Think climbing mountains, drinking tea at a local Nepali home, watching Orang-utans flying through the Malaysian jungle, tasting traditional dishes in rural China.... A culturally immersive experience, heightening all of your senses and broadening your world! This months Intrepid Deal offers you a chance to do any of these things, or all, or even more, for just $1!
Smash those new year travel goals sooner by booking the trip of a lifetime today! Intrepid is allowing you to book trips with a deposit of just $1 instead of the usual $400. This Intrepid deal lets you save longer and plan greater without the hassle of paying big up front.
My Intrepid Experience
Borneo was the star of 2014 for me. 2 best friends on a whirlwind adventure through the thick rainforests, Palm Plantations, climbing Mount Kota Kinabalu and watching Orangutans flying through the trees. It was the adventure of a lifetime! Trying food I'd never knew existed and then being left with a craving for Laksa, that I still get today. We stayed in a homestay, where an elderly Malaysian woman had raised 15 children in a single house, and now opened it to guests to use all the empty rooms. She showed us how to traditionally make Coconut milk and oil. We were treated to a dance show after dinner and cooking classes at lunchtime.
My Experience Climbing Mount Kota Kinabalu With Intrepid
This climb was the greatest physical achievement of my life! Both myself and Lauren had completely underestimated how big of a climb it was actually going to be. I still remember standing at the foot of the mountain, under the gated entrance of the Kinabalu National Park in absolute awe of the mountain before me. It's the highest I have ever seen. Then having the dreaded thought of '....wait...we're climbing THAT?!'
The white capped mountain seemed too mighty for me to conquer, the climb (and how never-ending the stairs were) incomprehensible at that stage.
We started the climb with our guide at the front, Porter at the back and smile on our faces. The landscape slowly changed, temperature slowly dropped and I remember the last kilometre being so incredibly tough, I wanted nothing more on this Earth than the burning in my legs to stop. But the view as we peaked just above the clouds... it was more than worth it!
We reached the rest stop - a 3 storey shack - with a restaurant and bunk-bed dorms for each climbing group. The wind howling, my nose frozen solid, I had zero faith in this cardboard square that we were sleeping in on the edge of this mountain. There were some that braved the freezing showers to get rid of their smell. Though our stench had morphed into a collective scent that no one could really pinpoint to any one human. We sat in the Dormitory as one man braved the freezing waters. I half expected him to come back, looking fresh, in half a towel with a smiling 'It's not that bad once you're in!' Though as he ran back into the dorm, shaking, searching for socks and a jacket, his exclamation of 'don't do it! It's not worth it!' instantly turned us all off.
We woke at 2am, got dressed, and staggered out of the shack, still half asleep. The wind had hit 60km/hour overnight and we were blasted with the icy wind as soon as we stepped onto the trail. Pitch black, lead by our headlights and the feet in front of us, I was literally guided by 'just one foot in front of the other'. There was absolutely no way of knowing or seeing where we were, how close to the edge our toes were or where we were going.
We reached a cliff face and were told to pull ourselves up a rope. No safety equipment, and still unable to see more than 1 metre around our bodies. We then followed this rope along a slanting, sheer rock face for what seemed like hours. Each wave of the wind, knocking us down like Dominoes. Our guide screaming out 'DOWN!' each time a gust came through our line.
Slowly the sun rose. Every few moments we could see further and further around our bodies, the view almost like a hazy wintery dream. As we reached the top, the air was becoming so thin, I truely thought I wouldn't make it. Each step called for a single breathe. Step, breathe, step, breathe, step, breathe. We rested every few moments on a rock, somehow resting on the side of this sheer cliff. By now we were walking on bare rock face with our feet on a near 45 degree angle, how were we still going?
Step, breathe, the last step and we'd made it! The very top of Mount Kota Kinabalu! Celebratory photos were being taken, people shakily clambering over the peak rock that stood with a tiny wire fence around it, more as a warning than any actual protection.
As we looked back down, we realised the tiny rope we had been holding on to, ran along a sheer drop. We were metres away from the edge, without ever knowing it. Each gust of wind, could've been our ending. It was more terrifying looking back at what we had done, than it had been actually doing it.
The sun rose. The bright oranges bouncing off the gleaming silver rock. The heat tingling my frozen cheeks. The wind had died down and it was breathtakingly beautiful. We could see all the way down to the ocean even though we were hundreds of kilometres away from it. Plantations seemed like patchwork quilts of greens and yellows. This was unbelievable. I couldn't believe I had accomplished this. I couldn't believe the beauty that was before me. I couldn't believe we had survived the incredibly death-defying climb. This was life. This was one of those moments I would hold onto forever.
I would never had experienced this magnificent adventure without Intrepid. I would never have been brave enough. I would never have known just how much it needed to be a part of my itinerary. My Intrepid tour was life changing.