On my summer holidays, I travelled to South East Asia to conquer Malaysian Borneo’s mighty Mount Kinabalu and explore the unique and beautiful wildlife of the island.
After flying into the city of Kota Kinabalu, I headed to Kinabalu Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to Mount Kinabalu, which at 4,095 metres is the highest mountain in South East Asia. After reaching 3,333 metres on the first day of the climb, I had a night’s rest before beginning the ascent to the summit at 2.30am. The early departure meant I could reach the top in time for sunrise and, after an energetic and invigorating climb, I was extremely impressed with the breathtaking views of the park.
The adventure wasn’t over yet though, as I challenged myself to descend the mountain along the world’s highest Via Ferrata, which is a mountain route consisting of fixed cables, ladders and bridges. After a shaky start, I began to enjoy the journey down and appreciate the stunning surroundings!
Next up on my itinerary was a flight to Sandakan to reach the village of Bilit where I stayed in a lodge along the Kinabatangan River. From here, I enjoyed boat cruises along the river and jungle walks, where she spotted an array of wildlife including proboscis monkeys, pigtailed macaques, crocodiles, reticulated pythons, hornbills, herons and stalks. But my favourite find was four wild orang-utans building nests in the treetops.
I arranged the tailor-made programme of activities with Downbelow Marine & Wildlife Adventures, a tour company formed by two British expats now based in Kota Kinabalu, Borneo, Malaysia. The company offers packages to adventure groups and schools.