MOUNT KINABALU CLIMB -Training in Singapore

September 1, 2018



Mt Kinabalu has been on my bucket list for a while. I first heard about it a couple of years ago and saw a gorgeous picture taken at sunrise at the summit. That was it, I wanted to go.



I jumped at the opportunity when I heard a friend mention that she had booked the hike and was going. The agency was contacted and my spot was confirmed. I only had 10 days before we flew from Singapore to Kota Kinabalu.


I consider myself fairly fit and exercise approximately 4 days a week. My workouts consist of yoga, pilates, light jog and long walks. This though, would be my first climb up a mountain and after a fair amount of research I decided to amp up the training.


My training for the hike consisted of the following:​

  1. Walking up and down 14 stories of my buildings stairwell

  2. Jog and walk at Bedok Reservoir​

  3. Walking at MacRitchie​

  4. Walking up Bukit Timah Hill and the Dairy Farm Loop





This workout can be quite a demanding but can train your legs to climb more effectively. It introduces physical stress like what you may feel when hiking up the mountain. I just consistently kept going up and down the 14 floors of my building stairwell as many times as my mind would allow. This was the workout that left my legs the most wobbly.


Difficulty level:

3 out of 5





The inner loop around Bedok Reservoir is 4.3 kilometers. This inner loop is made of compacted gravel. It also has another outer loop that covers approximately the same distance but is cemented.


Difficulty level:

1 out of 5


Opening Hours:

The reservoir can be accessed 24 hours but the park lighting is only from 7:00pm to 7:00am.


Getting There:

Click here for the Google maps link to the reservoir


By Road:

The entrance to carpark A is via Bedok Reservoir Road.

Carpark B is on the opposite end of the park and can be accessed via Tampines Avenue 10.


By Public Transport:

Bedok Reservoir MRT (DT30) on the Downtown line is the closest train station, only a 5 minutes walk to the reservoir. Public buses 69, 225 and 67 can be taken from the Bedok Bus Interchange as well.








This 11k loop is great for a long walk. The walking trail is well laid out and consists of very gentle slopes. If you walk the HSBC TreeTop Walk, then you will be adding approximately 4.5k to your walk. There are resting points and plenty of signs along the way to guide you through the trail.


This trail is very popular with runners as well. The earlier you go the busier it is. The trail is mostly covered so you could walk it a little later in the morning as well. Do carry water and some snacks that will give you a boost of energy.


MacRitchie can be accessed from quite a number of places. The directions below are to the Lornie Road carpark and Mushroom Cafe.


Difficulty level:

3 out of 5


Opening Hours:

Nature reserve is open from 7:00am to 7:00pm

HSBC TreeTop Walk is open from Tuesday - Friday: 9am -5pm Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays: 8.30am – 5pm


Getting There:

Click here for the Google maps link to the Mac Ritchie Reservoir Carpark


By Road:

The entrance to the MacRitchie Reservoir Carpark is via Lornie Road. Click the above link.


By Public Transport:

Nearest Bus Stop 51071 (Bus 52, 74, 93, 157,130, 132, 156, 157, 162, 162M, 165, 166, 167, 852 and 855, 980), Nearest MRT Caldecott MRT (CC17)






If I were to compare the actual hike at Mt Kinabalu then the Dairy Farm Loop would be the closest. Bukit Timah Hill stands at 163.63 meters tall. It is the closest simulation to a mountain hiking trail in Singapore. If this is your first time on this trail you may find it challenging. It is a combination of steep inclines and stairs (quicker but tougher).


If you take the steep incline to the summit the Dairy Farm Loop starts on the left, just a few metes before the summit. If you take the alternate route via the stairs, then you should see the start of the loop on your right as you descend.


This loop consists of stairs and uneven surfaces. The stairs are quite steep in some places and the path is quite well laid out. With a little bit of determination, and a bite of snickers you should be able to make it around this loop in about 35-40 minutes. It does not cover a big distance but it does provide good simulation of the Mt Kinabalu trail. My 9 year old daughter walks this one like a boss so if you are a fairly fit individual then you should definitely give this a go.


If you are training for a big hike, I would recommend doing this loop consecutively and carrying a backpack with at least 5kg weight.


Difficulty level:

4 out of 5


Opening Hours:

7am – 7pm daily


Getting There:

By road:

Drive up to Hindhehe Drive and park at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve carpark. Click here for the Google maps link to the Mac Ritchie Reservoir Carpark.
The carpark is open from 7am to 7pm daily (No overnight parking)


By Train:

Beauty World MRT (DT 5) is a 750 meters or a 10 minute to the start of the trail. Take exit A once you arrive at Beauty World MRT.


By Public Transport:

67, 75, 170, 171, 184, 852, 961

Alight at Jalan Anak Bukit Road, opposite Beauty World Centre (Bus stop ID: 42109), or 
Alight at Upper Bukit Timah Road, opposite Bukit Timah Shopping Centre (Bus stop ID: 42091)





For injury free training remember to always:

- Stretch to warm up and cool down.

- Listen to your body and never over exert. If you feel like your body is telling you to stop, then stop.

Looking for more info regarding the climb?


In retrospect of having done this climb here are


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