SCALING THE HEIGHTS OF KINABALU


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Asia » Malaysia » Sabah » Mount Kinabalu
February 18th 2010
Published: March 2nd 2010
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Woke up early to get ready to take the public bus to the Kinabalu park, Su my Taiwanese roommate woke up the same time and told me he intends to go to Ranau so we decided to take the bus together(15 ringgits). We walked to the bus station and already a van is half full, we got on and a few more gringos came all hiking Kinabalu like me. The trip was a good 2 hours we got drop off at the foot of the park entrance and a walk uphill led us to the registration office, and there I met Shane, an Aussie who is looking to share a guide, a guide costs 85 ringgits and can take a maximum of 6 people, I took him in and he gave me half of the 85 ringgits since I already paid the package of 625 ringgits with Sutera, they have a monopoly here being the only company running the trip. We met our guide Jaladi, short and quite with a reserved smile, he told us to pick up our packed lunch at the Balsam cafe , I did not have vouchers issued to me since I bypassed the Sutera office next door so I have to backtrack and go back to claim them.

We took a shuttle van to the starting point of the Timpohon trail, Su my Taiwanese friend did the Mesilau trail and he said the scenery is fab, I asked our guide if we can do that, it's about 2.3 kms longer, he said if I really wanted to we can "but" it's already 10am and it may be too late now, i did not believe him for a second, Su started their hike at 1100am, I think our guide is just not feeling up for the longer hike, anyways my main goal is to reach the top it does not matter which trail we do. At the entrance of the Timpohon trail we got checked in, badges shown and all and we started the arduous trek, it was nice and just slightly slopey then it got steeper and steeper , great change of forests from tropical to temperate to alpine I think towards the top, I was a bit quicker than Shane so i left him and Jaladi and went on my own pace, I wait for them every now and then at a rest house or two.

We had a quick lunch halfway through, there are squirrels around and they are hyperactive, bouncing around everywhere trying to get bits of morsels from tourists, the packed lunch was sufficient, we started walking again, we heard a beautiful singing from a green bird that Jaladi pointed to us up on a tree, we heard many along the trail. When we are above the cloud line we started having strong sun and we are sweating profusely, below is foggy and gloomy and a bit chilly but here totally different, i think we are just above 2,800 meters now. We met people on the way down the mountain a couple of kids and a grandma! No excuse to not make it then, if they can so can I certainly. I huffed and puffed my way to base camp, the Laban Rata GH where they serve our meals, some people were lucky enough to stay here, I was assigned to Gunting Lagadan GH, a 5 to 10 minute walk up with many stairs! I headed there straight only to turn back as I did not check in at the reception at Laban Rata! Well my guide did not tell me!

I got my key, i was the only person so far in the 4 bed dorm room. We have hot showers and electricity, my room is next to the toilets and a bit stinky so have to close the door at all times. It is now 2:30pm we started at just past 10am, I made it in 4 hours, i feel a bit tired so tried to take a nap but couldn't so i just chill and listen to my mp3. 5pm i headed to the mess hall and lots of people were already there eating! I joined in, the food is fabulous, veggies, meat(chicken, beef,lamb) excellent food, well for the price you pay it should really, you can't bring your own to cook. After 3 or 4 helpings I am stuffed and ready for bed but not after having a nice Sabah tea while watching the sun set, below the veranda were the guides playing sepak takraw as the sun is setting. Great views and fotos.

I returned to my room and an Aussie guy was there, I forgot his name! must be the altitude, we chatted for a bit, he had a hard time getting
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1st glimpse of the mountain from the ranger station
up here, severely tired he and I just chilled, exchanged stories and went to bed, later a girl came to our room, and took the upper bed. We all struggled to sleep, the Aussie boy went to the toilet 3 to 4 times, he revealed he had the shits, and the girl has a big headache, i have a minor headache myself but we are all going to try to make the summit, 2am now and we all got ready. Went to the mess hall and had a light breakfast then Shane showed up and we started heading up at 3am.

The trail is busy, head lights on if you look back below you it's like a pilgrimage! We walked slowly up, it helped that the trail is crowded so you take your time and you catch your breath, it is steep i felt a bit dizzy at times losing my balance so have to hold on to something, we eventually got to the ropes where the climb is steeper, everybody is quiet, trying to concentrate and conserve energy except for a bunch of Chinese girls, yacking away the whole time! We arrived at the check in point, we have to show our badge again then they tick you in the list, we rested here for 10 minutes, it's still early, Jaladi did not want to get up the top too early as it is cold there. We went on again and to make a long story short we arrived at the top, well almost the top, it's crowded and is only 5:30am, sunrise is at 6, we picked our own nook among the rocks and I fell asleep, good thing it's not too windy, I got woken up by Jalodi, telling me to get up the sign at the top and he'll take my foto, we have to do it now before it gets super busy, so we waited our turn and had a go. it's so crowded I can only sit down in front of the sign. I woke up with my fingers frozen! i forgot to bring gloves and it's numb. Eventually the sun rose, lots of good fotos.

Jalodi asked me if I am ready to get down, so we slowly headed down, the climb down is more difficult, it's a steep slope my ankles hurt, again I went ahead of them and made it to my GH, packed all my stuff and headed to the mess hall for 2nd breakfast! Eventually more and more people showed up, Shane appeared and we had pancakes. Around 9am we started to head down, I did not want to stop, i kept going, I left Shane in the dust, a group of Polish guys passed me, damn it! they are older than me too! and I wasn't really slow. I kept up with them, and we met some people heading up the mountain, boy are they in for a long hard trek, but of course I did not tell them that. only 2 kms away from finish I heard 2 from the group of American navies just behind me, I literally ran refusing to be passed by them, silly really but just pride and I succeeded! i got to the end before them. That felt good, beating them, ha!! I waited for an hour before Shane showed up, we headed for buffet lunch at Balsams then from there i headed down the highway to try and flag a van back to KK, 10 minutes and no bus or van had passed, lucky for me a car pulled
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poor porters
over, a couple from the trek(a Singaporean and a Brit) offered me a ride back to KK, score!
The girl did not attempt to climb the summit this morning opting to catch some sleep instead, i was so tired I fell asleep in the car, they dropped me off at Le Meridien hotel downtown and they refused me to at least pay for gas, random act of kindness, much appreciated.

I arrived at the Borneo backpackers and got my fan dorm bed. An hour later i was told to move to the a/c room for the same price, they double booked it apparently, anyway they help me move my stuff which was all over the floor, Su was already here, we planned our trip together to the tip of Borneo. We had a delicious dinner at this place where they serve this Chinese dish called"Bak Gut Teh"well sounds like that.
it's busy and full of Chinese! I crashed into bed soon after, the next morning my calves were sore and my legs but not so bad really, I dropped my clothes for washing and Su and I headed to Mamutik island, my 2nd time there for some good snorkelling.
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one of the trails
Not as crowded this time, we snorkelled for maybe an hour we got stung by jelly fish all over my body, one stung my lip! It's as painful as when I got stung by a bee on the lip in Iguassu in Brazil. Su got stung in the face. We saw lots of fish again. Exhausted we fell asleep in the beach, then around 2pm we moved to the other end of the beach to "feed" the fish, armed with rocks we pounded the rock oysters and cracked them open for the fishies to feast on, as we swim back and watch as throngs of fish, big ones mind you compete for the tasty morsel, we did this for maybe an hour and barely made it in time to catch the 3pm boat shuttle back, we had so much time feeding the fish we lost track of time, I got bruises all over my knee, scraping it on the sharp oyster shells, the waves are strong and it thrushes you amongst the sharp shells, i guess I had it coming , pay back time for feeding them to the fishies!

Back in town he headed to this big mall near the Jesselton pier and had lunch at the food court on the 3rd floor, cheap and good! i had noodles and then still not full, I went for chicken fried rice, both times the girls serving me asked me where I am from, I don't know if they are flirting or just curious, but I loved the attention, especially when Su did not get the same treatment.


Additional photos below
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Shane my hiking partner taking foto of our guide, Jaladi
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one of the resthouse
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sample of toilet at resthouse
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almost at base camp
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Gunting Lagadan rooms
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where i lived
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Gunting Lagadan


4th March 2010

i dont konw about that but frm today i know many thaings.thanku vary much.i like also photos.NICE PHOTOS
23rd March 2010

Awesome
Great travelogues as always. I admire the diligence you possess with updating your blogs with such detailed accounts of your backpacking experiences. Keep up the good work! This entry proved very useful, as a friend and I are climbing Kinabalu next week!

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