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Mount Kinabalu FAQ

Mount Kinabalu FAQ

Disclaimer: The information contained herein is based on our own personal experiences and opinions and is not a substitute for professional medical or legal advice. SUNTRAVEL SDN BHD is not responsible for any error or omission.

General Tips & Recommendations

To ensure your own safety and that of the team, and to make the climb an enjoyable and fulfilling one, it is advisable to bear in mind the following: –

  • Overnighting in Kinabalu Park or Kundasang Highlands (1500m altitude) prior to the climb allows you to acclimatize to altitude changes and reduce the likelihood of AMS (acute mountain sickness) while climbing
  • Engaging a mountain guide is compulsory for yourself or your group (Ratio of Max 6 climbers to 1 mountain guide). The guide’s services are included in SUNTRAVEL SDN BHD package prices but tips are not
  • Try to pack your climbing bag at around 4-8Kg (Do not bring too many unnecessary things)
  • Do not have a heavy breakfast prior to the climb
  • Try to finish your packed lunch within 1-2 hours from the start of the ascent (To reduce weight)
  • For any special meal diet such as vegetarians, please inform our SUNTRAVEL SDN BHD Tours consultants for arrangement
  • Some chocolate & energy bars may be satisfying
  • Trek at a normal pace (too fast may result high altitude sickness & vomiting, too slow will drain out your energy)
  • Rest longer at 4th or 5th KM mark – about 10 mins – for high altitude acclimatization
  • Should you feel too tired to carry on, try not to sit or lay down at high altitude, just stand still
  • Untreated fresh mountain water is available at every shelter; you may refill them at these stops (bring some water purification tablets)
  • Boiled water is available for refill at Laban Rata Restaurant & Pendant Hut
  • Be extra careful where you put your fee during rainy weather
  • Do not run at any time while ascending or descending the mountain
  • Do not run at the summit, especially around the 7.4 Km mark (most dangerous point)
  • Cover your nose (and mouth) with a scarf in windy conditions on high ground
  • Make extra sure your feet and hands are warm and dry during the final ascent
  • When descending, try to walk sideway or in a zig-zag way to prevent slipping and reduce pain on joints
  • Do not bring valuable items
  • Fit Climber trekking duration (3 to 4 hrs) from Timpohon Gate to Mountain Hut (Laban Rata)
  • Average Climber trekking duration (5 to 6 hrs) from Timpohon Gate to Mountain Hut (Laban Rata)
  • Unfit Climber trekking duration (7 to 8 hrs) from Timpohon Gate to Mountain Hut (Laban Rata)
  • Bring extra Ringgit cash (no credit cards or foreign currencies are accepted at Laban Rata)
  • Laban Rata Restaurant opens at 7.00 am and closes at 7.30 pm. No food is available after 7.30 pm)
  • Laban Rata Restaurant staff will clear up tables, chairs, utensils and drinking water dispenser at 7.45 pm – 8.00 pm
  • The Laban Rata Grocery Counter closes at 7.30pm (for a la carte dood, beverages, snacks, energy bars, batteries, etc.)
  • Laban Rata – Non-Heated Dormitory Rooms – blanket, bed sheet and pillow are provided
  • Pendant Hut – Non-Heated Rooms – sleeping bag, bed sheet and pillow are provided
  • There will no health checks conducted by any authorities during climb registration, so climb at your own risk

Mandatory Items

You MUST wear/carry the following. If not, you may well be refused access to the climb.

  • Warm clothing – the temperature can be freezing at times. Long pants, long-sleeved shirt, jacket or windbreaker, a gloves and a beanie or climbing hat. Hats with brims will blow away easily. You should be able to move freely in your clothing – denim jeans are NOT suitable.
  • A rain coat -to protect you from rain and wind and  slow down the loss of body heat
  • A waterproof backpack
  • Sturdy trekking or running shoes with a good grip.
  • A head torchlight – to light your way during pre-dawn climb and to signal for help when needed
  • A whistle – only to be used when help is needed. Three short blasts to attract attraction, long continuous blasts for emergency and serious injuries
  • Sturdy refillable water bottle – plastic mineral water bottles are NOT recommended
  • Some energy food and water (e.g. extra chocolate, glucose tablets, biscuits) for emergency-use when you are waiting for help to arrive

Recommended Items

You SHOULD wear/carry the following. If not, you could seriously impair your comfort and enjoyment during the climb.

  • Personal toiletries
  • First aid kit
  • Change of clothing and spare socks
  • Sandals/slippers
  • Personal medication
  • Headache tablets or altitude sickness tablets
  • Sunblock
  • Lip salve
  • Tissues / toilet roll
  • Insect repellent
  • Camera with waterproof bag
  • Small plastic bags for waterproofing your items

Medical Conditions

It is recommended that all climbers should have themselves medically checked before attempting any mountain climb. 

DO NOT CLIMB If you are suffering from or have a history of the following ailments:

  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Palpitations
  • Arthritis
  • Heart disease
  • Respiratory ailments
  • Inner-ear or balance-related conditions
  • Severe anemia
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Fainting episodes
  • Severe hypotension
  • Epileptic fits
  • Obesity
  • Chronic asthma
  • Muscular cramps
  • Hepatitis (jaundice)
  • Chronic knee or ankle problems
  • Any other sickness or disease that may be triggered by severe cold, exertion, and high altitude.
  • If you are visually or hearing impaired, you MUST be accompanied by at least one sighted or hearing companion per person

Even if your condition is well controlled by medication, ensure you have the EXPRESS PERMISSION of your treating physician and carry adequate supplies of your medication with you.

General Health Requirements

Climbing Mount Kinabalu is usually a “once in a lifetime” experience for most people, so it is vital that proper preparations are made beforehand. With superior information and sufficient time to prepare, you stand an extremely good chance of reaching the summit.

Although the majority of routes leading to the summit of Kinabalu require no technical climbing skills, some kind of training beforehand is important. It is important to remember that you will be hiking on surfaces with varying angles which may put lots of stress on your ankles and knees. It is also worth remembering that most of the injuries which occur on Mount Kinabalu happen on the way down. When climbing Mount Kinabalu, take a slow pace to allow your body to acclimatize to the altitude, as at 3000 meters, you only have 70% of the oxygen you would normally have at sea-level.

To climb Mount Kinabalu:

  • You need to be in decent physical condition.
  • You must not have heart or lung problems.
  • You need healthy knees and ankles.
  • Take your time and know your physical limitations.

Consult your personal physician if:

  • You are taking any kind of medication.
  • You have any other health problems.If you plan to take any medication during your climb, you must consult your doctor prior to departure. The effects of medications may vary with altitude and stress. All climbers should consult their doctor or a specialized travel clinic well in advance of their trip.

Conduct Requirements on the Mountain

The following requirements are mandatory for your safety and MUST be adhered to:

  • Identify yourself to your Mountain Guide, who will display an identification card.
  • Travel together in your own group and stay with the Mountain Guide at all times.
  • Follow the instructions of your Mountain Guide at all times.
  • Alert your Mountain Guide if you face any difficulty.
  • Believe It or Not, DO NOT SHOUT, SCREAM or CURSE the mountain at any point of time.
  • Display your climbing permit and show it to Park Officials at the check point at Timpohon Gate, Laban Rata and Sayat-Sayat on your way up and down.
  • If for any reason you are separated from your group or the Mountain Guide, please follow the white rope that marks the summit Trail. If visibility is very low or in the dark please hold onto the rope and follow it. There is a thick white rope leasing all the way from the vegetation belt above Panar Laban to the summit. Use this rope to help climbing up and prevent falling when walking down. PLEASE FOLLOW and USE THE ROPE FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY.
  • The weather on the Summit area can deteriorate in a matter of minutes. Thick mist may reduce visibility to only 3 meters, and rainstorms and wind of up to 120 km/hr. may occur at times. Please hold on to the ROPE, which will lead you to safety.
  • If you are separated from your Mountain Guide and lose sight of the ROPE, STOP IMMEDIATELY, stay where you are and blow your whistle to attract attention. PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO FIND YOUR WAY OUT. HELP is definitely on the way. The Park Officials at Sayat-Sayat check point will notice that you are missing.
  • Bring your passport or Malaysian Identity Card along as it will be required for verification during registration at the Kinablau Park Office.

Age Restrictions

NO CHILD under the age of 10 years may undertake the climb.

Any person under 16 years of age MUST be accompanied by a parent, guardian or teacher/youth leader in loco parentis.

There is no upper age limit for the climb but elderly climbers MUST be medically and physically fit. The upper age limit for the Via Ferrata is 70.

Engaging a Porter

Engaging a porter is fully optional. However should you really require a porter to carry your belongings for you, we suggest that you pack a separate waterproof backpack (for easy carrying by the porter) ready with items that you do not need during the climb to Laban Rata. Porters may not trek at the same speed as you. Their job is simply to carry your belongings to the mountain hut. Valuables, water, medication, snacks, and things that you will need during your hike should always be kept with you. You may engage the porter at Kinabalu Park itself during your climb registration and the porter fees will be payable directly to the porter. Porter fees are not included in any package offered by SUNTRAVEL SDN BHD. 

The price stated in the table below is based on round trip. The minimum weight required is 10kg. Should your bag weigh less than 10kg, the charges will still be calculated based on 10kg . For example, you will pay MYR 100 for Timpohon to Laban Rata to Timpohon route for your bag that weighs anything up to 10kg, and MYR 110 for 11kg and so on. Prices are subject to change.

  • Timpohon Gate → Laban Rata → Timpohon Gate: RM 10 per kg (Min. of 10kg)
  • Timpohon Gate → Laban Rata → Mesilau Gate: RM 12 per kg (Min. of 10kg)
  • Mesilau Gate → Laban Rata → Timpohon Gate: RM 12 per kg (Min. of 10kg)
  • Timpohon Gate → Summit → Timpohon Gate: RM 15 per kg (Min. of 10kg)
  • Timpohon Gate → Summit → Mesilau Gate: RM 17 per kg (Min. of 10kg)
  • Mesilau Gate → Summit → Timpohon Gate: RM17 per kg (Min. of 10kg)

Transport Arrangements

  • Do not arrange your flight on the same day that you descend the mountain due to possible delay from injuries, tiredness, bad weather or traffic conditions.
  • For the 2 Days 1 Night package, the pick up from your hotel is between 06:30 – 07:00 hrs. Please arrange with your hotel for early breakfast.
  • For the 3 Days 2 Nights package, the pick up is from either the Airport OR your respective hotel. Time is dependent on you flight ETA schedule. Please provide your flight details to us.
  • For outskirts pick up, outside Kota Kinabalu City Area (e.g. Beringgis Beach Resort / Langkah Syabas Beach Resort / Papar& Kinarut Area) an additional RM40.00 nett per person each way is charged.

Special Requirements for Via Ferrata

All climbers taking part in Via Ferrata activities MUST adhere to the following:

  • Climbers MUST attend the compulsory Ferrata briefing / training session in the Pendant Hut between 15:00 hrs – 16:00 hrs ( Latest Cut-Off time ) on 1st day of climb.
  • Climbers MUST descend & arrive at starting point by 07:00 hrs (Low’s Peak Circuit) or 07:30 hrs (Walk The Torq) for each activity ( Latest Cut-off time) on 2nd day of climb.
  • All Via Ferrata activities will be conducted together in mix groups by qualified Mountain Torq Ferrata trainers.
  • Climbers who fail to comply with the timing will not be able to proceed with the selected complimentary Ferrata activity. NO reimbursement shall be made.
  • Via Ferrata activity can be cancelled due to bad weather for the safety of all climbers, NO reimbursement shall be made.

Waiver of Risk