My Malaysia : The Alps of Borneo, Mount Kinabalu

Travel Profile:

Destination : Kota Kinabalu, Kundasang, Ranau and Tambunan, Sabah

Date : 9 – 12 Dec 2016

Duration : 3D/4N


Kinabalu Private Lodges, Kundasang, Sabah

Travel buddy : 6 pax

Total cost : RM727

Cost Breakdown:

Flight & Accommodation: RM450

Flight Fare (return) : RM348/return (including meal & 30kg luggage)

Kinabalu Private Lodges, Kundasang : RM102/pax for 2 nights (RM320/room/night)

Miscellaneous Breakdown: USD222.15 (RM913)


  • Car Rental – Toyota Avanza : RM92/pax for 4 days (RM550/car for 4 days)
  • Fuel : RM16/pax for 4 days (RM100 for 4 days)

Entrance Fees;

  • Desa Cattle Farm : RM5/pax
  • Kinabalu Park : RM3/pax (can be used for multiple park on the same day i.e. Poring Hot Spring)
  • Poring Canopy Walkway : RM3/pax additional RM5 fees to bring along camera
  • Mahua Waterfall : RM3/pax

Paragliding; RM150/pax

Total Cost : RM727/pax

Road Trip to Kundasang via scenic route, Tamparuli-Ranau Highway

We had a short getaway to the ‘land beneath the wind’ in an enchanting Island of Borneo, to unwind and get in touch with the nature. A sip of highland fresh air, meditating beneath the curtain of refreshing waterfalls, and cruising from a parachute overlooking a mesmerizing view of endless untouched nature, was indeed rejuvenating.

Day 1;

A 2 hours flight from KLIA took us to the capital city of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu. We picked up our ride at Kota Kinabalu International Airport and kicked off our journey to the feet of the majestic Mount Kinabalu. A 2 hour drive (88km) to Kundasang, along Tamparuli-Ranau Highway which run across the Crocker’s Range offered scenic view of endless green valleys, fluffy white cumulus, and of course a sneak peek to the Southeast Asia’s Highest Mountain, Mount Kinabalu.

Pit stop 1 : Desa Cattle Farm

Desa Cattle Farm overlooking the Alps of Borneo

A place where you’ll see heard of patchy black and white coated Friesians breed cattle grazing in an open 199 hectares farm with the Borneo Alps as the background – one word, stunning.

A family friendly place, where the whole family can experience an end to end milk production process, the kids would probably enjoy the petting barn where they could pat and feed the calves and goats and end the visit with a sip of freshly milked Desa Cattle’s dairy milk and Desa Gelato.

We voted it for the view and the fresh produce!

Entrance fees : RM5/adult and RM4/child

Opening Hours : 8am – 5pm

Desa Gelato – fresh from farm.

Pit stop 2 : Kinabalu Private Lodges

Kinabalu Private Lodge, view from the BBQ pit

Our stay for the next two days, a lodge with stunning sunrise view and within 5 minutes drive to Kinabalu Park. Overlooking the Mount Kinabalu, the peak of the mountain is best viewed at dawn and totally visible slightly before sunrise and before the clouds started covering the peak. The sunrise view is to die for, totally breathtaking.

We rented a 3 bedroom, 2 storey chalet which could comfortably fit 7 pax (max 10 pax), fully equipped with LCD TV, full kitchen and an outdoor cooking deck, 2 bathrooms with heaters. There are 2 barbecue pits around the resort and a campfire place, perfect for a barbecue night and get together.

Stunning sunrise view from the lodge

The owner is exceptionally hospitable, I personally recommend this place, perfect scor

for hospitality, location, cleanliness, facilities, value for money – it’s just fabulous.

Check out their Facebook page;

Selamat Pagi Mount Kinabalu!

Friendly Tips:

Rainy season in Sabah will be around October to February. Although it is not heavy rains one will experience showers throughout the day with occasional sunshine in between and high chance of rainbow viewing. Best months for mount climbing are from February to April.

-End of day 1-

Day 2

We are blessed with a good weather today, sunshine almost the whole day and the rains only started pouring in the late afternoon.

Pit stop 1 : Kinabalu Park

Established as one of the first national parks of Malaysia in 1964, is Malaysia’s first World Heritage Site designated by UNESCO in December 2000 for its “outstanding universal values” and the role as one of the most important biological sites in the world with more than 4,500 species of flora and fauna. Source: Wikipedia

Entrance Fees :

Malaysian : RM3 (above 18 yo)/ RM1 (below 18 yo)

Non Malaysian : RM15 (above 18 yo)/ RM10 (below 18 yo)

Kiau Gap Lookout Point at Kinabalu Park

Stop-over : Kiau Gap View

We stopped by at the Kiau Gap View, a look-out point which locate the 2015 Kinabalu Earthquake Monument to commemorate the 18 climbers and mountain guide, who lost their lives on Mount Kinabalu during the Kinabalu Earthquake on 5th June 2015. This look-out point offered a clear view of the Mount Kinabalu summit.

Squirrel feeding at Timpohon Gate

Stop-over : Timpohon Gate

The gate where you can see the climbers got all geared up and the mountain guides gave a short briefing before they took off in the quest to conquer the peak of Mount Kinabalu.

There’s a look–out deck located above the gate overlooking the Mount K. We were entertained by a family of friendly squirrels at the look-out point and enjoyed feeding them so much.

All geared up and ready to take off

Pit stop 2 : Borneo Paragliders Club, Kg Lohan, Ranau

Paragliding with Borneo Paragliders overlooking the stunning view of Ranau

1 hour drive from Kundasang to Ranau Sports Complex and another 5 minutes journey by 4×4 took us to the Borneo Paragliders Club House in Kg Lohan, Ranau.

A paraglide tour of stunning Ranau naturescape from 2200 feet above sea level – it was phenomenal.

The paragliding package cost us RM150/trip which includes, a shuttle via 4×4 to and fro Ranau Sports Complex and Kg Lohan, where the paragliders took off, 5 -10 minutes paraglide tour navigated by professional licensed paraglider and a video of the flight via go pro at an additional RM30. Depending on the weather and the wind speed, the flight could take around 5 to 10 minutes before it landed.

This is my personal favorite, I enjoyed it the most, a perfect score.

Pit stop 3 : Poring Hot Spring, Ranau

Lush green rainforest trekking path at Poring Hot Spring

Another 30 minutes drive from Ranau Sports Complex took us to Poring Hot Spring. Besides the hot spring pools, this park also offers other interesting attractions including refreshing Kipungit Waterfall and 20 metres high Canopy Walkway in the middle of a tropical rain forest.

Friendly tips;

The entrance pass issued at either Kinabalu Park or Poring Hot Spring can be used interchangeably on the same day. Try as much as possible to cram this two parks on the same day, it could save you a few bucks.

Canopy Walkway at Poring Hot Spring

Stop-over : Canopy Walkway

It took us half an hour trekking to reach Pondok Manggas where the Canopy Walkway Trail started.

A sturdy 373.6 metres suspension bridge was divided into 3 circuits at a height of 41 meters above the ground, is not the kind of gig for an Acrophobic.

Well we enjoyed it so much, the bridge allows only 6 persons to walk through it at a time, so no rush and enjoy the view and the view especially at the 2nd circuit was absolutely charming.

Entrance Fees :

Malaysian : RM3 (above 18 yo)/ RM1 (below 18 yo)

Non Malaysian : RM5 (above 18 yo)/ RM3 (below 18 yo)

Operating Hours : 8am – 4pm

Friendly tips:

  • The park charged an additional RM5 for usage of camera (including mobile phone camera) at the canopy walk – so if you traveled in a group it’s good to register only one device and keep the others to save cost.
  • Wear proper shoes as the path to Pondok Manggas is quite slippery especially during rainy season, slippers is not advisable unless you are OK with the after event blisters.
Refreshing water of the Kipungit Fall

Stop-over : Kipungit Waterfall

We soaked ourselves in the chilly water of Kipungit Waterfall after a long hike from the Canopy Walkway, it was absolutely refreshing. We need to walk for another 15 minutes from the Canopy Walk exit to arrive at the waterfall.

Stop-over : Poring Hot Spring Pools

We took a half an hour dip in the hot spring pool to soak away the muscles sores and aches in the spring’s sulfuric minerals deemed to have healing properties before we call it a day. The hot spring is clustered into a Jacuzzi-like tub which can comfortably fit 2 adults at a time and there are also larger pools with lower temperature and water slides for kids.

Poring Hot Spring Pool

-End of day 2-

Day 3

We took a morning walk at our private lodge before we bid farewell and checked out. We head west to Tambunan for another waterfall experience.

Pit stop 1 : Mahua Water Fall, Tambunan

Behind the waterfall curtain at Mahua Fall

A scenic one and a half hours drive from Kundasang (70km) passing by a lush green paddy fields took us to one of the famous tourist attraction in Tambunan, The Mahua Waterfall. Located in the Crocker Range Park’s substation, the 17 metres cascading waterfall is the place if you fancy refreshing cold water swimming.

What I love about this place is the fact that there was a small pathway behind the waterfall curtain where you can pass by to get to the smaller pool which is an amazing spot for a photo stop.

Walkway to the waterfall

The park has plenty of showers/changing room near the picnic hut and very clean toilets at the entrance too. There’s a restaurant, a prayer hall, chalet and camping site nearby too.

Entrance Fees :

Malaysian : RM3 (above 18 yo)/ RM1 (below 18 yo)

Non Malaysian : RM10 (above 18 yo)/ RM6 (below 18 yo)

Operating Hours : 8am – 5pm

Pit stop 2 : Dataran Todak Seafood Place, Kota Kinabalu

Seafood galore at Dataran Todak, Kota Kinabalu

KK is famous for its cheap freshly caught seafood and Dataran Todak this is amongst the easily accessible food arena as it is located at the heart of KK town alongside with the famous Philippine Market and Pasar Besar Kota Kinabalu.

There were more than 30 stalls to choose from with wide range of seafood picks from giant lobster to seaweed in any style of cooking options of your preference be it grilled, steamed, deep fired, just name it, they ‘ll delivered it to your table.

We indulged in the seafood dining like we haven’t ate for 3 days as the food was really appetizing. The freshly cooked buttered prawn, grilled chili cockle and sweet and sour grouper is worth every bite. The best thing was, the price was reasonable for such big portion and it was really a value for money.

Dinner by the quay at Dataran Todak

Pit stop 3 : Philippine Market

Drop by for some souvenir to take home.

Sabah is famous for its pearl and you can find plenty here.

The fresh and dried seafood are also relatively cheaper than those in West Malaysia, a few kilos of good grade anchovies is also a must buy in KK market. They can packed it nicely for you and it’s good to fly.

-End of Day 3-

Sneak Peek of Mount Kinabalu from Kundasang Town

Time to fly home.

Sabah is indeed a great place to explore, a home to world’s most beautiful beaches and well preserved nature, there are too much to explore in such little time, we’ll surely come for visit again.


Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

9 – 12 December 2016


One thought on “My Malaysia : The Alps of Borneo, Mount Kinabalu

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