To Down Under and Back Over travel blog

Beers in Kuala Lumur with Sophy's colleagues

Pradeep, Sophy, Paolo and Kirstin (colleagues)

Waterfront drinks in Kota Kinabulu (Capital of Sabah, Borneo)

After 1km of Mt Kinabulu - feeling tired!

After 1km of Mt Kinabulu - feeling strong!

After 3km of Mt Kinabulu - needing Red Bull!

Mad people running up and down with stuff on backs!!??!!

After 4km of Mt Kinabulu - out of puff with these steep...

After 5km of Mt Kinabulu - now above clouds, Sophy cannot breathe!

At our resthouse (Laban Rata) for the night 3,272 metres up!

We arrived in Singapore without any hitches, well except for Sophy leaving one of her hand luggage bags on the plane and having to get it rushed through customs etc by security! OOPS!! We then got onto the train and headed to the hostel in Chinatown that we had booked, which took around 1 hour. After spending the night in Singapore (just to sleep!) we were up early and at the train station by 7.15am to go through customs and passports to catch the train up to Kuala Lumpur (8 hours). We arrived late afternoon in KL, short cab to our hostel and was greeted by our worst accomodation yet!! The room looked very like a prison cell and the bed just a thin matress, thank god we were only there for the night!! Sophy had arranged to meet up with some work friends (Pradeep, Paolo and Kirstin) who were over from the UK while she was getting ready, Paul had another cheap haircut for 20 Ringitts (about 3 pound) and we headed to the Boulevard Hotel where we enjoyed some Tiger Beers and a good night out. Paul managed to watch the Man U v Arsenal game which afterwards he regretted after those late goals from Arsenal :O( !!! Taxi at 7am the next morning morning and off to the "Low cost airline airport" which was about an hour and half away, to catch the first flight to Kota Kinabula in Sabah, North Borneo. We arrived at the airport and Paul was in awe as one of the Air Asia aeroplanes had a Man Utd badge on it's tail (true taste!). We arrived in Kota Kinabula, our hostel was perfect with a great chill out area (which resembled our front room at home!!) free internet and DVD's to play..... which was a welcome change to the previous night in the cell! Spent the next 2 days chilling, as we had arranged to climb Mount Kinabula (4,101m) and were advised to rest, rest and then rest as it was a very tiring climb. We managed to choose an engagement ring together in those 2 days, there was plenty of choice but Sophy managed to find her perfect ring in a great little jewellers (18ct white gold and a single Diamond). We also got plenty of supplies for our climb such as nuts, water and Livita (local Red Bull) etc, as we were advised to take as much as possible but to bear in mind that we had to carry it, so there was a balance needed. The day of the climb came so we packed our overnight rucksacks and left the bigger ones at the hostel as we would be back in 2 days to colect them. It took about an hour to get to the registation centre for the climb and meet our guide Lawrence who would help us for the next 2 days (soon to become Sophy's best friend!!). We set off up to Base Camp which was at 3,200m high and was about 6km away, the gradients were around 40-45 degrees upwards so it wasn't like just walking 6km at all!! The climb was very tough and I think the Red Bull had a funny effect on Paul, he thought that the water pipes sounded like the applause you hear at Wimbledon's Centre Court and started singing Yazz's - "The only way is Up" and also "Climb every mountain" from Sound of Music! Weirdo!! As we got higher and higher, we were struggling with our breathing due to the lack of oxygen, the steepness of the climb and the surface that was laden with rocks, but were amazed at some of the locals who were literally running up and down the mountain taking supplies to and from Base Camp (3,272m). Sophy in particular started getting heaches and dizziness due to the altitude after 5km up.....oh well only 1km steeply upwards to go!! :O( It was really tough on our legs and we were so relieved at reaching Base Camp after 6 hours climbing.....My goodness! Dinner was waiting and after that we chilled on the balcony and sat there in awe at the spectacular views you normally only see from a plane (we were above the clouds at 11,000ft). Our beds then started to call and after a quick shower, we were in our bunk beds at 6.30pm and asleep by 7ish!! Yep, we know this was early but we were so tired and we had to get up at 2.00am the following day to start climbing the remaining 2.7km to the summit by 230am so that hopefully we would get there at sunrise (6ish) at an amazing 4,101m!! Can't wait!!!! not.......

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