In the Philippines, the recent boom in adventure hiking and trail running has made the dozens of near-Manila trails seem, well, a bit boring. Even the tougher and higher trails of Benguet, the Visayas, and Mindanao may already have been checked in one’s list.
Go Higher in Kota Kinabalu with Philippines AirAsia
If you are a Filipino adventure hiker looking to level up your trail resume, it goes without saying that you may finally need to get out of our shores. The natural destination for this challenge will have to be the highest mountain in Malaysia, Mt. Kinabalu.
Mt. Kinabalu, at the heart and the highlight of the Kinabalu National Park, is just under a hundred kilometers from the capital of the state of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu. This makes for 2-3 hours on the road that takes the traveler from wide city avenues to narrow but well-maintained winding mountain roads.
Our WhenInManila.com adventure team believes that there are three great reasons why every Filipino adventure hiker should book a ticket right now to Kota Kinabalu:
- IT’S AFFORDABLE INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL. Unlike the hugely popular Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, or Japan vacations, a Kota Kinabalu trip is not a massive burden on the wallet. Food in Malaysia range between P100 to P200 per meal, with non-alcoholic beverages ranging in price from P20 to P40. Even a full excursion to Mt. Kinabalu will only set you back about P25000, a more than fair price when compared to other fully-guided and fully-supported hiking tours! Of course, the trip is made even more possible with low fares from Philippines AirAsia !
- IT’S GOOD FOR A LONG WEEKEND. One of the biggest barriers to a memorable international trip is that vacation leaves (VLs) are preciously few for any budding adventurer. Kota Kinabalu is an incredible international travel destination because virtually anything that catches your fancy can be done in 2-3 days! A hike up Mt. Kinabalu is a three-day affair, while those seeking beaches will be able to enjoy the sun, sand, and diving spots in just a couple of days. Hit the ground running once you land – flights from Manila leave just after breakfast and you’re in KK before lunch!
- IT’S SUPER EASY FOR FILIPINO TRAVELLERS. Travel to Malaysia requires no visa for Filipinos (especially for short trips, like a visit to the Kinabalu National Park), so traveling on a whim is entirely possible. Moreover, the proximity of the state of Sabah to the Philippines means that there are cultural similarities with ours that make the trip a lot more inclusive for first-time international travelers. Ordering at a “kopi tiam” (the local version of a karinderia) after a hike is often pleasantly surprising, as many locals have learned to speak in Filipino!