Climbing Mount Kinabalu: Part 1 – The Budget


** Mountain Climbing to Low’s Peak Summit has resumed as of 1st December 2015

  • As of 1 December 2015, only 135 climb permits are allowed per day to the Low’s Peak Summit
  • Conquering Mt. Kinabalu requires a minimum  of 2 days 1 night. (You can do it in one day if you are very fit)
  • The rate of mountain guide service has increased (from RM150 to RM230).
  • 2-day-1-night accommodation package is available, but only open 30 days before the climbing date (unless you book with Amazing Borneo).
  • The new Ranau Trail will be a few hundred meters longer that the original trail
  • Mesilau Trail is now closed and all ascent and descent will be via Timpohon Trail

Now, let’s talk budget.

Ideally, like all those who have experienced Mount Kinabalu would advice that you need at least 2D1N to scale this mighty giant. They were right. Now, don’t be a superhero if you have not been exercising for months and then consider finishing this climb in a day. Not gonna happen, Scottie!

Step 1: Booking a Climb Package

Ensure that you have booked a room at Laban Rata for the 2D1N or 3D2N climb. As you can see from the map, Laban Rata is the halfway mark or rather the base camp. Without a room reserved here, you can’t proceed any further.


Sabah Parks Fees NEW (2016)

$ For those on a tight budget (and alot of time to spare)

Instead of having to book a package 6 months in advance, you can just drop by at the Kinabalu HQ to check if there is any slots available for that day. You will save HUNDREDS of dollars this way. And if it is fully booked on that day, consider staying in one of the guesthouses nearby and try the various guided nature walks to explore Sabah’s fauna and flora while waiting for the next available climb slot.

Pro-Tip: There are cheaper accomodations next to Laban Rata: Gunting Lagadan Hut, Panar Laban Hut, Waras Hut, and Lemaing Hostel

Transportation from KK to Kinabalu National Park

You can board a mini-bus headed for Ranau from Padang Merdeka bus station for RM25.

Notes of Nomad has done a wonderful job in giving a detailed explanation on this. Click here to read more.

$$ For those with a little bit extra 

Book with Sutera Sanctuary Lodges (SSL). Since SSL is the management of accommodation in Kinabalu Park and Laban Rata. They are pretty much the go-to place to go for, to do your bookings. If you’re in the Kinabalu city, you may drop by the office which is located next to Wisma Merdeka Shopping Mall.

Do note that SSL does not have a 2D1N package and their prices exclude Sabah Park fees, return land transfer, mountain guides and porters.

For booking, you can contact them at:
Tel: +60 88 308 914 / 308 915 / 308 916
Facebook: SuteraSanctuary
Address: Lot G15, Ground Floor, Wisma Sabah, 88000, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. (see location map)
Business Hours: 9am-6pm (Mon-Fri), 9am-4pm (Sat), close on Sun & Public Holiday

$$$ For those who are willing to splurge for a hassle-free trip

Book with Amazing Borneo. Amazing Borneo is an established company which provides a clear and transparent booking process and confirmation, as well as good customer service and follow-up. While it seems that other travel agencies are removing their 2D/1N package from the list, Amazing Borneo’s 2D1N package all-inclusive ‘expensive’ package is actually justifiable.

For the upcoming trip this May 2016, I have opted to book with Amazing Borneo, taken into account that I have to organize a trip for 10 pax, limited time, and we have decided to go for the Walk The Torq (Via Ferrata) package. Amazing Borneo is the perfect choice.

Amazing Borneo has settled EVERYTHING for me.

  1. Return Transfer from Kota Kinabalu City to Mount Kinabalu HQ
  2. All meals
  3. Walk-The-Torq Guide and Equipments
  4. Accomodation at Pendant Hut
  5. Mountain Guides
  6. Sabah Park Permits and Insurances


Malaysian Ringgit $ 1,730 /pax (SGD579) For Foreigners

Malaysian Ringgit $ 1,530 /pax (SGD512) For Malaysians

Yes, WOW. But then again, we opted for the Via Ferrata experience. The normal 2D1N climb package will definitely be way cheaper. Do check out their website for the latest rates.

Click here for a detailed itinerary of our whole 4D3N trip to Kinabalu.