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Trus Madi - Malaysia's Second Highest Mountain

Tour code: FD009

Activities Duration
Hard Core Jungle Trekking 4 days / 3 nights full board
Rates - 4 or more participants Rates - 2 or 3 participants
RM 2188 per person RM 2688 per person

Trail Map & Profile

Exploring Mt Trus Madi, Malaysia’s second highest mountain is a very special adventure. Trus Madi is entirely covered in jungle, and there is no tourism infrastructure, both of which are part of its lure. The keen observer will encounter some of Borneo’s rarest birds and distinguish unique plants, some of which grow nowhere else in the world. But the climb is also daunting, due to the very nature of the terrain. It might seem that it is not a very high mountain, and from far it sure looks like a nice hill – 2642 meters, what can be so difficult about that? The climb starts at 1800 m a.s.l., and a convenient clearing for lunch at 2300 m is quickly reached. If the weather plays along you can already savour the grand views this mountain is famous for. Then you think you should be close to the peak, another 350 m or so in altitude, over some maybe three kilometres – but that is when the tough going starts. For every meter in altitude you gain you have first lost one. The approach to the peak is along ridges, some of them barely three feet wide and with 500 meter sheer drops to either side – simply breathtaking! The approach is also a seemingly endless succession of smaller hills and valleys and you find yourself going up just as much as you go down. For this you need some serious stamina, and maybe also an iron will! But when you start despairing, stop and look around – most of the time you are in a fairy wood where from stunted trees with gnarled roots and thick moss covered twisted trunks and branches huge carnivorous plants dangle above your head; a world of drifting mists and cold gusts of wind, sudden unexpected views over endless expanses of rainforest, and brilliant little orchids wherever you look. It is in every sense an enchanted forest, and when you let yourself be entranced by this most wondrous environment you will make it to the peak before you realise it. In fact, the peak is such an unspectacular site – especially late in the afternoon when clouds shroud the sky and surroundings that you might not even perceive it.

The night on Trus Madi is cold and windy, maybe even rainy and good tenting equipment is certainly an advantage but you can also rough it out with us under a tarp, the way the locals do it. This tour is again a thorough immersion into the rainforest and local culture. It is maybe our most demanding trip, especially physically! Contact us for more details if you are interested in this tour so that you can prepare yourself.


Day 1 0900 hrs - pick up from your hotel in Kota Kinabalu. Our first stopover is Donggongon, some 20 minutes out of KK where there is a fantastic tamu (weekly market, Wednesdays and Thursdays). We will buy some vegetables and other provisions for our trip before we continue on the Donggongon – Tambunan. We will stopover at the Rafflesia Conservation Area in search of the largest flower in the world, and if there are any flowering, we interrupt the journey to see them. By midday we normally arrive in Tambunan, where we will have lunch in a local restaurant before we continue on gravelled roads to Kg Kaingaran at the foothills of Trus Madi. We will stay with local people, who will prepare us a traditional dinner and probably have some rice wine for us to taste…

Overnight: homestay
Meals: lunch, dinner (local)

Day 2 0900 hrs – after breakfast we continue by 4x4 to the starting point of the climb, and the first bit is innocent enough. By midday we arrive at a clearing where we will have a simple lunch and some rest before we attack the really serious stretch. We will go slowly – most of the journey is now through a ‘tunnel’ of stunted trees hung with thick mosses and garlanded with carnivorous Nepenthes (pitcher plants), some of which can attain amazing sizes and contain over two liters of digestive fluids. The climb lasts anything from 4-6 hours, and normally we should arrive at the campsite just below the peak before nightfall. We will pitch up our tents (or tarp) and improvise a campfire, not an easy feat with the prevailing winds. When night falls it guest very dark rather quickly and generally we sleep early, right after dinner.

Overnight: camping
Meals: breakfast, packed lunch and diner (local)

Day 3 5.30 am: we should wake up early to profit of the breathtaking views the peak of Trus Madi offers for a short time in the morning. Watching the sun rise over Mt Kinabalu is simply awesome. We will have some simple breakfast, break up our camp and then ‘climb down’ – it is not so much climbing as descending back into a valley of one ridge, climb back up the other side and start all over again. By around 1 pm we are expected at the starting point and drive back to Kaingeran, where we can have a rejuvenating wash in the river before rewarding us with a sumptuous dinner the locals prepare for us.

Overnight: homestay
Meals: breakfast, lunch and diner (local)

Day 4 9.00 am – or whenever we feel we have slept enough we leave our hospitable Dusun family and drive back to Tambunan from where we continue on the main road to Gunung Alab. On the pass we can have lunch before we finally head back to Kota Kinabalu.

Overnight: no
Meals: breakfast and lunch

what to expect:

Rough, rugged and very demanding terrain; wet and cold climate; local foods and drinks; extremely friendly people...

Be prepared for a cold and wet time, Mt Trus Madi makes its own climate mix – you will need good shoes that provide excellent foot-hold and traction, but otherwise you can travel light, with the addition of some good and warm clothes for the night on Trus Madi; have everything tightly wrapped to prevent it from getting wet. If you have sensitive photographic/video equipment it is best to carry them in water-tight casing, or in a dry-bag

As we will be staying with locals for most of the time the food you’ll be served is local cuisine and you might want to take along some energy bars, and maybe sweets and the like for extra energy for the climb.

We provide tents and blankets, but no sleeping mats or bags.

Trail Map & Profile

For more information please do read through our Crocker Range Trekking Advisory. Trus Madi is more cold and wet than humid and wet, there are virtually no rivers to be crossed and leeches are rare but otherwise the trekking and the experience with the locals are similar, and our terms & conditions remain the same.




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