Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Journey to Mount Kinabalu

13-17 August 2011 ~ Land Below The Wind...Borneo
It's been 2 years since our last family trip to Bali. Thanks to mom for hunting for cheap airfares again earlier this year...we got to go on another family trip...this time it's Sabah!! This was my first time traveling across South China Sea to East Malaysia after 24 years...what a shame...haha! :p Anyway, the only highlight of this trip for me was to hike Mount Kinabalu...didn't get to go to any of the islands due to shortage of time. If I had more time, I would even make a trip to know why...hahaha!! 

13 August 2011 (Sat): Penang - KL - Kota Kinabalu
We started our journey early in the morning from Penang filled with adrenalin madness and I was 'black face'...haha! Long story short, we almost missed our flight coz the gate was already closed when we boarded the plane and dad got on the plane 3 minutes before the flight took off. Anyway, it's all good coz we all managed to arrive KL safely after all the 'drama'. :p

Had 6 hours to kill at LCCT...luckily I brought my netbook. =) Saw a bunch of surfers with their surfboards...pretty cool. :p

Finally arrived Kota Kinabalu at 5pm.

Bro and Eileen arrived on an earlier flight so they rented an Exora and picked us up from the us from all the hassle. :) We headed straight to town and realized that there was nothing much to see in KK town. =.=

The Waterfront...sounds cool but I was a lil' dissapointed with this so-called 'Waterfront' was more like Esplanade in Penang. :p

We decided to stop at the nicer part of the Waterfront for a group pic.

This is no's just nice sunset. =)

Seafood dinner at Ocean Seafood Village.

Sumptuous and yummylicious!

We rented an apartment since there were 8 of of all...the 'aunties' liked it coz they can cook.

View from our apartment..really feels like "Land Below the Wind". :p

14 August 2011 (Sun): Kinabalu Park
We hired a van for a day trip to Kinabalu Park as it takes about 2 hours to get there from Kota Kinabalu. That's also the starting point for our hike to the peak of Mt Kinabalu. Kinabalu Park covers a wide area and Mount Kinabalu is just part of it. It's recognized as one of the UNESCO World Heritage site because of its rich biodiversity.

I was trying hard to get a good picture of the peak all along the journey and it wasn't easy coz the driver was driving like a roller-coaster. 

What I didn't know was that we were stopping at a viewing point for me to take all the pics I want...what a waste of my effort. :p

Of course gotta take pics with this picturesque scenery. :p signature jumpshots!!

Nice hilly valley sceneries along the journey.

Another attraction in Kinabalu Park...Poring Hot Springs.

The hot sulphuric minerals of this spring claims to have curative powers...good for muscle aches. :p

Went for a short hike to reach the Canopy Walk...nice canopies as u can see in the last pic.

The Poring Canopy Walk...157.8m long and 41m high...feels like hanging on the trees. :p

Had lunch on the way before dropping us off at our hotel in Kinabalu Park. The air up there was cool and fresh. :)

Stayed at Peak Lodge in Kinabalu Park...nice chalet with great view of the peak. The surrounding was tranquil, serene & cool...very relaxing. =) 

Another family pic with Mt Kinabalu. :p It was misty most of the time...I had to sit beside the door and waited for the mist to clear off then quickly take a pic.

Interior of our chalet...we used the fireplace to heat up the room.

15 August 2011 (Mon): Kinabalu Park - Gunting Lagadan/Laban Rata

It does not require any special skills to climb, but it definitely requires stamina...luckily I did some physical preparation with hiking, gym, netball and badminton. Typically, most hikers take 2-days to climb Mt Kinabalu and spend a night at Laban Rata or Gunting Lagadan resthouse before continuing our journey to the peak. As the hostel can only accommodate about 150 ppl per day, early booking is required to climb the mountain.

11 of us started our journey from Timpohon gate at about 9am. We decided to take the shorter route (Summit Trail) instead of Mesilau route. Good choice coz it would have been too tiring to walk 2km extra to see more plants and wildlife...I'm definitely not big fan of these. :p 

We were all very excited & energetic coz it was just the beginning of the long hike. :p

Luckily there were several shelters along the way for us to was uphill climb all the way...imagine climbing up the stairs non-stop for 6 hours. =.= Saw an porter carrying 40kgs of garbage down the mountain...they do this everyday to keep the natural environment clean...tough job...salute!! It's pretty interesting to see 4 different landscapes along our journey coz of the different climates. At the earlier part of the hike, it was still all green but as we got higher, the color changed into orange-cinnamon and the plants are shorter.

It started drizzling after lunch but we still had to continue our hike coz we've still got a long way to go...luckily everyone brought raincoats. It was definitely tougher hiking in the rain coz it was muddy and slippery. Bro & I was a ahead of the others so we managed to reach the next shelter before it started pouring. Some of them were really soaked by the time they got to the shelter. Luckily the rain stopped shortly after.

As we climbed higher, the landscape changed again...this time it was rocky. The surrounding was also misty as the weather turned colder. 

We finally arrived Gunting Lagadan resthouse at 3pm after climbing for 6 hours...we took a lil' longer than the average time of 4-5 hours and I'm gonna say it's not because we're not's all because of the rain...haha! :p

In fact, Laban Rata is the main resthouse, ours was 200m above Laban Rata so it was kinda troublesome coz we had to hike up & down for our meals and the temperature up there was only about 8 celcius...definitely not fun being outdoor with sore legs. =.= 

Nice sunset as we were having our dinner. =) We went to bed at 8pm...early huh! :p

16 August 2011 (Tues): Laban Rata - Low's Peak - Kinabalu Park - Kota Kinabalu
Our journey to the peak was split into two but it was a very imbalance split...haha! We hiked for 6 hours on the first day to get to Laban Rata but we had to hike for another 16 hours on the next day to reach the peak then hike back down to Kinabalu Park. Honestly, I wouldn't recommend anyone to take this challenge/risk if they're not physically and mentally prepared...this is quite an endurance test. It ain't easy waking up at 2am to hike under 5 celcius weather...felt like it took forever to reach the peak even though it was just 2.6km. =.= As most y'all know, I like taking pics but this time I wasn't as efficient coz I had to dig my camera out from my winter jacket's pocket every time and I was constantly worried that I might slip and fall down the mountain. :p  

Had our supper at 2am before starting our journey to the summit. It was pitch-dark out there so we had to rely on our headlights. It's pretty cool to see one whole stretch of lights and not the hikers!! It's good that we were hiking in the dark...or else it would take even longer for me to reach the summit coz I would be busy taking pics. :p 

The first 750m was a series of wooden ladders and the remaining 2km was only ropes and bare granite slabs. Some places were very steep (almost 70 degrees) and dangerous. I really held on tight to the rope for my dear life. Besides, my shoe wasn't really suitable for hiking coz it had no grip and I almost slipped off at some places...luckily I wore bro's jeans and used it to add some friction as I pulled myself up at those steep areas. I don't even dare to imagine what would happen if I really slip and tumble downhill. =.= Coincidentally, that day was the 15th of the lunar 'ghost' month and that was when the 'death gate' is opened (ok I know this is lousy translation)...thank god everyone stayed safe.

'Breaking dawn'...2km of granite slabs was really long and was really exhausting coz we couldn't see our destination (the peak) due to the mist and we just had to keep climbing uphill. The thin air and cold wind blowing in your face makes it more challenging.

Passed by South Peak and St. John's Peak...we're almost there!! The sky was turning bright but we could still see a full moon (bottom left pic). Awesome view!

Finally...few more meters to the peak!! That pile of rocks is Low's Peak! It was too misty so we didn't manage to catch sunrise.

Oh yeahhhh... the Twincredibles have conquered Mount Kinabalu!!! 

We've all made it!!! All the effort just to take a pic with these 2!! Fyi, Low's Peak was named after Sir Hugh Low but it wasn't him that set foot first on the peak. Gunting Lagadan was the first native to set foot at the summit.

Magnificent view from the peak!! Can you spot the gorilla's face??

Absolutely breathtaking!!!

Camwhoring with South Peak. :p You'll be able to see this peak on your RM1 notes.

Amazing scenery on the way downhill. We were high above the clouds and mountains!

The climb downhill was pretty scary...definitely not for the faint-hearted. :p

Found some good pics from this site.

Back at Laban Rata to pack our bags, eat breakfast & prepare ourselves for the 6km descent.

It was raining again our entire journey downhill. =.= It was muddy and slippery all the way. Going downhill was easier but it was straining on both our thighs and knees. 

Luckily, my shoes lasted till the very last kilometer before it broke. I completed the last km of my hike with bro's sandals. :p

My left shoe already 'opened its mouth' before I arrive Laban Rata but our guide helped me to repair it using the shoelace. This enabled me to walk for another 5kms. :p The last pic shows how my shoe 'died'...haha!! Byebye my Nike! 

Back at where we started all sore and tired. My leg muscles were aching badly for the next 4 days. =.=

~ Journey to Mount Kinabalu ~

Back to KK town & stayed at Pacific Sutera Hotel for a night before flying back to Penang.

17 August 2011 (Wed): Kota Kinabalu - Penang

Famous Fish Head Noodles in KK.

Goodbye Sabah!! 

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