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General Mount Kinabalu FAQ


Mount Kinabalu (Gunung Kinabalu/Akinabalu) dominates the island of Borneo in South East Asia. It stands poised in the East Malaysian state of Sabah, and is protected as Kinabalu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The highest point of Mount Kinabalu is Low’s Peak summit, towering at 4095.2M (13,435ft) above sea level. It is the tallest peak in the whole of Malaysia and within the Borneo Island. It is the most accessible and easily trekked by most people. Based on topographic prominence, Mount Kinabalu takes the 20th place in the list of Tallest Mountains in the world.

The best time to climb Mount Kinabalu, 4,095 metres (13,435 ft) is during the dryer seasons which falls around March to September. The weather is slightly unpredictable with passing showers expected all year round as it is a tropical rainforest. The temperature at the summit of Mount Kinabalu drops to freezing point 0 °C - 3°C, whereas the trail from Timpohon to Panalaban basecamp ranges from 6 °C - 16 °C and before the start of the climb is around 15 °C - 26 °C at Kinabalu Park.

‘Act of God’ accidents aside, Yes, as long as you respect your mountain guide’s instructions and stay on the trail, there is less risk of suffering any injury or accident. There have been accidents where climbers wander too far off into the trails on their own and lost their way, injuring themselves or lost their lives during the climb, but please be aware that these accidents happen because the climber has failed to abide to the rules.

Panalaban is the pit stop or the base camp where climbers will take a rest before proceeding for the second part of their Mount Kinabalu Summit climb journey. It is located between 3,230 to 3,323 meters above sea level. Panalaban base camp houses a cluster of assorted huts such as Laban Rata Resthouse, Pendant Hut, Gunting Lagadan Hut, Lemaing Hut etc. These assorted huts provide overnight accommodation for climbers, inclusive of shower facilities and meals (Hot meals is only available on Laban Rata Resthouse).


It takes a minimum of 2 Days and 1 Night to scale Mount Kinabalu. Day 1 kicks off bright and early via Timpohon Gate, a 5 to 7 hour trek leads you to PanaLaban for an overnight stay. Day 2 begins at 2am, where climbers will attempt the second ascent up to Low’s Peak to witness the specular sunrise from the highest summit point at 5.30am.

After which, climbers will begin the descent towards PanaLaban (if not participating in any Via Ferrata activity) for check out. The descent continues down to Timpohon Gate. You will be transferred to Kinabalu Park HQ, where you will be given your climb certificate. Depart back to Kota Kinabalu City or other destination.

No. Climbers will have to do the usual 2 Days 1 Night compulsory climb itinerary. Since the trail was reopened in September 2015, Sabah Parks has stopped giving 1-day climb permit.

Yes, you can. Some climbers may fall short of reaching the summit, but even for those who did not reach the top, the trip to Mount Kinabalu will still be highly rewarding. You can stay at Panalaban Basecamp and wait for the others to return from the summit.

Yes, you may cancel or halt the climb before reaching the basecamp, our mountain guide will assist you to descend to Timpohon Gate (starting point). However, no refunds will be made for cancellation after the tour has commenced. Guests may need to bear additional costs for accommodation and transport arrangement.

It is compulsory and advisable to stay overnight at mountain accommodation during your climb. This is for safety reasons and to prevent any possible injuries. However, should an emergency arise, your mountain guide will assess your condition and decide whether to activate the Mountain Search and Rescue Unit (MOSAR) personnels. This will be subjected to authorities’ approval and additional costs might be incurred.

A 3 Days 2 Nights is recommended. In order to reduce risk of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), we advise climbers to spend a night within the highland areas such as Kinabalu Park or Kundasang Town prior their climb. This is to allow climbers to properly acclimatize.

It largely depends on the physical fitness of the climber and their group. A reasonably fit climber is able to reach Timpohon gate from PanaLaban between 11am – 2pm. However, most climbers reach between 1 – 3pm.

There are also times where climbers only arrive Timpohon Gate as late as 10pm during the descent.

In addition, the total time taken from Timpohon gate to Kinabalu Park HQ for certificate collection and onward to Kota Kinabalu city is approx. 3 hours.

It is highly NOT recommended. Rushing to the airport on the same day as your Mount Kinabalu descent is too risky and might lead to you missing your flight. There are several reasons why: Slow in your descent, injury, landslides, traffic congestion, vehicle breakdown & etc. Win Borneo Travel & Tour will not be responsible for any losses incurred due to missed flights.

It is strongly encouraged that you purchase a comprehensive personal travel insurance policy for the duration of the trip from your own country; to cover against Personal Accident, Loss of baggage, Delays, Unexpected alterations to travel arrangements, Cancellation, Act of God, Emergency Medical Evacuation, Infectious diseases, Epidemics, Terrorism etc. Although all our Mount Kinabalu climb packages include a personal accident plan by Sabah Parks for all climbers, the coverage and claim value is very limited and subject to approval by Sabah Parks Authority.


The main cause of altitude sickness is ascending in altitude too quickly which prevents the body from adapting to the decrease in oxygen at a specific altitude. Common preventive measures include staying the night before your climb at Kinabalu Park area (around 1,500m a.s.l), to aid in gradual acclimatisation or taking the altitude sickness tablet.

Three (03) Important Rules to Remember:

  • Drink a lot of fluids to keep hydrated.
  • Acclimatize to altitude gradually by spending a night at highland areas before the day of your ascend.
  • Avoid rapid ascents. Trek at a normal pace and rest at shelters along the way. It is advisable to rest longer for acclimatization at Layang Layang hut (2702M a.s.l).

You may want to take altitude sickness tablets, Acetazolamide (Diamox) as a prophylaxis. This drug has the effect of increasing acclimatization rates; improving periodic breathing; and helping climbers to recover from AMS more quickly. Please note that Diamox is a prescription drug and a doctor should be consulted about proper dosages. You would also want to purchase a portable oxygen inhaler bar, which helps with AMS. The main cause of these sicknesses is a lack of oxygen; breathing oxygen with the aid of the inhaler will slow their onset and may provide some temporary relief of symptoms. This is extremely useful to all climbers regardless of your fitness level.