Category Archives: Books

Get your Kinabalu Climber’s Guide now!

Finally, after more than a year of planning and extensive editing, the book is ready. You can get Kinabalu Climber’s Guide from Lulu.com from today onwards. As it is a “Print-On-Demand” publisher, the price for paperback version may be a bit steep for some.

But please don’t fret. I have also published a PDF version of the book for a cheaper price. And from today until Christmas, I will give 25% discount from the list price for the paperback version, so that you can have it for yourself or as a gift for your loved ones.

After completing your transaction with Lulu, you can immediately download the file to your computer. You can download the PDF file immediately after you complete your transaction. However, if you choose to buy the book, it will be shipped in 3-5 business days.

The book is actually written for you, if you think that you need more information on the climb up the mountain, specially designed for FIRST TIME climbers. For seasoned climbers the book may not be as interesting, as they have experienced the climb before. But it may be a good souvenir or gift for those whom you know planning for their maiden climb.

You may want to see some book preview here:

Kinabalu Climber’s Guide – Pre-release book review

As you know it by now, my Kinabalu Climber’s Guide book is on the way of getting published. The manuscript is currently undergoes extensive editing process by Lulu.com, one of the best self-publishing service on the internet. Some of our readers get the chance to be my book review – well, it’s actually a manuscript – pre-release review of the book before it is finally published.

One of the reviewer is Kay Stanford Kastum, a blogger from Sabah who writes for his own blog, Life Demo had the opportunity to give us some words to share about the upcoming book.

I found out about the Kinabalu Blog managed by Drizad when I started blogging a couple of years back. It was interesting to find out so many info about the hows and whats of climbing Mount Kinabalu. I heard about the legendary porters of Kinabalu but when I saw the actual photos of them carrying plastic water tanks, timbres and cooking gas tanks, I was more than amazed.

The funny thing is, there were many sites that provides info on Kinabalu but they were too general or most of it were talking about their experience rather than an actual step by step guide to ensure you are prepared in terms of what to expect and what to bring or how much you should bring (money or equipments). The Kinabalu Blog is almost like a one stop place for all your Kinabalu climb info.

The book covers most of what Kinabalu Blog has covered before but there are other extra infos added in as well. And there’s a big difference between reading something online and having a physical book to carry around and refer to anytime you want. You can read it while in bed, on the porch of a chalet, while having coffee at at the cafe or even while in the toilet!

I would highly recommend this book and it will be really meaningful. Who else is better to share info about Kinabalu than another climber who have experienced it all, married to a Sabahan Rungus local and knows exactly what he is talking about. I am going to climb Kinabalu, definitely!

Stay tune for the updates on the book!

Kinabalu Climber’s Guide book cover

Before I took Lulu’s publishing services, I tried to create my own book cover. The first two cover was done by me. I used GIMP to create the book cover, in which I found it a bit difficult. Not that GIMP is not good, but I don’t have enough creative juices and enough knowledge to use GIMP to the max. You can see it for yourself.

By the way, the content of the book is in extensive editing process. As English is not my prime language, you can imagine how tough it was for me and Lulu’s editing team to correct all the mistake. Please give me some more time, so that I can deliver you the best that I can produce!

Wish me luck!

Kinabalu Blog Book Table of Contents

The Kinabalu Blog Book is on the way of production. After a lot of considering, I have selected 27 timeless posts from this blog to be included in the book. I have categorized it into 4 main chapters:

  1. Travelers Tips
  2. Medical & Emergencies
  3. Climbing Equipments
  4. Via ferrata

I selected the post in which will show you how you can actually tweak your preparation before the climbing, so that you will have more knowledge and hopefully minimizing the risk of not being able to get to the highest peak of Borneo. At the same time, I hope the post will made your journey more enjoyable.

Travelers Tips

  • Post #1: Kinabalu National Park HQ Trail Map
  • Post #2: Weather issue: When is the best time to go to Mount Kinabalu?
  • Post #3: Ten FAQ on Mount Kinabalu mountain guides
  • Post #4: Jungle Adventure tips on Kinabalu Park Mountain Trail
  • Post #5: Ten ways to save your money while backpacking in Kota Kinabalu
  • Post #6: Five things you should taste before you leave Kinabalu
  • Post #7: Mount Kinabalu climbing tips for children
  • Post #8: Climbing Mount Kinabalu – From a Muslim’s perspective
  • Post #9: Eastern Plateau of Kinabalu – Alternative climbing route for hardcore climbers

Medical and Emergencies

  • Post #10: Don’t forget your travel medical insurance
  • Post #11: Air ambulance for emergency evacuation on Mount Kinabalu?
  • Post #12: Rhodiola Rosea – Herbal remedy for acute mountain sickness
  • Post #13: Anti-malarial medication for travelers to interior of Sabah
  • Post #14: Five medications you should have for your climbing trip
  • Post #15: First Aid kit for your Mount Kinabalu climbing trip
  • Post #16: How to treat blister during your climbing trip
  • Post #17: Nine most common injuries to climbers of Kinabalu

Climbing Equipments

  • Post #18: Hiking pole and walking stick for your Kinabalu climb
  • Post #19: Flashlight for your Kinabalu climb
  • Post #20: Climbing gloves for Mount Kinabalu climbers
  • Post #21: Altimeter watch buying guide for your climbing trip up Kinabalu
  • Post #22: How to choose a climbing backpack for your Kinabalu trip
  • Post #23: How to choose a good hiking sandals for your trip to Kinabalu
  • Post #24: Shoes and gears for Mount Kinabalu Climbathon Skyrunners

Via Ferrata

  • Post #25: Mount Kinabalu via ferrata adventure FAQ
  • Post #26: Five provided equipments for your Mount Kinabalu via ferrata adventure
  • Post #27: Mountaintorq via ferrata trip preparation notes

If you have any more suggestion, I am glad to hear it.

Would you like to be my co-writer/editor for Kinabalu Blog book?

Yes. You heard it right. I have been delaying (procrastinating) my book since the past few months as I am doing another project right now. And I think I can create a better book by offering you to be my co-writer cum editor, as I my English is not so good. (I got credit for my SPM English subject).

So, if you think you can work on your own, have a very good motivation on delayed gratification with good English grammar and command, then you may want to consider the offer.

My plan is very simple. A lot of my website and blog visitors found out that the free information here are precious. Some of the post are not available anywhere. (Try google “climbing Kinabalu sandals“. The first result most likely is mine)

So, I am planning to extract the best informative post from this blog, maybe around 50-100 posts and print it out as a book. You as a co-writer/editor will help me on the proofreading and editing the content. I am not keen on finding formal editorial services at this moment of time, as I am doing this for fun, and not so much for profit. Unless, I don’t have any choice.

We will then go to Lulu.com to get the book published. As a token of appreciation, the profits from the book will be shared among us.

Sounds really simple, eh?

If you think you can or know anybody is, drop me an email.

Book review: Sabah Insight Pocket Guide

I personally own this guide book. This 100-pages full coloured guide book is a comprehensive guide for travellers to Sabah, Malaysian part of Borneo. I bought the book few months back as a references for my Kota Kinabalu Travel guide which will be published soon by a4trip.com.

The guide book is written by Wendy Hutton, a reknown writer and editor since 1967 in South East Asia. It was written in a very systematic way, whereby she divided the book into day-itineraries which covers half and full day itineraries in Kota Kinabalu and the surrounding area, and excursions, which means you need to go to the places and spend more than one day to experience it.

The book highlights all the best spots in Sabah – from the majestic mountain of Borneo, Mount Kinabalu to the deep blue water of Sipadan Island. She also includes tips on shopping, eating out and nightlife, mostly around Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Tawau (i.e. the main big cities of Sabah).

Amazingly, she also includes some history and culture of this part of Borneo, calendar of special events (in which you may get the more detail annual calendar from Sabah Tourism website), some practical tips for travelers (from air to ground), plus the list of recommended hotels and the free pull out maps of East Malaysia (Sabah & Sarawak), Sabah and Kota Kinabalu.

These are the places that are featured in the guide book:

  1. Kota Kinabalu highlight with sightseeing
  2. Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park (a group of island just 10 minutes away from Kota Kinabalu)
  3. Discover Kadazandusun Culture in Monsopiad
  4. Bajau village in Tuaran
  5. Kinabalu Park HQ
  6. White water rafting in Padas & Kiulu River
  7. Rungus Longhouse
  8. Nature trail in Rafflesia Information Center
  9. Long Pa Sia and Maga Falls
  10. Sepilok, Gomantong and Kinabatangan River for orang utan & proboscis monkey
  11. Turtle Island marine park
  12. Mount Kinabalu – to the summit of Borneo
  13. Sipadan Island
  14. Danum Valley Conservation Center

While she did not include Maliau Basin, Tenom Agricultural Park, Survivor Island Pulau Tiga and Layang-Layang, the places that she mentioned are more than enough if you really experience them all.

So, should you buy it?
Yes, definitely! Moreover if your trip is focused mainly on Sabah. It’s good for you to have it with you on your trip here, as other travel guide books may includes other states like Sarawak, Kalimantan (Indonesia) and Brunei, which the information sometimes can be very superficial.

The challenges of becoming a writer of Kinabalu

Anything worth doing is difficult

I am at the same situation where I was 3 years ago. When I said that I wanted to write a book about climbing Kinabalu last week, I know it would not be easy. Writing this book is the same as creating my website 3 years back.

For the past 7 days, I have been busy doing my new homework – on how to become a writer and maybe a self-publisher – after telling you that I am writing a book. I learned new things, I faced new challenges and I meet new friends on the quest being another writer. I just would like to share with you some of the challenges that you might be facing if you decided to join the bandwagon.

The challenge is on the production process
While having Mount Kinabalu as my main theme, and all the information will be gathered around the majestic mountain, finding information and writing about it is not a big problem for me. It’s the production process that really gives me new challenges.

Now I know that I need an editor for the book as my English (or Manglish) is not very good. Publishing a book without editing it properly and professionally will jeopardize your credibility of writing. After searching for few online editors, I chocked up when I saw their fees for editing. Searching for an editor locally in Kota Kinabalu will be another big challenges as I have a very limited information on who to refer to. Maybe looking for an English teacher or uni tutor may save me some cost on editing process…

I need to get a publisher to publish the book. I tried traditional way – emailing one of the famous Sabah’s local publisher in Kota Kinabalu. I got rejected, but I don’t mind. I have expected that to be happening, because they don’t think my title would have a big audience and market demand.

Dear Ruhaizad,

Thank you for your email of June 13. After careful consideration, we regret to inform you that we are currently not interested in publishing a book based on your website and blog (http://mount-kinabalu-borneo.com/).

Although you operate a successful website with valuable content on climbing Mount Kinabalu, we believe that the market demand for such a book is insufficient for this project to be a financially viable one.

We sincerely appreciate you taking the time to contact us and your kind consideration in approaching us to be your publisher.

Do keep up the great job with the website. It’s a great resource for everyone interested in climbing Mount Kinabalu.

I went online and found Lulu.com as a good option. I know by going to Lulu, I will be labeled as self-publisher. Lulu gives me a new hope of becoming a writer. They just need me to write the book, send the file to them and they will charge me for printing. Although the price stated on their website is a bit overboard for a self-publisher like me, none other online publisher could give the same kind of services that Lulu could provide.

I have checked out more than 20 other online publisher (in which almost all of them based either in the US, Canada or UK), and Lulu stands out of being the publisher that is ‘borderless’. Sounds really easy, but there are some catch.

Lulu will not help you on editing your book, unless you pay for the services. Lulu will not help you on formatting your book. What you sent to them is what they are going to print. If your format is haywire, you will get an ugly book to sell. Especially so for me, as I am going to put in photos, graphics and illustration on the book to enhance it usability. Lulu will also not going to create a book cover for you, but of course, you could pay them to do it.

ISBN issues

To publish a book, I need to have my own ISBN number for my book. Books without ISBN will be difficult to market, as Barnes & Noble and Amazon do not sell books without the ISBN. I spend almost one whole day reading about it to understand ISBN, and to be a credible writer, I have to have the number for my book. I still confuse in some of their information, so if you want to know more, it is better for you to check on ISBN from Wikipedia yourself.

Luckily for Malaysian, requesting for an ISBN for your book is free. We just have to send two forms from Perpustakaan Negara Malaysia website and a copy of your Mykad and they will do it for you. I saw some website that could provide the same service, but you have to pay them for it.

After considering all the features, I decided to do take up the challenges and DIY most of the things – except the editing process – that I could pay someone to do it. I am where I was 3 years ago – doing everything from scratch. It was my website then, and this book now.

Yesterday I was busy getting myself a grip with my GIMP version 2.4.6 to create the book cover. There are still a lot to do on the cover, but it may be good if you could give me some comment before I finalize it.

Now I need to learn Inkscape to get my graphic and illustration done…

I need your help… I am writing a book on Mount Kinabalu

Yes. I am writing a book about Mount Kinabalu. A true physical book, that you can own, read and write on it. Not just some online PDF copy of an ebook. I did published an ebook about climbing Kinabalu 2 years back which you could get it for only USD7 (donation), but think I it needs a revamp and updates.

I am planning to publish the best few selected post from this blog to be included in the book, mainly on the tips and guidelines which will benefit any climbers who planned to climb Mount Kinabalu.

I will also includes some of the important information on climbing Mount Kinabalu which are in the website. But I will not mention anything about how sucks it is with the booking process.

It will just be a writing of how-to guide to prepare the climb, without mentioning any issues, as I think by the time this book is widely available, the issues should be resolved.

If you don’t mind, I would really love to hear some feedback and suggestion from you regarding my intention.

  1. Are the articles on the climbing tips enough or do I need to write some more? (You may check the articles from the Articles page).
  2. If not, what are the areas that I should cover?
  3. What would be the suitable book title for it? Can “Kinabalu Blog” be a book title?
  4. Should I add Kota Kinabalu and my background Rungus extended family to be featured inside the book?
  5. Do you have your own personal opinion?

I am also looking for a local publisher to help me on this book project, as getting some online publisher to do the task seems costly. Do you have any suggestion on any good publisher here in KK?

The aim of the book is to be the most lightweight and handy travel guide book on climbing the majestic mountain of Borneo.

3 recommended guide books for backpacking around the world

Have you found the gift for your loved ones this festive season? If you still do not find any, I would like to suggest these 3 books from Amazon.com that you can buy as a gift, if your recipient love backpacking around the world.

Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts

Rolf Potts’ tome of vagabonding is an inspirational work rather than a practical guide. While the same practical information is contained in other books, this book shines in the area of travel philosophy. Travel is like a religion, where some people are incredibly fervent about it, while others just don’t understand. This book makes you realize that long-term travel is not only possible, but desirable and worthwhile.

I particularly liked the section on working for travel. As a 9-to-5 worker planning a long-term trip, I needed the inspiration to keep going. I liked being told that working will actually make me appreciate travel more. After all, to afford travel, I have to be here anyway.

Throughout the book, there are great little excerpts from famous travelers, philosophers, and explorers, as well as anecdotes from ordinary travelers. Rolf has a particular liking for Walt Whitman, and I may just have to go pick up some Walt poetry now. The literary references in this book let you know that world travel and a simple life aren’t new concepts.

The only problem I see with this book is that it may soon become dated with its references to specific websites.

The book is of a small and convenient size to take on the road.

An exclusive review by Shannon B Davis “Nepenthe” (Arlington, MA United States), courtesy of Amazon.com

Worldwalk: One Man’s Four Year Journey Around The World by Steven M. Newman
WorldwalkStephen M. Newman, a 6’2″ 28 year old journalist decided to walk around the world with his giant backpack clinger, living only on hospitality, to see if the world is really still a good place. The fact that this is a real story, a real account makes the most impact on me.

In the ancient days, people made pilgrimages, holy quests and this is what his story was of, a modern pilgrimage. He comes across as optimistic and faces the world with a sense of humor even though some of the things he sees and the people he encounters are truly horrible.

His optimism seems a little forced sometimes, a little overzealous, but maybe that was how he really felt. Anyways, I guess nobody likes a whiner, and who would really want to listen to him whine?

During his whole voyage, there were a number of times that he did get lucky, and from his account, a lot of the people he met were friendly and kind and hospitable, and that has a lot to say about the world.

So you should read this story, he points out some interesting sociological standpoints about how people in other countries see Americans, and it makes you feel like being an American is something truly lucky to be. He was very brave, to do what he did.

It probably was a lot harder than he made it sound. You can find Steve in the 1988 Guinness book of world records as the first person to walk around the world alone.

An exclusive review by hzze (AZ), courtesy of Amazon.com

The Practical Nomad: How To Travel Around The World by Edward Hasbrouck

I bought this book expecting to find something other than what it is. Instead of the subtitle “How to travel around the world” maybe it should have been subtitled “What you need to know before you travel around the world.”

The author is very knowledgeable and the book offers a lot of valuable insight. It’s been helpful for me planning my own global crossing. But not helpful in a pragmatic “here’s what you need to do” kind of way. It was helpful in educating me about travel industry practices, paperwork preparation, and conditions in certain areas of the world.

However, I’m a bit dismayed by two aspects of the book. Hasbrouck seems to tout train travel on almost every page. He has a real love of trains I guess. He even said on one page that given the same distance (up to about 600 miles) he’d take the train over flying because, he says, they’re more comfortable, the food is better, and you meet interesting people.

Maybe my travel experience is vastly different than his, but I don’t hold the same romantic fondness of trains. My experience has been they’re a crowded, hot, time-consuming confinement with people that looked a bit sketchy. And I consider myself an adventurous traveler. I’m not one to watch the world from the bay window of a luxury cruise liner.

It also becomes annoying how the author seems to inject his political opinion into every page, almost every paragraph. He seems to editorialize on everything – capitalism, socialism, class bias, feminism, health and disease, food distribution, etc. I happen to agree with a lot of his opinion but to have it be so ubiquitous is droning.

Overall, this is a helpful book, probably one of the better ones out there for general around-the-world information. But if you’re looking for the nuts and bolts “how to” information, find something else.

An exclusive review Todd Adams (Nashville, TN United States), courtesy of Amazon.com

Wild Malaysia: The Wildlife and Scenery of Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak, and Sabah

“If you have been looking for a source of inspiration concerning the wildlife and scenery of peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak, and Sabah, this is it … the caves, flowers, turtles, butterflies, birds, gibbons, and more that I’ve missed on other visits up the peninsula! The book is well organized with individual sections on peninsular Malaysia, with many subsections, and on Sabah and Sarawak. It is a coffeetable book that you will use.”
— Unique & Exotic Travel Reporter

Book Description

Wild Malaysia is a major new pictorial study of the natural history of southeast Asia’s southernmost peninsula and offshore islands, which are home to an enormous wealth of species. Produced in association with the World Wide Fund for Nature, it is illustrated with 400 superb full-color plates taken especially for this book, of plants, insects and other invertebrates, fish, reptiles, frogs, birds, and mammals, each in its natural habitat.

Wild Malaysia offers a general yet accurate introduction to this spectacularly scenic region and its national parks. Malaysia’s tropical islands, topped by rainforest and ringed by coral reefs and transparent blue seas, are as beautiful and untouched as anywhere in the world. Its vast and exotic wildlife encompasses elephants and the world’s smallest rhinoceros, a profusion of monkeys and apes (including proboscis and leaf monkeys, gibbons, and orangutans), the slow loris and the tarsier, the clouded leopard and the sunbear, bats and reptiles, a spectacular variety of bird and marine life, and over 10,000 species of plants.

An extensive introduction examines the topography, history, climate, and peoples of Malaysia and includes important discussions of the relationship between man and forest, between conservation and development. Sections on animal and plant life provide an overview of the multiplicity of species to be found. And in “A Walk through the Rainforest,” Junaidi Payne explains the complex interdependence of the forest ecosystem, details Malaysia’s conservation programs, and the plans to create new reserves and protected areas not only in the forest but on the islands and surrounding seas as well.

Individual chapters describe peninsular Malaysia’s islands, coastal areas, and hill forest (many of which have been designated as national parks), Sarawak’s great rivers and cave systems, and Sabah’s offshore islands with their coral reefs, marine life, and exotic flora. There is also a complete list of conservation areas.

Gerald Cubitt is one of the world’s leading natural history photographers. Junaidi Payne is a professional conservation biologist and Senior Scientific Officer with World Wide Fund Malaysia. He is coauthor with Charles M. Francis of A Field Guide to the Mammals of Borneo.

An editorial review of Wild Malaysia: The Wildlife and Scenery of Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak, and Sabah, courtesy of Amazon.com.