Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Mount Kinabalu Expedition 2016 (Part 1)


Hey guys!
I'm back with another post and I am super happy to finally be able to say I'm a true Sabahan! As you can see from the title above, Yes I finally climbed up to the majestic Mount Kinabalu last week! You have no idea how crazy it was but it was worth all the sweat and tears!

I'm sure many of you guys have already been up to Mount Kinabalu and are already well aware of what to pack and what not to pack but I just want to share a little bit of my packing tips with those who haven't been there yet and also planning to plan ahead. You don't have to follow according to my packing list but its just a rough idea of what you should bring.

So, how you start is to talk to your friends who have been there and also if you're lucky, talk to friends who are working up in Mount Kinabalu. They might give you good tips on how to pack. For my case, I had friends who worked with Mountain Torq and also the man himself have been up to Mount Kinabalu a few years back. So he himself gave me a tip or two.Our trip was organised by another friend so sorry I can't provide much details on the bookings.


First thing's first, you need to know how long will you be planning to stay up in Kundasang and Laban Rata (I will get to that soon).
I packed according to Day 1 to Day 4 of my trip and then plan out what to wear from head to toe and inside to out everyday.
Here's my packing list :

Kundasang - Day 1 of Expedition: 
- Toiletries (Most Important)
- Small portable Hairdryer (Its cold up there and I need to dry my long hair but its optional)
- 2x bra (if you're a guy, you don't need to pack this)
- 2 - 4x underwear/panties (always good to have more for hygiene purposes)
- 1 pair of socks (wool or normal socks are fine)
- 2 sets of Casual Wear (Extra 1 set is for final day in Kundasang)
- 1 set of pajamas (Bring wool ones because it can get pretty cold)


Preparations for Mount Kinabalu Expedition (Timpohon Gate to Laban Rata) : 
- Toiletries (Most Important)
- Baby Wipes (aka Wet Wipes/Tissue ALSO very important)
- 1x sports bra
- 2x underwear/panties
- 1 set of heat tech apparels (preparation for the trip up to Laban Rata)
- 1 set of hiking attire (Dri-fit top, fleece, hiking pants,regular socks and hiking shoes)
- Min 30-50 Litre bag pack with rain cover ( Size depending on what you're packing)
- Hydration Bag and Pouch (1 Litre is enough)
- First Aid (will explain further down the post)
- Knee and Ankle Support (If needed)
- Personal stuff (Identification Card (I.C), Rm100-Rm200, Phone, Power Bank with Cables)
- 1-2 sets of Hiking poles
- 1x Poncho / rain jacket / waterproof jacket and pants
- LOTS OF CHOCOLATE / ENERGY BARS

Laban Rata - The Summit (Low's Peak) :
- Headlamp
- Extra Batteries ( In case your headlamp runs out of battery)
- Beanie
- Fabric Face mask / Bandana Head Scarf/Wrap ( Air on the way up to the Summit can get pretty cold and dry so this is important)
- 1x sports bra
- 1 set of heat tech apparels (I got mine from Uniqlo)
- 1 set of hiking attire (sports bra, heat tech attire ,Dri-fit top, fleece, wind breaker jacket/ Waterproof jacket (To trap inside the body so it keeps you warm) , hiking pants, wool/normal socks (depending on how much of the cold you can withstand) and hiking shoes)
- Waterproof Gloves
- Hydration Bag and Pouch (To bring personal belongings and water)
- 1x Poncho / Rain jacket (In case it rains)
- 1-2 sets of Hiking poles (It helps a lot with the journey down)
- Lip Balm
- Sunglasses (It can get pretty sunny after 7am at the Summit)
- Sunscreen
- Camera (Unless you're using a Samsung, you are fine. Iphones usually black out due to the cold weather up on the Summit)


I know its a long list but if you arrange according to how I did in the picture above, its pretty little and also FYI, make sure your bag does not exceed 10kg. Mine weighs around 7-8kg from Timpohon Gate to Laban Rata. You can get a porter to carry your bag up if its too heavy but from I heard, they charge you Rm10 per 1kg so pack wisely. If you're planning to stay in Kundasang a day before the expedition, I would suggest you to re-pack the night before and leave everything you don't need in the car the next day.

(Day 1)

Roy and I decided we wanted to head up to Kundasang a day before the expedition so we asked a friend of ours where we could crash for the night and he recommended Tahubang Lodge which is right in front of Kinabalu National Park. We started our journey at 9am and decided to have a nice breakfast in my hometown of Tuaran which was 45mins drive from KK. Stopped by Kedai Kopi Tai Fatt which was and still a favourite place of mine to have the famous Tuaran mee!

Wong Jiu Tuaran Mien aka Rice Wine Tuaran Mee (Rm6-Rm8)
I can't really remember the price but it was worth the drive there.
It was so good!

After breakfast,we left at 10am and arrived at Tahubang Lodge at around noon.
Checked in and got settled down.


Love how cosy it feels here in the lodge and also bed was comfy!
This room cost us Rm53 per head.



As I mentioned earlier, I will get to the first aid part.
You need to find out whether if you have AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness aka Altitude Sickness)
and also be prepared for really bad muscle cramps, aches, or any sort of injuries.

Here's my first aid kit :
- Acetazolamide (AMS pills, Only take as prescribed by health consultants/Pharmacists)
- Salonpas Patch (Muscle reliever patch)
- Vicks Inhaler (In case you get a cold and stuffy nose)
- Native Body & Skin Lip Balm (Any lip balm is fine. I just like organic ones)
- QV Day and Night Moisturisers ( I packed them into contact lense casing to save space. Genius I know!)
- Salonpas Cold Spray
- Counterpain Deep Heat Cream
- Voltaren Gel (For the joints and I highly recommend this if you're always having joint pain)
- BioTrue Contact Lense Saline Solution
- Contact Lense Casing
- Sunplay SPF 130+ Sunscreen
- Facial Toner

Acetazolamide is important if you do not want to go through a serious round of headaches, nausea, dizziness and lots more.
Consult your health consultants or a pharmacist to know more. I'm glad I got mine just in case!

(Day 2)

A good thing bout staying here in Tahubang Lodge is that they provide parking spaces and its pretty safe.
They also have a restaurant right next door!

This is the view fro Tahubang Lodge! I ain't kidding when I said it was right in front!
It takes less than 5 mins to walk there!

Kept everything that we don't need into the car, final check on everything and had a quick breakfast
before heading over to Kinabalu National Park.

 Hello from us!

 Off we go!

When you arrive at the park, you will need to head to the counter to get yourself registered and also wait for your guide. Once everything is settled, you will receive a tag with your name, number and time printed on it. You have to bring this with you almost everywhere you go after you enter Timpohon Gate. A van will pick you up and send you to Timpohon Gate which takes about 5-10mins.

Hello from Timpohon Gate! Was super excited when I got to the gate!
I just had to take a picture here because its a must! A proof of the starting point.

Our guide explaining to me about the trails, stops along the way and also distance. It usually takes 6-8 hours for a group to reach Laban Rata from Timpohon Gate. Laban Rata is where we will be staying once we arrived at the 6km check point.
Its a resting check point for everyone to grab a buffet dinner and also crash for the time being before heading up to the Summit.

This is the entire trail map from Timpohon Gate to the Summit which is about 8km of distance.
Sounds short but sh*t's about to real!

Off we go!
We had 6 people in our group including our guide!
(Roy, Me, Maya, Eddy, Brenda and Edmund, the guide)


The first thing that came into my mind everytime we hiked further into the trail was "WHY ARE THERE SO MANY GAWD DAMN STAIRS!!". That didn't stop me from getting to the top but my knees were screaming though. The weather was beautiful on that day and we made a few stops at the check points to catch our breath.

Usually they will get you to stop at Layang-Layang which is the 4km checkpoint.
Most people will stop here for a lunch break or a rest.


I was so stunned by the beauty of the mountain and also the weird Bonsai trees on the way up but what really caught my attention were the landslides along the side of the mountain caused by the earthquake last year with a magnitude of 6.0 which took many lives and it was such a tragic day for us Malaysians and Singaporeans. I felt the tremors when I was at home on the very same day and I didn't know how bad it was up in Mount Kinabalu until I heard the news.

So much had happened in 2015 and I pray to those who lost their lives there, rest in peace.
You wont miss this view on your left when you hike up to Laban Rata.

We left Timpohon Gate at 8.45am and arrived at Laban Rata at 2pm JUST in time before the sky started pouring! We got a word from a friend up in Laban Rata that it was gonna rain after 2pm. It was so cold! Thank God for the heater in our bathroom (which was useless) and also for a kettle which was a lifesaver! We all took a really really REALLY quick shower after boiling the water and it was too cold to even enjoy your shower!
If you don't feel like taking a shower, that's where you can use ALL the baby wipes that you brought along!

After we settled down in our dorm, we headed out to the dining hall which was a 1 min walk away from where we stayed. We stayed in Lemaing Hostel up in Laban Rata just in case you're wondering. Cold but very fun when you have friends staying together. Had our dinner at 4pm and I had 3 rounds of dinner because I was so sick from the hike up and also I skipped lunch because I wasn't hungry on the way up.


My outfit for dinner. It was 10 °C when I took this photo. Right outside the dining hall, there was a thermometer and I had to see how cold it was before taking this picture. We had dinner at 4pm up till 6pm just to kill time before heading to bed. It was so warm in the dining hall that I didn't want to leave. We had to sleep for a while just to get ourselves mentally, physically and emotionally prepared for our hike up to the Summit in the wee hours in the morning. When I mean wee hours, I mean 2am hike all the way up to the Summit to catch the sunrise for those who love the sunrise!

Oh and it was also like being in the Olympics! You will see so many climbers,hikers, mountaineers, staffs, from all over the world! From Japanese to Australians, Americans, Chinese, Locals, British and a whole lots more! It was such a lovely sight being in that dining hall. And not forgetting this..
 A sea of cotton candy clouds right outside of the dining hall! This photo is unedited and look at how beautiful the sky is!
Everyone came out to take photos of this beautiful scene!
It was so breathtaking!

(Photo credits to Roy)

For more pictures , click here!
For more info on Mountain Torq, click here!

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