On arrival in Kota Kinabalu you will be greeted by our representative who will transfer you to your centrally located hotel. We will have an important tour briefing in the late afternoon, so check with reception for the time and location.
Kota Kinabalu (or KK as it is known) is the sprawling capital of Sabah perched on the edge of the South China Sea. In the distance it is possible to see Mt Kinabalu, and the coral fringed islands off the coast. This afternoon, a short orientation with our new guide will be held with the remainder of the day set aside for personal exploration. Near the waterfront, the markets are bustling selling everything from live eels to household goods. The fish cooked on an open fire is a particularly tasty pre-dinner snack.
Mt Kinabalu, the majestic summit of Borneo has such importance that the state capital Jesselton was renamed Kota Kinabalu in 1964.
Early this morning depart for our drive (approx 130kms / 3 hours) to Poring Hot Spring. En route, we will make a stop at Nabalu village to savour some local fruits or to purchase beautiful handicrafts. On arrival at the hot springs, you can explore some of the many jungle trails nearby or perhaps enjoy a unique canopy walkway 30m (100 feet) above the forest floor; a fantastic opportunity to get closer to the rainforest 'web of life'. Perhaps some relaxation before you commence your climb is more to your liking. Then take a dip in one of the soothing, steaming hot mineral springs set in beautifully landscaped gardens.
Afterwards we will proceed to Kinabalu National Park (approx 40kms), a World Heritage site. Together with your guide it is possible to visit the botanical gardens, which is home to a large number of different species of orchids, pitcher plants, birds, insects and butterflies. In fact it is said that there are more than 2,000 flowering plants in the forests of Kinabalu! The rest of the afternoon will be at free.
NB: Porters for the Kinabalu climb can be booked on arrival at Kinabalu Park. Cost is MYR60-100 per porter per person (until Laban Rata Guesthouse) with maximum weight carried of 10 kg per porter, and every additional kg is charged at MYR6 per kg. This is to be paid directly to the porter. Costs are subject to change without notice.
Overnight: Cabin / guesthouse
Following breakfast, we will travel by coach to the Power Station (approx 25 minutes). From this spot we will commence our climb to Laban Rata and along the way enjoy a delicious packed lunch. The climb should take approximately 4 hours.
Commencing at Timpohon Gate (1800m), the trail ascends steeply, deep into the forest, with gnarled tree-roots and orchid covered trees surrounding the paths. As you ascend the vegetation begins to change and on reaching Layang at 2740m it is possible to see the famous pitcher-plant. The edge of the tree line is reached at 3350m and it is possible you will notice the reduced oxygen in the air. We should reach the Laban Rata guesthouse by early afternoon. The remainder of the day can be spent exploring the surrounding area or just relaxing and resting in preparation for your early morning ascend tomorrow.
Overnight: Cabin / guesthouse (accommodation is very limited and will be in multishare rooms with dormitory bunk beds.)
It should take no more than 4 hours to reach the summit by sunrise, however we will need to make an early start (2.00am) to ensure we make it to the top. We will commence climbing by torchlight (a head torch is most useful) and as we ascend the terrain becomes less vegetated, and on the steep sections there are ropes, ladders and handrails ropes to assist with our climb. The final stages of the ascent crosses bare granite slabs before a steep section up to Lows Peak and the highest point of Mt Kinabalu at 4,093m. As the sun rises over Sabah the most extraordinary view unfolds (weather permitting). Contrasting with the pink tinged granite is the deep green of the forest below, stretching to the fertile croplands and beyond to the island dotted South China Sea.
We will return to the Laban Rata guesthouse (approx 2 hours to descend) for a well earned breakfast before continuing the long descent to Park Headquarters (approx 4 hours) in time for a late lunch. Here we can collect your climbing certificate before continuing to our overnight stop.
NB: It can be very cold with strong winds at the summit. On many days clouds could obstruct visibility.
Overnight: Lodge in Kundasang
After breakfast, we depart overland to Sukau and have a short briefing on the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. In the late afternoon, we go on a river cruise down the Menanggul River, a small tributary of the Kinabatangan River, in search of proboscis monkeys, birds and other wildlife. A view that never fails to delight is a glimpse of the playful porboscis monkeys who are particularly active at this time, socialising, crashing through trees or foraging for food.
The Kinabatangan River is the longest river in Sabah, Borneo. It starts high in the mountain range and meanders through the interior and coastal lowlands for 560km before reaching the Sulu Sea on the East coast of Sabah.
The lower reaches of the Kinabatangan River are home to an ecosystem of amazing richness - stranded ox-bow lakes, swamp and mangroves - which supports a rich, and diverse, concentration of wildlife. Here you will find Orangutans, Proboscis Monkeys, Bornean Elephants alongside a large array of birds, reptiles and amphibians.
After breakfast, we depart to Sepilok Forest Reserve. We visit the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary, the world's largest orangutan sanctuary, where captive orangutans (known as the wild man of Borneo) are reintroduced into the wild. You will be able to observe them at the feeding stations in the rainforest and see a video presentation on the rehabilitation program.
The Sanctuary started in 1964 was established for the rehabilitation of orphaned baby orangutans from logging-sites, plantations and illegal hunting, and returning them to the wilds as soon as they are ready
After lunch your trip concludes. You will be transfered to Sandakan airport for onward connection. If your onward travel is later in the day, remember that check out time is 12:00 noon. You can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.