I received an email from my fellow doctor colleague, Ragu, last week about climbing the second highest mountain in Malaysia, Mount Trusmadi. Basically, he is a hardcore mountain climber and devoted his leisure time doing outdoor activities. He was asking whether we could plan our Mount Trusmadi climbing trip ourselves, rather than paying kind of “over priced” pre-prepared package by some of the tour operators around Sabah.
I said yes, but there are not much of valuable information around the internet as Trusmadi is not a tourist spot (not like Kinabalu). It is kind of Sabah’s best kept secret, and it is meant for hardcore mountain climbers. Ordinary tourist will find it very hard and boring. Anyway, if you are like Dr. Ragu (he is a plastic surgeon, like NIP/TUCK television series), here would be my personal tips on conquering Mount Trusmadi.
Few things that we need to remember:
- Mount Trusmadi is kind of ‘virgin’ mountain in Sabah. It is still under the Forestry Department, not under Sabah Parks like Kinabalu and Tambuyukon. So, the climbing permit must be acquired from the Forestry Department before you are allowed to climb. You need to request for the permit at least 2 weeks before you start the climb.
- It is even more challenging than Kinabalu, suitable for hard core mountain climbers. If you think that Kinabalu is tough, do not even think about this mountain.
- You can summit the peaks in 2d1 night, but you need to be really fit. Some climbers do it in 3d2n to spend more time with mother nature.
- You are going to travel through really rough terrain, mainly used for logging purposes, to get to the starting point in Kg. Kaingaran. You really need a sturdy 4wd to get there. Traveling from Tambunan (the small town which is near the mountain) will take about 1 hour.
- As it is a non-tourist mountain to climb, you have to bring along all your climbing gear – from your portable stove to leech socks to toilet paper.
- I must emphasize that Trusmadi is not for the faint hearted.
The best place to inquire about the trip up the mountain is from Tambunan Village Resort Center (TVRC), which is in err… Tambunan. They are now known as The Borneo Heritage Village. They are the best place for you to seek additional information for the climb, but unfortunately they do not have a good official website on that matter. Contact them at +6087-774076, or email at email@example.com. Otherwise, you can seek the available tour company who can provide you with the information package on the internet by just typing ‘mount trusmadi’ on Google Search. You can get the itinerary for 3d2n trip Mount Trusmadi on this and this page.
TVRC is can be appointed as the ‘basecamp’ of Mount Trusmadi. It has accommodations for climber to stay overnight before proceeding to the climb on the next day. They also can provide you with porters, guides, permits and foods up the mountain. The last time I called, you can also rent some of your climbing gear from them.
Basically, the things that you can ask TVRC for help are:
- Return transfer from KK International Airport to Tambunan (TVRC).
- Transport from TVRC to the starting point in Kg. Kaingaran using 4WD.
- Porters and Guides.
- Climbing permit from Forestry Department.
I think that by directly contacting them, you can save around 10-30% of the cost compared to having a tour operator to host your trip.