Mt Trusmadi: Kinabalu without her heels on


At a relatively dwarfish 2,624 meters, Sabah’s Mt. Trusmadi is the second-highest mountain in Malaysia. Although 1,453 meters shorter than Mt. Kinabalu, Mt. Trusmadi is a more challenging climb, and offers a thrilling experience to adventure-seekers. If you are physically fit and exercise regularly, you would find Mt. Trusmadi climbable, even though the trails are less ‘tourist-friendly’.

Mt. Trusmadi is located in Trus Madi Forest Reserve, so you need to apply for an entry permit from the Sabah Forestry Department to climb. The facilities of Mt Trusmadi have improved tremendously over the years (especially on the Tambunan side), so it has become a hot destination for tourists.

The climb can be completed in 2 to 4 days, depending on which trail you pick. Three summit trails lead to the highest peak of Mt. Trusmadi:

  1. Kaingaran trail in Tambunan
  2. Mannan trail in Keningau
  3. Mastan trail in Sook

Since the three trails meet at the summit, you can choose to ascend and descend via different routes.


Kaingaran trail

This is the oldest and most developed trail. It’s an enjoyable and relatively easy climb because of the upgraded trail and accommodations along the way.

Location: Tambunan district
Climbing distance: 4.9km (2 days, 1 night)
Starting point: 27km (2.5-hour drive) from Tambunan town (mainly gravel road. The last 6km road trip requires a 4-wheel drive)
Accommodations: Mirad Irad Base Camp (foothill); and Rest House (at 2.9km of mountain trail)


After spending a night at Mirad Irad Base Camp (7km below starting point), you can start your climb very early the next morning. The facilities can accommodate 24 people, but camping is also allowed. A room is RM20 per night, per person. Please note: you MUST book 1 month in advance.

The Rest House on Mt. Trusmadi is about 2.9km from the summit. It has 5 rooms, each with 4 bunk beds, and can host 20 people at a time. The fee is RM20-RM100 per night, per bed.

Mannan trail

Though the Mannan trail takes the longest to complete, adventurers love its scenic views and pristine route. Another advantage: you don’t need a 4-wheel drive to travel to the starting point.

Climbing distance: 11.6km (4 days, 3 nights)
Location: Sinua Village (Kampung Sinua), Sook (Keningau District)
Starting point: 103km of paved road (3-hour drive) from Keningau town. Good road conditions.
Accommodations: Grounds for camping and resting platform only

Mastan trail

The Mastan trail is very ‘raw’ and the least developed. It is the shortest route to the summit (4.3km), but the steepest and most challenging.

Climbing distance: 4.3km (2 days, 1 night)
Location: Apin-Apin, Keningau District
Starting point: 76km (4-hour drive) from Keningau town. Bad road, accessible only by 4-wheel drive.
Accommodations: Camping grounds only

The summit


On your way up, you’ll be fascinated by the diverse flora all around– almost 600 species of 160 families of plant have been found here, some of them unique. When you reach the summit at dawn, if the weather is good, you will be mesmerized by a breathtaking view of Mt. Kinabalu, which lies about 40km to the north. Once you make it to the top, remember to get your certificate (RM10 fee applies).


Total costs vary greatly, depending on the trail and services you select. The final fee can range from RM400 to RM800 per person, and includes rental of 4-wheel drive, hiring of guides and porters, insurance, gasoline, food, personal supplies, etc.

Happy climbing!

 For further information, contact the following:

Tambunan Forestry Office

Tel: +60 88-899589
E-mail: [email protected]

Keningau Forestry Office
Tel: +60 87-331203
E-mail: [email protected]

* Based on an article originally published by Murphy Ng in