I always received almost similar email every other day, asking about the mountain guide of Kinabalu. I will try to answer all the frequently asked questions here.
1. Do I need to book my mountain guide early, i.e. before I go to Kinabalu Park?
No, you don’t have to book the mountain guide early. You just need to book a climbing package with Sutera Sanctuary Lodges or Mountain Torq for the place to stay at Laban Rata. Your mountain guide will be assigned to you the morning you start your climb.
2. Does mountain guide and tour guide the same?
No, they are not the same. Your tour guide is a guide assigned to you by any tour & travel agent that you book for your trip. They may or may not be climbing up with you. Upon entering Kinabalu Park for the intention of climbing the mountain, a mountain guide is compulsory.
3. The trail on Mount Kinabalu is obvious. Can I climb without a mountain guide?
No. The mountain guide is compulsory for every climbers for safety reason.
4. What is the climbers:guide ration for the climb?
Starting from September 2008, the ratio for climbers:guide is 6:1. You can get the pricing structure of the mountain guides from Sabah Parks website.
5. Who does the mountain guide work for?
The mountain guide works for Sabah Parks, but they are not the staff of Sabah Parks. The mountain guides are usually local people from the surrounding village near Kinabalu.
6. Do I have to pay them personally, maybe tips?
They usually have a standard rate fee in which you will pay to Sabah Parks, either via your tour operator or directly to them. Tipping is not a common thing, but giving them some extra money will help them very much.
7. Can I choose the mountain guide I like?
Most probably. It depends on the situation. Some climbers would like to have a guide that can speak in their language. If the guide is available, you can surely get their services. For your information, most of the guide can speak a small amount of English.
8. What do they call mountain guide in Malay?
9. Can I have a guide for just me and my partner?
Yes, you can. You just have to pay a little bit more compared to climbers who climb with 5 other, as the guide can take maximum 6 climbers.
10. Do I have to book an accommodation for my guide and pay for their meals?
You don’t have to do that, as they have their own places to stay at Laban Rata. But you could always treat them with some nice meal.