All You Need To Know To Climb Mount Kinabalu

Standing majestically at 4,095m (13,435 feet above sea level), Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain between the Himalayas and New Guinea. Mount Kinabalu derives its name from the Kadazan word, ‘Aki Nabalu’, meaning ‘the revered place of the dead’. It is one of the safest and most conquerable peaks in the world—provided that you’re reasonably healthy and physically fit.



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Although Mount Kinabalu is the safest and most conquerable peaks in the world, but without sufficient training is not doable. It is suggested that six months of training will give you the best results when climbing Mount Kinabalu. Jogging is not a good training option for climbing Mount Kinabalu, you should go for a related sport such as walking up a hill or staircase. If possible, carry a backpack with you during all the training, because it will help a lot when climbing Mount Kinabalu. If you are a Sabahan and finding mountains to hike, please stay tuned for my upcoming blog post.



Day Climb

> T-Shirts
> Track Pants
> Hiking Shoes
> Waterproof Backpack
> Small Towel
> Extra Mineral Water (Optional)
> Energy foods (chocolates, nuts, biscuits, sweets, energy bars)
> Hiking Pole
> Personal Toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, etc.)
> Raincoat / Waterproof Jacket
> Extra Clothes & Socks for Sleeping


Night Climb

> Warm Clothing (thermal long-sleeve shirts)
> Waterproof Wind Breaker
> Fleece Jackets
> Hiking Pants
> Thick Socks
> Head Torch
> Beanie / Head Scarf / Balaclava Mask
> 2 Gloves
> Mineral Water
> Raincoat / Waterproof Jacket
> Hiking Shoes

Optional Things to Bring

Medications, Toilet Tissue Papers, Sunglass, Sunblock Lotion, SPF Lip Balm, Plasters, Insect Repellent, Camera with Waterproof Bag, Rubber Slippers, Plastic bags

The Hike

DAY 1 (Timpohon Gate - Lapan Rata)

Climbing Mount Kinabalu requires 2 days to complete. The starting point will be at Timpohon Gate ascending to Laban Rata. The distance from Timpohon Gate to Laban Rata is 6km, which will take between 3-5 hours to reach Laban Rate from Timpohon Gate. On your way to Lapan Rata, there are 7 shelters with a toilet for you to rest and motivate yourself. Keep yourself positive and motivate because there tons of staircases and rocky surfaces waiting to surprise you every time you think you've finished.

Try your best to reach Lapan Rata before 4pm, so that you have some spare time for a short nap before buffet dinner starts at 4:30pm to 7:30pm. There will be no buffet dinner serve at 7:30pm, you will need to pay for an ala-carte dinner. Also, try to book your accommodation at Laban Rata, just above the restaurant, or else you'll have to walk a few meters to your accommodation before and after every meal at Laban Rata. After dinner, you'll have to make yourself sleep early because you'll need to wake up at 2am the next day.

DAY 2 (Lapan Rata - The Summit)

Good Morning~ Hope you have a wonderful sleep yesterday. Is time to have your supper at Laban Rata, and please get yourself all-ready before going for supper. The supper time is from 2am - 3:30am, after that they won't be serving. It's better to have your supper early so that you have time for big business before your climb to The Summit. After you've done with your supper and big business, meet up with your guide and ready to climb!

Today you'll have to climb 2.7km from Lapan Rata to The Summit, which will take between 2 to 4 hours. Be very careful, because the climb is very steep and is dark. You will only pass through one checkpoint, which is Sayat-Sayat checkpoint. After the checkpoint, there will be no more staircases but flat rocky surfaces until you reach the peak. You must reach the Low's Peak Summit in order to get a color printed certificate.

Now that you've conquered The Summit and come back down to Lapan Rata for breakfast. The breakfast will start from 7:30am to 10:30am. You will also have to check-out from your room before 10:30am. After breakfast, is time to say goodbye to Lapan Rata and continue your journey back down to your starting point, Timpohon Gate. Going down will take only between 3 - 4 hours from Laban Rata to Timpohon Gate. That's it! You've now conquered the Top 20 highest mountain in the world!



  • Mt Kinabalu climb registration at Park HQ takes place from 7am-10:30am. You must be registered by 10:30am. After this time, you will not be allowed to proceed with a climb for the same day. After registering, you may start the climb any time between 7am-11am. If you do not start the climb by 11am, you will not be able to proceed with your climb.


  • I don't know what's the average cost to climb Mount Kinabalu, but do check out those 3 tour operators' social media, as they will be giving out promotion sometimes. I've booked my trip with Sutera Sanctuary Lodges at RM250 in May 2020 when they're having a promotion. According to MySabah.com, the lowest climbing fee of Mount Kinabalu is about RM916 (USD218) for International Tourist and RM554 for Malaysian (last updated: Oct 2019). You can check out the costing here.

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