Wherever you are in Sabah, Mount Kinabalu is often visible – an ever-present, mysterious guardian. There are many myths and legends surrounding Malaysia’s highest peak, from how it got its name to how it came to be, lending the ancient mountain an air of mystique.
For many, it has become a challenge to overcome; a crowning achievement for those who manage to reach the summit at Low’s Peak. But if you’d rather admire Mount Kinabalu from afar and explore nearby sights and attractions, take your pick between these budget and luxury stays:
$ – Kinabalu Mountain Lodge
Tucked deep into the rainforest at the foot of Mount Kinabalu, Kinabalu Mountain Lodge is a 20-minute walk away from Kinabalu Park. Its remote location makes it the perfect choice for those who wish to escape into the arms of Mother Nature.
Located in the picturesque highlands of Kundasang, you’ll be rewarded with 360-degree views of lush rainforest and impressive peaks, whether you’re staying in the dorms or a Family Room.
Breathe in the clean mountain air in the small garden, where there’s also a BBQ area – just the thing for those clear, sunny days!
See & Do
- Spend the day hiking the winding trails of Kinabalu Park, where you’re likely to encounter a multitude of flora and fauna species. (Psst, for more info, check out our guide to Kinabalu Park. 😉)
- On a cloudless night, make the most of the lack of light pollution by feasting your eyes on the stars twinkling brightly above.
- If you’re an entomophile (read: insect enthusiast), you’re in for a treat, as you can easily discover a variety of moth species at the lodge.
Rates start from: RM35/night
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$$ – Celyn Resort Kinabalu
Celyn Resort Kinabalu is a 3-star boutique resort in the Kundasang heartland. Most rooms come with its own private balcony, offering stunning views overlooking the valley and Mount Kinabalu.
Bring the whole gang along – the resort has spacious rooms and suites available that can comfortably accommodate between 3 to 4 people.
The resort has charming nature pathways on its grounds for you to explore, so you won’t need to venture far to be able to get some exercise and appreciate nature!
See & Do
- Less than an hour’s drive away from the resort is Poring Hot Spring, where you can soak all your aches and pains away in the healing, mineral-rich waters. Choose between the free open-air bathtubs or a private, enclosed bathtub for an hourly rate. You can then cool off in the Rock Pool, which sources its water from the nearby river.
- Get a bird’s eye view of the rainforest from the Poring Canopy Walk. But be sure to go slowly – the walkway will sway from sudden movements!
- Go on a short, refreshing hike to Kipungit Waterfall and enjoy a pleasant picnic beside its rushing waters. For a tougher hike and a bigger waterfall, head to the Langanan Waterfall, one of the tallest waterfalls in Sabah. It’s about a 4-kilometer hike from the hot spring.
Rates start from: RM174/night
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$$$ – Mount Kinabalu Heritage Resort & Spa
At Mount Kinabalu Heritage Resort & Spa, you’ll get to experience some of the best views of the noble peak from the resort’s viewing deck. Savor the panoramic sight with a soothing hot cuppa.
For a staycation that won’t feel like you’re in Malaysia, stay in one of the resort’s contemporary chalets built on stilts amidst the pine trees. The resort’s grounds also feature a sundeck and gazebo, which are perfect for small gatherings and BBQs.
Since you’re on holiday, why not indulge a little? Check out Heritage Spa, which offers an assortment of spa treatments, from invigorating full-body massages and scrubs to calming steam baths, all carried out by trained therapists.
See & Do
- Take in the rustic emerald pastures of Desa Dairy Farm, home to black and white dairy cows. Here, you’ll learn about the milking process, from cow to bottle. Best of all, you’ll get to taste the freshest dairy products, such as milk and ice cream!
- Pay your respects to fallen soldiers at the Kundasang War Memorial, which features four peaceful gardens. It was built to honor the British and Australian soldiers who died in the Sandakan POW camp.
- Tee off in the clouds at Mount Kinabalu Golf Club, situated on the Pinosuk Plateau at 1,500 meters above sea level. Its high elevation and unpredictable weather poses an interesting challenge to golfers seeking to finish this 18-hole course.
- There’s actually plenty more to do in Kundasang, so be sure to check out our all-you-need-to-know guide for more info on the activities and attractions you shouldn’t miss out on!
Rates start from: RM232/night
With such a wide range of accommodation options across the country, it can be a challenge to pick the one that’s best for you. To be in the know when it comes to Malaysia’s stand-out stays, keep your eyes peeled for Traveloka’s ‘Super Stays’ posts, a bi-weekly hotel special featuring our top picks!