Category Archives: Mount Kinabalu

Reader’s mailbag: An email from Deric on Kinabalu

I received an email this morning from one of our readers who would like to know more about the mountain guide fee for his climb. Deric sent his email with an attachment from SSL website’s information on the guide fees. My comments & answers will be in purple.

Hi, I’m Deric from Penang.
Actually I have tight budge.. so thinking of save as much as possible.
I would like to get some advice from u.

I plan to book Airasia ticket round trip which cost RM200 and Tune Hotels in Kota Kinabalu for 3 nights for RM90 in this September.
While staying in Tune Hotel in Kota Kinabalu may save you some cost for accommodation, the distance from Tune Hotel to the city center may cost you some money. For your information, Tune Hotel is about 12km away to the outskirt of Kota Kinabalu. So, you may have to take a bus (in which, they may provide) to get to the city center for your sightseeing. 1Borneo, a new & modern shopping complex which is adjacent to Tune Hotel is also not that cheap.

And for sure, I plan to have Kinabalu mountain climbing. But I would like to know about how much I have to pay 🙂

I visited http://www.suterasanctuarylodges.com/ and find out the price list.

As show below:
2. Mountain Guide Fees
Timpohon Gate / Peak / Timpohon Gate
1-3 Climbers – RM70.00 per trip
4-6 Climbers – RM74.00 per trip
7-8 Climbers – RM80.00 per trip
Timpohon / Peak / Mesilau Trail
* Starting and ending at different point
1-3 Climbers – RM80.00 per trip
4-6 Climbers – RM86.00 per trip
7-8 Climbers – RM92.00 per trip
Mesilau Trail / Peak / Mesilau Trail
1-3 Climbers – RM84.00 per trip
4-6 Climbers – RM90.00 per trip
7-8 Climbers – RM100.00 per trip

What are differences within these 3 packages?
As it stated there, you will start and end at different places, according to the packages. Most first time climbers will take the Timpohon / Peak / Timpohon, in which the shorter trail compared to Mesilau / Peak / Mesilau. The price for each package is also tailored to their respective distance; the shorter the distance, the cheaper it is.

Do I need to sum it up to make me reach the summit?
No. But it will be cheaper for you if you climb in a group. Bigger group will save some more.

I calculated other payment as listed in website and it costs RM50.
Is there any other hidden charge that I need to know?

All the charges will usually be stated in SSL website, and you have to contact them directly to get the information. However, the other additional costs would be the climbing permit, entrance fee, insurance, transport (from Kinabalu Park to Timpohon Gate), certificate and porter (optional).

Perhaps if u know what is usual cost to if want to reach the summit?
I used to pay less than RM250 couple of years back, but with SSL’s new systems, you need to pay more than RM500, I think…

Pls share with me…..

Thanks a lot!!!!

Anymore suggestion of answers?

Anybody knows what does the climber’s insurance covers?

For those who have climbed Mount Kinabalu before: Did you notice that you paid RM7 (USD2.15) for an insurance coverage?

And do you know what does the insurance covers? Against injuries? Bad weather? Cancellation?

It struck me yesterday when I received an email from one of our readers, Tan Boh Seng. She was asking about that insurance issue, and I personally did not realize it as an issue until she gave me her story.

Hi,

I hope you can enlighten me on the insurance coverage which everyone has to pay to climb Mt Kinabalu. What does it cover?

Recently (about 1 week ago), my sister-in-law fractured her ankle on her way down from Summit to Sayat-Sayat. She has to pay RM100 for a porter to carry her down to Laban Rata and the following day she has to pay RM800 for 5 porters (taking turns) to carry her down (piggy back) to Timpohan from Laban Rata. Her ankle is now being treated in Kuala Lumpur and in cast.

She appears blur about the insurance coverage. I could not locate any FAQ on this topic. I would appreciate your kind feedback.

Thank you.

Tan Boh Seng

I could not answer her question at this moment, because I don’t have any clue. I replied to her about it, and will be searching for an answer in the next few days.

If you have any, just drop us your comment.

Kinabalu National Park Headquarters Trail Map

I received an email form one of our readers regarding other trails in Kinabalu Park. Swen Vetters wrote:

We (3 adults and 1 child) would be interested to visit the Mt Kinabalu Park just for some trails around the headquarter and maybe a transport to the end of the road just to some view points, but not climbing to the peak.

Are there trails around the headquarter to lookout points ? Is there a possibility to drive just until the end of the road, where the climbing usually starts ? What are the fees to pay for the before mentioned ?

Thanks in advance for your kind feedback

Best regards and have a nice day

In fact, there are other trails in Kinabalu Park Headquarters for those who would like to explore. All of the trails are situated inside the park and they will not leads you to the Summit Trail which is the main trail to Low’s Peak.

The forest around the Kinabalu Park Headquarters is always beautiful, whether it is lit by the first rays of the sun over the eastern ridge, shadowed by passing clouds at midday or veiled in drifting mists at evening.

A number of walking trails have been developed around the Park HQ ranging in length from 20 minutes to 2-3 hours. These trails are marked on the trail maps (below) available at Park HQ. Remember that times given are approximate and vary greatly depending on how fit you are and how often you stop.

The trails around the headquarters can be divided into two basic groups – Ridgetop Trails and Streamside Trails.

Kinabalu Park Headquarters Trail Map

RIDGETOP TRAILS

Kiau View Trail (estimated time: 90 minutes one way)
This starts by the entrance arch into the Kinabalu Park and comes out just after the 1.5km (1 mile) mark on the Power Station road opposite the entrance to the Silau-Silau Trail. A wide undulating ridge trail with several shelters and good views looking down to the west coast, it is excellent for familiarizing yourself with the most typical trees of Kinabalu’s mountain forest.

Pandanus Trail (estimated time: 20 minutes to Kiau View Trail)

This is part of the route for the World Mountain Running Trophy Race that took place at the Kinabalu Park in September 1999. It starts just opposite the entrance to the car park at the Administration Building, zigzagging up the side of the ridge to reach the Kiau View Trail at the ridge crest.

Bukit Ular Hillside Trail (estimated time: 30 minutes)
A fairly steep trail that contours around the side of Bukit Ular near the top end of the Power Station road. It starts about two-thirds of the way up the Power Station road coming out just behind the Power Station itself. A steep 30 minutes detour just below the Power Station leads to the top of Bukit Ular with excellent waterfall and mountain views.

Bundu Tuhan View Trail (estimated time: 7 minutes to the ridgetop shelter; 25 minutes to Liwagu Trail)
Starts from the loop road below the staff quarters near the Conservation Center. The trails leads up to a shelter on top of the ridge above the main highway to Ranau which gives good views of Bundu Tuhan village and a panorama of the southern mountains, including Trusmadi (2642m), the second highest peak in Sabah. Then continue down the side of the ridge to the Liwagu Trail.

Bukit Tupai Trail (estimated time: 25 minutes)
A short trail that starts near the Multipurpose Hall, crosses the Silau-Silau stream and trail goes straight up to the ridge crest and the Bukit Tupai shelter. Excellent views of the HQ complex, the tree canopy and in clear weather outstanding views of Mount Kinabalu. At the ridge crest it joins the Mempening and Bukit Burong trails.

Bukit Burong Trail (estimated time: 10 minutes to Silau-Silau, 25 minutes to Bukit Burong)
Starts from the road, first crossing the Silau-Silau stream and trail, then going gradually up the ridge side to the Bukit Burong shelter at the top. The trail connects to the Mempening Trail via the Bukit Tupai shelter. They are favorites with visitors because of the variety and convenience, combining hill forest, cool stream valley and dry ridge tops. Bukit Burong shelter gives five panoramas of Kinabalu, the lower Liwagu valley and the HQ area.

Mempening Trail (estimated time: 30 minutes from road to Silau-Silau)
Another ridgetop trail starting about half way up the Power Station road and leading down the ridge through dense oak-chestnut forest to Bukit Tupai and the Silau-Silau stream. Good views of the Park HQ complex and the Liwagu valley.

STREAMSIDE TRAILS

Silau-Silau Trail (estimated time: 50 minutes from Power Station road to Liwagu River)
This follows the cool and mossy Silau-Silau stream for nearly all its course from its source below the Kiau Gap right down to the junction with the Liwagu river near the overhanging rock of the Liwagu Cave. Many visitors enjoy walking this trail in conjunction with another one such as Bukit Burong or Kiau View. A detour joining the Bukit Tupai Trail is made in one area to avoid the Mountain GArden. Short cuts back to the road can be taken near the twin-bed cabins and where the path joins the Bukit Tupai and Bukit Burong trails.

Liwagu River Trail (estimated time: 3 hours from Power Station down to Silau-Silau junction)
The Liwagu Trail starts near the Kinabalu Basam restaurant at Park HQ and leads down to the Silau-Silau stream but does not cross it until the junction with the Liwagu river. From here the trail follows the Liwagu river upwards, sometimes almost along the river bank, at one time on a high bluff, until it joins the Power Station road near the Timpohon Gate. This is a varied trail with ridge forest, cool stream valley, feathery rattan palms and the deep green gorge of the Liwagu itself. The trail is steep and narrow in places but there are several plants not found on other trails.

The best way to walk it is to get a lift to the Power Station and then follow the Liwagu Trail down. Because of its length the trail is not much used and visitors should check to see if there have been any tree falls or landslides recently.

Image courtesy of MySabah.com
References: Globetrotter Visitor’s Guide Kinabalu Park (Globetrotter Visitor’s Guides), by Anthea Phillipps

I have not shown you my photos…

I posted 6 photo-blog post on Special Olympic Mt. Kinabalu Challenge for the past few weeks, but I did not have my own photos included. Oh, I also did not introduce to you the medical team that went up the mountain, volunteering for the health and safety aspects of the athletes.

I don’t know about you, but for me, going up there for the 5th time, there were nothing special about the mountain and me. It was more of the athletes and the mountain. When you walk side by side with these athletes, and seeing their special gift from God, you will feel really thankful to Him, by not having any disability.

Anyway, these are my photos, and this is the last post on the event.Special Olympic

The medical team: (From left) Dr. Ahmad Tarmizi, Dr. Loriot, Dr. Azlan, Dr. Hanafiah, me, Dr. Sakinah & Dr. Azuan. Dr. Liaw (the medical team leader) is not in the photo, as he was giving the briefing while this photo was taken.

Special Olympic

Early morning, before we started our journey. Photo was taken from Bundu Tuhan Retreat Center.

Special Olympic

I tore my right knee meniscus few months back while playing football. That is why I wore an open cap knee-guard to support it. It helped a lot!

Special Olympic

Laban Rata resthouse. The temperature is only 8.4 degree Celcius.

Special Olympic

Going down Kinabalu with my Crocs-like Asadi sandal and my hiking pole.

An email from Wenky on climbing Kinabalu

I received an email from one of Kinabalu Blog readers, Wenky. I hope you could benefit from then answers that I gave to her. My answers would be in bold.

Dear Drizad,

Hi, I’m a visitor of your blog, this is my 2nd time writing to you. We have a lot of questions about Mt KK climbing which needs your direction and guidance.

We are going to ‘conquer’ the Mt KK next month, and since this is our 1st time to Sabah and Mt KK, many things is DIY, without the help of agent. Hopefully you could help us to solve our simple questions. 😉

1) Is it convenient to get public transport from KK city to KK park? What is the price range for bus service from KK city to KK park?
Getting a public transport from KK to Kinabalu Park is quite easy. You just have to go to the bus station near Padang Merdeka in KK city center, and you could see the label and booth for buses to go to Ranau/Kundasang/Kinabalu Park. The cost would be around RM15-RM20.

2) Know that SSL also provide shuttle service from KK city, but how frequent is the service? Is it only 1 service per day?
I am not sure about SSL’s shuttle bus services, as they always revised it. You need to ask them about it here: http://www.suterasanctuarylodges.com

3) Does the Kinabalu park itself provide transport within the KK park, poring hot spring, canopy walk and other nearby tourist spots?
No, but there are public transport available. You just have to get info from the Sabah Park Management office there in Kinabalu Park.

4) Does public transport such as taxi and busses by pass KK park frequently ? Is it convenient to get public transport from KK park to other tourist spots?
Yes.

5) We plan to stay in KK park on the 1st day, b4 climbing on the next day, but found out the accommodation is pretty expensive, they charge 1 bunk bed in one of the oldest and low budget hostel for RM70 per pax, is the price reasonable?? And what is the earliest time to check in?
I am not sure about that hostel pricing, as it sometimes depends on other services available in the hostel also. You have to ask them about the check-in time, but usually after 1pm.

6) We plan to register at KK HQ 1 day ahead b4 climbing, so does it mean we can directly proceed to Timpohon Gate on the day of climbing without gather at the KK HQ?
No, you don’t have to. Because you have to get a bus from Kinabalu Park HQ to Timpohon Gate. They will provide you with the bus. You don’t have to go to Timpohon Gate yourself. And that morning, you will be given a guide, before you are allowed to climb.

7) Does KK HQ provide transportation form the HQ to Timpohon gate? Is it inclusive transfer package once we register?
Yes. I am not sure whether the bus fare is inclusive in the package. You have to ask the package provider.

8) Is it true that we can store our bag in KK park HQ for RM10 per piece per day?
Yes, but I am not sure about the pricing.

9) Does the porter walk together with us when climbing up to Laban Rata? Can few persons share 1 porter? Since they calculate by weight.
Usually porters walk by themselves, but if you insist them to follow you, they could. Sharing porter is okay, but they usually have their maximum limit of the weight they carry.

10) Does foodstuff sell at KK park such as energy bar, isotonic drinks, fruits sold at a reasonable rate and not tourist rate?
I am not sure about that, but the last time I went there, they are quite pricey.

11) We plan to stay in KK park, any recommendation of nearby eating outlet sell good food and yet and a reasonable price?
There are some stalls and restaurants just opposite Kinabalu Park entrance. Some says that the food/price is reasonable. Otherwise, you can just get a transport to Kundasang town for foods.

12) What other precautions we have to take when climbing Mt KK?
Precautions? The most important thing is to take care of your health. I have written some info on that matter in the website. Here:
http://mount-kinabalu-borneo.com/mount-kinabalu-health.html
http://mount-kinabalu-borneo.com/mount-kinabalu-medical.html

Thanking in advance for your kind solution, hope you don’t mind the countless questions above. Thank you very much.

Regards,

Wen Ki

( Ipoh Mari)

If you think you have a better answers, you can just drop your comments in the comment box below. Cheers! 

The flora & fauna of Kinabalu

This would be my 6th post on Special Olympics Mt. Kinabalu Challenges. After posting about the athletes, escorts and the volunteers, this would be a post on flora & fauna of Kinabalu.

Frankly speaking, I have never shoot this much photos on the flora and fauna on my previous trip up the mountain. Enjoy!

Flora & fauna of Kinabalu

Flora & fauna of Kinabalu

Rhododendron sp.

Flora & fauna of Kinabalu

Mountain squirrel. You usually find them around Pondok Ubah, Pondok Mempening & Layang-Layang Hut. They are now more demanding. Unless you give them expensive chocolate, they will bug you…

Flora & fauna of Kinabalu

Flora & fauna of Kinabalu

Flora & fauna of Kinabalu

Flora & fauna of Kinabalu

A group of Nephentes villosa.

Flora & fauna of Kinabalu

Stunted trees on summit plateau.

Flora & fauna of Kinabalu

The rope on summit plateau with plant in the rock creases.

Nephentes sp.

Who know what species of Nephentes is this?

Flora & fauna of Kinabalu

This is an out of focus fern. The problem when you use point and shoot camera…

Rhododendron sp.

Another color of Rhododendron sp. 

The Unsung Heroes of Kinabalu : Porters & Guides

Ahh… We will not be able to reach the peak of Kinabalu without them. We will cry in agony if nobody help us on carrying our 32kg (~70lb) backpack for our 1 week stay here in Sabah. The Unsung Heroes of Kinabalu.

I would like to dedicate this post to them. I wrote one post on them few months ago, but things seemed to be viewed differently when I captured it myself with my Powershot A470. By the way, this is my 5th post on my trip up the mountain with Special Olympics Mt. Kinabalu Challenge.

One of them carrying a 39kg frozen meat up to Laban Rata. One of them carrying an athlete – Harris, an 18yr old Down’s Syndrome down from Paka to Villosa (oh, he’s a Sabah Park Renjer actually). Others just carrying things that you can’t imagine

Anyway, enjoy the photos!

Porters & Guides of Kinabalu
The gas tank weigh 16kg…

Porters & Guides of Kinabalu

Porters & Guides of Kinabalu

Porters & Guides of Kinabalu
He is carrying a 39kg frozen meat up to Laban Rata.

Porters & Guides of Kinabalu

I am not joking. I snap this porter with an “Adidas Kampung” WITHOUT SOCKS!!! And he even walk faster than me!!!

Porters & Guides of Kinabalu

They are our guides. Look closely. You may think that they are wearing Crocs up the mountain.

Porters & Guides of Kinabalu

The porters who overtook us during the climb.

Porters & Guides of Kinabalu

Porters & Guides of Kinabalu

Porters & Guides of Kinabalu

Yes, they are porters. All of them carrying the weight which are 5x heavier than mine…

Porters & Guides of Kinabalu

Guess what did they carry? GARBAGE! I snap this just about another 100 meters to Timpohon Gate, on my way down from the peak.

Porters & Guides of Kinabalu

Porters & Guides of Kinabalu

They were carrying garbage from Laban Rata Restaurant.

Kinabalu Summit Plateau – I only reached 7.5km…

My fourth post on Special Olympics Mt. Kinabalu Challenge 2008. Unfortunately this time, I did not able to reach the peak. It is not because of me, but more to the athletes. Some of the athletes were just not fit to continue. Almost all whom did not able to continue experienced fatigue and maybe mild acute mountain sickness (AMS). As the last person to climb, I have to stick with the last athlete and his/her escort.

We reached 7.5km mark at 6.30am, in which, the guides and renjers ordered us to climb down, as time was running out. For me, I don’t mind that I did not able to reach the peak this time. As I said before, this journey was not about me. It’s about the athletes. I was just glad that although we only managed to get to 7.5km mark, nobody gets hurt.

Enjoy the photos!

Kinabalu Summit Plateau

Rock boulders at 7km mark.

Kinabalu Summit Plateau

Kinabalu Summit Plateau

Kinabalu Summit Plateau

Mala, an athlete from Brunei that I escorted.

Kinabalu Summit Plateau

Kinabalu Summit Plateau

Kinabalu Summit Plateau

She hurts her knee while going down.

Kinabalu Summit Plateau

Sayat-Sayat Hut.

Kinabalu Summit Plateau

Down the Rockface.

Kinabalu Summit Plateau

Kinabalu Summit Plateau

Kinabalu Summit Plateau

Kinabalu Rockface

To be continued…

Wanna see the thrill at the “Rockface” of Kinabalu?

I think this would be my third post on Special Olympics Mt. Kinabalu Challenge that I volunteered to be involved. The challenges of getting 40 special athletes up the mountain became more intense at this part of Summit Trail of Kinabalu – the “Rockface”. Rockface is a place where the jungle trail ends, and climbers of Kinabalu have to start using rope to climb. At some place you also have to scramble to get up and down trail.

Problems with these special athletes (not all, but some of them) are poor coordination and balancing while having to use rope or moving up and down the trail. Like for example, a Down’s syndrome guy, Harris, has to have his escort holding him all the way up and down, just to make sure that he do not fall down.

The Rockface is very steep, around 70 degree angle, where you have to move sideways up the trail. While climbing up in the dark, you won’t see and feel the height, but it would be a different story when you come down in daylight.

Most normal people just need to hold the rope tight to get up the Rockface, but for these special athletes, they need extra safety to make sure that nothing bad happen. With the help from OBS (Outward Bound Sabah), these special athletes were equipped with helmet, sit harness, carabiner and rope for those who have poor coordination and balancing.

The photos below tells you almost everything. Again, as a sweeper team, I am with the last athlete…

Special Olympics

Just before we start our journey at 2am in the morning from Gunting Lagadan.

Special Olympics

Joanna (with the helmet).

Special Olympics

Anthony (in green), the Chief Mountain Guide. See the green plastic bag from his backpack? He brought the sandwiches up…

Special Olympics

Special Olympics

Special Olympics

Special Olympics

Harris, a Down’s Syndrome guy. They are fitting him with a harness.

Special Olympics

Special Olympics

A Taiwanese athlete.

Special Olympics

To be continued…

4th Special Olympics Mt. Kinabalu Challenge – Going up to Laban Rata

These are the photos taken the day we start our journey up from Timpohon Gate to Laban Rata. It was a day climb, clear day up to Layang-Layang, but it started to drizzle afterwards to Villosa & Paka. I did get some of the athletes name and where they comes from, and I must tell you that they are the few last participants who arrived at Laban Rata. I knew it because I was with the sweeper team – nobody else would climb behind me, except the renjers, guides & porters.

Special Olympics

Just after the flag off…

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The team from Selangor.

Special Olympics

Special Olympics

The steepest steps just before Kandis…

Special Olympics

An athlete from Taiwan.

Special Olympics

An athlete from Tawau with his uncle as an escort.

Special Olympics

Joanna is a cute girl from Kudat. Dr. Liaw was treating her after she fell down.

Special Olympics

John, one of the volunteer who climbed with me.

Special Olympics

An athlete from Brunei who needed attention while at Layang-Layang.

Special Olympics

At 5.0km mark, 3001m above sea level.

Special Olympics

It was misty. That is why you could see some white clouds in the photo.

Special Olympics

Abu (most right, under the tree) an athlete from Kota Kinabalu.

Special Olympics

Near Paka Hut. Raymond (most left) is an old timer with this 3 yearly event.

To be continued…