Car Rental KK : How to Get to Gunung Kinabalu

How to Get to Gunung Kinabalu

We did it the easy way through Pac West Travel, a Singapore based adventure travel company, who efficiently made all the arrangements for the entire Gunung Kinabalu trip, customised to our requirements. Pac West has a good map of the trail on their website. If you wish to make your own way to the Park it is easy to get from Kota Kinabalu to the Park by bus, taxi or rental car and there are also plenty of local travel agents who can help you with all the arrangements. The Sabah Tourism Board’s official website has a lot of useful information in this regard

Climbing Permits and Fees

To climb Gunung Kinabalu you must pay for Park Entry, Climbing Permits, Climbing Insurance and a guide. A guide is compulsory. You also need to pay for the bus from the Park HQ to Timpohon Gate starting point and back again. All the charges are reasonable and details of the latest rates can be found on the Sabah Tourism Board Official Website.


You must book your accommodation at Laban Rata well in advance as supply is very limited. Reckon on spending at least USD100 per night per person. Not cheap for hostel accommodation but it does include all meals and bear in mind that everything the hostel consumes, from food to clean sheets, has to be carted up the mountain on a porter’s back.

Hill Lodge Kinabalu National Park

The night before the climb we stayed at Hill Lodge, one of the various accommodation choices available at Kinabalu Park, a short walk uphill from the Park HQ. Staying here you get a good early morning view of Gunung Kinabalu and it enables you to start and complete your climb to Laban Rata before the clouds (and perhaps rain) roll in. Hill Lodge has individual chalets with private bathroom and 2 single beds.

For availability and room rates at Hill Lodge and other hotels at Kinabalu National Park take a look at Agoda’s website and obtain discounted rates.

What to Bring?

For the climb, a couple of T-shirts, a fleece, windproof/waterproof jacket and trousers, worn-in walking boots, hiking socks, trekking pole(s), headlamp and spare batteries, hat or tuque, gloves (don’t forget like I did!), water, snacks, altitude sickness tablets, sun block, insect repellent (very few bugs on my trip and no leeches), deep heat/tiger balm, lip balm, plasters, camera, tissue paper.

Climbing Gunung Kinabalu Not Challenging Enough?

If climbing Gunung Kinabalu over two days is too easy for you try running up and down instead. Every year they stage what is billed as the world’s toughest mountain race, Mt. Kinabalu International Climbathon, in which a field of super-fit nutcases run to the top and back for the ultimate fitness challenge. Last year’s winning time was just over 2 hours!

Or, for a different sort of challenge, try the Via Ferrata located not far from the summit of Mt. Kinabalu. A Via Ferrata is a kind of mountain climbing assault course with steel ropes, harnesses, ladders and so. The one on Mt. Kinabalu is the world’s highest. It is operated by Mountain Torq.

Maybe you would like to try climbing some more of south-east Asia’s challenging peaks? Find out how climbing Mt. Kinabalu compares with Vietnam’s Mt. Fanxipan and Indonesia’s Mt.Rinjani by reading this article on my blog.

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