Earlier this year my friends and I had a really exciting holiday in Sabah. We actually managed to conquer Mount Kinabalu. We also did a bit of island-hopping after we were done with Mount Kinabalu. We spent a few days in Sabah just doing that. It was a really memorable time in Sabah.
Before we started our Mount Kinabalu climbing trip, I prepared myself 3 months in advance by jogging around the parks in my neighbourhood. I even climbed up several hills and joined a marathon. Some of my friends who went on the Mount Kinabalu climb with me walked up and down their apartment stairs continuously just get themselves ready for it.
After forking out around RM1300 for my whole Sabah trip, the rest of the gang and I flew off to Sabah to begin our challenging Mount Kinabalu climb. We began our trip at the Kinabalu Park Headquarters which lies at the foot of Mount Kinabalu. We spent the night in Kinabalu Park in a bunk type accommodation, squeezing in 9 people in a room designed only for 8! The bed are super thick and of good quality. We sure need a good sleep before our quest to conquer Mount Kinabalu.
We started off our journey to climb Mount Kinabalu early in the morning. Our first phase of the Mount Kinabalu climb from Timpohon Gate will bring us to Laban Rata where we will stay for the night at the rest house. We decided to take the easier Timpohon trail. The group that took the longer and harder Mesilau trail left half an hour earlier before us. Better them than us!
Our 5 hours trek to Laban Rata was indeed tiring but thankfully smooth since the weather was really good. However, it still felt like as if we were walking on a never-ending path. I was glad that we had our hiking sticks since they proved to be very handy in navigating the rough uneven terrain of the trail. We stopped at all the rest stops along the way to Laban Rata to take catch our breath, eat a bit of energy bars and snap some photos of the beautiful scenery around us.
By the time we reached Laban Rata, I was really out of breath! I nearly threw up during the journey here due to the thin air and had to borrow someone’s oxygen can so I could breathe easily. Anyway, we were glad that we made it here. We were just completely tired out. All of us went off to bed early in anticipation of the next day’s final climb to the summit of Mount Kinabalu.
We woke up at around 2am to begin our final ascent to the summit of Mount Kinabalu. It was a real challenge navigating the slippery and wet flat rocks. I was lucky that I had sturdy boots. The hiking sticks were proven to be useful again. At this point each of us walked at our own pace since we were all spread out far apart from each other. Finally, just before dawn we reached our goal, the highest peak of Mount Kinabalu known as Low’s Peak. What a deliciously ironic name, isn’t it? The sight on the peak was really magnificent beyond words.
Our journey down from Mount Kinabalu was also tiring. As for me, I had to let the hiking stick to support all of my body weight since it felt as if my knees had turned into jelly. Our buffet lunch was superb at Balsam café. There was a wide selection and we fed our hungry stomachs well. We then immediately took the bus back to Kota Kinabalu once we reached Kinabalu Park Headquarters.
We checked into Sabah Oriental hotel in Kota Kinabalu and then went on to do some Padas white-water rafting the very next day in spite of our aching muscles from our Mount Kinabalu climb! We had more friends joining us for this activity in Kota Kinabalu since they wisely opted out from the Mount Kinabalu climb. We set off at 5:30am and enjoyed the train ride from Tenom Railway Station to Padas River for our next adventure.
We also went around the islands off the coast of Sabah and did a lot of fun activities such as water-skiing and parasailing. We visited Manukan island and Sapi Island. The view was beautiful. Imagine doing that just when you haven’t fully recovered from the hard Mount Kinabalu climb.
The view from the boat that we took for our island hopping trip was really breathtaking and calming to the soul. Sabah is indeed fortunate to have beautiful islands and clear blue water. The sensation of the sea winds caressing our cheeks was indeed sublime. We took a dip in the inviting sea water several times and did some snorkelling. Somehow the body aches were lessened as we floated in the water.
I can say that our Mount Kinabalu climb and island hopping trip in Sabah was really worth the time and money spent. If I have to do it all over again, I would do it in a heartbeat! The experience was really something that I won’t ever forget.