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Mt Kinabalu, Kota Kinabalu Overview

Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain in Malaysia, located on the west coast of Sabah at the Kinabalu Park, which is a World Heritage Site. The mountain stands at a humongous height of 4,101 m and is the most accessible mountain in the world.

Visitors will find themselves surrounded by several species of flora and fauna at various altitudes on the mountain. This wonder of nature is one of the safest peaks in the world and is well known for its biodiversity plants.Its vast altitude allows wide array of habitats to thrive and is one of the world’s most important biological sites. Climbing Mount Kinabalu is a steep grade, however, it’s fantastic view and thrill make up for all the hurdles the trip may bring forth.

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Myths and Legends of Mount Kinabalu

Mount Kinabalu gets its name from the Kadazan word ‘Aki Nabalu’ which translates to ‘ revered place of the dead’.

Mount Kinabalu is sacred to the locals as they believe that the spirits of their ancestors occupy the peak of the mountain. Initially, every time someone tried to climb the mountain, a chicken was sacrificed to pacify the spirits. However, this ritual takes place only once a year where seven chickens are sacrificed to pacify the spirits.

Another popular legend among the locals is that the mountain belongs to a Chinese Widow. The legend says that a Chinese prince married a Kadazan woman after he defeated a dragon. However, soon after his marriage, he left for China thus abandoning the Kadazan woman. The woman then headed into the mountains where she was later turned to stone.

Climbing Mount Kinabalu

It is a relatively easy mountain to conquer and tourists can ascend this mountain without any prior experience of climbing mountains.

Route
It is mandatory for trekkers to be accompanied by mountain guides at all times during the trek. Climbers are allowed to choose the Kota Belud Trail or the Ranau Trail for climbing the mountain. The more preferred route among visitors is the Ranau Trail since it is safer and more tourist-friendly than the Kota Belud Trail.

Duration
Ascending and descending the mountain can take up to 4 hours. However, visitors generally take 2 days with an overnight stay at Laban Rata, which is located 3,272 meters above sea level. Visitors generally try to reach the peak of the mountain by sunrise to catch the beautiful sun and capture sensational pictures.

Fees and Permits
Kinabalu Park Entry Fees: Adult RM 15, Children RM 10The
Climb Fee Permit: Foreigners RM 200 and Malaysian RM 50
A maximum of 120 people are allowed to climb the mountain each day to preserve the environment and for safety measures. Climbing permits are subject to availability so visitors are recommended to book their climbing packages in advance. Permits for the climb can be obtained from the tour guides or agencies.
The cost of hiring mountain guide services is RM 230, while the porter service per day is RM 65.

Kinabalu Park

Kinabalu Park was opened to the public in 1964 and is the first national park of Malaysia. It was also nominated as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The park is buzzing with plant species such as the alpine meadow plants and montane oak. 

Visitors are encouraged to observe the botanical garden in the park and learn about the various plants in the vicinity. Kinabalu Park has eight nature trails for visitors who want to explore nature without trekking the mountain. There are several other attractions in the park such as the Orchid Conservation Center and the Butterfly Farm which will be an educative experience to the entire family. 

Also, do check out the waterfalls in the park – Kipungit Waterfall and Langanan Waterfall. The latter stands at 120m high and is a sight to behold.

Best Time to Visit

April is the most preferred month for climbing the mountain as the weather is stable and is more suited for climbing. Visitors are advised to avoid climbing the mountain during November and December, as these months witness heavy rainfall which can make climbing difficult and dangerous.

How to Reach Mt Kinabalu

Mount Kinabalu is 88km from Kota Kinabalu, which is a two-hour drive. Visitors can take a taxi from any part of the city as it is a prominent location in the city.

Things to Carry

  • Bring spare warm clothes as a backup if planning to climb the mountain
  • Visitors are advised to climb slowly instead of rushing up the mountain as the thin air can cause exhaustion and tiredness quickly.
  • Carry gloves as it is necessary to pull the ropes
  • Carry a head torch
  • Carry pain killers for muscular ache and ensure that you have enough water with you.
  • Visitors are highly recommended to not plan any rigorous activities for the next few days after the hike as the hike up the mountain will put tremendous strain on the body.

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