Trip Leader: Mr Roger Wilkinson
Please note that parents are responsible for the arrangement of visas if required. Please ensure that your child’s passport is valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of departure from their destination.
Day 1 – Kota Kinabalu
Selamat Datang; welcome to Sabah! Following the airport transfer, we check into the hotel before an INDAGO staff introduction, safety briefing, program discussion, look at the local currency, maps, etc., and a general Q & A.
The afternoon / evening activities program will depend on arrival times, but following an orientation walk around Kota Kinabalu we have dinner in a local restaurant.
Day 2 – Kinabalu Park
Today we will leave the city behind and head into the mountains. Mt Kinabalu (located within Kinabalu National Park) at 4,095.2 metres, is the highest mountain on the island of Borneo. Mount Kinabalu is one of the youngest non-volcanic mountains in the world. It was formed within the last 10 to 35 million years. The mountain still grows at a rate of 5 millimetres a year. Kinabalu National Park covers an area of 754 square kilometers and was Malaysia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. The mountain and its surroundings are among the most important biological sites in the world, with over 800 species of orchid, 600 species of ferns, 326 species of birds, and is the richest place in the world for the Nepenthes insectivorous pitcher plants (five of the thirteen are found nowhere else on earth).
This afternoon we will take a guided trek along the lower trails and also visit the Botanical mountain gardens.
Later there will be a safety briefing in the evening. You will need to pack a day bag for the next 2 days as we will be leaving our big bags in luggage storage.
Day 3 – Laban Rata; Mt Kinabalu
Rise early, recheck our daypacks and begin the climb up Mt Kinabalu. It’s not an easy walk, being uphill all the way, and you need to be prepared to tackle a trail made up of steep steps that vary considerably in size. Altitude can also affect you, regardless of your fitness level, and it will certainly slow you down a fair bit (it’s important that you educate yourself about the dangers of altitude sickness and its symptoms). Ensure you have warm layers, waterproof gloves, hat, head torch, waterproof jacket and good walking shoes/boots. The top of the mountain can be deceptively cold.
However, there’s absolutely no rush so take your time and enjoy the pristine environment – this is an area which boasts a remarkable variety of plant life, including some 1,000 species of orchid and the extraordinary carnivorous pitcher plant. We cover 6 km on the first day (approx 4-6 hrs) and stop at a rest house near Laban Rata (3,272 m) for the night. The rest houses have very basic, mixed gender, multi-share bunkrooms; additional blankets can be hired from the park office. Go to bed early, so you’re ready for the final climb in the morning.
Day 4 – Mt Kinabalu, Kota Kinabalu
Rise around 2am in order to catch the sunrise at the summit of Mt Kinabalu (4,095 m). It’s difficult walking, but you’ll feel a huge sense of achievement. Also, the view from the summit is stupendous – the jungles of Borneo in one direction, the South China Sea in the other, making every inch of the climb worthwhile. Be warned though, the temperature can change very quickly up on the mountain, some days it can be 10-15 degrees, other days it can drop below freezing! Bring plenty of warm clothes so as you are prepared for all weather conditions.
The climb from Laban Rata to the summit takes between 2 and 4 hours. Even if you are very fit you may find this section of the climb difficult because of the altitude. This can make you feel quite nauseous and short of breath.
After leaving Laban Rata it is approx. 350 Meters along man made steps to some viewing decks before a section of wooden steps with handrails. After this there are 2 steep wooden steps sections with a rope to hold onto, there is a rope section of about 20 meters where climbers need to hold onto with both hands as you ascend. After that the path levels out as you pass through a boulder field and join Sayat Sayat which is the last check point before the summit where there is also toilets. From Sayat Sayat (the last shelter) there is a rope marking the route to the summit a distance of about 1.8KM. Waterproof gloves are recommended to protect your hands from rope burn (as well as to keep them warm).
After witnessing the morning sunrise, return to Laban Rata for breakfast, then descend the mountain (approx 3-6 hrs) and enjoy a rewarding simple lunch at the bottom.
Afterwards and once everyone is down from the mountain we will transfer back to Kota Kinbalu approx 2 hours.
Day 5 – Cultural Village & River Safari
Have a sleep-in, you deserve it. For the next few days its likely your legs will be sore and you will develop a bit of a shuffle known as the ‘Kinabalu shuffle’!
Following breakfast we visit the Mari Mari Cultural Village to see how indigenous ethnic groups of Borneo used to live. It’s a great chance to see what the culture and lifestyle would have been like years gone by seeing first hand how the tribes would cook their meals, starting fire with bamboo and using a blow pipe to hunt. It’s a fun, interactive and educational experience.
In the afternoon we head out to the Garama River. Upon arrival we take to the river in boats on a river safari to look for wildlife. Expect to see Proboscis monkey’s, native only to Borneo these have distinctive long noses and big bellies for digesting all the leaf matter that they consume. It is also possible you may see pig tailed macaques, silver leafed monkeys, crocodiles, and monitor lizards. Later as it starts to get dark we return to Garama base for a local dinner. Once its completely dark we head out again a short distance in the boats to see a display by the fireflies. Fireflies will gather in there hundreds or thousands in trees and flash on and off to create a phenomena a bit like a Christmas Tree.
Returning to Kota Kinabalu after dinner.
Day 6 – Snorkelling & Reef Conservation
Today we board a boat in the Kota Kinabalu harbour and head out to the islands just off the coast and one of South East Asia’s most famous marine parks, Tungku Abdul Rahman Park. Around the islands of Pulau Gaya and Pulau Sapi we take to the warm waters of the South China sea with a representative from Reef Check Malaysia. Reef Check is the world’s largest international coral reef monitoring programme involving volunteer recreational divers and marine scientists. We will learn about the delicate marine life and reef in the crystal clear waters in Tunku Abdul Marine park located just off the coast of KK, and have plenty of time in the water snorkelling as Reef Check volunteers! You will also get the chance to experience Borneo’s longest Zipline! Built on one of South East Asia’s most famous marine parks, Tungku Abdul Rahman Park, the Coral Flyer Zipline connects the islands of Pulau Gaya and Pulau Sapi. The latest technologies and the highest construction standards have gone into the Coral Flyer to bring to you one of the most unique zipline experiences to be found anywhere on earth.
Day 7 – Departure Day
With time permitting the morning is free for you to relax and use the pool, or do some shopping at the waterfront handicraft market before transferring to the airport for the flight home.
Students are highly recommended to get walking poles and warm sleeping bags for this trip. We are currently looking into rental possibilities and costs.