Is $150 too much to pay to climb a mountain?
Climbing the highest mountain in Malaysia is not an easy feat. But booking a spot for the 2-day adventure trip seems to be harder.
In the past year, regular climbers and tourists, both foreign and local, have been flooding the blogosphere, travel forums and media with complaints. Their main gripes are that the climbing cost is astronomical, the waiting list long and the service and infrastructure, substandard.
Even the first edition of Lonely Planet Borneo published last year devoted almost one page to the issues, raising the question: is it worth the hassle?
The problem is that until recently, it cost just $10 to book a dorm bed at base camp but the cost has shot up by 500% since the park adminstration was privatised. Perhaps, the debate should not be whether the price of $150 for the privilege to climb enjoy this World Heritage wonder is too much, but rather, whether climbers in the past had been contributing enough to maintain the park.
Also, is the steep price hike helping locals who work as porters and guides?
Sutera Harbour Lodge, the company which manages the park, has this to say in defence of its practice:
“Since taking over the management of the Kinabalu Park properties in 2002, SSL had invested in renovations and upgrades for the properties. Many of the previously dilapidated structures were rebuilt from the ground up and even public restrooms have been renovated.
“Laban Rata guesthouse’s bathrooms are now heated and the beds have better support mattresses. The huts on the mountain are also better insulated from the cold.