4 of us meet up at KL Central at 11 pm, which by the way, i took bus and LRT to get there. i forgot how to ride the bus already because it has been ages since i used one. unfortunately, we were stuck at KL Central due to some mis-information. i thought the LCCT bus operated until 12, but the last bus of the day is at 10.30 pm. fortunately, they started operating at 3.15 am and we're able to catch our flight which was at 6.50 am. we met Ammar at the LCCT since he came from his house in Putrajaya. i managed to sleep in the bus despite the hellish ride the driver gave us. as soon as i stepped down from the bus, i thought we're at the wrong place. LCCT is full of people sleeping on the sidewalk. maybe it is because of the short interval of planes' departure or the void hours of no means of transportation to the LCCT during the night.
Upon arrival at 9.30 am at Terminal 2 Kota Kinabalu Airport, acquintances of Ammar's dad came and picked us up. we were brought for breakfast and left at Dr Ismadi's apartment for some recovering and refreshing (he's not a real doctor, but his name rhymes with the ever famous Dr. Ismadi from P.Ramlee's movies). He's also an acquintance of Ammar's dad and with his help, we managed to get ourselves a car. we took off from KK at about 4 pm and arrived at Kinabalu Park almost 6 pm. Spent a night there in Kinabalu park. we got this nice 3 bunk beds room. no heater (sejuk wooo.. 1000+m above sea level), but they do have this common room with fireplace. nice.
Breakfast at 8, register, meet our hike guide (mr Wilfred) then proceed to Timpohon Gate. there are actually 2 trails to the Peak. 1 is Timpohon Gate, 2 is Mersilau Trail. The 2nd one is much more challenging and longer than the 1st one. Do buy kayu/tongkat/cane, but u dont need to buy the fancy2 one. just buy one at Timpohon Gate for RM5. it'll ease your climb. bring just one bottle of mineral water. small one is sufficient. if you run out of water, just refill at any hut. it says, "Untreated water", but it is safe to drink (air dari gunung).
the hike started at 845 am. the 1st few km are easy. we're walking while chatting, soon i was walking while swearing. after km 4 (layang2 hut), the hike become more challenging, higher altitude means lower oxygen. i kept on resting every 5-6 steps. but the view was awesome from there. both looking up and looking down. during the hike, we met a lot of hikers coming down. most are foreigners. my question pool consists of, "How's the weather up there?", "How's the view?", "How far is the next resting place?". i just pick up a question randomly every time i crossed path with them.
145 pm, we arrived at Laban Rata. that's mean another 2 km to go. but we can't climb up yet. we need to rest there at least until 2 am. so, we checked-in in another heater-less cabin (cheap lorr), took a bath, and went for lunch at 4 pm. the rest of the day is just sleep.
woke up at 2 am and it was raining a bit. it is quite worrisome since if it kept on raining, we cannot continue the hike. being optimistic, we went for coffee, put on our raincoat and continue the hike. it was dark. Please bring a headlight and glove. both are important tools for this part of hike. i dont have a headlight, but i borrowed a torchlight from a friend. after 30 minutes of hiking, the rain stopped. the most dangerous part is where we need to walk on small ledge with an assistance of single rope. since it's dark, it is less thrilling. at km 8, i was separated from my friends. i dont know how far i was ahead, but i couldn't stop and wait for them. the torchlight began to run out of power. i solely rely on other hiker's headlight. just to make it worst, i stepped into a puddle of water. i was cursing a lot. now my shoe is wet and my feet is cold. but i need to reach there before 6 am so i kept on going. Any hiker who got to km 8.5 is good enough to get certified. there is the last checkpoint called Sayat2 and someone will be taking your name for the certification purpose. another 300 m is just up to your mental strength. i didn't get to the top. i mean, i was 10 m away from the peak. so many people up there. plus my hand and feet are numb. i just sat still and watch the sunrise. it's beautiful i tell u. my friends caught up and we took lots of pictures. with less of me inside it. i was so reluctant for photography session due to the coldness; which i regret. remember... if you planning on hiking it, whatever the circumstances or shit you're dealing with, take a lot of pictures..
Going down is as much, or if not, much more challenging than going up. i managed to race down through the rocky steps, but when it comes to steady declining track, i found it much more difficult. remember the small ledge i mentioned before, yeah.. it is much more frightening when the sun is out. we reached Laban Rata at 9 am and straight we went to the restaurant for our breakfast. the hike guide told us that we'll continue descending at 10.30. so, after breakfast, we packed our bag and had a small nap. as promised, we hike down at 1030 am and most of the time, i was walking alone and arrived third at Timpohon Gate at 2 pm.
Everyone managed to arrive safely with sore and aching legs. hahaha... we pick up our certificate and went for our lunch. Semua pakat lepas geram. makan x hingat... boleh kata nak enjoy before sakit2 melanda. next stop: Kota Kinabalu. baru kluar perkarangan Kinabalu Park, kitorang perasan yang tayar pancit. Took out the bags and the guys, ammar and me drove to Kundasang to look for kedai tayar. luckily we found one. bukan pancit, tapi bocor. after the problem fixed, we continue driving to KK. the aparment wasn't easy to find, the funny thing is, the office for checking-in and out is located kilometers away from the apartment. since i'm driving, it's like having a crash course of KK's town road. Unfortunately, we didn't get to eat any seafood that night since the place was under renovation.
Everyone woke up late. Ammar bought some canned food last night and he cooked us breakfast; bread + sardine + baked beans. bertuah la sapo yang kawen ngan ko ammar, rajin sungguh. hahaha.. before check-out, we stop by at the philipines market and bought some souvenirs.
U must know some haggling skills and also some charm to do magic here. Lucky us, Mr Ismadi brought us to some cheap merchants. popular items here are crystal, pearl and fish. i used up my remaining RM100 here for t-shirt, fridge magnet, key-chains, crystals and pearl.
After check-out, we went straight to the Terminal 2 KK Airport and drop-off the car there. then check-in the luggages and also the hiking canes (yea.. nk frame buat kenang2an). dapat makan kejap kat KFC because they already call for us. 2 hour and a half later, we were at LCCT.
There you go... some scoop on my recent visit to Kota Kinabalu. Wanna go? then i listed the must-bring items:
- lot of baju tebal2
- for hiking, pakai sweater yg bukan cotton based. less heavy and smelly when sweating
- suitable shoes (boot bola kain yang murah tu..)
- choco bars (jgn byk sgt, xmkn byk pon nnt.. just for quick energy)
- Tongkat (beli kat Timpohon Gate)
- Undying determination to reach the peak (only 4 of us got up there!)