The state Capital, Kota Kinabalu, was specially named in reverence to Mount Kinabalu, the highest challenge in Borneo. Rising majestically at 4,095.2 m. or 13,432.26 ft., Mount Kinabalu has a mystique so inspiring, it’s magical. With its granite peak often shrouded in mists and clouds, it never fails to lure travellers all the way to the top. Conquering Mt. Kinabalu does not require mountain-climbing skills, just basic fitness. It takes a minimum of 2 days to climb the 14.5 km. trail to the summit of Mt. Kinabalu. It gives you the chance to look around and absorb the sights and sounds of your surroundings. See the clear mountain streams, observe the subtle changes in vegetation as your trail leads you first through the montane oak, rhododendron and conifer forests, to the mossy cloud forest zone with its gnarled twisted trees covered in moss and epiphytic orchids and ferns; and finally to the alpine meadow vegetation of the scrub-like summit regions. You may chance upon the maiden’s veil fungus Dictyophora, the delicate plant with the foul-smelling mucous on the outer surface of its cap. Insects feeding on this mucous unsuspectingly transport the spores that inevitably get stuck to their feet.
There are overnight accommodation and rest houses, with climbers leaving before dawn to catch the magnificent sunrise at the peak. Park regulations require the climb to be done with a registered guide, so make reservations for your mountain guide and porter through the Park’s Head Office in Kota Kinabalu. A minimal fee that goes towards the conservation and maintenance of the Park, is charged at the Registration Office of Kinabalu Park Headquarters. Transportation arrangements can be made individually or through tour operators, while accommodation can be arranged through the Kinabalu Nature Resort. Reservations cannot be made at the Park headquarters. Accommodations are usually fully booked during the peak climbing season, so do confirm your reservations before arrival.
The park also provides lodging facilities for climbers. These facilities are situated on the mountain at two altitudes; 11,000 ft and 12,500 ft. They serve as overnight rest areas prior to the ascent to the summit.