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Article: Kinabalu National Park

kinabaluparkKinabalu Park is one of my favorite places in Sabah. Located in Kundasang area, it is about 90km. and 2 hours drive from Kota Kinabalu City. Kinabalu Park is Sabah’s oldest park. It is 754sq km including the highest mountain in South East Asia, Mount Kinabalu. Today, Kinabalu Park has been renowned as one of the world heritage park by UNESCO.


This mountain was first climbed by Sir Hugh Low in 1851. Low again climbed the mountain in 1856. The highest peak of Mount Kinabalu is called Low’s peak, in honor of Sir Hugh Low. The mountain was open for tourists to climb in 1964 when it was gazetted into a National Park. To this day this area still receives many tourists from all over the world to either climb the mountain or spend an overnight & day trip in the park.

Climbing Mount Kinabalu

restFor anyone interested in climbing Mount Kinabalu, good physical fitness is necessary. I had climbed this mountain several times and the hardest part was the trip going down. Knees normally become tired and painful from the impact of stepping down. Windbreaker, gloves, raincoat and extra clothing is necessary for anyone that is not used to the temperature of 5 degree Celsius. Chocolate bars are useful as they are light and replenish energy fast. Local porters can be hire to carry more things.

On the first day, visitors usually starts a 6 km climb from Timpohon Gate (starting point) to reach the rest house. As climbers ascend towards the resthouse, the air gets thinner and the lack of oxygen can be felt. Laban Rata rest house offers hot water and heater facilities. There is also a small canteen to cater food & drinks. There area also other huts and hostels but visitors usually dine at Laban Rata.

peakEarly next day, climbers will continue their journey to the peak at 0240 hours. This is where torchlight is necessary to walk in the dark. If you are indeed lucky where the skies are clear, the wind is calm & there is a Full Moon, a torchlight will not be neccesary. Upon arrival at Sayat-Sayat Hut after about an hour, climbers can rest and will be ask whether they want a certificate after their climb. The journey to the summit is very interesting and rewarding. Normally climbers are able to reach Low's Peak at around 0530 hours.

On top of the peak, climbers usually wait for the sunrise and are often rewarded with a spectacular view of landscapes unfolding under the sunrise. After some time, climbers must decent back to Laban Rata resthouse by 8am.

*To climb, foreign climbers must have their passport with them for registration. Additional fees may include climbing permit at RM100 per person for foreigners, insurance and mountain guide at RM70. A mountain guide is a must have by regulation.

The Park

At the park headquarters, visitors usually visit the mountain botanical garden. The garden has many varieties of plants & orchids. In Kinabalu Park alone, there are more than 1500 different of orchid species alone, 10 different species of pitcher plants and many different kinds of medicinal plants. There are also a few nature trails tha tare available for visitors to experience the rainforest of Kinabalu. A restaurant is available at the visitor centre. The exhibition centre is also in the same building as the restaurant.


Visit to Sabah is not complete without a visit to Kinabalu Park. There are many tour agencies organizing a tour to Kinabalu Park. Be sure to inquire for a trip.

By Jollence Lee (Tour Guide cum Professional Landscape & Portrait Photographer, Sabah)

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