Mount Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

Mount Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

Date: 12 August 2017 – 13 August 2017

After my first successful hike up to Mount Kinabalu in May 2016, I’m back to challenge it once again. This time I was with my good friends from college time.

Summary for our trip

  • 11/8/2017 –  Flight to Kota Kinabalu and stayed a night at Kota Kinabalu city.
  • 12/8/2017 – Started driving  on at 5am and reached Kinabalu Park at 8am. Departed Timpohon Gate at 9am and reached Laban Rata at 12.30pm.
  • 13/8/2017 – Started the hike to the peak from Laban Rata on 2.30am and Successfully reached Low’s Peak at 5am. Descended from the Low’s Peak at 6am and reached Laban Rata at 7.30am. Descended from Laban Rata at 9.30am and reached Timpohon Gate at 12pm. Drove back to Kota Kinabalu and stayed a night at Kota Kinabalu city.
  • 14/8/2017 – Flight back to Kuala Lumpur.

Mount Kinabalu

Mount Kinabalu is a mountain in Sabah, Malaysia.It is in the vicinity of Kinabalu Park, which is a World Heritage Site. With its highest peak at 4,095 m above sea level, Mount Kinabalu is the tallest mountain in Malaysia.

Camera Equipment

Learning from the mistake of over-preparing my camera gears during my previous trip, I only brought the essential camera equipments which I know that I will definitely be using:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 camera
  • Canon EF17-40mm F/4L USM camera lens
  • Sirui carbon fiber tripod

For this trip, the only equipments that I brought and didn’t utilize use were the DJI spark drone and the DJI Osmo Mobile camera stabilizer. Drones are not allowed at Kinabalu Park. There are many notices posted in the park. I had also gotten an email reply from the Kinabalu Park for confirmation before the trip.

Timpohon Gate -> Laban Rata (6km)

Last year I took about 5.5 hours to reach Laban Rata from Timpohon Gate whereas I only took 3.5 hours this trip. I reminded myself not to rest for too long to prevent leg muscle cramp which happened last year. I guessed I was jinxed because I started having cramp at the same location – Layang-Layang shelter (4km). Fortunately, this time the pain was still bearable and I didn’t need to take too much stop. I think we were the first group to reach Laban Rata on that day. I believe another reason that I took shorter time this trip was because I didn’t take as much photo as the previous trip.

Forest trail
Hiker from previous day descending

Laban Rata

Everything looks almost the same at Laban Rata compared to my first visit a year ago. This time there were construction going on which I assume it’s new lodging building. Coincidentally, I stayed in the same lodge as last year and I had picked the same bed. I quickly had a ice-cold shower and head out for photos.

Night Sky at Laban Rata

Things didn’t change much from my first hike regarding the sleep and rest that I got to enjoy at Laban Rata. After dinner at around 6pm, I was only able to get a nap of less than 2 hours before we had our breakfast at 1am. This was mainly due to the loud snoring from the other hikers in the dorm.

Before the trip I was very eager to witness the Perseid Meteor Shower on Mount Kinabalu, which was reported to peak on 12/8/2017. I waited in the cold from 11pm to 1am and was disappointed because I couldn’t see any meteor due to cloudy sky. The sky also seem like it’s going to rain, which wasn’t a good thing as this might be a sign that we were not able to hike to the peak of Mount Kinabalu.

Fortunately, the sky cleared up when we were having breakfast. I quickly finished up my breakfast and didn’t want to waste a single moment to get some shots of the night sky. I was happy that I did so. Unlike my first hike, this time I managed to get some decent shots which I really like.

Laban Rata Restaurant and the night sky

Laban Rata -> Low’s Peak

This time I didn’t repeat the mistake in my previous hike – leaving the tripod in my friend’s hand. I carried my own tripod, which added another 1.2kg of weight to my bag but the outcome was rewarding.

I was able to set up my tripod and cameras anytime and anywhere I want during the hike from Laban Rata to Low’s Peak to capture the shots that I wanted. I took my own sweet time to enjoy the beautiful night sky which I miss. I really think that I was a lucky guy because I got clear sky in 2 of my trips, even though the sky was cloudy and lightning was spotted before the hike to Low’s Peak.


We took about 3.5 hours to reach the peak at 5am, early enough to witness the sunrise, in the cold. This time with the tripod with me, I got to try out time-lapse for the sunrise but I believe I did badly. Please comment on how I can do better next time.

Low’s Peak -> Laban Rata

Not much photo taking session this round and it took us about 1.5 hours to reach Laban Rata. Not as tired as before but definitely hungry!


Finally a photo of myself, just to show my face for once in this post 😀

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