It is believed that the dead live on top of the 1500 metre sacred mountain. I was not able to climb Kinabulu as it takes two days and I was on a busy schedule. I watched people climbing down and they looked tired, yet jovial. You can’t climb the mountain alone, guides are available, and a hostel and restaurant is en-route, so you can get your head down for a few hours before a 3.00am start. The views are, so I’m told, outstanding.
There is a poignant memorial to the eighteen mountain guides and climbers that lost their lives during an earthquake at 7.15 on 5 June 2015. It was the first earthquake in the area in years as no-one that I spoke to could remember one before. It is volatile as aftershocks are still occurring.
I plan to return, spend a few days with Saidin and climb Mount Kinabulu.
Thanks to Borneo Eco Tours and Osman and William, Saidin and to Rosalind for organising the trip.
Borneo Eco Tours is the most awarded tour operator in Borneo, and recognized by international awards from British Airways, National Geographic, Wildasia, Sabah Tourism, Green Globe, UNWTO, World Travel Awards and mentioned in CNN Travel, BBC, the Guardian, Flight Centre amongst many others. As part of a new sustainable development agenda, Borneo Eco Tours, Sukau Rainforest Lodge and Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies (BEST) Society are adopting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals when developing and implementing community and environmental projects throughout Borneo. The team strives to incorporate and adopt the sustainable development goals into their existing and potential projects, policies, processes and systems over the next 15 years or more.
Words by James Clark
My time at Kiulu Farmstay was one of the high points of my year.
We have a nasty habit of glamourising the comparative poverty of those in the developing world as some kind of simpler ideal, and I don’t want to be guilty of doing that here. Education and medical care are still very much issues in communities like this, but initiatives like Kiulu Farmstay are going some way towards remedying that by bringing vital money into the community.
What I liked most about the experience was that, at least for now, this influx of money has not been used to cheapen the experience. There are no cheesy photo opportunities or cliched tourist traps here – just local people enriching their lives a little by enriching the lives of their visitors.