Hi My friend and I are planning to climb Mt. Kinabalu in the next 3 (or 4 or 5) days. People have been scaring us about not having lodging, so urging us to book in advance. It's quite hard to see what's near by from where we are now (Kuching, Sarawak). I gather there are places near the HQ at the bottom of the mountain, so we don't need to live actually in the HQ?? Do anyone know if we could just get there and look around?
Also, the weather forecasts for the next few days are T shower. We don't really mind it, but would the park HQ cancel the climb if the weather is T shower?
Accommodation near HQ are available at affordable rates but I'd suggest you book ahead to secure the rooms. However, accommodation at 11,000ft are normally snapped up due to limited beds. Even if you can get beds near the HQ, that still does not warrant your attempt to climb the mountain - you will need to stay the night at 11,000ft before proceeding to the summit the early morning after. It's quite rare people attempt to reach the summit in just one day.
As for showers, the climb would normally go on unless heavy rain or mists, or otherwise advised by the mountain guide.
There is an offical office in Kota kinabalu city to book for your accomendation in KK Mountain. There is no point of staying in the HQ. As Charlie said you need to book yourself a bed in the 11,000 Feet. Umm I cant really rember the name of the Agent, but I got to know this agent when asked the staff in my guest house in KK. So iam sure they all know about it.
When you arrive at park headquarters you will have just come up hill from Kota Kinabalu. If you continue in the same direction on the main road and around the first bend you get to a few guest houses. I know several people who turned up mid afternoon and got rooms no problem, but getting there earlier in the day would be better to make sure! Alternatively you could get the earliest bus from KK and climb to 11,000 on the first day, but it is a big altitude gain in 24 hours and may make you ill - its also an uneccessary early start!
As everyone else has said you need to book for the night at 11,000. The 'nicest' is Laban Rata. Laban Rata rooms have heating for a few hours at night. Laban Rata also contains the only shower block in the entire complex. It is also where dinner and breakfast are served. The Laban Rata package that the office will tryt o sell you includes a packed lunch for the first day of your climb. Dinner at 11,000. Breakfast when you get back down to 11,000 from the summit and lunch when you reach park headquarters at the end of the climb. The meals are all buffet with plenty to choose from and pretty good actually. The packed lunch is average. If you really want to save money it IS possible to book accommodation at 11,000ft without paying for the whole 'laban rata package' but this would mean either carrying all your own food or trying to sneak in to the buffet meals - No one checked our buffet vouchers for any of the meals, but you never know!
In terms of the weather. We were allowed to climb to Laban Rata in pouring rain. The guide told us it is cancelled if the rain gets "torrential". I don't know what happens if it is raining the day you get up at 3 to summit, but we were allowed to walk back down from Laban Rata to headquarters also in the rain!
It is amazing at the top so have a brilliant climb and enjoy the view. Fingers crossed for good weather for you.
There you go Karen, you've got plenty of useful advices from both Ray_Om and Couchies - cheers!.
You may look up Sutera Santuary Lodges ( http://suterasanctuarylodges.com ) to book for beds on 11,000ft (thanks Ray_Om for reminding! 😊 ). Accommodations under the jurisdiction of Sabah National Parks are handled primarily by them, so do make an effort to visit them soon since your planned climb is just around the corner.
All the best!