Mt Kota Kinabalu Climb Guide

mt kota kinabalu climb
mt kota kinabalu climb
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Mt. Kota Kinabalu has a very special place in my heart. She was my first solo climb. The first mountain that impressed me with the amazing sea of clouds. If I can set aside Mt. Natib, I will call her my mother mountain – so grand, so impressive.

It was on my third visit in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia when I summited her peak. On my first two visits, I just admired her from afar.  I learned about her majesty on my first trip so I planned a second visit to study her logistics – what I must do, where to start, how should I begin.

This detailed Mt Kota Kinabalu climb guide is written to help those who have been longing to set foot on its summit but do not know what to do or where to start.

 The Mountain

Kinabalu is the highest mountain in the Malay Archipelago. It is included in the list of most prominent mountains in the world by topographic distinction. Its summit (Low’s Peak) stands 4,095 meters above sea level.

A summit climb from the jump off or the trailhead covers 8.72 kilometers. The first 6 kilometers (4-5 hours) of Mt Kota Kinabalu climb will be covered on Day 1. You will have to stay overnight in Laban Rata (required) before heading to the summit on Day 2. You have to wake up around 3AM to complete the final 2.72 kilometers (roughly 3 hours) ascend to the summit. Make sure to reach the peak before the sun breaks – that will mark an epoch in you climbing history – the sun painting the sky with kaleidoscopic hues is amazing.

The descend will happen on the same day of summit climb, with a quick stop at Laban Rata on the way down for the second breakfast. The entire ascend (from summit to the jump off) is around 6-9 hours. Lunch will be served once you get back to Park Headquarter.

Guidelines in Climbing Mt Kota Kinabalu Climb

Book your Flight

We all know that booking in advance can save us a great deal of money. I booked my roundtrip Kota Kinabalu flight for only Php1, 800. That was 5 months prior to my climb.

Be reminded of fees that you have to pay at the airport:

Travel Tax – Php1, 620
Terminal Fee – Php750

Book your climb

Camping is not permitted in Mt. Kinabalu. Booking in Laban Rata is a requirement; and the best way to get a reservation is by directly contacting Sutera Harbour, now Sutera Sanctuary Lodges (SSL). They are the one managing the climbing operations across the board. Due to the limited number of beds at the mountain huts, only 130 persons are allowed to climb Mount Kinabalu per day so make sure to book your climb at least a month in advance.

Important: Please note that 2D1N packages can only be confirmed within 30 days of the climbing date and are subject to limited availability. SSL gives priority to those taking advantage of 3D2N packages and climbing Via Ferrata.

Sutera Sanctuary Lodges Contact information:

Tel: +6088 487466 Fax: +6088487566
Facebook: SuteraSanctuary
Address: B-9-G Siganture Office, KK Times Square, 88100 Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Business Hours: 9AM-6PM (Mon-Fri), 9AM-4PM (Sat), close on Sun and Public Holidays


Packages provided by Sutera Sanctuary Lodges only include Accommodation and Food. Sabah Park climbing fees are to be settle by cash directly to Sabah Parks at Kinabalu Park. Land transfer is also not included.

If you have friends in Sabah, or know a trusted travel agency, you can course your booking your Mt Kota Kinabalu climb through them. They can go to the office and confirm your slot immediately.

How to Get to Mt. Kota Kinabalu Jump-Off from Kota Kinabalu International Airport

  1. Take the bus bound for Wawasan Terminal. You can walk several meters away, taking right, from the airport to Tanjung Aru and wait for the bus 6A (this option is convenient but the waiting can take forever) OR you can walk quite a distance to Sempelang and Serih streets, near the police station, and wait for roughly 30 minutes for the bus bound for Wawasan Terminal. Several buses pass by this route every hour. Fare costs 1.00 MYR
  2. From Wawasan Terminal, take the bus going to Inamam Terminal. This costs  2.30 MYR
  3. From Inamam you can take another bus going to Ranau, Sandakan or Tawau and just tell the driver to drop you off at Kota Kinabalu Park. This costs 20 MYR

(MYR is Malaysian Ringgit. Click here for the currency converter)

The most convenient (but costly option) is taking a taxi from the airport to one of the bus kiosks offering transport services to various locations in Sabah. Tell the driver you are heading to Kota Kinabalu Park and must ride the bus with a signage K. Kinabalu – Kinabalu Park – Ranau.

Buses and taxis are the primary mode of transportation in KK.


  • If you are only taking advantage of the 2D1N package, you have to book your accommodation near the park headquarters as you have to be at the jump off before 9:00AM. The climbing gate closes at 10:30AM; No climbing will be allowed after that time. I booked one night in a dormitory room at D’Villa Rina Ria Lodge (click on the link to book online). Overnight stay costs 30 MYR. It is roughly 300 meters away from the Kinabalu Park. Click  here to see other accommodation options. 
  • When you reach Kota Kinabalu Park, you will have to complete your registration for your stay at Laban Rata with the SSL office and pay for your permit and insurance. It is compulsory to have your passport or ID present when performing these transactions. Please also note that only cash is acceptable here as there is no credit card facility.
  • You can share the climb guide cost with 4 other adult climbers so keep a look out to other solo travelers to save. I managed to befriend a European couple when I climbed so paid only 128 MYR instead of 384 MYR.
  • For more virtual and interactive live updates, you can check our INSTAGRAM PAGE or follow us in TWITTER.
  • Be part of Love. Eat. Wander. Facebook Community Page for more updates and travel tips. You can also visit our YouTube Channel for videos. 







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Travel Tax

P1, 620


Terminal fee



Bus fare from Airport to KK Park

25.00 MYR

Rough estimate

Entrance fee

15.00 MYR

To be paid at the park

Climbing permit

200.00 MYR

To be paid at the park

Climbing Insurance

7.00 MYR

To be paid at the park

Guide fee

230 MYR / guide


230 MYR / guide

Good for 5 climbers (16 years old and above)

Good for 2 climbers (below 16 years old)

Waras hut mountain accommodation (2D1N)

978.00 MYR (non-heated dormitory)

Inclusive of a packed lunch before the climb, buffet dinner and breakfast at Laban rata, and buffet lunch after the climb at Kinabalu Park

Climbing certificate

10.00 MYR


Shuttle bus from Kinabalu Park to Timpohan Gate

11.00 MYR

Optional (highly advised)

When I climbed Mt. Kota Kinabalu, I spent a total amount of 590.00 MYR or PHP7, 670 plus PHP1, 800. That’s less than PHP10, 000 – ALL-IN! But that was 5 years ago, of course you cannot expect to get the same deal now.


If you want to add something in this post, please let us know. We would really appreciate if you can inform us of any changes/updates regarding Mt Kota Kinabalu climb to keep this guide up-to-date. 

Although my climb to Mt. Kota Kinablu has already been 5 years ago (December of 2011) on my birthday. I updated this guide several times (and continue to do so) to provide the best information needed by other Filipino mountaineers who plan to summit her. 


Thank you for dropping by!


Missy of 


Should you want to add/dispute something in this article, please leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!


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