Mount Kinabalu – What it’s Really Like to Climb Borneo’s Highest Peak
Mar 20, 2023 By Sean William

Mount Kinabalu is one of Southeast Asia’s most spectacular natural landmarks in the picturesque Malaysian state of Sabah. Standing 4,095 meters tall, it’s the highest mountain between India and New Guinea – and an iconic part of Borneo.

The prospect of scaling such a beautiful peak is irresistible for many adventurers. But what’s it really like to climb Mount Kinabalu? Follow me as I tell you all about my recent trip – from summiting the summit to experiencing unforgettable moments along the way!

Climbing Mount Kinabalu in Borneo

Mount Kinabalu, in Sabah, Malaysia, is a majestic peak at 4,095 meters tall. It is the highest mountain between India and New Guinea and an iconic part of Borneo. Mount Kinabalu has become an irresistible challenge for many adventurers and nature lovers alike.

I recently had the opportunity to climb Mount Kinabalu and experience first-hand what it is really like to submit this remarkable peak. The journey was an unforgettable one, filled with both physical and mental challenges — but also immense rewards.

The trek starts in Kinabalu Park, where visitors can take a three-hour climb up Mount Kinabalu’s first few kilometers. It's a relatively easy climb, but the beautiful views of this ancient landscape are worth the effort. If you're an experienced climber, you can also opt for a more difficult route that involves going around Mount Kinabalu’s sharp ridges and gullies.

Where is Mt Kinabalu?

Once at the top, you will be rewarded with beautiful panoramic views of Mount Kinabalu and the surrounding landscape. You can also take some time to explore the unique biodiversity of Mount Kinabalu and its surroundings — from orchids and pitcher plants to birds and mammals.

A summit is a special place that will stay with me forever. It's a place full of wonder and beauty, which can be appreciated by anyone who takes the time to climb Mount Kinabalu.

Mount Kinabalu is an incredible feat that I am incredibly proud to have achieved — and one I would recommend to anyone looking for a challenge! Whether you're an experienced climber or just looking for a unique adventure, Mount Kinabalu is an unforgettable experience that you won't soon forget.

Booking the Climb up Mount Kinabalu

Booking a Mount Kinabalu climb is relatively straightforward. You can find climbing packages online or through tour operators in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah’s capital city. It's important to book beforehand as Mount Kinabalu permits are limited and must be arranged with the Sabah Parks Board. Most Mount Kinabalu climbing packages will include a guide and all the necessary equipment, so you don't have to worry about bringing your own.

Once you’ve confirmed your Mount Kinabalu climb, the fun can begin! The first thing to do is decide on your route. Mount Kinabalu has two main trails: the Mesilau Nature Trail and the Timpohon Trail. Most climbers ascend via Timpohon, which offers better views, and descend via Mesilau for a more leisurely journey.

During your Mount Kinabalu climb, you’ll stay in mountain huts and take regular breaks to rest and refuel. Your experienced guide will keep you safe at all times and provide valuable insight into the local flora and fauna.

Sunset on Mount Kinabalu

The moment I’d been waiting for. After two days of trekking, it was finally time to reach the summit and take in the incredible view. The path up Mount Kinabalu is sometimes steep and challenging, with some tricky terrain along the way. But as soon as I ascended, I knew there was no turning back! The thrill of being so close to the peak was enough to keep me going.

When I finally reached the summit, I couldn’t help but gasp in awe at what greeted me. Mount Kinabalu is a stunningly beautiful mountain – even more impressive from the top. The sun was setting as I arrived, creating a dreamy orange hue that illuminated the surrounding landscape. It was an unforgettable sight – and one that I’ll never forget.

What to Pack for Mount Kinabalu

When it comes to Mount Kinabalu, there are a few essential items that you should pack. I highly recommend bringing plenty of water and snacks, as the trek can be quite strenuous. A warm jacket is also important, as temperatures get cooler at higher altitudes.

Good hiking boots with ankle support will help keep your feet comfortable for the climb. Finally, don’t forget to pack a camera – Mount Kinabalu is an amazing spot for photos!

The Mt. Kinabalu Summit Push

The Mount Kinabalu summit push is no small feat. It takes a lot of determination and mental strength to reach the peak, especially during the final hours when exhaustion can start to set in. But with proper preparation, you can make it to the top! Just remember to take regular breaks and stay hydrated – it’s surprising how much energy you’ll need to reach the summit.

Reaching Mount Kinabalu’s peak is an incredible accomplishment every adventure-seeker should experience. I was so proud of myself when I finally reached the top, and my sense of accomplishment has stayed with me ever since. If you want to challenge yourself and see some breathtaking views, Mount Kinabalu could be your perfect destination.


Is Mount Kinabalu hard to climb?

Mount Kinabalu is challenging, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. The ascent starts with an easy trek through the jungle and gradually gets more difficult as you reach higher altitudes. There are plenty of experienced guides and reliable infrastructure that make the climb accessible for anyone who is moderately fit and motivated.

How long does it take to climb Mount Kinabalu?

It generally takes two days to climb Mount Kinabalu – one day for the ascent and another for the descent. The total distance covered is around 8km (5 miles), with an elevation gain of 2,700 meters (8,858 feet). Most climbers plan to stay overnight at the Mount Kinabalu Base Camp before setting off early in the morning.

What facilities are available along the way?

Mount Kinabalu has plenty of amenities and facilities to make your journey more comfortable. At various stages of the ascent, you’ll find rest stops with snacks and drinks, toilets, and charging points. There are also rescue teams on standby at all times in case of emergency.


My Mount Kinabalu adventure was truly an unforgettable experience. The breathtaking views, the rewarding sense of accomplishment, and the wonderful people I met along the way made it one of my favorite places to visit in Malaysia. Whether you’re an experienced climber or a beginner looking for an exciting challenge, Mount Kinabalu is worth exploring. I hope my story has inspired you to consider trying this amazing mountain!