There’s a long weekend coming up and you’re trying frantically to book a villa in Bali but it seems everywhere is fully booked. Belitung have no availabilities and you don’t fancy attempting to drive to Bandung or Pelabuhan Ratu for fear it will take you hours and hours to get there. So where are you going to go?
My answer to you is Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Direct flights from Jakarta to Kota Kinabalu (also known as K.K.) are available and are cheaper than flights to Bali. In two and a half hours you’re in another country and another world and you can enjoy a pedestrianized city with light traffic and fresh air.
The attractions in K.K itself are limited to shopping, walking and eating, however it’s what’s just outside of the city that makes the journey to this side of Borneo all the worthwhile.
Our trip was somewhat adventurous, starting with a two-day hike up and down Mount Kinabalu, located in Kinabalu National Park, a two hour drive from K.K. Peaking at 4090.2 metres this is one of the easier mountains of this stature to conquer and a lot of effort has been put into this trail.
Starting the ascent at 9am, we hiked through lush rainforest, admiring several miniature waterfalls during the way, and enjoying rest stations equipped with toilet and treated spring water.
The trail to Labuan Rata, the lodge where hikers rest overnight before ascending to the peak, is six kilometres up and we were four clicks in before the inevitable happened to slow us down – the tropical heavens opened and what a downpour it was.
One thing every tour operator and website will tell you is to make sure to bring waterproofs and how right they all were. Waterproof trousers is the one thing you need most after a waterproof poncho.
Spotting Labuan Rata was a glorious moment, which meant shelter and rest. This lodge is made up of several unheated dorm-style rooms of various sizes, equipped with bunk beds and showers. Downstairs a large canteen area serves decent buffet meals for the famished trekker.
After cleansing, adorning our thermals and eating as much as we could, our weary bodies tried to catch a few hours sleep before waking again at 1.30am for the final push to Low’s Peak to watch the sunrise.
Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: So Sabah.