Mount Kinabalu towers over the eastern Malaysian state of Sabah. At 13,435ft (4,095m) above sea level, Mount Kinabalu is the 4th tallest mountain in the Malay Archipelago, drawing travelers the world over to climb its slopes in search of the perfect sunrise.
But it’s not just for the views from its summit that travelers come to Mount Kinabalu. This UNESCO listed World Heritage Site is recognised as one of the most important biological sites in the world.
An estimated 5,000 to 6,000 plant species call Mount Kinabalu, and its surrounding National Park, home. Many carnivorous plants and orchids grow on its slopes, which also attract 326 species of birds and over 100 mammals, including orangutans, Black shrews and the gloriously-named Bornean Ferret-Badger.
The mountains incredible biodiversity is due to several factors - its geographical position as one of the world’s richest plant regions (along with Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula and Borneo); it’s wide-ranging climate – (from extreme heat and humidity at its base to near freezing conditions at the summit); its high rainfall, and its rocky and diverse terrain.
Experienced climbers should have no problem climbing to the summit of Mount Kinabalu. It is a tough climb, however, and travelers wishing to attempt it should have a reasonable level of fitness in order to cope with the extremes of heat and cold, and lower oxygen levels as you near the summit. It can be tricky (read bureaucratic nightmare!) to try to arrange to climb Mount Kinabalu independently. All climbs involve an overnight stay on the mountain and an early morning trek to the summit. Climbers are advised to book well in advance.
Buses from Kota Kinabalu take 3 to 4 hours to reach Mount Kinabalu National Park. Alternatively you can arrange to visit as part of a tour.