• Elevation: 1,652 m (5,420 ft)
  • Prominence: 621 m
  • Ribu category: Spesial
  • Province: Sabah (Malaysia)
  • Range: Banjaran Crocker
  • Division: Bahagian Pantai Barat
  • Google Earth: kml
  • Rating: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes) Add your rating
  • Other names: none.


Bagging It!

Gunung Nungkok is known to locals as the ‘child of Kinabalu’ and although it is very small compared to its huge parent it is an attractive peak, makes a brilliant day out of its own and is fairly prominent. It cannot be seen from Kundasang, but if you head west from there, or if you are on the main road from Kota Kinabalu to Mount Kinabalu, you will surely see it from the main road it if the weather is fine.

The trail starts in the friendly and relaxing riverside village of Tambatuon (273m) where there is an official registration point run by Tambatuon Eco Tourism Community. Exactly the sort of local initiative that should be congratulated and supported. In 2023, they even give you a meal when you return.

In dry conditions, a 4WD will be able to take you across the river and up a track to the official starting point but be prepared to start walking from Tambatuon itself if a lot of rain has fallen in the previous days. The usual starting time for the hike is 4am, so you have a good chance of views at the top before the cloud rolls in, but without the 4WD you might want to make that 3am. You can, of course, start later, but as with most parts of Southeast Asia the chance of good views is rapidly reduced later in the day, and the possibility of rain more likely.

The starting point (506m) is a small shelter at the end of the vehicle track which has some really stunning views of both Nungkok and Kinabalu. Enjoy the views here because the trail soon enters forest where there are some useful trail signs (595m) at what is known as Pangasaan, and the first of many motivational messages to convince you to keep on going on what is an increasingly steep hike.

The first point of note on the trail is a spot with some wonderful gnarled and twisted branches (593m). About a kilomtre further along is ‘Rafflesia Area’ (758m), a place which really does live up to its name. Please do not touch the rafflesia, which if you are lucky will be in bloom but otherwise will probably resemble red cabbages lying on the forest floor! 

The next point on the trail is Daayan (798m) where the terrain becomes a little rockier. Further on you will find yourself on an airy ridge (994m) just before Ruminoo (1,051m) which is a good spot to take a rest before continuing. The trail then drops down to a col (1,034m) before ascending steeply to Wosoi (1,341m), another good rest spot. Beyond Wosoi is a great viewpoint area not far from a landslide which happened in early 2023. You should be able to see Kinabalu partly-hidden by Nungkok peak which lies straight ahead. From here the trail is at its steepest and those with a fear of heights might find it challenging as the ridge is narrow.

Further up is a point where you start to have views to Sabah’s coastline (1,410m) before the very steep final push through mossier vegetation on much shorter trees and shrubs for your journey’s destination where the summit signs are (1,643m). This is Nungkok’s north top and the views are great to the towering Kinabalu beyond, the vertical cliffs of which feel almost close enough to touch from here. However, it is also obvious that the southern peak, with no onward trail and seen over to the right, is slightly higher, presumably the official 1,652m figure given. You should have reached the top in around 4 hours.

After admiring the views return the same way in 3-4 hours and enjoy your lunch at Tambatuon. 

Bagging information by Dan Quinn (August 2023)

Featured Guides

If you are a reliable local guide and would like to be featured on this page to increase your bookings, or a tourist who would like to support the development of a local guide business, please email with the following information: Mountain name, guide name, guide location, guide contact details, and at least one English language review from a previous hiker who was pleased with the guiding services. An example is given below for reference. We have a maximum quota of 3 featured guides for each mountain page on the site. The fee for this is £20 (British pounds sterling, typically via the Wise app or PayPal) for a period of 1 year and helps to pay towards the ongoing development of the Gunung Bagging project.

  • Name and location: Pak Budi, Surabaya, East Java.
  • Contact details: +62812xxxxxxxx,, 
  • Review from previous client: “Budi was a brilliant guide for our September 2023 trek up Gunung X and I would definitely recommend him to other tourists“, John, USA.


  • Getting there: It’s less than 2 hours by car from Kota Kinabalu to Tambatuon but public transport for the last section may be challenging. It is much easier if you hire a car or driver. From Kundasang it is around 1 hour (42 kilometres).
  • Guides and GPS Tracks: Want a PDF version for your phone? Looking for a guide? Need GPS tracks and waypoints? Gunung Nungkok information pack can be downloaded here.
  • Permits: Required. This will be taken care of by your guide in Tambatuon.
  • Water sources: Very limited and not available on the higher slopes of the main trail so take enough bottled water with you.


1 thought on “Nungkok”

  1. I arrived in Kundasang in a storm. This was after the Sinsing hike and the weather was so poor I was genuinely worried about the immediate plans for Gunung Nungkok and Gunung Tambuyukon. There were weather warnings for people at sea level, so you can imagine how fierce it might be many hundreds of metres up into the sky! And the warnings were for several days.

    Thankfully, the really bad and soaking wet weather seemed to move away a bit earlier than predicted, so my rest day was actually pretty pleasant with the top of Kinabalu fully visible until around 11am. I had considered doing Maragang Hill (2,232m), a 2-hour walk up a trail to a wooden platform and viewpoint on the side of Kinabalu. Most start this at 4am for sunrise at the top. But, as is the norm in Malaysia, this particular tourist attraction just is not attractive at all to single visitors. You need a group, all paying a fair bit for entry and an obligatory guide (RM100 or more), for what is quite an expensive stroll that in most other countries would be free or very cheap. You even need to book online. It’s an Instagram thing for folk who don’t want to do Kinabalu itself, so I decided to leave them to it and let the most successful of the viewpoints/hilltop views in the Kundasang area milk the wallets of other people rather than my own, which was feeling pretty heavily-milked already!

    There are loads of other viewpoints lower down near the minor roads beyond Kundasang, including Sosodikon Hill for 5 ringgit, but the road itself is equally as good! There are others, including Pyramid Hill, Monsoronou Hill, and further SE a Bukit Kimondou. And Aki-Aki platform. It’s overkill! And Nopungguk near Kota Belud. Best just climb the original.

    If you are going to do a ‘side-peak’ of Kinabalu there is one very obvious best option, very obvious to anyone looking at a terrain map of the area. Gunung Nungkok, further west, genuinely separate from Kinabalu itself, though much smaller. I paid RM356, of which RM100 was returned to me when it was decided that the river was too high for the 4WD to cross it. In short, a fair price and very decent, honest people.

    It seems most folk do not head to the west side or off the KK to Kundasang route, only south near Kundasang. But once you are off that things are much less over-the-top with prices. Before I got off that main route, I did stop for coffee at Peranggi Viewpoint for what is a really good view of Gunung Nungkok. And then on to Tambauton village, the last few kilometres of which are along a fairly narrow and bumpy road but perfectly fine for a regular car.

    I had booked the Tambatuon Homestead, a large traditional wooden building right by the Kedamaian River (River of Peace). Reports say this can get quite popular and potentially noisy at weekends but being midweek I had it to myself and the wifi was good and parking easy. Also a super viewpoint for Nungkok itself, rising sharply above the river.

    We started around 4am the next morning, and my guide told me that the weather was so poor up on Kinabalu that morning that no summitting had been permitted. We could do the hike, but there would be no 4WD due to heavy rain causing the river to swell making it dangerous to cross in a vehicle. So we hiked over the bridge and it took around 1 hr to the normal starting point. Guide Junaidi was a bit worried about the wind and the possibility of trees falling over. For a British man, the wind was a little gusty but nothing to worry about, but in this region where windy weather is much rarer, and so much of the land is covered in trees, I could understand the concern. But we made it up with no problems, 4 hours up in total. The last section was extremely steep with massive drops on either side so although the view was great I was quite happy to start heading back down again after all that rain and wind! Kinabalu’s summit was not visible but a lot of the cliff-face was, and that is more than many get here so I ounted myself moderately lucky.

    There were 2 eagles mobbing each other above Nungkok north peak.

    It may be very steep but there are good quality ropes everywhere they are needed. There are also numerous Rafflesia, which may just resemble red cabbages lying on the forest floor depending on the season. It took us 3hrs back to the village which was considered fast by normal standards. They gave me a great vegetarian lunch and presented me with another hiking certificate from Sabah to add to the collection. Really lovely folk.

    So glad I did this hike and am happy to encourage others to do it too. After I finished I headed off to the big Kinabalu Park to sort out the necessary paperwork for the Tambuyukon trek starting the following morning from Monggis.

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