Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Road to Mount Kota Kinabalu

Sabah is a truly amazing place, this is one of the best trip I ever had, lies in my own country.
The view from our hut at Laban Rata

We chosen the Mesilau Trail for way up and Timpohon for way down as advised by most the friends which said Mesilau has a nicer scenery than Timpohon, and you won't have the mood to enjoy the scenery during your way down.

We booked the package of 4 days 3 night through MyTravelkaki, with around RM800.
The package included:
1. Return Airport Transfer
2. 1 night stay in Mesilau Nature Resort (trail foot), 1 night stay in Laban Rata (Waras Hut) and 1 night stay in Marina Court (KK Town)
3. Meal:  Day 1 - Dinner; Day 2 - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner; Day 3 - Breakfast, Lunch; Day 4 - Eat yourself

The track started from Mesilau Natural Resort, we had our breakfast and took our packed lunch before set off. The packed lunch is sandwich, apple, bananas and water (most of the people choose to give them back the mineral water as you can refill the water along the way)

Please start off earlier if you are allowed to. We wait until 9am and the tour guide still haven't come. We called the guide and told him girls in our group will set off first as we are slower. The guide agreed and we started our journey.

We only meet the first km with one hour and the rest is getting longer and longer.  The first 3km is easier, this is where you should try to be as fast as you can. The track was in good condition, no fallen trees nor big gap require jumping or whatever dangerous movement. It is just all steps, and steps, and steps......

Our guide and porter, Jomius is a really nice guy. He doesn't chase us to be faster and walk with us with his big backpack that load with ours. His words, "Biar lambat, asal selamat...". (Let it be slow rather than sorry.) He is 49 and yet with a stamina that none of us can beat.

I'm the slowest, always. I knew. Just wasn't prepared that it was that bad. When we reach 6km, the junction that join Mesilau and Timpohon, it was around 6pm. The sky is getting dark.

The last 2 km took us more than 3 hours walking in the darkness. The experience wasn't a good one at that time, but a good and memorable one at the time I'm typing now. It really wasn't easy to walk in a complete darkness. It was cold, exhausted, and desperate. My ankle was extremely pain, I stopped every half an hour to apply heat rub.

We took 12 hours + to reach Laban Rata at 8km, at 9:20pm.

After clean up and all, we sleep around 11pm. I'm not able to get up at 2am in the morning and ended up wake up at 6am where outside the room is already full of sunshine. My body recovered and I can actually do the summit push with the energy I had that time. However, we are not allow to do summit push without a guide.

We descend down at 10am, and reach Timpohon at 4pm. You should prepare food for descend as don't have any pre-packed lunch for you this time. We were sent back to Kinabalu Park for lunch. DO NOT FORGET TO TAKE BACK YOUR LUGGAGE AT HERE! Which is happenned to us and we spent RM80 to make someone go to the park and deliver our luggage the next morning to KK Town.
*p/s: Kinabalu Park is in 1 and half hour distance to KK Town.

Taking picture with our tour guide and ready to set off without our luggage... T_T

Looking at the picture now, I still feel regretful that I did not got up for the summit push. However, I feel like going again, although I said it gonna be the last and only trip I hike for Mount KK. I totally feel the charm that makes people keep going back.  The old forest which has been here for how many thousands years, the strong wind that blows everytime we climbed over the hill tops one after another, the whispering from insects and small animals... This is the picture that can only capture by our brain, not camera.

What shoes to wear? Click Here.

What to bring in your backpack?

1. Energy bar, fruits (Chocolate, cereal, biscuit and etc, energy level can be seen behind the packaging)
2. Heat Rub, Altitude Sickness medicine  (I couldn't find it anywhere in Penang, so my friend bought me from KL, named PRIMPERAN which I think it is not exactly for altitude sickness either, the pharmacist said it is for nauseous and dizziness, sounds like motion sickness to me. I didn't eat it at the end, not sure if it's working.)
3. Rain coat, cap, glove, sweater/windbreaker
4. Compact camera (comes in handy really)
5. DSLR (I brought it in my backpack and ended up bring it out not more than 5 times along the track, unless you have a DSLR pouch or you could just hang it on your neck for 8 hours, else, it's really a burden for you. But it does make a sacrifice if give it up.)
6. Head Light (If you know you going to be slow)

*The rest of the stuff you can give it to porter at RM10 per kg to and fro. You won't find this expensive after your hike.

Tips & Tricks:
1. Start off as early as possible, 7:30am if possible.
2. You should time your speed and try to meet 1km in an hour.
3. Go as fast as you can for the first 3km. The longer time you are walking, it makes more pressure on your leg and hurts the knees and ankles.
4. Grab some food or energy bar every hour. You won't aware you are hungry when you are moving. Rest not more than 10 mins every time you stop.
5. When you stop for rest, wear your jacket to keep your body warm.
6. Food like banana and apple is good for energy and hydration.
7. Exercise during weekend only is not enough for poor stamina people like me. Suggested exercises: 1 hike every weekend. 2 cardio exercises every week (swimming, jogging, yoga...), stairs climbing everyday
8. Make sure your sweater, glove and cap is dry or keep a spare for summit push. If you wet it on your way to Laban Rata, it not going to dry on next day.
9. There's no drinking water tap for every KM on Mesilau Trail like some said. It does have water tap in toilet if you feel like drinking from it.
10. The websites that provide very informative stuff and almost everything you wanted & needed to know:
The drinking water

I will come back for you, again...


  1. wanna ask. does the road from kk city up to the mountain dangerous?

    Thank You!

  2. I feel it's quite ok to drive. However we only ride from KK Town to KK Park Entrance, not sure about the condition further up. Good Luck!