moth-23 kinabalu-moth-22 kinabalu-moth-21 kinabalu-moth-20 kinabalu-moth-19 kinabalu-moth-18 kinabalu-moth-17 kinabalu-moth-16 kinabalu-moth-15 kinabalu-moth-14 kinabalu-moth-13 kinabalu-moth-12 kinabalu-moth-11 kinabalu-moth-10 kinabalu-moth-9 kinabalu-moth-8 kinabalu-moth-7 kinabalu-moth-6 kinabalu-moth-5 kinabalu-moth-4 kinabalu-moth-3 kinabalu-moth-2 kinabalu-moth-1Oh, now I need help from you to get me an entomologist, specialized in moths so that we can know what are the names of the moths in Kiram Village!


Kinabalu Poem by John Roberts

I received an email from one of our readers who was here in Sabah, Borneo during WWII. Mr Tony Catherall shared with us his experience and photos from the past on Tamparuli here. He now shared his friend’s poem for us.

Good afternoon from England

I hope you are all well in Sabah.
I have a good friend John Roberts who was in the Army with me. He like me, was at Kota Belud in the early sixties and fell in love with your lovely country. As a hobby he writes poetry. His latest work is a poem about Mount Kinabalu, and I have attached it for you to keep.
As you both have very close associations with the mountain both living there, I hope you like it.
I intend to visit Sabah again and hope to see you both when I’m there.
Take care in all you do.
My warmest wishes always


I walk the cool high peaceful trail
As night surrenders to emerging day
Highlighting distant peak and chasm
In lines of stark contrasting mood

Embryonic shadow slow unveiling
Deep ravine and craggy spire
Revealing mysterious misty valley
That conceals the cruelty of night

Life and death on display
Bones beside the clouded leopard
Serpent coils and sinews tightened
Orang Utan mothers cry

Faint aroma from distant fire
Humans welcome a dawning day
Far below in dappled vale
Beauty hides a tragic resonance

Wispy smoke and clangs emitting
Scenes and sounds of life abound
Confidence again restored
As sunbeams play with children

I have been blessed to witness
Nature’s cycle direct and true
Such a wondrous revelation
On the slopes of Kinabalu

John Roberts 2015

The guides and porters playing volleyball at Laban Rata

The guides and porters playing volleyball at Laban Rata

Mount Kinabalu is not anymore in the list of 10 highest mountain in SEA

I was informed by one of our readers from my July 26, 2013 post, saying that Mount Kinabalu is not anymore in the top 10 highest mountain in SEA. Mount Kinabalu is now at the number 13. The new entry for the the list above Mount Kinabalu are:

1. Gunung Sumantri, Indonesia (4870m asl)
2. Gunung Ngga Pulu, Indonesia (4862m asl)
3. Gynung Ngga Pilimsit, Indonesia (4717m asl)

Anyway, just bare in mind that Mount Kinabalu is the highest most accessible mountain in SEA. Cheers!

Resource: Wikipedia

SEA Mountain List

10 photos of Mount Kinabalu seen from King George’s Peak, Eastern Plateau

I went up the mountain last month with a group of friends. We reached King George’s Peak on the Eastern Plateau of Kinabalu. The trail up there was the same as Summit Trail up until Panar Laban Rockface, where we then diverted to the right side of the trail into the woods. From there on, the climb took another 5 hours to the peak.

These are 10 less exposed photos of the mountain, seen from the other side of the plateau. You won’t see this photos when you climb up to Low’s Peak.

Eastern Plateau of Mount Kinabalu

Western Plateau of Mount Kinabalu seen from King George’s Peak, Eastern Plateau. From left, Phallus Peak, King Edward’s Peak, Eastern Ridge, Tunku Abdul Rahman’s Peak, Donkeys Ear’s Peak, Low’s Peak and Victoria Peak.

King George's Peak

King George’s Peak. From the point I took this photo, it took me another hour to reach the peak. I was walking on the plateau almost two hours to reach the peak. Try spotting a climber on the photo.

King Edward's Peak

Phallus Peak (left) and King Edward’s Peak. King Edward’s Peak is a technical climb. You need to don safety gears and skills of rock climbing to reach it. Very few people have reached the peak.

Western Plateau of Mount Kinabalu

Western Plateau of Mount Kinabalu and Low’s Gully seen from King George’s Peak. The gully separates Kinabalu into two ridges – east and west. Because of the danger, not many people were allowed to go into the gully. Until now, it remains a mystery.

King George's Peak

We are on King George’s Peak, with Western Plateau on the background. The left cairn marks the highest point of the peak. It was documented as 4062m asl, but my GPS watch showed 4072m asl.

Eastern Plateau

View from King George’s Peak, facing south east. From left, Red Rocks, Mesilau Pinnacle, Phallus Peak and King Edward’s Peak. There are few plans to build a hut similar like Gurkha Hut near Red Rocks, for those who would love to explore this side of the mountain. Of course, the guide and permit will be totally different from the Summit Trail.

Mesilau Gorge

At the ledge of Eastern Plateau with Mesilau Gorge at the back. From this point, you can see clearly Kundasang & Ranau far behind us. And yes, we are above the clouds.

Eastern Plateau

At the ledge of Eastern Plateau, with Kinabalu South Peak at the far right. In clear morning, you can see climbers coming down the Summit Trail below Kinabalu South Peak.

Eastern Plateau

Vertical climb of 90 degrees using rope and ladder. Safety harness is a must when you follow the trail to the Eastern Plateau of Mount Kinabalu. There are 4 stretches of vertical aluminium ladder that were fixed by the Sabah Parks for climbers to the plateau, at the early part of the climb. We need to wear harness for safety purposes, as it was a vertical drop of nearly 1000 meters to Mesilau Gorge. These rope, ladder and a ‘chimney’ makes Via Ferrata of Kinabalu really pale.

Clouds on Eastern Plateau

When we came down from King George’s Peak, it was noon. The clouds started to come and covered the plateau and the trail. As there were no ropes on the plateau, we need to stay close together and follow our guides and cairns. Oh, the clouds brought rains. That makes the route even more dangerous and slippery.

I have helped thousands of climbers of Mount Kinabalu to book their climbing spot since 2006. If you want me to help you, just fill in the form below and send it to me. Thank you very much! 

Help me raise fund for MERCY Malaysia Sabah Chapter – medical and dental missions

I have started running since 2013, after sustaining knee injuries that prevented me from playing football in 2012. I have been running more than a thousand kilometers – on roads and trails – from the shortest distance with my kids of 3km to running a climbathon 23km up and down Mount Kinabalu with the elite runners since then. I love running very much. I run for my health from my heart. It sounds crazy sometimes for some, but I think I was bitten by the so called “runner’s bug” and I have to admit that “runner’s high” is real.

This year however, I would love to take my trail running/mountain climbing passion to a different level. I will now run to raise funds for the needful. I have selected three big running/mountain climbing events which will be held here in Sabah, mainly around Mount Kinabalu for this kind of charity and fundraising event. The three big events are:

1) Salt Trail: Trek & Raise Funds for MERCY Malaysia Sabah Chapter on 16-17 May 2015
2) MAKNA Mount Climb for Cancer on 1-4 June 2015
3) Coalition Duchenne Mount Kinabalu Challenges on 7-9 August 2015

For my first fundraising event, I am planning to run the Salt Trail: Trek & Raise Funds 2 to raise fund for MERCY Malaysia Sabah Chapter with my wife. MERCY Malaysia is a non-profit organization which aspires to excel in medical relief, providing humanitarian services with the highest level of compassion, professionalism and care. Their mission is to provide humanitarian services in crisis or non-crisis situation irrespective of race, religion and boundary.

Salt Trail Trek & Treat Mission

Salt Trail Trek & Treat Mission

Laluan Garam Jungle TrekkingVillageVillageVillageVillageVillageVillageVillageMedical TeamDental TeamMedical CampMERCY Malaysia Sabah Chapter has been organizing medical and dental missions all over interior of Sabah since 2003. Most of their missions are in collaboration with other organization. One of their mission is Salt Trail: Trek and Treat. Crocker Range which is organized together with Sabah Parks and Partners of Community Organization Trust (PACOS Trust). This year the three organizations will organize the 11th Salt Trail: Trek & Treat, Crocker Range Mission. MERCY Malaysia Sabah Chapter would like to commemorate this collaboration by organizing “Salt Trail: Trek & Raise Funds 2”.

Salt Trail Challenges 2015Their mission is really close to my heart as I love serving the interior community and people of Sabah. I actually had involve in few other groups of non-profits organization providing free medical services to the interior and remote community of Sabah since 2001. I even have contracted malaria when I was serving the people in Pulau Banggi. Serving others who are in need of basic medical service have made me very thankful to what I have right now.

Salt Trail Challenges 2014This time my role is slightly different. I am running the second MERCY Malaysia’s Salt Trail: Trek & Raise Funds trail running to raise fund for them. The fund will be spent on conducting health promotion and services for communities in Sabah and to continue the development and improvement of health education to the communities through research and other evidence based strategies.

The Salt Trail is a route traditionally followed by villagers when taking their produce to the tamu (markets) on the west coast of Sabah, and returning with salt and other goods. It is still the only access route to the remote villagers in one of this Sabah Park, especially in upper Papar river and Tambunan area. Although the trail does not includes climbing Mount Kinabalu, the mountain will always be inside the event as the background scene that will color up our photos.

My wife and meFor me and my wife to be entitled to join the grueling 25.5km Salt Trail: Trek & Raise Fund of Sabah, we have to raise a minimum of RM1200 for both of us. We need your help!

Please join me in making a donation to MERCY Malaysia Sabah Chapter to support us and this great cause. Your donation is tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by Malaysian law.

With your help, I know we can make a difference for thousands of children, families and adults in our interior community of Sabah who will have their lives change by MERCY Malaysia medical and dental missions this year. Your donation, no matter how big or small is very valuable to them.

As a token of appreciation, I will list all the donor to this project in this blog’s Hall of Fame, for their contribution to the humanity. The top three donors will also receive a very special gift from us.

Thank you for your generosity. I hope I can count on you. This donation drive will end on 30th March 2015. Please click “Donate” button below, and Paypal (credit and debit card accepted) will handle the rest.

Thank you very much.

Eastern Plateau Expedition 2015, Mount Kinabalu

We went up the Eastern Plateau of Kinabalu last weekend. Managed to shoot a lot of photos and some short videos.

For your information, I used Openshot video editor, an open source application in my Dell Ubuntu 14.04 laptop. Photos and videos was shot using a China made video cam, Action Cam RD990.

I hope you enjoy the video!

Eastern Plateau Climb 2015 – King George’s Peak Expedition

I has been a very long time since I climbed Mount Kinabalu beyond Layang-Layang Hut. The last climb was in 2008 up to Low’s Peak and I can still remember the views of the majestic mountain. I participated in the last two Climbathon events – 2013 & 2014 – but those climbathon route did not includes the peak. The routes were only up to Layang-Layang Hut before we have to go down along Mesilau Trail.

A new expedition begins this 2015. I was invited to join our well known author on Kinabalu, Dr Ravi Mandalam’s team to conquer Mount Kinabalu – King George’s Peak (13,326 ft / 4,062 m asl). You can buy his book through Amazon at the link below this post.

King George’s Peak is situated on the Eastern Plateau of Kinabalu. The trail to the peak is the same as the Summit Trail to Low’s Peak, up until a junction just before Sayat-Sayat Hut, in which Eastern Plateau climbers will have to make a turn to the right. There are series of vertical ladders on the route along this trail, and I suppose, safety gear is a must on this route.

Climber’s route on Mount Kinabalu, Eastern and Western Plateau

I wrote about Eastern Plateau climb years before, and you can read about it here:

As this is my first Mount Kinabalu expedition to King George’s Peak and my first true climb to the peaks after more than 5 years, I am very excited and anxious. My goal this time is to reach the peak safely and back with a lot of photos and video footage of the climb and I want to share it with all Kinabalu Blog readers. Wish me luck!

I have been preparing the mandatory kit list for the climb since late last year. These will be the list of things that I will bring up to the mountain and hopefully all the items will weigh less than 8kg. Otherwise it will be too heavy. I am trying to be a minimalist climber this time. Haha.

My personal checklist for Eastern Plateau 2015 Mount Kinabalu Climb:

  1. Salomon Sense Mantra shoes (the same shoes that I used for Hasuu Tasuu Trail Run (23km) and Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon 2014)
  2. Adidas thick wool socks
  3. 3/4 Adidas pants
  4. 2 pieces of undergarment
  5. Bath Towel
  6. Sejadah
  7. Kain Sarong
  8. Toothbrush and Bodyshop soap
  9. Red T-shirt (I grew up in STAR)
  10. Cap with neck-flap (Japanese army style)
  11. Buff scarf
  12. Hong Kong Disneyland Raincoat
  13. Thick 4Life Jacket
  14. Compression T-shirt (white long sleeve)
  15. Cargo pants
  16. Eastpack (backpack)
  17. Suunto Ambit 3R watch with HRM & Cable
  18. Power bank & cable
  19. Glove (Contractor)
  20. Hiking pole
  21. Headlight
  22. Battery AAA (Energizer pack)
  23. Electrolytes (Nuun) 1 tube
  24. Sandal
  25. Ultimate Direction Hydration pack with bottles
  26. Bike bracket
  27. White charger plug
  28. Food – chocolate, nuts, grains, powerbar
  29. Handphone & waterproof cover
  30. Waterproof Plastic 4Life (cover layer inside the bag)
  31. Deuter dry bag
  32. Black OBW2014 T-shirt (for solat)
  33. Handphone lanyard
  34. Emergency Whistle

Anymore suggestion on the climber’s item? If you came here to find out the climber’s checklist for Mount Kinabalu expedition, this can be a good guideline. Add or deduct any item that you feel necessary. I will post a photo of all the items that I am going to bring along for you to see.


Bring enough fuel on your Mount Kinabalu climbing trip

I received an email from a 71 years old climbers who were ill informed about the severity of the mountain, especially for those who were unprepared. Dour, wrote this to me:

I traversed the Mesilau trail in September this year.
We were ill prepared. And did not have enough food for the trip.
I am an experienced tramper and easily cover 11km in 4-5 hours. We were not advised about extra food. I took plenty of water 2 litre bladder as well as two 650mls bottles.
We all suffered from lack of fuel because we were not advised of the severity of the landscape.

I am 71 years old and have been outdoors most of my adult life in all sorts of weather including snow and ice.
Having said that I have good memories of the trip.
I took wet weather gear, boots, not sneakers and a hiking pole as well as my normal hiking clothing. Wearing shorts and snow putties as well also helped.
I wish I had seen this site before we left.

So, moral of the story: Please pack extra food and fuel for the climb. I personally suggest that you bring some instant noodles, bread loaf and tuna/sardines, chocolates, nuts and raisins. You can also buy some hi-tech energy bars and gels in which a bit more expensive but surely can give you the extra fuel if needed. I had personally consume few brands of energy fuels – PowerBar, GU, NUN, Hammer and Hi5. Honestly, I am not a person who can consume those type of fuel (bars and gels) for a long time. It’s just taste very artificial. Take it with some proper food. You will like it.


PowerBar energy bars

There is a restaurant at Laban Rata Resthouse. However, the food and drink prices there are ridiculous. Don’t waste your money there, unless necessary.