YTL Hotels has recently imprinted its footprints by scaling the majestic Mount Kinabalu, South East Asia’s highest peak located in the Kinabalu National Park, a World Heritage Site. The initiative marked YTL Hotels’ inaugural presence in Borneo. A group of 15 people consisting of team members of the upcoming Gaya Island Resort, Malaysian celebrities Elaine Daly and Carmen Soo and resort partners - Reef Check Malaysia, Scubazoo, North Borneo Safari and Let’s Go Borneo, participated in the unique pre-opening and team building activity which was led by Jeffrey Mong, General Manager of Gaya Island Resort.
The group started the journey from the city of Kota Kinabalu at 6.00am. At 9.30am, the trek began with the sun shining brightly, lighting up East Malaysia's natural wilderness and barely an hour had passed before a lucky omen was spotted overhead; a rare sighting of a red-leaf monkey. The team faced six kilometres of ascending stairs, made up of a variety of wood, stone and natural soil. By 4.00pm, they arrived at Laban Rata where they checked-in at Pendant Hut and rested for the night. When 2.30am arrived, the push towards the final two kilometres commenced.
A white rope and a guide showed the way as the group had to climb the first part of the remaining two kilometres by using the rope to help pull themselves up until they reached the final checkpoint. From there, a steep incline was their awaiting reward which continued all the way up to Low's Peak (4,095 metres above sea level). The last hundred metres proved to be the most draining but rewarding as the group scaled Low's Peak to reach the summit at 5.30am to witness the day's awakening. Dawn brought the rise of the sun which cast a light that revealed all that had been accomplished and a sight of Sabah, Borneo from East Malaysia's highest point. Just as he had envisioned and set out to accomplish, Jeffery Mong, with his team standing around him, raised the YTL Hotels' flag proudly with the sunrise as his backdrop.
All that was left was the descent. Eight kilometres of declining slopes and steps awaited, including the Via Ferrata, officially regarded as the world's highest. A course that involved scaling down the side of the mountain which pushed the inhibitions of the wary and enthused the excitement of others but was a challenge which was met by all. Finally, as the sun set to close the second day, the team returned to their starting point at Timpohon Gate.
Along with the rest of the team, Elaine Daly and Carmen Soo found the climb both difficult but rewarding and refused to give in to the challenge Mount Kinabalu had offered. Everyone left Mount Kinabalu with the memory of the sunrise still clear in their minds. The sunrise not only offered Gaya Island Resort's team a sense of satisfaction but on that clear morning, it had also presented Mount Kinabalu a shadow which it used to cast across all of Kota Kinabalu with the shadow's peak landing directly on Pulau Gaya and Gaya Island Resort, marking the resort and its team who had reached its summit, with the honour of being Distinctively Borneo.
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