Mount Kinabalu Jungle Trek

Mount Kinabalu Earthquake Update

**After the May 2015 earthquake, our Mount Kinabalu treks were temporarily suspended. The trail has now reopened as of December 2015 but we can only run custom dates to check permit availability before a booking.**


This trek to Mount Kinabalu in Borneo is a fantastic opportunity to explore the highlights of Borneo and indulge in a full range of adventure activities.

During this trip, you will visit lush rainforest and rocky mountain slopes, to 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.

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.





Mount Kinabalu Jungle Trek Itinerary


DayElevationTravel TimeInfo
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 mount biking, you can choose a range a of these activities for the day at no extra cost!
3 & 4 4, 095m   

The next few days are spent on our Mt Kinabalu climb, including the via ferrata activity. Most people climb up and down in two days, missing out on almost everything this mountain has to offer, except for the summit. Staying in the mountain huts or camping nearby is one of the great mountain experiences. 


You will descend from the Pendan Hut to the Mount Kinabalu National Park head quarters and the here the trip finishs.

You are perfectly places 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.



Mount Kinabalu jungle trek cost £825


  • 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


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



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. 


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!


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. 


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 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.


Choose a date from the drop down box below and pay only £250 deposit to secure your place when you book now. 

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 2-16
  • Altitude 4095m
  • Comfort Camping and hotel
  • Challenge Moderate
Borneo Information
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