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Borneo: Mt Kinabalu Summit Trek

25th Mar 2022 - 3rd Apr 2022

10 days/Malaysia /Challenging


Join us for an exciting trek up stunning Mount KInabalu in the lush forests of Borneo.

This trek requires stamina, a good level of fitness, a positive mental attitude and bucketloads of determination as you will be trekking on steep and uneven terrain through hot and humid primary jungle, you will carry your own kit and equipment each day and stay in basic campsites well off the beaten track. Along the way you’ll learn traditional jungle survival skills such as identifying edible fruits and plants and making traps as you gain a deeper understanding about the complex ecosystem and how the local communities thrive here.

In addition to experiencing Borneo’s primary jungle you will also travel through paddy fields, rubber plantations, fruit orchards and across rivers. If you’re lucky you may encounter some of the local wildlife such as orangutans, proboscis monkeys, kingfishers, wild pig, deer, hawks, terrapins and crocodiles amongst others.

A challenging trip for someone with a good level of fitness. It is physically demanding and you must take your training and preparation seriously so you can cope with the various demands of the trek, including the tough terrain, high temperatures and high humidity. You should start a training programme at least 9 months before your departure including hill walking while carrying a heavy backpack, general cardio workouts, and exercise to strengthen your legs and core. If you are unfit at the time of booking you should consider starting training 12 months before departure. By the time of departure you should feel confident in your ability to walk up and down steep gradients for many hours per day on consecutive days.


You will be accompanied by first aid trained English-speaking guides who have an excellent knowledge of hiking, culture and nature in the region. You will also be accompanied by a team of local support staff and a Different Travel Company UK tour manager.

The terrain varies greatly on this trek, from overgrown jungle paths to good open tracks and smaller paths. You can expect uneven and often slippery ground underfoot. There will be a number of steep ascents and long descents so you must arrive in Borneo fit and prepared. You must be prepared to climb over overgrown vegetation, tree roots and other jungle obstacles while carrying your own kit. The paths can be muddy and slippery after rain. This trek is not easy.

The climate in Borneo is hot, humid and wet all year round. It cannot be stressed enough that the distinction between ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ seasons is not marked, and while weather patterns and rainfall is unpredictable it will generally be hot and wet for most of the trip. March historically sees approx. 190mm rainfall per day and you are likely to experience short sharp showers throughout the day, often in the middle of the afternoon. Temperatures historically reach up to 31°C during the day and drop to around 24°C at night although it may feel cooler at higher altitudes. The humidity is high, usually at least 85% every day. Please note: the temperatures and conditions given here are historically accurate but climate change can impact the seasons so you may experience uncharacteristic conditions during the trip which are out of our control. Should this happen the guide will assess the situation and make decisions to ensure the best enjoyment and ultimately safety of the group as a whole.

Malaysian cuisine represents a fusion of cultures. Both rice and noodles are staple foods in the Borneo. The food during the trek is basic and may be repeated. Typical dishes include:
Breakfast: Bread, butter, jam, eggs, fried noodles, oatmeal, tea and coffee.
Lunch: Sandwiches, fried noodles, boiled eggs, boiled potatoes, biscuits, fresh fruit.
Snacks: Biscuits, boiled corn, sweet potatoes, fruit, banana fritters.
Dinner: soup, fish or chicken, sardines or canned meat, eggs, seasonal vegetables, fruits and coffee and tea.

You will stay in hotels in twin share rooms with en-suite facilities while in Kota Kinabalu, Kinabatangan and Sandakan.

During the trek you will camp in jungle clearings in a basic wooden shelter, or in small village community centres. You need to bring your own lightweight sleeping bag, sleeping bag liner (cotton or silk) and inflatable sleeping mat. A mosquito net is provided. Cutlery and crockery is provided for meals

At the hotels you will have en-suite bathrooms with flushing toilets and hot showers.

During the trek there will be cold running water at camp, and it may be possible to bathe in the streams nearby but this should not be relied upon. If you do have the opportunity to bathe in streams you must only use natural or biodegradable soap to avoid contaminating the water. You are advised to bring a small pack of biodegradable baby wipes to freshen up each day, particularly to clean your hands before meals.
You will need to bring your own towel. Trek towels are highly absorbent but lightweight and fast-drying; do not bring cotton towels.

There is a basic toilet at camp. If you need to use the toilet during the trek day, please inform your guide who will help you find a safe place off the trail. It’s essential that you place all used toilet paper into a nappy bag and carry it to camp where it will be disposed of properly.

You must be at least 18 years old to participate on this trek unaccompanied. It may be possible for you to participate if you are 16 or 17 years old but you must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. There is no upper age limit.

The trek can be undertaken by anyone with a good level of fitness, who is healthy and determined. Please remember you are responsible for carrying your own kit. Adequate preparation, planning and training is important because the fitter you are the more you will enjoy this experience. An ideal candidate would be a hill walker, an open-minded person with a sense of adventure or someone who would like to take part in a life-changing fundraising experience in the beautiful landscape.

You must arrive in Borneo fit and prepared for this challenge. You should start training at least 9 months before departure to ensure the best chance of success and enjoyment on the challenge. Hill walking while carrying a heavy backpack should form a major part of your training as this will most closely replicate the actual trek, and is the best way to prepare your body for the numerous ascents and descents involved.

Increasing your cardiovascular endurance, core strength and leg strength will also benefit you greatly so resistance workouts should be added to your training regime in addition to plenty of hill walking. You can download a number of free apps which will help you train and track your progress. E.g. MapMyWalk, couch to 5k, MyFitnessPal etc. If you attempt to complete the challenge without training it will make the trek unnecessarily difficult and may be detrimental to your experience, and the experience of your team mates.

This tour is classified as ‘challenging’ for someone already at a good general level of fitness, due to the hot, wet and humid climate, carrying your own gear each day (your backpack could weigh 12kg), the hilly, uneven and rough jungle terrain and basic accommodation and bathroom facilities.

We require a medical form to be completed by everyone upon registering, and any pre-existing conditions, medications used and other medical issues must be specified. All your medical details are treated in the strictest confidence.

The information will be securely screened by a qualified medical professional, and details provided to your tour manager and local guides so our staff are adequately informed and prepared to support you during the trip. By completing this booking form you are giving consent for us to contact you confidentially with any follow up questions regarding your health.

If you declare any medical conditions you may be asked to provide more information, or we may request to contact your GP. We must be informed if any conditions or medication change, or if new conditions develop. If necessary confirmation of fitness to travel from your GP or specialist may be required.

In the event that your medical issues represent a concern for your safety and wellbeing, or the safety and wellbeing of others in the group, you may be recommended not to take part. If this happens your deposit will be refunded. Please note that we will never unreasonably deny participation on a trip nor contravene the Equality Act 2010.


E-tickets + pre-departure info
Passport + 2 copies
Cash + credit/ATM card(s)
Insurance policy details
LED head torch + spare batteries
Sunglasses (100% UV polarized)
Camera + spare batteries
Hiking Pole(s)

Clothing & Footwear

Hiking boots*
Footwear for camp
Non-cotton trek trousers
Non-cotton t-shirt
Non-cotton long sleeve top/shirt
Non-cotton socks
Leech socks
Sun hat with wide brim
Neck cooling ‘Cobber’
Buff (,uk)
Casual attire for travel days


Shampoo + conditioner*
Shower gel*
Toothbrush + toothpaste*
Antiperspirant deodorant*
Non-cotton travel/trek towel
Wet wipes*
Hand sanitizer
Toilet paper* (1-2 rolls in ziploc bags)
Nappy bags* (for used loo paper)
Feminine hygiene products*
Waterproof sun block (high SPF)*

First Aid Kit

Prescription medicine
50% DEET insect repellent
Ibuprofen and Paracetamol
Blister plasters (e.g. Compeed)
Imodium (Loperamide)
Rehydration (e.g. Dioralyte)
Anti-histamine tablets/cream
Indigestion remedy (e.g. Gaviscon)
Lip balm with SPF protection
Nail scissors/tweezers
Muscle rub (e.g. Deep Heat)
Zinc oxide tape
Spare glasses/contact lenses


Video Camera + charger
Mobile phone + charger
iPod/MP3 player
Sewing kit
Playing cards, notebook or diary
Portable battery pack
Waterproof pouch for phone


Suitcase for main luggage
Daypack (max 45 litres)
Combination padlocks
Dry bag / ruck sack liner

Eating and Drinking

Energy snacks
2-litre bottle (e.g. Camelbak)
1-litre back up bottle
Water purification (e.g. Biox Aqua)
Electrolyte tablets (e.g. NUUN)


Lightweight sleeping bag
Sleeping bag liner
Sleeping mat
Ear plugs
Para cord + gaffer tape for mosquito net (net provided)

Please note: This list is not exhaustive and does not account for your personal taste or preference. It should be used as a guideline only. If you have any questions or queries regarding this list which are not answered in the sections above please contact

*Please ensure you pack your boots in your hand baggage in the unlikely event your luggage is delayed or goes missing.

*Please consider eco-friendly or biodegradable options. Consider shopping at Little Footprint Gifts.

It was very challenging but a huge sense of achievement so well worth it!


Day 1 (Friday 25 March 2022):

London – Kota Kinabalu
Fly to Kota Kinabalu on indirect overnight flights, arriving the next day.

Day 2 (Saturday 26 March 2022):

Kota Kinabalu
Upon arrival you will be met by your guide and transfer by bus to your central hotel in Kota Kinabalu for an overnight stay. This evening we enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
Meals: Dinner

Day 3 (Sunday 27 March 2022):

Kota Kinabalu – Waterfall Trek – Kinabalu National Park
After breakfast we set off for the Kinabalu National Park, stopping en route for a short hike at Murung Turug, where we walk for 8km passing 7 waterfalls, with a chance to stop and swim. After a picnic lunch we continue across the Crocker Range and check into the Park HQ. We stay overnight in a hostel in dormitory style accommodation and shared bathrooms.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4 (Monday 28 March 2022):

Ascend to Mt Hut
Early this morning we transfer to the Timpohon Gate, the start of the summit trail. We traverse through 5 vegetational zones, admiring the mountain’s botanical diversity, as we trek up to 3,300m. A basic hostel is our accommodation for the night.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5 (Tuesday 29 March 2022):

Summit to Kiau Village
We set off at around 2am for our final ascent to Low’s Peak, the summit of Mt Kinabalu (4,095m). On a clear day you’ll be able to enjoy views across to the South China Sea and Kota Kinabalu in the distance!  Descend back to Timpohon Gate where a vehicle awaits to transfer us to Kiau village. We camp overnight in a community hall, where there is a chance to interact with the villagers and enjoy a dance display this evening.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6 (Wednesday 30 March 2022):

Kiau Village
Today we venture into the jungle, passing by rubber and pineapple farms along the way. On arrival at the jungle camp our guides will demonstrate how to cook using bamboo, and other indigenous skills. We return to Kiau for another night in the village.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7 (Thursday 31 March 2022):

Kiau Village – Kinabatangan
We set off this morning for Kinabatangan, where we check in at a riverside lodge for the night. That evening we will enjoy dinner and a river cruise in search of the long-nosed Proboscis monkey and other wildlife.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8 (Friday 1 April 2022):

Kinabatangan – Sandakan
This morning we will travel from Kinabatangan to the world-famous Sepilok orang-utan sanctuary, where you will have the chance to see and learn about these amazing animals, as they are slowly reintegrated into the wild. You’ll even have a chance to walk through the reserve and see the orang-utans up close. This evening you will stay at the Sepilok Jungle Resort and we’ll enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant tonight.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9-10 (Saturday 2 – Sunday 3 April 2022):

Sandakan – London
Today we say farewell to Borneo as we transfer to Sandakan airport (approx. 45 minutes’ drive) for our flight back to London (indirect), arriving the next morning.
Meals: Breakfast

N.B. This itinerary may change due to unusual weather, the ability of the group, wildlife movements and so on. We will do our best to keep to the itinerary but we cannot be held responsible for changes that occur outside of our control. In all circumstances your guide and tour leader will have the final say in the interest of the group’s health and safety.

Costs & How to pay

Registration fee: £375 and then one of either…

Self-funded: £2400 balance
Sponsorship: £4800
Flexi: £2400 trip costs balance plus £2400 sponsorship for a charity of your choice


This option is for those who choose to pay the trip costs (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) themselves. There is no sponsorship required although if you wish to raise sponsorship for a charity you are welcome to do so.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • Trip cost balance is payable to Different Travel 10 weeks prior to departure.
  • You are welcome to fundraise separately for any charity of your choice but this is not mandatory. Any fundraising undertaken cannot be used for your trip costs.


This option is for those who wish to raise sponsorship to cover both the costs of the trip (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) and a donation to their chosen charity. There is a minimum sponsorship amount for each trip that you are required to raise in order to participate.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • The minimum sponsorship must be paid to the charity 12 weeks prior to departure.
  • The amount the charity receives is at least 50% of the minimum sponsorship total.


This option is for those who choose to pay the trip costs (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) themselves while still raising some funds for the charity.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • Trip cost balance is payable to Different Travel, and the fundraising is payable to the charity, 12 weeks prior to departure.
  • Any fundraising undertaken cannot be used for your trip costs.

What's included

  • Return flights from London
  • Airport taxes and current fuel surcharges
  • Transfers and transport in Borneo
  • Accommodation in a 3* hotels, hostels, basic shelters/tents as per itinerary
  • All meals
  • Local guides and trek support staff
  • Entrance fees
  • Different Travel tour manager

What's not included

  • Any necessary vaccinations
  • Optional single room supplement (£150 – hotels only)
  • Drinks, laundry and personal expenses (souvenirs etc)
  • Tips (around £30-35pp)
  • Transport to/from UK airports
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa (not currently required for British citizens)

Got a Question?

If you’ve a question about this challenge that you can’t find the answer to within the given information then complete this quick form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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