Getting there: We took a mini-bus at 7am from the bus station downtown. There's quite a few of them ready and waiting and are just a little bit more expensive than the public bus. The buses wait to be filled before departing but that should not be a problem for getting there on time. The ride took 2 hours in total which is plenty of time as you have to start the hike by 10am daily.
THE CLIMB: I had also researched the climb and felt I was ready.....Unfortunately I had missed some key parts....
Such as: It's bloody hard!
Day 1: Arrive at the Park headquaters, pay 15RM for conservation fees (we had already paid 115pound ) and we then had to find a guide and pay for him too. Luckily we got in a group of 6 (which is the maximum allowed) and shared the 150RM/ 30GBP fee.
|Confident and sweat free at the start!|
The first 6.5km to camp were mostly stairs, man I hate stairs. By the last 500m my legs were dead and I was a sweatfest- did you know I am THE most sweaty person in the world ever. FACT! We were so happy to get to camp, only to find an ice cold shower awaited us...but so did a buffet dinner. Win some...
|How things change and it's just 2KM|
So it was off to bed early doors to start over again at 2am.
The final 3km of the hike were not what I was expecting. In all my research I had some how missed some seriously important information reading: "Last 2.5km steep incline, rope required, cold, wet, slippy, mountain face-please bring gloves!'.
|The rope: It's blurry but you get the idea.|
However we did make it to the top a little before sunset, which meant everyone had to climb back down a little as the top is so small. I took shelter from the wind behind a rock as I was freezing and waited for it to get light. Unfortunately it was too cloudy for us to see a beautiful sunset, although I was just happy for some heat.
After having some photos it was time for the long walk back down. The thought made me want to cry- cable cars down, great idea but no such luck.
We made it back to the entrance of the mountain around 1pm, that's 11hours of hiking for little legs. The remainder of the day was spent in bed watching terrible TV but blissfully happy nontheless.
We did actually do some small trails around the bottom of the park the following day and its really beautiful and worthwhile. So if you can't manage the full climb I would definitely recommend doing this.
Getting back to KK: From Mount Kinabalu we took a taxi back after waiting for some people returning from the climb to share the fare. This worked out about the same price as the minibus we had taken there and was a little faster than waiting for the next bus to appear. The drive takes around 2 hours.
Nuggets of info: Pre-book to ensure a place and get a better price, share a guide with upto 5 other people (6 total) to split the cost, pack- gloves & warm clothes, don't forget a torch, take snacks-the packed lunch isn't great, be in reasonable shape if you want to get to the top.