Mount Kinabalu, Trus Madi and Gunung MuluBorneo Three Peaks
This is a challenging two week mountain adventure climbing three beautiful peaks in Borneo: Gunung Mulu at 2377m, Trusmadi 2650m and Mt Kinabalu 4095m.
The adventure begins in Miri travelling inland to the World Heritage site of Mulu with its world renowned cave chambers. Exploring the caves and then hiking up to Mount Mulu, which is quite rarely visited, is memorable for the virgin rainforest, prolific orchid and pitcher plant diversity and spectacular summit views. This is a near 50km round trip and is one of the toughest treks that Borneo has to offer.
From Sarawak, a short flight to Sabah and the two highest peaks in Borneo await. First is Trusmadi (2650m) with a challenging jungle approach, followed by the classic climb of Mount Kinabalu. At the end are two days at the Lupa Masa eco lodge near Poring Hot Springs and a transfer back to Kota Kinabalu.
Fitness and terrain
This will be a tough trip physically, the heat and humidity are enervating and it's important to keep hydrated and protected from the sun. We would recommend not arriving into Borneo and heading straight into this trek, but rather give your body a bit of time to acclimatise to the climate.
On Mulu and Kinabalu the trails are good and easy to follow, sometimes rocky and muddy and you should expect rain of course. The rainforest is a clean environment but there are obviously many places where it is possible to slip or trip, so common sense and good footwear is important. Take boots with good grip and have ankle support. On Trus Madi the trails are less distinct and there is a lot of jungle bashing in the undergrowth and wild camping.
Kinabalu is a granite batholith, so the summit plateau is clean granite which can be slippery in the rain. Trus madi can be very muddy and overgrown, while Mulu Peak has very sharp rock. With all three it's easy to feel exhausted after just a few hours, even though the distances are not great, so although the terrain is not too difficult the challenging factor is the climate.
It is unlikely you will see much wildlife while on the move, unless you keep very still and quiet, in which case the jungle is full of wildlife! Just a short while spent listening and watching carefully will yield some tremendous sights of indigenous mammals like the red leaf monkey.
Crossing streams is an ideal time to have a quick cooling down in the water, get some liquid on board and take a rest. Some of the streams become minor cataracts after a heavy downpour. Take a small towel for rinsing off and cooling your head and neck as you walk.
A training programme should include regular hill walking with a small pack of around 10kgs, and regular visits to the gym or the swimming pool for the final two months before departure.
Where will we stay?
On Trusmadi and Mulu we will be using fly camps and huts for accommodation. Mount Kinabalu has excellent facilities with food, water and showers. For the fly camps we normally bivouac or take a light tent or a hammock.
When is the best time to visit Borneo (click here for details)?
What support will I have?
Adventure Alternative supplies excellent guides and where appropriate local porters. Our team has a lot experience in Borneo and can manage any situation and help teach you any skills which you may not already have. On Trus Madi and Mulu there is very little external support, as it is quite remote, but on Mt Kinabalu there is plenty of support because this is a very popular and well-visited mountain.
- Strong rucksack for your main gear
- Waterproof day sack of about 30 -40 litres for carrying your daily needs
- Variety of waterproof/zip lock bags - for dirty clothes, sleeping bag and things to keep dry
- Full length closed cell sleeping mat
- Sleeping liner or lightweight sleeping bag (2 season)
- Lightweight trekking boots with ankle support
- Waterproof windbreaker and trousers, preferably breathable
- Base Layer (top & bottoms) for sleeping and Mt Kinabalu
- Pair of lycra style cycling shorts to wear whilst trekking (keeps leeches out!)
- Trekking clothes - lightweight trousers and shorts, shirts and T-shirts, jumper or midlayer fleece, underwear and several pairs of hiking socks, trainers or sandals
- Warm hat, lightweight and mid-weight gloves for Kinabalu
- Clothing for travel, dining in restaurants, and the heat and humidity of the coast
- Sun hat, sun lotion, SPF lip screen and sunglasses
- Swimming costume and small trek towel
- 2 x Water bottles and/or camelbak (take a protective cover for the mouthpiece) and water purification tablets (iodine-based is fine)
- Head torch with spare batteries
- Camera with spare batteries
- Personal wash kit
- Personal first aid
- Power pack for charging electrical items
The cycling shorts help to keep the leeches out and there are other leech deterrent products on the market including leech proof socks which you may find useful. Mosquito nets will be provided throughout the expedition. More information on clothing and equipment in Borneo, and also a mountain kit list for Kinabalu can be read on these linked pages.
Sandals are useful for camp but if you don't bring them with you then you'll be able to pick up a pair of local 'rubbers' on arrival.
Note that anything delicate, absorbent or electronic is likely to suffer from the damp atmosphere, all such items should be housed in a good quality waterproof stuff sack or pouch.
BORNEO ADD-ON TRIPS
Before or after your trip there are also a number of optional Add-on trips / activities, or hotels that you may like to take advantage of to extend your holiday, or just to cover accommodation before or after joining us. Some of the options are shortened versions of some of our main Borneo trips, others are adventure or relaxng wind downs in their own right. These can be found on the 'More Information' tab on this trip page and the options include:
- A 3D2N ascent of Mount Kinabalu.
- 4D3N trek / climb of Mount Mulu, which is one of Borneo’s toughest - harder and more adventurous than Mt Kinabalu.
- 3D2N visit to some luxury in the Kawag Nature Lodge in Danum Conservation Area for relaxation and wildlife viewing.
- A visit to the tropical islands off the coast of Sandakan including glamping on Turtle Island or Libaran (or a bespoke diving trip to Sipadan Island).
- 2D2N visit to the Hibiscus Beach Resort, which is a stunning and idyllic boutique beach chalet set in a secluded cove on the Kudat peninsula on the northern tip of Borneo.
- 3D2N Big Fin Beach resort for snorkelling, diving, paddle boarding or relaxing at this private and secluded beach resort, just off the coast of Kota Belud, near Kota Kinabalu.
- 3D2N add-on trip to the Danum Valley Conservation Area, staying at the Danum Valley Field Centre, with guided treks through primary rainforest.
- 4D3N trek into the interior of Sarawak to live with the last nomadic tribe in Borneo, the Penan.
- 4D3N add-on with visits to the Sepilok Orangutan Centre and the Kinabatangan River for stunning wildlife safaris.
- 3D2N treat with a night at the prestigious and award-winning Borneo Rainforest Lodge in Danum Valley Reserve.
- Additional nights accommodation in Kota Kinabalu or for sightseeing and visiting the islands, staying in the Hotel Sixty 3.
Mount Kinabalu, Mount Trusmadi, Mount Mulu itinerary
Borneo Three Peaks - Trusmadi, Mulu and Kinabalu is a 15 day trekking holiday in Borneo, however we do recommend arriving a day or so earlier in order to get acclimatised to the climate.
|1||Arrive Miri in Sarawak. Meet leader at airport and transfer to hotel.|
An early start by boat to Marudi and then to Mulu. A second option is to fly into Mulu direct. Transfer to the park rooms which have fans. Some of the more expensive rooms have AC.
Visit the show caves and see the bat exodus in the afternoon from Deer Cave. Travelling by longboat along the river network and exploring on foot these natural wonders.
Trek 11 kms to Camp 3 along a beautiful trail, and reach an altitude of 1300 metres.
The first two hours is through lowland seasonally flooded forest with giant strangler figs. As we start to climb the forest changes noticeably and the true forest giants emerge. Stunning surroundings and with luck we will have red leaf monkeys and gibbons for company. We expect to arrive at the simple camp with time to freshen up and enjoy the forest sights and sounds after what will have been a tough day.
Trek a further 6 kms into the forest and ascend 1800 metres to reach Camp 4 where it will be cooler. Orchids, pitcher plants and strange fungi and mosses are everywhere and it will be noticeably cooler when we stop for breaks. A series of fixed ropes and ladders are in place to assist the climb in the more tricky areas.
A pre-dawn hike to reach Mulu summit before the clouds roll in. This 6 km should take us between 2-3 hours. With luck we will treated to a magnificent 360 degree view that stretches into Brunei and unveils the striking Mulu limestone outcrops. Then the long descent to Camp 3 or perhaps further depending on conditions.
Trek back to park HQ where there is time to wash and pack before the afternoon flight to Kota Kinabalu via Miri. Transfer to a local hotel for an evening in KK.
Drive to the Crocker Range hills and the interior of Sabah for the next mountain of Trusmadi and stop enroute for a picnic lunch by a 20m waterfall before we arrive at the Tambunan Village.
An early start by 4x4 to Kampong Kaingaran, the start of the trek which is 6-8 hours on forest trails, aiming to be in camp by 4 pm in time to set up the tents and prepare dinner. Along the way enjoy the rare and endemic flora that the mountain is famous for including orchids and pitcher plants found nowhere else in the world.
Early start for the trek to the summit of Trusmadi and the sights and sounds of the forest awakening and in the distance the sun rising on the majestic Mount Kinabalu, a very special experience and a view that few people see. Descent to the village.
Drive to Poring Hot Springs and overnight in the Lupa Masa eco-camp, surrounded by primary forest, rivers and waterfalls, all very relaxing. Accommodation is in wooden platforms or hammocks, and there is a chance to go on a night bug safari.
Short drive to Mesilau Nature Resort in Mount Kinabalu national park at 2000m and overnight in the park lodge. There is time for a short guided walk to the site of the biggest pitcher plant in the world and also visiting the tea plantations nearby.
Early start for the climb to Laban Rata hut at 3300m on the normal route which takes about 7 hours on a well used trail with plenty of rocky steps and watering stations along the way.
Early summit hike to Lows Peak for sunrise and back to Laban Rata, a total of 4km round trip, and descend to the park gate and accommodation in the park lodge or potentially direct back to KK for the hotel.
|15||Transfer to KK for flight home, or stay on in Borneo.|
Borneo Three Peaks cost £2795.00
Mount Kinabalu, Mount Trusmadi, Mount Mulu based on minimum of two people. Single person supplement for this trip would be £350.00.
- Accommodation throughout in a variety of local hotels, lodges, villages and also wild camping
- Transfers throughout the expedition
- Park fees, camping fees and park rescue fees
- Park certified guides and assistant guides
- Meals throughout expedition
- International flights in to Miri and out of Kota Kinabalu
- Lunches and dinners in Miri & Kota Kinabalu
- Vaccinations / Anti-malarials
- Personal Travel Insurance and spending money
We advise you to take out your insurance as soon as possible to cover potential events that might cause you to cancel your trip.
You need to ensure that you have a policy which covers trekking to 4095 m, but it does not need to cover technical climbing. You should bring with you a copy of your policy. It is also worth bringing a photocopy of your passport and to keep it separate to your own documents just in case you lose your passport.
Choose a scheduled date or contact us to set up private dates or a bespoke itinerary. The minimum deposit is £100.00 and the balance is due six weeks before travel.
- Duration 15 days
- Numbers 2 - 5
- Altitude 4095m
- Distance 130 km
- Challenge Strenuous
- Comfort Camping/huts