Fact or Fiction?

Debunking Mount Kinabalu Booking Myths



When it comes to travelling to Sabah, the main attraction remains the majestic Mount Kinabalu and with good reason too. Standing tall at 4095.2 metres, the peak offers magnificent views exerting a magical quality that will render you speechless.

When it comes to booking a Mount Kinabalu, the vast number of reviews cascading the world wide web has turned myths into widely accepted facts.

Today, we will be debunking these claims and separating the fact from the fiction.


1) I need to book my Mount Kinabalu climb 6 months in advance: FICTION

Before embarking on the great climb at Kinabalu Park Headquarters.


As Sabah's main attraction, it's no wonder this rumour has spread far and wide amongst avid travellers.

It is definitely possible to book your climb within 6 months before your trip. However, as with any trip, it's always advisable to book ahead of time to avoid missing out!

Climbers can regularly check Book.MountKinabalu.com to book last minute climbs or for Live Updates on Climb Availability, Promotions, and Rates.


2018/2019 Climb Slots are now available!


Book.MountKinabalu.com's instant booking platform makes every step of the process easy breezy! Simply select your climb package and check the availability for your desired climb date. When you're ready to take the plunge, click "Instant Book", fill in your payment information, receive a confirmation email, and your slot has been secured!

Give it a go! You may be able to snatch highly sought after climb slots at the right time!


2) I can climb Mount Kinabalu in 1 day: FICTION

Ranau Trail leading up to the summit.


Although we've witness porters and experienced mountaineers/mountain guides literally dashing up and down Mount Kinabalu in a few hours, it is compulsory for casual climbers to complete the full trail in 2 Days and 1 Night.

Since the earthquake in June 2015, Sabah Parks has made it compulsory for all climbers to complete their climb in 2 Days and 1 Night for added safety measures.

This will also give you ample time to rest and recuperate at different stages of the climb. Getting enough rest is pivotal during your climb because you wouldn't want to succumb to fatigue and miss out on the stunning sunrise at the summit!


3) If I book a 3D2N package, I will be climbing for 3 Days straight: FICTION

Successfully reached the summit at an elevation of 4095.2 metres!


To climb for 3 days straight would definitely tire out even experienced mountain guides. A 3D2N Climb is equivalent to completing the climb in 2 Days and 1 Night at a more relaxed pace. There have been cases whereby climbers endeavour to complete their climb in 2D1N, but back-out at the last minute after succumbing to altitude sickness or Acute Mountain Syndrome (AMS) because they were not able to acclimatise to the high altitude.


There are two 3D2N options:

Option 1: 3D2N Mount Kinabalu Climb & Kinabalu Park Stay *Recommended

  • You will spend your 1st night at the foot of the mountain (Kinabalu Park; 1,585 metres above sea level) to acclimatise to high altitude before making your way to Panalaban (3,272 metres ASL) & increase your chances of reaching the summit.

Option 2: 3D2N Mount Kinabalu Climb With Via Ferrata (2 Nights Panalaban)

  • Your adventure starts on Day 1 of your climb towards Panalaban. However, you will spend 2 nights at Panalaban to rest-up and acclimatise to your surroundings.
  • The downside to staying 2 nights at Panalaban is you will be paying double the cost since you will be resting on the mountain for an additional day.


Examples of Coloured and Black & White climb certificates.


With a 3D2 Climb, climbers greatly increase their chances of reaching the peak and getting your coloured certificate! Climbers who were unable to reach Sayat Sayat (last Check Point before the summit) of the climb will receive the same certificate in black & white.


4) I need a climb permit to scale Mount Kinabalu: FACT

Verified climb permit.


A verified climb permit issued by Sabah Parks is compulsory and is to be worn at all times during your climb up Mount Kinabalu.

Beware of bogus and/or scam websites operated by unknown organisations and avoid becoming a victim of being stranded without a licensed climb permit.


5) It is compulsory to climb with a Mountain Guide: FACT

Our mountain guides, Safrey & Ananias, with our guests.


As part of Sabah Parks' safety regulations, all climbers are required to be accompanied by a licensed mountain guide from the local Mountain Guide Association.


Little cuties being led by our mountain guide, Cornelius.


A ratio of at least 1 mountain guide to a maximum of 5 adults (above 16 years old) and 1 mountain guide to a maximum of 2 children (below 16 years old) is required. Please refer here for various scenarios.


The climb down can sometimes be more difficult than up, so allow our mountain guide, Wilson, to lend you a helping hand!


Licensed mountain guides can prove to be very helpful during your climb as they are jam-packed with interesting information on Mount Kinabalu and its surroundings!


6) There is no age limit to climb Mount Kinabalu: FACT

An activity great for families seeking adventures together!


There is no age limit to climb Mount Kinabalu as we have served climbers ranging from 4 years old up to 80 years old. As long as one is in good physical health, anyone can climb!

Although there are no physical health checks done upon registration in Kinabalu Park, it is recommended that all climbers should have themselves medically checked or consult their doctor before attempting any mountain climb.

However, please note that climbers interested to participate in Via Ferrata must be at least 10 years of age.


70 years young at the peak!


Our mountain guides, Danson & Cornelius, with our guests aged 4, 8 and 10!


Amazing Borneo's youngest climber to date at age 1 year & 4 months old.


7) I can get a porter anytime during my Mount Kinabalu climb: MAYBE

If you are in need to hire a porter to carry your backpack at any point of your climb, you can hire them on the spot to safely carry your belongings to Panalaban.

However, it is recommended that you pre-book a porter in advance as their availability may vary depending on their schedule and you may not be able to hire a porter during peak seasons.

Please refer here for porter fees, payable to Kinabalu Park HQ.


"The porters are running off with my belongings and I can't keep up!"


Porters, unlike mountain guides, are there to assist you to carry your belongings and will walk (or run) ahead of you to Panalaban and wait for your arrival.

Our tip is to carry 2 separate bags with you during your climb. One bag for the porter to carry straight to Panalaban, and another bag to be carried by you containing your necessities throughout the climb such as water, lunch pack, energy bars or medication, so you won't need to keep up with their pace.

They fulfill their jobs with pride and will make a dash for Panalaban in a blink of an eye!




We hope our bite-size "FAQ" has cleared the air on Mount Kinabalu Booking Myths! For a more detailed FAQ List, please refer here.


You should be here!

Call / WhatsApp
: (+6) 017-222-5009 // (+6) 088 448 409
Email: info@mountkinabalu.com
Web: www.MountKinabalu.com // book.MountKinabalu.com




Photos by our in-house mountain guides, collected from Mount Kinabalu Live Facebook Group & Leon.