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Mt. Kinabalu is the highest peak of the island of Borneo, the tallest mountain in Malaysia and 10th tallest in South East Asia. It is a dream climb for many mountaineers not only because it is Malaysia’s first ever UNESCO World Heritage Site but because its summit is truly a site to behold!

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Near the summit of Mt. Kinabalu

We went to Kota Kinabalu in late 2012 with a main purpose of summitting Mt. Kinabalu. It was a feat I am truly proud of because despite the fact that we lacked in formal preparation and training, we successfully reached the summit of Low’s Peak at 4095.2 meters above sea level.

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Proud at the summit!

Fifteen months after that milestone, I keep on getting inquiries on how we arranged the trek, what was our itinerary, how much did I spend, where did we stay, etcetera and etcetera. So here it is! I know this post came a bit late. Nevertheless, I hope you find this one helpful in organizing your own Kota Kinabalu Adventure.


Day 1: Arrival in Kota Kinabalu

1600H – 1800H: Manila to Kota Kinabalu Flight1800H – 1830H: Assembly at Kota Kinabalu Airport / Arrange transfer to hotel1830H – 1900H: Kota Kinabalu Airport to Sensi Backpacker’s Hotel in Gaya1900H – 1930H: Check-in / Fix-up
1930H onwards: Dinner / Socials / Free time / Prepare stuff

Day 2: Trek to Laban Rata

0500H – 0630H: Wake-up call / Breakfast / Proceed to Terminal Bas Bandaraya (Utara)0630H – 0800H: Bus Terminal to Mt. Kinabalu Park Headquarter0800H – 0930H: Arrival in Mt. Kinabalu Park Headquarter / Registration / Arrange transportation and guide / Pick-up packed lunch0930H – 1000H: Mt. Kinabalu Park Headquarter to Timpohon Gate1000H – 1800H: Trek to Laban Rata Guesthouse1800H – 1900H: Check-in / Buffet Dinner
1900H onwards: Fix-up / Lights off

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Laban Rata Guesthouse

Day 3: Summit Assault + Back to Kota Kinabalu

0200H – 0245H: Wake-up call / supper0245H – 0545H: Summit Assault0545H – 0730H: Free time on the summit0730H – 0930H: Trek down to Laban Rata Guesthouse0930H – 1200H: Breakfast / Rest / Check-out1200H – 1630H: Trek down from Laban Rata Guesthouse to Timpohon Gate1630H – 1700H: Rest / Assembly at Timpohon Gate / Proceed to Mt. Kinabalu Park Headquarter1700H – 1800H: Rest / Fix-up / Pick-up packed meal at the restaurant1800H – 1930H: Mt. Kinabalu Park Headquarter to Kota Kinabalu1930H – 2000H: Back in Sensi Backpacker Hotel / Quick Rest / Fix up
2000H onwards: Dinner / Lights off

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Waiting for sunrise at Low’s Peak

Day 4: White Water Rafting in Padas River

0500H – 0600H: Wake-up call / Breakfast0600H – 0740H: Transfer from Hotel to Beaufort Railway Station0740H – 0800H: Arrival and assembly at Beaufort Railway Station / Train boarding0800H – 1000H: Beaufort to Pangi Station (stopover at Halogilat and Rayoh Stations)1000H – 1030H: Preparation / Assembly / Briefing1030H – 1230H: White Water Rafting at Padas River1230H – 1400H: Wash-up / Fix-up / Lunch1400H – 1600H: Train travel from Rayoh to Halogilat and Halogilat to Beaufort1600H – 1800H: Beaufort to Sensi Backpacker’s Hotel Gaya1888H – 1900H: Fix-up / Rest
1900H onwards: Dinner / Socials / Lights off

Day 5: Half-Day Kota Kinabalu City Tour + Return Flight

0600H – 0700H: Wake-up call / Breakfast / Check-out0700H – 1200H: Half day Kota Kinabalu City Tour (State Mosque / State Museum / Chocolate Factory / Pasalubong shopping at sea front)1200H – 1215H: Proceed to Kota Kinabalu Airport1215H – 1330H: Lunch / Check-in1330H – 1530H: Flight from Kota Kinabalu to Clark
1530H – 1730H: Clark to Manila

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The Donkey Ears’ Peak of Mt. Kinabalu at 4054 meters above sea level with the Tunku Abdul Rahman peak on the right at 3948 MASL

Expenses (Excluding Airfare)

P7,450 – Laban Rata Overnight Package on Non-Heated Dormitory (555 MYR)P1,620 – Travel Tax (Manila Airport)P550 – Terminal Fee (Manila Airport)P67 – Shared taxi from KK Airport to Gaya (5 MYR)P268 – Shared taxi from Gaya to Mt. Kinabalu Park Headquarter (20 MYR)P201 – Mt. Kinabalu Park Entrance Fee (15 MYR)P111 – Shared transpo from Mt. Kinabalu Park Headquarter to Timpohon Gate (8.25 MYR)P579 – Shared Mountain Guide Fee (43.25 MYR)P230 – Shared transpo from Mesilau to Mt. Kinabalu Park Headquarter (17.125 MYR)P669 – Shared taxi from Mt. Kinabalu Park Headquarter to city (50 MYR)P2667 – White Water Rafting Package (200 MYR)P502 – Accommodation 1st Night (37.5 MYR)P803 – Accommodation 3rd to 4th Night (60 MYR)P298 – Shared city tour + airport transfer (22.22 MYR)P400 – Philtranco Bus: Clark to ManilaP1000 – Budget for food——
P17,425 for Kinabalu Trek + White Water Rafting in Padas River

*Add your personal expenses on souvenirs, airline tickets, etc.

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White water rafting at Padas River


  • Laban Rata of Sutera Harbour is the only accommodation in Mt. Kinabalu, booking can be done with them directly through their website. Minimum of two nights are required to book online.
  • As of 2013, they allow overnight package but booking should be done only through email (sslmresv2@suteraharbour.com.my), our overnight package was on non-heated dormitory room for 555MYR per person. Rate and inclusion are:
    • 1 night stay at mountain hut (Non Heated dormitory)
    • 5 meals arrangement
    • Climbing permit
    • Climbing insurance
      *Entrance fee, guide, porter and transportation fee should be paid in Mt. Kinabalu Park Headquarter
  • Payment (thru credit card) for the package is required to confirm the booking
  • Reserve at least three months in advance, there is a limit in number of climbers in Mt. Kinabalu
  • White water rafting and haf-day city tour packages were arrange with our hotel (Sensi Backpackers Hostel)
  • No visa for Filipinos visiting Malaysia
  • Mt. Kinabalu can be trekked any time of the year. October to February is wet season and March to September is dry, but in the mountain and rainforest of Mt. Kinabalu, there’s hardly a distinction of the season
  • When trekking Mt. Kinabalu, leave your unnecessary stuff in the hotel in the city
  • You will be trekking in the rainforest so waterproof your bags and gadgets and bring rain coats
  • Commonly used power outlets in Kota Kinabalu is the British Type – 3 flat prongs, power is 230V 50Hz
  • Go with a group to share costs in transportation and guide

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