Mount Kinabalu climbing package scam?

Mount Kinabalu climbing package scam?I received an email today, asking wether there is a scam going on with tour operators which deals with Mount Kinabalu climbing package. This is the quoted email:

Name of sender: Steve
Email of sender: yusi…
————————- COMMENTS ————————-

I have tried booking room in Laban Rata for my July trip. The lodge office told me that all rooms/beds are already occupied. However, when I made enquiry at those tour operators, they seem to be able to get those rooms. Is this some kind of scam? Please advise. Thanks.


This is what I replied:

Hi Steve,

Thank you for your email. No, it is not a scam. The story goes like this:

There are about 100 beds available in Laban Rata, and what happened is, some percentage of the beds have been pre-booked by the tour operators (I am not sure how many percentage). The remaining bed availability will then be managed (sell) by Sutera Sanctuary Lodges (SSL) themselves. As SSL is the only operator which manages the accommodation in Laban Rata, the place will easily be filled and booked by travelers. Most of them will book directly to them, sometimes as early as 6 months in advance.

The beds that was pre-booked by the tour operator will usually be filled a little bit later, as the tour operator usually sell the accommodation in Laban Rata as a package, not individual as SSL.

That is why although there are no place available in Laban Rata from SSL, there are still some place available from tour operators.

Anyway, if you want me to help you on a package trip, please fill in this form:


6 thoughts on “Mount Kinabalu climbing package scam?

  1. Hi,
    I went through the same experience Steve had whilst trying to make reservation for my climbing trip in July 2007. The lodge officers simply told me that tour operators/individuals will usually make block bookings in order to secure places at Laban Rata or Gunting Lagadan, and the beds are usually taken up/fully reserved at both places as early as the SSL’s telephone lines open at 9.00am! The telephones lines are always engaged and sometimes our calls are left ringing without no one attending to it. I guess it is just my luck!

  2. Is it true that sometimes when the accomodation at Laban Rata Resthouse (the dormitory bunk bed) is fully book, the management will allow reservation to be made provided there is an agreement for the people to sleep on the Laban Rata Resthouse restaurant area with mattress and sleeping bag provided.

  3. Hey there!

    Just wanna ask you, how do you know if a tour operator is reputable ? I’m looking at tours of Borneo….apparently I cannot read any reviews abouth them…I’m planning to climb mt kinabalu on march 2013.

    Looking forward to your help.


  4. Hi Frances,
    Almost all operator for Mount Kinabalu climbing are reputable. However, I have personally email you on the issue. Hope that helps.

  5. Is Journey Malaysia a reputable company to book a trip up Mount Kinabalu with?

    Thank you,


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