Sunday, December 05, 2010

Kinabalu Climb : Experience of a Lifetime

This idea came up when we first arrived in Miri months back where we were actually planning in conquering the Borneo. So, we lined up several plans in the list and; Kinabalu was one of the plans; and the biggest one. And yes, when we talk about Borneo, or when you heard about Borneo, you would imagine nothing but the green, thick rainforest, numerous ethnics, vast demography, the natives going wild, (this might take us to an infinite list) et cetera. Kinabalu? Well yes, it defines everything; nature's beauty of course :)

And by the way, climbing Kinabalu is somewhat my main mission apart from completing my internship here in Miri ;) So here it goes my trip experience (I'll put the budget list at the end of this entry) :

Marrybrown @ Miri Airport

We departed from Miri to KK by flight on 16th November (Tuesday) @ 10.40pm and arrived KK around 11.00pm. The homestay (Beachouse) that we booked was not far from the airport, so we opted to walk and that took us about 10 minutes walking lah. Beachouse was merely a homestay for backpackers.. and one room can occupy about 10 pax with 5 double-decks. Staying there for the night, I would rate Beachouse 3 (out of 5) for the comfort, 4 the hygiene, and 5 for being kind to our tight budget ;) That night we just let ourselves to have enough rest for the next day's activity; which is to depart to Kundasang.

Money spent :
Flight ticket = RM73 (with RM20 for checked-in bag)
Marrybrown = RM8.50
1 night @ Beachouse = RM25

Cumulative expenses : RM106.50


@ Beachouse living room.

Woke up, had a shower, pack things up and checked out from Bechouse. Then we had a 10 minutes walk to the bus stop, fetched a bus to KK town (15 minutes ride).

Bus to KK town.

As we were planning to arrive Kundasang in the evening, so we thought that spending the day at KK town would be fun. And truly it was, walking in KK town was another experience to me. Each place (shopping mall, of course) was just within walking distance. You would find the entrance to another mall just when you step out from the current one :) Please bear in mind that we were all backpacking; carrying a minimum of 10kilos of loads on our back; and yet walking in the town. So, you need not to afraid of transportation in case you're planning for a trip to KK :)

@ KK bus station

@ Centre Point Sabah

There, we had our breakfast at a mamak restaurant, walked in the town and took a bus to 1Borneo (like, 20 minutes ride). For those who do not know, 1Borneo is currently claimed as the largest shopping mall in Borneo. And to me, 1Borneo is just one step lacked behind Mid Valley in terms of KEBESTAN (boleh la jumpe Royal Selangor dalam tu).


We had our late lunch at McD, shopped our foods snacks drinking water at Giant and were then fetched by a van heading us to Kundasang..

Shopping at Giant 1Borneo

Final shopping before sampai Bayu Homestay. Bought my head cover here.. hehe

Next location : Bayu Homestay, (2 hours from KK town)

Another view of Bayu Homestay.

We checked in, and headed to Kinabalu National Park (like 5 minutes by van) to settle our payments, climbing permit etc.

The stick costs us RM3.. jadilah.. :)

Then we headed back to our homestay and had enough rest for the next day's climb.

Money spent :
Breakfast @ Mamak = RM2.20
Bus fee = RM1 + RM0.50
Membeli belah di Giant = RM18
McD = RM10
Bangles (belum pape dah shopping bende2 neh haha) = RM20
Transport to Kundasang (RM150 per trip) = RM19/pax
One night @ Bayu Homestay = RM15
Dinner @ Bayu Homestay, Nasi Goreng Kampung & Sabah Tea = RM8
Head mask = RM5

Payment done at Kinabalu National Park :
Kinabalu National Park entrance fee = RM3
Mt. Guide RM115 x 2 = RM230/8 = RM30/pax
Transportation (Mesilau – Timpohon) RM190/8= RM 24
Permit: RM30/pax
Insurance: RM7/pax
One night accomodation at Laban Rata = RM290
Climbing stick = RM3

Cumulative expenses : RM589.20

Day 3

Morning and shinnnneee! We woke up around 6am (the cold weather gave us the wake-up alarm), mandi takat guna setitik air (even with warm water), and had breakfast at the homestay. And yeahh we're ready for the climb! :D

@ Kinabalu National Park, 7.15am.

And we obtained our climbing permit there (you must put this tag on for the whole climb, or had penalty for trespassing), and then headed to Mesilau Gate via van which took us about 40 minutes ride from the park.

On our way to Mesilau Gate. View of Kinabalu covered in clouds behind :)

8.20am : The journey starts after warm ups, safety briefing by our mountain guides (were advised not to scream dalam apa jua keadaan :) )

So, this is the starting point of Mesilau Trail. Just for your info, we have 2 trails to climb Kinabalu which are Timpohon Trail and Mesilau Trail. It takes you 8.2km climb to Laban Rata (the first and only checkpoint before proceeding to the summit) from Mesilau Gate and 6.2km from Timpohon Gate.

Well, you can choose which trail to use, but people say that you would never find scenes as beautiful as in Mesilau Trail; so we bought it :) Here are some pictures along the way :

Toilets (well, this far than good. I've experienced something even worse than this - Outward Bound School; where you were only left with a well and a pail, and the toilet - it can be anywhere)

One of our heroes with blue sac filled with our rations :D

Water stream - truly a relief - oh yes, it was raining after 2 hours we started climbing.

At the jambatan Timpoyot tak silap.

Unconvincing stairs to level up your confidence :D

High altitude plants; heaven on earth!

Along the way we had several stops to rest, got some drinks, fueling the empty tummy and enjoyed the scenery as well :)

High altitude plants; terasa macam berlakon dalam Narnia, takpun Alice in Wonderlands (-_-)

Amazingly amazing.

Green defines beauty.

There were 8 of us; 4 of us arrived Laban Rata at 5.30 pm, Wahyu and me arrived at 6.30 pm (Wahyu would've arrived 1 hour earlier if he had leave me at the first place ;D ), and the other 2 arrived 1 hour after. So it makes the journey to Laban Rata from Mesilau Gate took about 9-12 hours. I just can't tell you how challenging the journey was; kept climbing with loads on our back, fought with 5 degreeC in a rainy weather (luckily it wasn't the heavy one) and sprained ankles (yes, this case was mine) were only 1% of it. I just kept thinking of the money I'd spend for this trip and that was the only reason I kept moving - now I know what does perseverance mean. It means KEEP MOVING WHEN KNOW YOU'VE BEEN PUTTING EFFORTS AND MONEY ON IT ;) And with this PERSEVERANCE spirit I finally made myself to Laban Rata safe and sound despite the exhaust.

The climb to Laban Rata was solely a great challenge to me though I had myself (quite) ready for it. Went for hiking at Bukit Lambir (the famous rainforest in Miri) taking the longest trail; went for gym 3 times a week (at least 1 hour of workout per session) - which I went almost everyday; and sit-ups (tapi ni 20 kali je per day. Cukup syarat hehe) in the morning before shower. But it seemed like the so-called preparation just weren't enough. I easily got myself exhausted during the climb and this was quite frustrating as I made my team mates to wait and escort me -especially after I had my both ankles sprained on our way to Laban Rata (-_-)

After having our dinner (hot soup, of course), we headed to our dormitory in Panar Laban; like 50m from Laban Rata. In Panar Laban we had another challenge; there was no heater provided in the dormitory - I wondered if I paid RM290 for such a lame facility (-_-) No heater, and the toilets are 10m away from the dormitory. We were only provided with a kettle in the pantry, so we had to heat the water in the pantry, walked 10 meters to the toilets in 8degC; back and forth.

Picture googled.
So, this is Panar Laban dormitory. The guys stayed in the left dorm whilst the girls on the right. The toilets are not shown in this picture. So, this is basically where my RM290 goes (despite the meals provided there).

Enough with the lacks of Panar Laban, I was super-amazed with the spectacular view of the rocky mountain behind our dormitory. At first, as we arrived Panar Laban at night, we could not capture how impressive the view was, but there was a truly calming sound from the back of our dormitory describing us the scene that we were in - the sound of a baby stream from the top of the mountain; clearing our heads, and minds, and troubles with its eau de monte. Extraordinarily peaceful - I just couldn't wait to witness the view the next day. After having my hot bath, prayed, I hopped into my bed wearing hand gloves, head cover and double socks, covered myself with the thick blankets (luckily they provide us with 2 blankets per bed), and slept. One thing that I can tell you now is; sleeping at Kinabalu Mount is the worst experience that I ever had in sleeping for I can't stand any coldness. I guess my close friends would understand this as they know how do I prepare myself for sleep - a comforter to cover me all night long (this is the case for 27degC at night in Tronoh - the hot cowboy town). So, to fight an 8degC temperature at night, was the craziest thing I ever did in my life - and pushing myself to the top of Kinabalu comes second (-_-)

Despite the coldness and exhaust, we woke up at 2.00am to continue our 2.7km journey to the top. Unluckily our 3 friends were not feeling well, so they opted to stay at the dormitory and wait for our return. The rest said yes, and up we went. The journey to the top was another different challenge where in the first half of the climb you have to climb series of stairs; of which you might say that's the easiest part of the climb, but the fact is negative. There is no electric supply up to the top, so I guess you could imagine how dark it was during the night climb. With the help of my LED headlight, I saw nothing but the wet wooden stairs before me. Everyone was so silent, of which I can say that their gasps were the only 'chats' I heard from them.

Halfway to the top, we faced the new challenge phase of the climb; rock climb. There was an area where you need to hold uptight to the rope and entrust your steps to the wet, slippery yet unconvincing rock surface (on the way down, I couldn't believe I made myself through that dangerous zone. I totally had an unclear sight on the way up but all I know is I just kept walking but on our way down, my confidence shattered seeing that narrow path - how on earth did I make myself through that?!!)

This picture only captures the safe path of the climb - what I was trying to tell you is far worse than this. Picture from here.

Around 5.45am, I arrived Sayat-Sayat Hut - here is the place where you need to register your name so you can get a certificate for making yourself here.

Sayat-sayat Hut

Then, around 6.00am, I finally made myself to the top. Yes, peeps, here's the climax of my entry. Guess you would enjoy the pics more rather than my writings ;P

The brown blanket was the one I 'stole' from our dormitory and the blanket did help me a lot to survive :D

Yeah, finally!

The other side of the mountain. Picture taken from here.

The peak behind us is claimed as the highest peak of Mt. Kinabalu, and ironically, it is named as Low's Peak. P/S : Low is the name of the first person whom first reached the top :D And don't ask me about the trash bag I'm wearing. That's the best insulator that I had for the climb ok :P

I started to descend around 7.00am, and arrived Laban Rata at 9.30am. Descending from the top to Laban Rata served me a spectacular view of the mountain from the top. Great, really. It's so sad that I can't share you the pictures. Not because of I don't want to, but because of I do not have any :( Masalah biasa. Bateri kamera kong cin cau. Time to get a new camera, Fado. Okay2, later I will.

Then we checked our from our dormitory and continued the descend to Timpohon Gate. It took us 4-5 hours to reach Timpohon Gate, and all of us arrived there safe and sound, exhausted. Everyone was so silent, but I know deep inside, everyone felt relief as the suffer ended there.

I think we're coming to the end of my entry - the entry that caused me that delays the rest of my writings, unpublished. Aiy, then we had lunch, and headed back to KK town by van, which costs us RM150 (RM19 per head).

OK, habis :)

Front line, from left : Tengau, Hafidz, Fifi, Sami and Kak Aini
Backmost, from left : Me, Agus and Wahyu

To all the members, thanks for the memories. You all had gave me a precious, remarkable episode of my life that I would never forget. Thanks to Wahyu and Hafidz for being the mastermind, thanx to Wahyu and Tengau for being my biggest supporter they way up and down, thanx to Agus and Sami for adding the extra colors in our trip, thanx to Kak Aini and Fifi for the joys shared in our room (hehe). Wishing you all the best in your life, and may Allah bless us :)