Mt. Kinabalu is the highest mountain in SE Asia between the Himalayas and New Guinea. The highest part of the massif is a large plateau with huge granite slabs which during the last Ice Age were transformed by glaciers. Its steep slopes are covered with dense and unique vegetation which changes with the altitude and is famous for high level of endemism with species which only occur on Mt. Kinabalu and are found nowhere else in the world. There are two well marked and well maintained trails on the mountain. The newly open Mesilau trail is more difficult and much steeper but completely empty and more interested in terms of vegetation. Both trails join together at 2780 metes. All the hikers must spend a night at Panar Laban at c.a. 3300 m and the accommodation must be arranged in advance with the Park HQ. The last part of the trail is equipped with ropes and is usually negotiated at night as everybody leaves the hostel and 3 am to reach the main summit (Low's Peak) for sunrise. Another reason for an early start is weather. The mountain gets usually quickly covered with thick clouds.
Kinabalu Park HQ is well connected with the outside world as the main Kota Kinabalu - Ranau Highway passes 100 metres from the main gate. Above and belowe pictures of Mt. Kinabalu were taken at 6 o'clock in the morning from two view points on approach to the Park HQ.
The first part of Mesilau Trail is a steep trail to the ridge with splendid views over upper part of Mt. Kinabalu and Mesilau Needles.
Then the trail descends steeply to the beautiful waterfall.
After crossing the bridge on West Mesilau River, the trail climbs again with series of neverensding steps for about 2 hours to reach a ridge at 2700 m with beatiful Bonzai trees and famous Pitcher Plants.