Climb the imposing Mt. Trusmadi while still covering the natural and cultural highlights of the Sabah region. You'll encounter stunning wildlife, interact with the locals, and explore deep into the rainforests while trekking the second highest mountain in all of Malaysia.

Highlights

  • Explore an ecosystem with over 5,000 species of plants and 400 species of animals
  • Travel by longboat to the underground streams of the Tinahas Caves
  • Traverse the exhilarating limestone cliffs of Batu Punggul
  • Sip rice wine from ceramic jars while listening to stories of Murut headhunters
  • Spend nights in open air hammocks, camps, and a traditional longhouse
  • Scale an 800 ft. Limestone pinnacle in Sapulot

Overview

Mount Trus Madi is located in the Sabah state of Malaysia within Crocker Range Park. Only surpassed by nearby Mt. Kinabalu in terms of height, Trus Madi is considered a tougher challenge to climb because of its steepness. The trek is also longer in comparison and sees fewer tourists, making for a true off the beaten path experience.

The region is home to thousands of species due to its unique ecosystem, including a variety of birds, orchids, pitcher plants, and primates. If you are physically fit and seeking an arduous trek, climbing Mt. Trusmadi is a great experience.

You'll start out from the village of Sinua and navigate rivers and trails before you stop at Sapulot, where you will interact with the Murut tribes and discover local traditions and foods. Along the way, scale the 800 ft limestone pinnacle of Batu Punggul, explore mysterious caves, and sleep on stretcher hammocks in a jungle camp perched high on a riverbank. 

Route map

Route map
Route map for "Climb Mt. Trusmadi & Explore Sapulot - 8 Days"

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Kota Kinabalu (Arrival) Hotel
Day 2 Kota Kinabalu - Sinua - Trusmadi Camp 1
Day 3 Trusmadi (8km, 1000m, 4-5 hr) Camp 2
Day 4 Trusmadi (4km, 1000m to Summit) Camp 2
Day 5 Trusmadi - Orou Sapulot - Pungiton (Tinahas Caves) Camp 1
Day 6 Pungiton - Tataluan (Batu Punggul) Hill-style Hut
Day 7 Tataluan - Orou Sapulot Modern Longhouse
Day 8 Orou Sapulot - Keningau - Kota Kinabalu (Departure)  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival at Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Welcome to Indonesia! Upon your arrival, one of our guides will greet you at the Kota Kinabalu airport. After transferring to your hotel in the city, spend the rest of the afternoon however you like. At around 7 PM, meet up again with your guide at your hotel, go out for dinner, and get introduced to everything you need to know for your trip.

Day 2: Enter the Trus Madi Forest Reserve

Moss forest along the trek
Moss forest along the trek

Head to the Crocker Range Park at noon, departing from Kota Kinabalu. By 4 PM, we will have arrived at the charming village of Sinua at the base of Mount Trusmadi. Take your time to settle into the camp, look around the surrounding farmlands at the border of the Trusmadi Forest Reserve, and relax. Then, eat dinner before camping out in a stretcher hammock for the night.

Day 3: Begin the Trusmadi Trek

Breathtaking view from summit Mt. Trusmadi
Breathtaking view from summit Mt. Trusmadi

Today the trek will begin, starting with a 4-5 hour trail along a river into a beautiful forest. After trekking 8 km and gaining 1,000m in altitude, you will arrive at the second camp. Rest for a bit and enjoy some lunch before strolling around the campsite.

There will be plenty of fascinating reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and birds to see in the nearby area. As the sun sets over the Crocker Range, watch the view from an ideal vantage point. You will get another optional chance to go for a special night walk before heading to bed early to prepare for tomorrow.

Day 4: Trusmadi Summit

Sunrise at Mt Trusmadi
Sunrise at Mt. Trusmadi

Rise and shine early at around 2:30 AM to start venturing up the slope of Trus Madi. Today's trail will get much steeper, with another 1,000m of elevation gain in just 4km. Higher up in the trek, you will encounter slippery roads, where you will need ropes to cross. Then, enter into the sandy heath forests as pitcher plants start appearing everywhere around you. If you look carefully, you will be able to recognize two distinct species, the Nepenthes Lowii and the Nepenthes Villosa, as well as other rarer types.

The nephenthes or pitcher plants in Trusmadi
The nephenthes or pitcher plants in Trusmadi

By the time the sun is rising, you will have reached the summit of Mt. Trusmadi! If the skies are clear, you will get an amazing view of adjacent Mount Kinabalu as well as all the surrounding Borneo Highlands.

After soaking in the breathtaking view, make your way slowly back to camp. Along the way, discover more unique plants and animals in the broad daylight. Arrive back at camp in time for lunch and rest for the remainder of the afternoon. If you still have energy, you can alternatively go for a short walk. Stay at the same camp again overnight.

Day 5: Orou Sapulot and the Tinahas Caves

Wake up and eat breakfast before getting back on the trail. We will descend back to the first camp, arriving around lunch time. Have a bite to eat before we embark on a 2-hour drive to the Murut community of Orou Sapulot, a hidden gem for ecotourism. Upon arrival to the Labang village, take a short boat transfer to Pungiton Camp, settle in, and enjoy lunch.

Afterward, go on a leisurely walk before stumbling upon the entrance of the Tinahas Caves. Follow an underground stream into the caverns and marvel at the stalactite and stalagmite formations. Explore as much as you want, then return to camp for a refreshing dip in the river. End the day with dinner, gaze into the night sky, and fall asleep to the sounds of the jungle.

Day 6: Tataluan and Batu Punggul

Early in the morning, wake up for breakfast and ride in a 4x4 vehicle to Tataluan Village. Here, you will encounter Batu Punggul, an 800 f.t limestone pinnacle rising out of the jungle. Scramble and climb up to the top if you dare, which will take about 45 minutes to an hour, and you will not be disappointed. A magnificent view of the jungle canopy below will await you. 

After your descent, enjoy a picnic lunch by the riverbank before continuing your journey by boat and 4x4 to a pristine waterfall. Spend the afternoon exploring the waterfall area and swimming in the springs. At night, retreat to a cozy nearby hut. 

Day 7: Murut Hospitality

Spend the first half of the day relaxing at the waterfall before heading back to the village for check-in. Today, you will learn all about the traditions and customs of the native Murut people, known for their beadwork, gong music, and history of headhunting. In the evening, enjoy the spectacle of celebratory dances while feasting on local delicacies and wine. Finally, head to a renovated longhouse overlooking the surrounding forest for the night. 

Day 8: Keningau and Kota Kinabalu Departure

After breakfast, bid farewell to your gracious host and your transfer out to Keningau by 8 AM, concluding your adventure in Sapulot Country. At Keningau, you meet your driver for your journey back to Kota Kinabalu. We will return around lunch time, leaving plenty of time to cherish your last moments in Sabah before departing from the airport with memories for a lifetime.