Check Ranau Hotel Deals
Laban Rata Ranau Reviews
Part of the Mt Kinabalu Adventure Jan 21, 2014
At 3200m, the Laban Rata Rest House is the last stop before the summit of Mt Kinabalu. After ascending 1400 vertical meters from Timpohon Gate, it is a welcome rest for tired climbers.
If you are doing the overnight climb, you will arrive mid to late afternoon, depending on your start time and pace up the track. On arrival you can get hot coffee, tea and cocoa. While waiting for dinner you can order hot and cold snacks as well as beer and soft drinks. Dinner is a buffet offering fried noodles, rice, curries and steamed and fried vegetables. It is finished with freshly cut fruit and sweet Malaysian deserts. The food is good and designed to cater to the many different palates that come through the dining room. On the night we were there I counted at least 7 nationalities. The view from the balcony is spectacular when the clouds clear and the afternoon sun shines into the dining room – see photos. The next meal is a hot breakfast served at 2 AM in the morning. This is the fuel that will get you to the summit. On your return from the summit, another hot breakfast is served.
Most of the beds are in dorm rooms of between 4 and 8 bunks. This won’t suit everyone. The rooms are reasonably clean, and bedding is provided. Our sheets were fresh but others mentioned that sheets may not have been changed. Tip: For the fastidious, it might pay to carry up a sleeping bag liner.
Despite a beautiful location and difficult conditions many reviews are witheringly critical about Laban Rata and its operator Satura Harbour Resorts – see TripAdvisor. The following is my perspective and what to expect.
There are the complaints about the cost. At between RM400-600 (about US130-200), Laban Rata is more expensive than accommodation down in Kota Kinabalu but that misses the point. The rate includes three hot meals (a dinner in the evening, a hearty cooked breakfast prepared at 2 AM in the morning and a second breakfast before you set off back to base), which many neglect to mention. The rate also includes the cost of accommodating the guides and the staff who work on site. Given that everything from food, to 35 litre propane tanks and even drinking water in the dry season has been carried up the 6.5 kilometre track on someone’s back (and all the waste carried back down) it is surprising that it costs so little! Here is how I see things: As we descended we saw a man and a woman coming up the track. He was carrying three mattresses and she was lifting a full 35 litre propane tank. They both smiled as our groups passed. If the people carrying four or five times our load are not complaining then I choose to follow their example. They earn every cent!
The Sutera Harbour Resort website does itself no favours by insisting that you need to book two nights. This is not correct and might be a source of some of the complaints about the cost. If you go through a tour company in KK they all offer a single overnight package.
Others mention the heating and showers. All the tour operators tell you that there is no hot water and heating so it is surprising that so many people complain about this. If a cold shower is going to ruin your day then maybe climbing is not the activity for you.
Laban Rata is part of the experience of climbing Mt Kinabalu. It is not perfect but compares favourably with Rifugi in the Italian Dolomites and climbing huts elsewhere in the world. It is great accommodation for adventurers.
5 / 5 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Laban Rata Overview
Laban Rata is the accommodation near the peak of Mt. Kinabalu where you'll stay when climbing Mt Kinabalu. Laban Rata Rest House is the main facility, featuring heated accommodation and the only restaurant. The compound also consists of several smaller accommodation units available, most with cooking facilities. Apart from Laban Rata Rest House, the only other heated unit is Gunting Lagadan Hut. This description is based on information provided by the hotel.
Laban Rata Amenities