Climb Mount Kinabalu and Explore Its Surroundings

Mount Kinabalu is located two hours drive from Kota Kinabalu city centre. The highest peak in Sabah (Borneo) and Malaysia at 4,095 metres (13,435 feet), it is the 20th highest mountain in the world. You can climb Mount Kinabalu, a spectacular 10 million-year-old mountain, and explore the wonders around it. Here’s what not to miss.

View of Mount Kinabalu
Mount Kinabalu ©MDHarding

Reaching Mount Kinabalu National Park

We had a pre-organised transfer but there are also mini buses that depart from Padang Merdeka in Kota Kinabalu. The journey takes two hours, but ours took an additional hour as we stopped at the Sabah Tea Garden en-route.

Kinabalu Park National Heritage Site
Kinabalu Park National Heritage Site ©MDHarding


We stayed at the Sutera Sanctuary Lodges within the park for two nights. The lodge was really comfortable with sitting/lounge area, small kitchen, bathroom and two bedrooms. We had a terrace to enjoy our morning coffee as we watched the sunrise over Mount Kinabalu.

In the evenings when the temperature drops you can ask for the fire to be lit. The lodge is beautiful and in such a great location to enjoy the surroundings of the park. It’s also ideal for the early morning start to climb Mount Kinabalu.

On the first evening, we enjoyed a lavish spread of local dishes at the Liwagu Restaurant. The next day we followed with breakfast and dinner in the Balsam Buffet Restaurant. Our tour operator for the climb of Mount Kinabalu provided a packed lunch.

Interior of Sutera Sanctuary Lodges. Climb Mount Kinabalu
Inside Sutera Sanctuary Lodges ©MDHarding

Sabah Tea Garden

The Sabah Tea Garden is a great place to stop and sample refreshing teas en route to Mount Kinabalu Park. If you time your visit well, you could also take the factory tour. The garden also has its very own mosque!

Landscapre view with sign reading Sabah Tea. Climb Mount Kinabalu
Ranau Home of Sabah Tea ©MDHarding

Climbing Mount Kinabalu

We’re not hikers, but we love walking and a challenge. The two-day, one-night package includes a guide and overnight accommodation at the Laban Rata Guest House. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it all the way due to altitude sickness. But the views from over 2,000 metres were incredible!

If you are up for the challenge, I would highly recommend it!

Top Tips: Remember to pack only essentials. You’ll need warm clothes, including hat and gloves, and a waterproof jacket and trousers. Take plenty of water and energy/snack bars. Sunscreen and sunglasses are a must. Oh, and you’ll want a head torch for the early ascent. You might also like to take trekking poles.

Person walking up stairs on Mount Kinabalu
Climbing Mount Kinabalu ©MDHarding

Poring Hot Springs

Since we descended early, we had time to explore more of the area. And wow, there is plenty to see and do, with something for the whole family. Did you know Kinabalu Park is the best place to see Rafflesia, the largest flower in the world?

There is also a butterfly park, canopy walkway, bat cave, waterfalls and restaurant. You can relax in hot tubs both inside and outdoors as you enjoy the benefits of the spring waters. With so much to see and do, It is hard to decide what to do first.

Close up of Rafflesia flower
Rafflesia flower ©MDHarding

We arranged one of the luxury transfers from the park to visit the canopy walkway. We had a dip in the relaxing spring hot tubs and a delicious lunch at the Rainforest Restaurant.

People on canopy walkway
Up on the canopy walkway ©MDHarding

Hats off to all the lovely people at the Sutera Sanctuary Lodges and Mount Kinabalu National Park. They took excellent care of our needs, the additional night and trip to Poring Hot Springs. Our only regret is not having more time to enjoy it.

I hope you have enjoyed reading and are inspired to visit or possibly even climb Mount Kinabalu. Happy Travels:) x

About MichelleDeansHarding


 Michelle has a love of travel and photography, which has currently taken her to six continents. Experiencing other cultures/history and food both independently and while working on-board luxury cruise ships. Discover more about Michelle, her enthusiasm for travel and photography via:

Other posts by the Author

Leave a Reply