The Best Time to Climb Mount Kinabalu

Mount Kinabalu, located in Sabah, Malaysia, is a popular destination for climbers from around the world. As the highest peak in Southeast Asia, reaching the summit is an impressive accomplishment. However, the weather on the mountain can be unpredictable, making it important to choose the right time of year to attempt the climb. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the best time to climb Mount Kinabalu, taking into account seasonal considerations and weather patterns.

The Best Time to Climb Mount Kinabalu

Understanding Mount Kinabalu’s Climate

Before we dive into the best time to climb Mount Kinabalu, it’s important to understand the mountain’s climate. Mount Kinabalu has a tropical climate, with temperatures ranging from 20 to 30 degrees Celsius (68-86 degrees Fahrenheit) during the day and dropping to around 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) at night. The mountain is also known for its frequent rainfall, particularly during the monsoon season.

Dry Season

March to September The dry season is generally considered the best time to climb Mount Kinabalu, as the weather is generally more stable and there is less chance of rain. The months of March to September are particularly popular, with clear skies and comfortable temperatures making for an enjoyable climb. Keep in mind that even during the dry season, there is still a chance of rain, so it’s important to come prepared with rain gear.

Wet Season

October to February The wet season on Mount Kinabalu typically runs from October to February. During this time, the mountain receives the most rainfall, making climbing more challenging and potentially dangerous. Trails can become slippery and visibility can be limited. However, the wet season can also be a beautiful time to climb, with lush vegetation and stunning waterfalls.

Shoulder Seasons

February to March and September to October The shoulder seasons, which fall between the dry and wet seasons, can be a good time to climb Mount Kinabalu for those who want to avoid crowds. These months offer a mix of dry and wet weather, with temperatures and rainfall amounts varying. However, it’s important to note that the weather during the shoulder seasons can be unpredictable, so it’s important to come prepared for all conditions.

Choosing the Best Time for You

Determining the optimal time to ascend Mount Kinabalu is subjective and relies on individual preferences and objectives. For those seeking favorable weather conditions and clear skies, the dry season presents the ideal opportunity. Conversely, if your aim is to witness the mountain adorned in vibrant greenery, the wet season offers a splendid choice. Alternatively, if you desire a more solitary climb, the shoulder seasons provide a promising option. Ultimately, selecting the perfect time for your Mount Kinabalu expedition depends on your unique preferences and aspirations.

Factors to Consider When Planning Your Climb

When planning your climb, there are several factors to consider beyond the weather. These include:

  • Fitness level: Climbing Mount Kinabalu is a challenging endeavour, and requires a good level of fitness. Be sure to train and prepare yourself physically before attempting the climb.
  • Accommodation availability on Mount Kinabalu is limited, and during peak climbing seasons, it fills up quickly.

  • Budget: Climbing Mount Kinabalu can be an expensive endeavor, with fees for park entry, permits, and guides. Be sure to budget accordingly.
  • Safety: Mount Kinabalu is a challenging climb, and safety should be a top priority. Be sure to follow safety guidelines and listen to the advice of experienced guides.

Planning Your Climb

Once you’ve decided on the best time to climb Mount Kinabalu, it’s time to start planning your climb.

Book your climb in advance

As mentioned earlier, accommodation on Mount Kinabalu is limited and can fill up quickly during peak climbing seasons. Be sure to book your climb well in advance to secure your spot.

Train and prepare yourself physically

Climbing Mount Kinabalu is a physically demanding activity, and requires a good level of fitness. Be sure to train and prepare yourself physically in the weeks and months leading up to your climb.

Pack appropriately.

It’s important to pack light but also brings all the necessary gear for a safe and comfortable climb. Some essential items include appropriate clothing and footwear, rain gear, a headlamp or flashlight, a first aid kit, and high-energy snacks.

Hire a guide.

It’s highly recommended to hire an experienced guide to help you navigate the mountain safely. Guides can also provide valuable information about the mountain’s history, ecology, and culture.


Mount Kinabalu is a stunning mountain that offers a challenging and rewarding climb for those who are up to the challenge. When planning your climb, be sure to consider the time of year and the weather patterns to ensure that you have the best possible experience. Whether you’re climbing during the dry season or exploring the mountain during the wet season, Mount Kinabalu is sure to leave a lasting impression.