At 4095m, Mount Kota Kinabalu (Mt KK) is the highest in Borneo. It is located in Sabah, which forms the Borneo with Sarawak, Brunei and parts of Indonesia.
Sabah and Sarawak are also states of Malaysia, and are known as “East Malaysia”.
Geographically, it is separated from the Malaysia (West Malaysia) most people know about, which lies on top of Singapore, by the South China Sea.
It has been one of my bucket list to-do for years. I have been hiking for years, and heard many stories about climbing this famous mountain. After climbing so many mountains and assured that Mt KK is a easy climb, even for the inexperienced, I decided to go for it.However, seems like most people who trekked with me has went before. When you have a dream, u just have to take action.
So, I went ahead to plan my own.
First, I checked out the weather. Mount Kinabalu is infamous for its almost-daily rain. The best season is said to be Mar-Apr. Hence, I started to ask around. I gathered a team who seemed keen on the challenge, without much consideration for their varied fitness levels, thinking naively that it should be an easy mountain for all. It turned out to be a mistake.
Nevertheless, the peeps took back home bittersweet memories which will be with them for life.
Standard climbing itinerary involves a 3D2N package. More on the preparation in future updates.
We went by Airasia, which is currently the one cheapest option from Singapore. However, there was only one flight to and fro Singapore and Kota Kinabalu. Arrival time at KK would be 8, 9 pm. I feared that would make my team mates too tired for the long climb the next day. Hence, I opted to book two flights, Singapore via Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu, SG-KL, then KL-KK. There are more timings to chose from KL to KK. That would give me more options in terms of arrival time at Kota Kinabalu. It turns out that the difference was only about an hour. (Also due to long waiting time for transit)
But everyone was nice and said that was a pretty good arrangement. At the airport, we were promptly fetched by a driver with my name on a big white cardboard. Off he drove us to the mid-hills, headquarters around 1800m, where we would stay for the night.
We arrived around 930pm. The chilly cold greeted us the moment the car door was opened. Immediately, one of my friends who only brought a thin sweater regretted. She didn’t realize it would be this cold. We stepped out of the car into pitch dark, and were amazed by the beautiful stars smiling back at us.
It was the most beautiful sky I had seen so far.
Living in Singapore, a brightly lit concrete jungle, I have only seen at most a sparse few stars in the sky. My eyes lingered. Too bad my iphone camera would not be able to capture its beauty.
This is it! Map of the trail we will be taking!
We were supposed to check in to dormitories. But somehow, we got an upgrade. Yeah! Each chalet can hold 4 pax maximum, so we split 3 by 3. At this time, the provided dinner were replaced with packed dinner, fried rice.
Our last meal was 3pm, so we kind of got pretty hungry. So the very plain fried rice worked well for us. I finished everything because I know I would need it for the climb tmr. One of us opted for vegetarian meal and it was merely saltier fried rice.
After late dinner, we showered and head for bed. Tomorrow will be a long day. 🙂