Things to Do in Sabah

Mount Kinabalu, Sabah: Hours, Address, Mount Kinabalu Reviews: 4.5/5

Mount Kinabalu
4.5
9:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 10:00 PM
About
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
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3 within 6 miles
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
1,443 reviews
Excellent
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345
Average
74
Poor
19
Terrible
23

Ralph W
Suzhou, China856 contributions
Dec 2019 • Family
Was für eine Erfahrung ...
Wir haben den Mt Kinabalu kurz vor Weihnachten bestiegen - eine tolle Erfahrung aber leider auch etwas frustrierend:

We (3 adults 1 kid with 7 year) started to the summit of Mt. Kinabalu on Dec 21st 2019, on the first day everything went well an we reached the basecamp/hostel after the planned 5 hours. In the next night we also started as planned around 2:30am. Shortly after, a light rain started that got heavier and heavier. Anyway, we passed the last checkpoint and made our way towards the summit - until, suddenly, less than 1 hour to the summit, people were returning. The reason was that the rain was so much that the guides judged as not safe and strongly requested everyone on the mountain to return. Hiking with a 7 year old kid, and seeing the situation on the way down (a lot of water and water streams we had to cross) I 100% agree to decision of the guides.
But this is why we did not made it to the summit but only to approx 4060 m (according the certificate we received).
Written January 2, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Geraldine
Keningau, Malaysia7 contributions
Mar 2022
I went there solo on March 2022, aiming for the via ferrata for the first time, and I was so thankful for my solo experience. Luckily I got the discounted price, so I wont comment much on the price. Due to the risk it takes to complete the ferrata, for me, it was worth the experience satisfaction. The walk the torq's guides/trainers were also very helpful and friendly. They even ask for permission to help me to put on the safety wear when I cant put it on me by myself. Adrian, Henry and Aiezron, all trainers did gave us clear instructions on how to operate the carabiner and lanyard throughout the trail so that we can have safe experience. This for-beginner ferrata's experience was one of my best experience and surely I will come again for the longer trail at the Low's Peak Circuit! Thank you for the very good services. Keep it up!
Written March 25, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Aya
Kyoto, Japan22 contributions
Mar 2020 • Solo
Nice climb. I did 1N/2D trip to the summit and it was intense though was fun at the same time.
The path are well maintained and relatively easy though there is no up and downs but constant climbing to the summit and the vice versa.
I went there in early March 2020, and my guide said there are usually 100 climbers every day - I met quite a lot of foreign tourists - they are mostly in groups.
Written April 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Maryam R
Bandar Baru Bangi, Malaysia31 contributions
Feb 2022 • Friends
It was not an easy feat, but I had fun and managed to reach the summit before sunrise. I wish I took 2 nights at Panalaban. 2 says 1 night felt a bit too rushed, descending wasnot a fun experience compare to climbing the mountain. I thought to myself that it would be my 1st and last to climb Mt Kinabalu but 2 days after I am already planning for the nrxt trip to try out via ferrata. Wonderful experience, great climb, mother nature at its best.
Written March 3, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Martin R
High Wycombe, UK12 contributions
Jan 2020
Toured Sabah with G adventures, as with all tours could of done with a couple of days in some places but the itinary was great ,got to stay with a fantastic malayan family in Mesilou ,our host and guide Amrin was top dollar,our G adventures guide Leroy led the trip well (needs to be more forceful when travellers keep interupting him) throughout.maybe if your not so mobile a couple of the hikes may be beyond your remit.DO YOUR HOMEWORK ,if you want 5 star accomodation comfortable beds ,hot showers everyday DON'T go to a jungle.
Written January 30, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

francis_61jb
Singapore, Singapore263 contributions
Aug 2011
the climb up Mount Kinabalu was exciting and interesting for my family with two children, aged 11 and 14. We had prebooked AND PAID for a via Ferrata package. Unfortunately, due to weather concerns, the via Ferrata event was cancelled. THERE WAS NO REFUND. I thought, I should get back at least 50% of the via Ferrata cost. But NO. However, if you happen to climb Mount Kinabalu and arrive early to attend the via Ferrata briefing, you will be able to do the event the next morning. And if the event were to be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances, you will be able to get back the full refund!! How unfair. So my advice is not to prebook via Ferrata event, but join them only when you reach Laban Rata.
Written September 4, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

KajsaoBjorn
Göteborg31 contributions
Nov 2011 • Couples
So you want to climb Mount KInabalu in just 1 day. Either you think the 2 days climb is to expensive (around 1000RM per person) or you just want to see how fit you are.

First things first, You need to show up 1 day before your climb at park headquarters to arrange everything. You might be able to call them and arrange but we heard they say no to people. They also just have a few spots for "1day climbers" But there are not many that try it.

The cost for doing the 1 day climb is: Climbing permit 100RM, Insurance 7RM, Park fee 15RM, Guide 64RM per person. Taxi to the starting gate 17RM. Total cost 203RM!

They have changed the rules abit. You start at 07:00 and then you get a taxiride to the gate. You need to reach Laban Rata 3000m at 10:00 (11:00 before) Then you will have a 10-15min break at the most and then continue to the summit. You must reach the summit before 13:00. If the guide feels you wont make it he can just call it anytime and you have to head down. However if you reach the checkpoint at 10:00, you will have the opportunity to continue. You must be downt at park HQ before 17:00!

So how hard is it? It all depends on how fit you are. For us its was an 8,5 hour heartpounding, slippery and legcrushing adventure. We dont run marathons or do triathlons, but we do work out 3-4 times a week. It was the hardest thing we have ever done. (The record up and down is 2,5h, but how that is possible i have no clue) If you have alot of willpower it will help alot.

About the climb. There will be alot of steps, its almost uphill all the way to the summit. You dont need to run up to reach Laban Rata before 10:00. Keep a steady walk/climb and just take a few very short breaks and you will do fine. It will just get harder and harder, so dont rush the first few hours. When you reach the checkpoint it will take around another 2 hours to reach the summit and that part is really uphill. Big steps most of the way. The air is thinner up here, so its more exhausting, Its also very chilly, around 8-10 degrees celcius. A thin jacket and shorts worked for me. But thin pants would not be so bad after all. Pack alot of water/energydrinks, we had 2,5 l each. You can buy more in laban rata, but a water costs alot. Some quick food like powerbars or a sandwich is recommended.

Going down. This goes so much faster then going up obviously. Your legs will hurt and our knees took some beating. It feels easier to run slowly down at times. Not much more to say more then watch out for slippery rocks.

Good luck and hope you will make it
Written November 15, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Cw L
Adelaide, Australia56 contributions
Jul 2011 • Couples
So we decided to climb Mt Kinabalu. 4095m and only 1 night. Sounded easy. And fun!

Booking: So we had some initial difficulties booking our trip up Mt Kinabalu. Our travel agent apparently had us booked in for months, and then a week or 2 before we were due to leave Adelaide for KK we learnt that everything had supposedly fallen through and that they needed another A$500 per person for us to be able to climb. Apparently accommodation was scarce. We were quite annoyed. In any case, I sent 1 email to Journey Malaysia (Dophin Diaries Travel) who immediately responded that they could get us a package there. In the end it was cheaper than what our local travel agent could do, and they were prompt with their correspondence. We were scared at first that it wasn’t legitimate given that it was just so easy to do and our own travel agent was having such a hard time doing it for us, but in the end, everything worked out pretty much perfectly. The package was for transfers to and from our KK hotel (Le Meridien), guide, food, overnight stay at Laban Rata, certificate, and passes to go through any/all checkpoints along the way, plus you get a card which you need to wear so that they can identify those that are allowed to go up to the summit. Everything was a planned, and cost us A$480 per person.

The Hike Up to Laban Rata: The hike starts at HQ at 0845 where we picked up our guide and were dropped off at the Timpohon gate. There are 2 routes up the mountain, and Timpohon is the one that most people use. We decided not to use a porter to carry our things. We found out later that if you do want one, you need to pay 9 Ringgit per kilo to carry things up. We only had a 40L daypack which fit all of our warm weather gear etc (see below) as well as some very useless items (But I wanted to carry them). The first few km is no big deal. Its an endless staircase made up half of man made and half big boulders leading up to multiple Pondok (Rest houses) – which are about every 500m or so. You wonder why they put so many close together. You find out later. There are cute squirrels which hang out near each Pondok – they are VERY tame and come and eat from your hand. When the Pondoks are empty, they can be found inside the rubbish bins. If you sneak up on them, its quite funny when they are all jumping in and out of the rubbish bins. There are standard ferns etc and mountain blackbirds to see if you are careful to look around. At certain times of the year there are orchids. We didn’t see any. At about the 4km mark, you are wondering why suddenly everything is getting so much harder. You are at approximately 2700m above sea level, and the Pondoks can’t come soon enough. Our lunch was at about 1100 and it was, um, adequate if you are in “survival mode”. It was pretty basic. You get a cheese sandwich, a “ham” sandwich (tasted very…off), a few hard boiled eggs and a couple of bananas. If you are truly in “camping” mode then this won’t bother you. But if you are regular city folk like us, it wasn’t great. Not a big deal. We just ate the bananas, eggs and cheese sandwiches and moved on up. We carried all our own water so didn’t use the water stations at each Pondok. It is unfiltered water and a lot of people drink it…but we didn’t think it was worth the risk. The last 1km of the trek up to Laban Rata is actually easier than the one before because you can see the mountain face finally, and your guide keeps telling you its only 10 more minutes, about 6 times! When we finally got to Laban Rata, the operator gave us keys to the Waras Hut which is not what was booked for us. She was fairly unhelpful, and just told us to sort it out ourselves, which is obviously difficult considering she knew they didn’t have any Laban Rata Resthouse stations available anyway. Even after we checked with out tour operator who advised her that we had indeed booked a Laban Rata Resthouse, she didn’t do anything about it. The difference? See later. It took us 5 hours and 15 minutes to get from Timpohon to Laban Rata. We didn’t push ourselves too hard on this leg.

The Summit morning hike: Waking up at 0200 to eat a snack before starting the climb (between 0230 and 0245) was definitely a “low point” of the climb. Haha, we knew it wasn’t going to be easy waking up then, after a relatively cold night in the Waras hut, but we got up, fixed on our headlamps and proceeded up the mountain with everyone else. I debulked my pack to make it lighter, taking out the unnecessary items. You can leave them in your hut and lock it away. The climb to the very peak is 2700m from Laban Rata. Don’t be fooled by any other reviews – this part of the climb is hard. There are many spots during this upwards climb that require you to use a rope to pull yourself up. There is a rope most of the way up and some people use it most of the way. I found it ok not to use the rope about 80% of the time. Personally I did not find the climb up to Laban Rata that taxing at all, but the climb to the summit – I was happy that my girlfriend was asking to take all the breaks! I definitely needed them too! It’s a tough hike up, and sunrise is about 0630. We got there right on 0630 to watch the sunrise. It was quite hard, especially the last 500m or so. Wow…the air is thinner, and every few steps up makes your heart pound even harder. The summit is absolutely amazing. I won’t describe it any further because you are reading this because you are thinking about climbing it yourself – but it is definitely worth it. Push yourself to get right up to Lows peak for 360 views of the massive mountain range.

Lodging: As mentioned before, we stayed at the Waras hut. There are 4 beds per room in this area. It is not heated, and therefore, I couldn’t get to sleep after 2300h because it was just too cold to be comfortable. I could have gotten out of bed to put on my warm weather gear, but I couldn’t be bothered. My own fault probably. There is a toilet there, and shower (but no hot water while we were there due to problems with their generator). The biggest downside is that it is about a 5min walk from the hut to Laban Rata, so make sure you don’t have to keep hiking back up and down to do things. Its better than Laban Rata Resthouse though, as there are only 4 to a room compared to 6 to a room in the resthouse. Its much quieter, as there is only accommodation for 8 people at Waras hut compared to Laban Rata Resthouse. In the end, we thought it was better. If you are in a big group, then it would be far more fun to stay at the Resthouse but as a couple, we were more than happy to be away from the noise and convenience of the restaurant etc.
Food at Laban Rata was fine. Nothing special Rice, curries, salads for lunch/dinner. French toast, eggs, porridge for breakfast.

The hike down (Pain day): Seeing as though you have walked up to the summit and think you’ve done all the hard bits, you drop your guard and determination somewhat. Hopefully this review can force you to consider the climb down. You’ve already hiked for 4hours to get up to the summit. It takes about 2 hours to get down to Laban Rata. You stop there temporarily for some food (about 1.5hours) and start your decent. The decent was tough. Our quads were burning and it took us 5 hours to get from Laban rata back to Timpohon gate. So only a difference of 15 minutes!!! My girlfriend found it very difficult to get down. Her quads were burning badly, and each step brought on scowls of pain! There were almost tears of joy when we reached the bottom. And massive high fives. She had trained by running etc prior but it probably wasn’t enough.

What we brought:
Things we needed - 4L water, headlamp, warm weather gear including waterproof jacket, wet wipes, nuts and muesli bars, 2 tubes of mentos, gloves, beanie, scarf, extra T shirt, camera, tripod, video camera.
Things we didn’t need – Flint (I know, but I love Bear Grylls), Pocket knife, Toiletries, extra socks, eyeliner (haha), shampoo, conditioner, vitamin E hand cream (hahaha)

Advice from our experience:
- Book early. Confirm and pay early to confirm your spot. There are many stories online about people’s reservations not being confirmed etc. You can’t climb to the summit unless you have accommodation on laban rata (Or unless you can get up to Laban rata before 1100 in which case you can register to do a day trip). We had a good experience with Dolphin Diaries Travels (online).
- Train: you need to do some training. Running and gym work don’t really help. Find a mountain near your house, load a pack up with 10kg and climb it. The more you do the better. Do leg weights at the gym and build up your calves and quads.
- Stretch before and after the climb. After the climb you get into a car and it takes just under 2 hours to get back into KK. We didn’t stretch, and by the time we were back at the hotel, my girlfriend couldn’t walk properly, and my calves were so stiff!
- Hire a walking pole (they hire them from HQ and at the Timpohon gate). They are easy to walk with and help on the way up and down. They cost 3RM and are yours to keep. We just handed them back at the end of the walk.
- Bring/Wear Sunscreen: We got burnt. Not badly, but would have been much more comfortable if we had worn it before we set off. Its mostly important on the summit climb down as there is no shade. It is all rock.
- Water: bring your own. The water at the Laban Rata resthouse is safe to drink from their urns, but I wouldn’t touch the ones in the Pondoks. I think it was a good decision. We didn’t get sick. Some do.
- Equipment: Bring enough warm weather gear. I wore a thermal t-shirt for the entire trip, and it was fantastic. I had on a Kathmandu thermal jumper, and a gortex waterproof jacket. Northface gloves, and a beanie. I was toasty warm whenever I needed to be. I had a scarf (Shemagh) on which was fantastic both in the heat of walking (for sweat) and when it was cold. Shoe wear is of utmost importance. Don’t be fooled by the “Adidas Kampung” (Not sure of spelling). They are rubberized shoes that have no support. The locals swear by them, but I couldn’t imagine how we would cope. When you see what the locals wear when they climb up there you realise that their idea of a comfortable hiking shoe is very far behind ours in Australia. I had hiking specific shoes and I found them to be great. My girlfriend wore her Nike running shoes and struggled on the way down. She was fine on the way up, but the shoes weren’t supportive enough on the way down. She didn’t have enough lateral support and coming down hill required a lot of pronation and supination of your foot/ankle. If it were wet, she would have had even more serious difficulties. Luckily it rained 5 minutes after we touched down.
- Bring camera equipment. Don’t skimp on camera equipment. I brought a scaled down version of my usual kit. Just my Nikon D80, 18-105 lens (cheapy), Manfrotto tripod, Contour HD video camera, and rain casings for everything (didn’t use them but definitely would recommend taking them). I got some great shots. I also bought a new polarising filter – it was a good idea.
- Extra food at Laban Rata and drinks are at western prices. It costs A$3.5 for a luke warm can of coke…So bring some money if you want it. Our advice is to stick to the food they provide
- Dry pack – bring your things in something waterproof. I would hate to think of what would it would have been like if we got caught in rain. Apparently between jan – may it rains a lot. Its popular to go in June-Sep because the weather is good. I put passports etc in a dry pack and put all the warm weather gear in a separate Outdoor Research compression waterproof sack. Felt very prepared.

That’s enough from me. Go and enjoy it! We were VERY satisfied that we did the hike. Would we do it again? DEFINITELY. It was great fun – a challenge, but worth doing.
Written July 13, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

SophSyp
Melbourne, Australia1 contribution
Jun 2012 • Friends
Having climbed Mt Rinjani in Lombok Indonesia last month, I am now writing a review to compare these 2 mountains. I climbed Mt Kinabalu in late June 2012.

The main differences for me were:

1) Scenery:
I found that Kinabalu's main view was of course at the summit. At the rest stops there was not much to see but knowing that I am at cloud level always excites me. Perhaps the climb was tough therefore I could not enjoy the view much? At Mt Kinabalu, I also did Mountain Torq's Via Ferrata (which I highly recommend for the adventurous. Do not attempt if you have acrophobia as you might see your life flash before you) as this allows access to the restricted parts of the mountain that is not accessible via a normal descent (which means you get to literally balance off a rockface and enjoy the amazing views).
Mt Rinjani, on the other hand, has a lot of wildlife to see throughout the climb, not just a great view at the summit.There are also mountain ranges, crater, lake, waterfalls, hot spring, river crossing, bridges etc. At the campsites of Rinjani you also see heaps of litter.

2) Altitude:
Mt Kinabalu is 4095m while Mt Rinjani is 3726m high. I think that is not much of a difference. However, climbing Kinabalu in 2 days means one would gain a lot of altitude quickly. I suffered from altitude sickness - constant headaches just before arriving at accommodation, loss of appetite so I did not have dinner at all, vomiting, giddy spells, unable to sleep at night, and the guides even advised to carry me to lower altitude. The next morning I was fine and made it to the summit.
I learnt my lesson... so for Mt Rinjani, I opted for a 4 days climb. I also brought effervescent electrolyte tablets which I consumed at a rate of 1 tablet every 1.5 hours but drank that only during the climb.
Bring warm clothing, gloves and beanie as the weather is unforgiving at the summit. My friend who wears spectacles said to avoid wearing contact lens for the summit climb as it can get very dry.

3) Terrain:
There are more stair-like steps in Mt Kinabalu and relatively steep as well. That means when descending, your knees are most vulnerable unless you have very long legs and use your walking pole efficiently. I find that taping the knees help. Mt Kinabalu requires good pacing and momentum.
Mt Rinjani was mostly gentle slopes, little stairs, rocks and boulders, gravel, volcanic ash. I felt Mt Rinjani needed more technique, a little bit like rock climbing knowing which rock to step on to help you push off and reduce power output etc. One would more likely sprain their ankles climbing Rinjani than Kinabalu.

4) Facilities:
At the accommodation for Kinabalu (Laban Rata), there are proper toilets and shower rooms but it is cold water and you can eat at the restaurant. Bunk beds are the way to go. You may also charge your electronics here.
For Rinjani, you live in tents and earth is your toilet. Meals are prepared by your guides normally and usually from scratch. I went fishing by the lake with our guide and porters and that was our lunch. There is the lake, small waterfalls and hot spring to make you feel cleaner. No socket to charge your electronic appliances here so don't go trigger happy when using your camera.

Overall, both mountains are exceptionally beautiful and remember that not many people are able to enjoy the views from above unless they climb it.
Reward yourself with some seafood in the city after Mt Kinabalu climb and relax by the beach at Gili Islands after Mt Rinjani.
Written May 5, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

MikeandTracey
West Yorks.20 contributions
The mountain road up to Mount Kinabalu, is in places under repair due to land slides, understandable as they get 5 metres, yes 20' of rain per year, avoid the wet season. But the closer you get the draw becomes stronger.
The first full sighting makes everybody go silent. It has a certian something that just demands respect and indeed keeps you wanting to look and stare all day.
Hey, dont take my word for it, go see yourself. Wake up in the morning whilst staying at one of the mountain lodges, pull back the blind and wallop, Mount Kinabalu, bathed in the sunrise, towering some 2500meters above you.
Written March 10, 2005
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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