Experience the botanical splendour of Kinabalu

  • Cost: US$405 per person for 3D/2N (all inclusive from start point to end point)
    (equivalent to approximately UK£300 or €360 at time of publication)
  • Start Point: Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.
  • End Point: Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.
  • Group Size:  minimum 2; we can customise a private trip to fit your dates and interests. Please email us for details and a quote.

At 4095 metres, Kinabalu is the tallest mountain in Malaysia and the highest peak between Myanmar and New Guinea. It is also one of the most biologically rich places on the planet, with exceptionally high levels of plant endemism in what is already the richest ecosystems on Earth, not to mention various unusual birds and animals besides.

Although the mountain is tall and a challenging hike, the 6 kilometre trail is excellent and allows climbers to ascend from the starting point to the pre-summit shelter in about half a day. There, visitors sleep in bunks and enjoy hot food before visiting the summit on a 2.72 km hike the next day. While most operators offer 1 night stays on the mountain, sending parties all the way down again on Day 2, we recommend a 2-night visit so that you can sleep the night through and spend the entirety of Day 2 exploring the summit trail at your own pace. After breakfast on Day 3, you will descend to the jump off point for your transfer back to the city.

Mount Kinabalu features in our Wild Borneo Expedition video!

Adventure Itinerary

Day 1: Following a 7am pickup in the city, you will be transferred to the Kinabalu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you will register and prepare for your climb. The climb begins a short distance away at the Timpohon Gate and from that point on, the only way is up! The main trail is wide and easily navigated, with plenty of fine views and interesting plants to interest the nature lover, among them carnivorous Nepenthes pitcher plants, various orchids and of course many beautiful Rhododendron. From the start point to your port of call, the pre-summit accommodation at Laban Rata, the vegetation changes from montane forest to mossy cloud forest, the plants becoming more stunted and bizarre looking the higher you go. Finally, you arrive at the chalet-like Laban Rata that stands at the foot of the granitic dome that makes up the summit of this majestic mountain. If the weather is fine, you will be rewarded with amazing sunset views to the lowlands, but if the weather is poor, you can at least be sure of an excellent buffet dinner of hot food and plenty of tea and coffee.

Day 2: This morning, you have the choice of getting up at 3am with the majority of hikers and powering your way up to the summit in time for sunrise, or you can stay in bed till 7am and enjoy a hot breakfast before heading to the summit in daylight at your own pace. Either way, you have all day to explore the trail to the summit and enjoy one of the finest vistas in the region before overnighting again in the mountain-top chalet. 

Day 3: After breakfast, descend to Timpohon Gate where your pick-up awaits. Travellers can either return to Kota Kinabalu, or travel onwards to the Poring Hot Springs to relax their muscles and perhaps see the giant Rafflesia, the world's largest flower (see Extensions)! 



Getting there

This expedition begins in Kota Kinabalu, which is served by various airlines including Malaysia Airlines, Air Asia, Dragon Air, Korean Airlines, Silk Air and others. Flights can be easily booked through all major airline websites.

Adventure Rating: Moderate

Some strenuous trekking on a sometimes steep trail is required during this adventure. Treks are integral to the itinerary and are required to experience the key highlights of this adventure.

Participants must be capable of walking or clambering on often steep or rocky terrain, carrying a day pack with water, camera, weather protection and some food. Local porterage can be arranged at cost.

Possible extensions

After your climb, visit the Poring Hot Springs to soak and soothe your aching muscles! The next day, you will be taken to see a giant Rafflesia flower should one be open before returning to the city! (1D1N)

To get a quote for any extensions, simply mention which extension(s) you are interested in when you apply to Join this Adventure!

What's Included

All transport during the itinerary
Professional guide
Accommodation (on a twin basis)
All main meals during the itinerary

Note: single room upgrade is available at extra cost

What's Not

International flights
Personal porters (if requested)