Agoda in the News aims high with great hotel deals for a trek up Mt. Kinabalu

SINGAPORE (May 2, 2013), Asia’s leading hotel booking site and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group (Nasdaq:PCLN), is providing great new deals on hotels in the Malaysian city of Kota Kinabalu to take advantage of high season climbing opportunities on the beautiful and surprisingly accessible Mt. Kinabalu, only 50km from the main city.

Although it’s one of the tallest mountains in Southeast Asia, Kinabalu is famed for being climbable without specialized gear and by almost anyone who is relatively fit. Despite an elevation of 4,093m above sea level, it rarely snows at the peak. Indeed, climbers will go through six separate vegetation zones on their climb to the top, from steamy Lower Mountain Forest at the bottom to frigid Subalpine at the peak. However, it can get very foggy and if it rains – which it does most afternoons – the environment can become downright miserable, with high winds and freezing temperatures that can quickly turn dangerous. For that reason, there is a well-worn climbing schedule that minimizes exposure and provides the best all-around hiking experience.

Most climbers do the trek over 2 days, which begins with paying the climbing fee, park entrance fee, and insurance (122 RM or about USD 40) at the park entrance. This is where a mandatory guide will be hired as well – while the climb is considered accessible it is by no means easy, and the guide will make sure everyone in his group climbs safely, watching for signs of altitude sickness or over-fatigue. Make no mistake – people have died on Kinabalu, but usually because they ignored their guide’s advice or wandered off on their own. Don’t take chances.

Once this is taken care of, it’s a short bus ride to Timpohon Gate, where the climb starts. The first half of the hike is to the Laban Rata camp, where most climbers spend the night to acclimatize to the altitude and rest up for the final push the next morning.

Of course, “morning” is relative as it’s best to head off around 2.30am. It’s a slow but steady climb from here on in, which should result in reaching the peak by about 6am. To say the view from the top on a clear day is spectacular is an understatement – looking across a bank of fluffy clouds at the rising sun is something that has to be seen to be believed. The descent afterwards is less taxing, but still arduous, and by the time climbers reach the bottom in the afternoon of the second day, they’re more than ready for a big meal and a cold drink.

Naturally, the town of Kota Kinabalu itself is well worth visiting. As the capital of Malaysia’s Sabah state, it’s a major regional hub for tourism, transport, politics and commerce, with plenty of attractions and sights for any type of visitor, including several nice beaches, parks and museums. The city also boasts a rich multicultural heritage with a variety of religions and ethnicities, including Chinese, Indian, Malay and Filipino. And of course the food – no surprise – is superb.

Take a look at the hotels below to find some fantastic deals when planning a trip to the top of Malaysia.

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KK-Suites Residence @ Marina Court Resort Condominium 2*
Enjoy 15% off your stay. Expires January 4, 2014.

The Pacific Sutera 5*
Enjoy 20% off your stay. Expires December 31, 2013.

The Magellan Sutera 5*
Enjoy 20% off your stay. Expires December 31, 2013.

Zara’s Boutique Hotel @ Harbour City 3*
Enjoy 10% off your stay. Expires December 24, 2013.

Tambunan Inn 1*
Enjoy 30% off your stay. Expires May 31, 2013.

Tune Hotel – 1Borneo Kota Kinabalu 3*
Enjoy 50% off your stay. Expires June 30, 2013.

The Jesselton Hotel 3*
Enjoy 30% off your stay. Expires December 31, 2013.