Overview

Mount Kinabalu Jungle Trek

This trek to Mount Kinabalu in Borneo is a fantastic opportunity to visit lush rainforest, stay in an eco lodge and climb to the highest point in Borneo. Explore stunning primary rainforest and the diverse flora and fauna of Lupa Masa Jungle Camp, before embarking on a day of trekking to hidden waterfalls and tubing down river. You will then embark on a two night climb of Mount Kinabalu and the Via Ferrata hike on the granite slopes of South East Asia's highest peak.

Dates are custom, so please contact us with your preferences and we can check availability in the mountain huts.

Mount Kinabalu

At 4,095 metres (13,435 ft) Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain in Borneo, and the highest point between the Himalayas and the snow-capped mountains of New Guinea. Lacking foothills, it appears to shoot straight up into the sky, it's jagged granite peaks floating above the clouds.

The mountain is "u" shaped, with bare rock plateaux at about 3,900 metres, on top of the two arms called the Eastern and Western plateaux. In between is Low’s Gully which is over one kilometre deep in places. Few mountains can beat Mount Kinabalu for strength and stark simplicity. Mount Kinabalu is set near the equator, rising darkly straight out of the tropical rain forest, one continuous, clean, black, bare rock mass, to the summit. Because of its breathtaking isolation Kinabalu has its own climate, a constant flux of cloud and wind, rain and cold, and the warmth from the forests below.

 

 

 

Dates & Bookings

Bespoke Dates

Itinerary

Mount Kinabalu climb Itinerary

Day 1 -  Pick up from your hotel in KK, travel to Poring Hot Springs and Lupa Masa eco-lodge, night safari, overnight in fairly basic jungle accommodation.
Day 2 - Choice of activities after breakfast at Lupa Masa – mountain biking, trekking, tubing or stay at Lupa Masa, overnight at Lupa Masa
Day 3 - Mountain park HQ at 8am, check in at gate and meet mountain guide, hike up to Pendant Hut at 3289m, via ferrata familiarisation, dinner in Laban Rata hut.
Day 4 – Early start to summit at 2.30am for sunrise from Lows Peak, descend to complete the via ferrata, return to Pendant Hut, afternoon recuperation, dinner in Laban Rata
Day 5 – Back up day if day 2 was not successful, descent to park gate to collect certificates. Transfer back to KK.
Please note that ample advance notice must be given to book places in the huts on the mountain and once reserved, full payment for the mountain section has to be given one week later to the park. Therefore we would ask that a minimum 50% deposit is paid for this trip to secure your places in the huts.

You may also be interested in adding some days to your itinerary to experience a bit more of the diverse flora and fauna that is on offer in and around Sabah, click on the links to Deramakot Forest Reserve and the Imbak Canyon Conservation Area to read some feedback and see photo's of these areas on Trip Advisor.

DETAILED ITINERARY

DayElevationInfo
1  900m

You will be met at your Kota Kinabalu hotel and driven overland to Poring, a small village at the base of Mount Kinabalu. From here, you will trek 30mins to Lupa Masa Jungle Camp, a small authentic camp set amongst primary Borneo rainforest. Lupa Masa is built from natural materials in the heart of the rainforest. It is the perfect place for an introduction to the diversity of the Borneo rainforest, as well as a retreat for those who simply want to get away from the modern world and relax in a beautiful environment surrounded by nature.

After settling into camp and exploring the rivers and waterfalls, you will take a guided night trek to find some of the rare and diverse nocturnal wildlife of Kinabalu.

2  900m Today is a full activity day for you to warm up your legs for the climb ahead and explore some of this pristine environment. From jungle trekking, to river tubing and mountain biking, you can choose a range of activities near the eco-lodge. 
3,4    4095m 

The next few days are spent on our Mt Kinabalu climb, including the via ferrata activity. Ascend to Pendant Hut on day 3 and rise early on day 4 to reach the summit and do the via ferrata on the descent. Afternoon rest. 

5  

Descend from the Pendant Hut to the Park head quarters and collect certificates. It is possible to summit on this morning and complete the ascent and descent in one day, arriving later at the park hq. 

You are perfectly placed to travel onwards and explore some of Borneo premium wildlife viewing locations in the East, or head north to hidden white sand beaches of the Kudat coast. Alternatively, we can arrange transport back to Kota Kinabalu- please get in touch for options.

Cost

Mount Kinabalu jungle trek cost from £825

INCLUDES

  • Mount Kinabalu climbing permit & insurance
  • Via Ferrata climb on Mount Kinabalu
  • Local Mountain guide
  • All transport until the trip finishes
  • All food and accommodation throughout
  • Activities at Lupa Masa Jungle Camp

EXCLUDES

  • International flight to Kota Kinabalu
  • Insurance
  • Personal equipment and expenses
  • Onward travel after the trip

Payments

We make payments as flexible as possible and give you control over what you pay and when you pay it. A deposit of £250 is required on booking to secure your place and we ask that the remaining balance (trip price minus the deposit) is paid in full 4 weeks prior to your departure. When you book with us you're given your own secure online account which you can access 24/7. Through this account you can edit your booking, add flight, health, insurance and dietary details and also make interim payments. Therefore you can choose, if you wish, to pay a bit off your trip fee whenever it suits you.

LOCAL PROVIDERS

Our local provider is Adventure Alternative Borneo. Adventure Alternative Borneo complies with UK tourism standards. Where we do use providers such as hostel and guesthouse owners and homestays these are people our Adventure Alternative Borneo staff have known for years, and spent time with to build up the trust between both parties. 

Fitness

Mount Kinabalu Jungle Trek - fitness and terrain

You do not need to be super-fit for this trip, however Mount Kinabalu section is moderately demanding with some long days of sustained walking with a backpack. The effects of heat and humidity will also further tax your body. You will enjoy the trip all the more if you are in good physical shape having exercised regularly and eaten nutritiously over at least the 6 months leading up to the trip.

Mount Kinabalu

Mount Kinabalu is an oval-shaped granite dome which arose from volcanic and tectonic movements about 1.5 million years ago, which was followed by glacial erosion during the Ice Age, and this accounts for the smooth rock surface. The lower slopes are steep, but the path is well trodden with regular water stops and many wooden steps that meander ever upwards. There is no doubt that it seems never-ending, especially in the midday heat! As you trek through the vegetation zones, there are many view points to enjoy and lots of stops. A lot of people climb the mountain, so you are rarely alone, although you do feel very jealous of those coming down.

Above the hut at Laban Rata you pass onto the high plateau, from vegetation to rock, and the terrain is altogether different. It is utterly bare of plant life, just miles of granite and many peaks and spires. It is easy to walk across, except when it is raining. When the surface is wet you have to be very careful of slipping. When the cloud comes down it is very easy to get lost up on this remote plateau, so be very aware of the weather.

Coming down the mountain can be difficult too, with hundreds of steps to negotiate until your knees are complaining and your feet are sore. Again, it seems never-ending, but at least you are now passing people on their way up who are feeling jealous of you!

Rainforest

The rainforest is actually a very clean and pure place to visit. The canopy offers excellent shade from the intense sun and traps moisture however it can be very humid and you will need to continually drink water. We travel using trails which have been the jungle arteries for the local native residents for thousands of years. It is unlikely that we will be off the beaten track with a machete. Sometimes the paths can be muddy and slippery, there are logs to clamber over, and the terrain is up and down, but movement is never fast.

We will carry little, and there will be lots of stops for drinking and cooling off in the streams. Travel in the jungle is up and down, a lot of hills and often not much to see except the canopy above you and the impenetrable forest around you. Stand still for a moment and the animals will easily be seen and heard. The trails are wide enough for one person and it is important to stick together.

Accommodation on the Mount Kinabalu Jungle Trek

In the jungle, lodge accommodation at Lupa Masa is basic but comfortable. In the bathrooms there are bucket showers, or an option which many guests prefer is to shower in one of the beautiful waterfalls or streams surrounding the lodge. Toilets are squat toilets, which you pour water into to flush.

Accommodation on Mount Kinabalu is in the Pendant Rata Hut which is a bit higher than the other mount guesthouses. The Pendant hut is a comfortable hut with dormitory style bedrooms, toilets and showers. It is heated and provides a buffet dinner and breakfast. 

EXPERIENCE NEEDED

It is important to point out that the challenge is a non-technical trek to climb Mt Kinabalu alongside the various other elements of the trip. You will need to be reasonably fit and any regular hill walker will find this expedition within his or her capabilities. A training programme should include regular hill walking with a small pack of around 5-10kgs, and regular visits to the gym or the swimming pool for the final two months before departure.

Clearly this trip is quite challenging if you are expecting modern amenities, since there are none in the jungle, so the trip will require patience, teamwork and a willingness to work with Mother Nature! Sometimes the heat and humidity can be debilitating, and sap even the most positive of minds. Mental preparation and an open mind are essential!

ADVENTURE ALTERNATIVE SUPPORT

Adventure Alternative supplies excellent guides and, where appropriate, local porters. Our leaders have a lot experience of travelling in Borneo and will manage the situations and help teach you any skills which you may not already have.

Kit List

Mount Kinabalu Jungle Trek kit list

  • Rucksack 50+ litres, with waterproof liner, various size stuff sacks
  • Daysack of about 40 litres for trekking and the hikes on the mountain
  • Fleece sleep sheet
  • Trekking shorts, T shirts, lightweight shirts and trousers, trainers
  • Mountain - Fleece top, warm clothes. Fleece hat and gloves, waterproofs
  • Hiking boots (lightweight, good tread), sandals/ flip flops
  • Two water bottles of 1 litre capacity
  • Personal washing kit, swimming costume, towel, sun cream, personal 1st aid kit
  • Sunglasses, sunhat, head torch and batteries, camera

It can get very hot and humid in the low levels, so light clothing is obvious. On the trail in the jungle, light shoes and light clothing with a set of dry clothes to change into on arrival at the village. Socks are not necessary and we recommend you buy local plastic shoes for walking in.

On the mountain you need to cover both bases – light gear for the heat in the forest and lowlands and warm clothes plus waterproofs for the high camps. 

Trainers are fine for the trekking but on the mountain you will need lightweight hiking shoes/boots with good tread. Also sandals or flip flops. Sun injuries are common, so bring good cover, UV lip salves, good sunglasses and after sun. Kit can get wet and damp, so dry-bags are important. 

Why Us

Why Adventure Alternative?

 

  • We offer small scale, authentic adventures, which can also be tailormade.
  • Adventure Alternative underwrites the charity Moving Mountains.
  • All our guides and staff are professionally trained and have years of proven experience.
  • We have built up partnerships with local guides and drivers which are mutually beneficial and exist on a fair and open basis so that the host country and its people may fully benefit from tourism without being exploited.
  • We are continually improving our quality service year on year.
  • Financial security guaranteed
  • We are members of Interhealth which gives you access to pre-trip health information and on-site assistance by phone in the event of an emergency.
  • Adventure Alternative financially supports the tree-planting project run by the Moving Mountains Trust, who are currently providing £8,000 per year to the forest enrichment programme in the area where the Penan live.

Photos

Choose a date from the drop down box below or choose custom dates.  

Tours from only pp book

Borneo - a wonderful and unforgettable experience with so many fantastic memories. Did so much in 3 weeks. This trip wil…

Read More Sue Co
Staff Review

This holiday will appeal to all age groups who are looking for more than the standard one night climb of Mount Kinabalu. 

Key Information
  • Duration 5 Days
  • Numbers 2 - 10
  • Altitude 4095m
  • Comfort Eco lodge and mountain hut
  • Challenge Moderate