Malaysia – Truly Asia! Part 3 – Kota Kinabalu (Sabah)

The last part of our Malaysian Vacation. We were supposed to just have a 2-way trip to Kota Kinabalu (which I prefer to call KK). Having read about Malaysia told me about a lot of other things I missed seeing in KL the first time I went there, and a lot more to see outside of it. We had to cut our days for KK.

KK, or Sabah in history books, was a part of the Philippines before it was taken by the Malaysian government. It houses the highest mountain in South East Asia, the Mount Kinabalu. It’s a very rich territory that’s just a sail away from the tip of my country.

I listed a few things to do in this part of our trip, but we ran our of time and energy when we got here. We also wanted to reward ourselves with complete rest on our last night in MAS.

Going to Kota Kinabalu from Langkawi was a bit more stressful than all of our inlands trips because there are no flights to KK other than from KL. It took us an entire afternoon til midnight flying from Langkawi to KL then KL to KK, both flights via Airasia. πŸ™‚

We reached KK past midnight. Like Langkawi, taxi fares are also government-regulated there – but more expensive. And there is a 50-percent surcharge on cab fares in the evening. I contacted a hotel by the area of Kinabalu Park for our accommodation and for airport pickup then, but we did not have a concrete deal before our flights, they were not too responsive via emails, ugh! So, we approached the customer service desk at the Sabah International Airport, and asked if they know of a cheap but good accommodation somewhere near the airport. She was very kind to refer us somewhere. She even called the hotel herself, asked for all the available rates, and all other necessary info. But after she’s hung the phone up and gave us all the details she got, she suggested that we instead stay in the airport for sleeping the night through as this is safer and more economical than driving to a nearby hotel. We, of course, grabbed it!

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Being comfortable on the floor!

Turned out the second level of the airport has a vacant square space that’s used by travellers for sleeping and killing time at night. There are other travellers there too whose laptops are out or sound asleep when he came there. So we settled down and made ourselves comfortable on the cold floor while securing our enormous luggage and backpacks. Surprisingly, for someone who’s not a fan of sleeping on hard surfaces, I felt comfortably and fully rested upon waking up to the buzz of the airport in the morning.

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Just woke up!

KFC never became as accessible! Haha! Can you believe we slept next to one branch? Upon rummaging our things and thoughts, we went inside the KFC store for breakfast. To my surprise, they offer their version of Nasi Lemak, too! So it is indeed a national food, huh! I realized the choices offered by KFC chains here in MAS are quite “uunhappy” as compared to the choices here in the Phils. Theirs look dry and weird (no offense meant there) and not tasty. I could hardly pick anything to order 😦

After the not-so-enjoyable meal, we headed out for a cab ride to our hotel, the Sabah Oriental Hotel. I noticed taxi fares are even specific to which hotel you will be dropped at from a specific point where you are picked up at. On the way to there, we passed by a grand and modernΒ looking mosque

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We reached our hotel and deposited our bags before heading out again. Sabah Oriental Hotel is more of a business-type hotel. They offer comfortable facilities at affordable rates. The staff speak very-well English (I give credits to the fact that this area in MAS is near the Phils, hihi!) and one of the female receptionists is particularly beautiful and has a sexy accent. πŸ™‚

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We headed out again, to see the majestic Mount Kinabalu. πŸ™‚ Have I mentioned that my love Mario was a mountaineer barrels of beers and kilos of appetizers ago? πŸ™‚ I am in love with nature also but this part of the trip is really for him. This is when he engages again to one of his passions. Although he cannot climb the mountain just yet (he and I are many pounds away from climbing a mountain), I have been fantasizing as to how he will start at its beauty. πŸ™‚

We took a van to the Kinabalu Park, to my disgust, even van rides are expensive! If I remember it correctly, the price we paid for one-way trip was RM 35 each. Even without converting to PhP I can say already that this is quite huge. 😦

The ride was not too comfortable, but we found ourselves dozing off in the duration of the trip up. We shared the van with a few tourists – some are mountaineers. An old Muslim guy seated beside the driver on the front. With all due respect, I have no problems sharing rides with anybody but with someone as noisy as him? Oh my God, no one could express how disgusted we were! He’s been talking the entire trip and he was even making the driver look to where he was pointing. He’s driving up the mountain, for crying out loud!! Uggggh, and finally we reached Kinabalu Park and got off the van and the company of the noisy man.

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Kinabalu Park is the starting point for climbers and the best view of the mountain for non-climbers. There, lodges are offered, too, but are very expensive.

Mount Kinabalu is… Oh, what a beauty!

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And there, he stares at her and forgets everything else.

We took lots of pictures of the mountain. I studied the trail and it looked dangerous to me! But I know, I will someday brave climbing her. πŸ™‚ We strolled around the park – up and down some steps and decks, shops, etc. There were corners hiding in some parts of the park and with barbeque grills, Would have been more fun if we brought meat huh!

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After tiring ourselves with walking around, we rested and decided to go back down the town. Since van rides are effin’ expensive, we took a bus down the road. One stopped and we were fetched from the side of the road by a gay, middle-aged, black-skinned, happy-looking conductor. We smiled back at him and hopped in. Wow, the bus is showing a Filipino movie in its TV! We were blown away! Haha! We wonder who decided to put them on and who understands it! It is a comedy movie that starred the Philippine-famous comedian Vice Ganda, and nobody was laughing, haha! The conductor approached us again, and asked “Saan kayo?”Β Wow! Someone who speaks Tagalog! We answered and asked if he is a Filipino. He said he’s Malaysian, but watched a lot of Tagalog movies ’til he’s able to speak and understand it. Amazing! πŸ™‚

Oh, and the bus has a comfort room!

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Upon reaching the town and getting off the bus, we lined up for cabs and were interrupted by a Filipino talking in Tagalog. For one second, wow! For the next second I’m scared. 😦 He sounded like a bandit or (no prototyping here, please) a typical Muslim-Filipino who likes to do bad to other Filipino. But, I gave my fellowman a chance. He took us to his ride, where another fellowman is waiting, and asked us to take their ride instead of a cab, for a lower price. Mentally, I was readying myself on what to do in case they do anything bad to us. Thankfully, the ride was smooth. They just kept talking in a Filipino dialect I am not fully-knowledgeable of but I responded in Tagalog with which they have large comprehension of. We asked to be dropped of the mall near our hotel, so they don’t know where we are staying, ’cause they’ve been insisting on driving us to the airport the next day. No offense meant but it’s just creepy. The ones in the Philippines just have such bad reputations. From there, we took another cab back to our hotel.

There would have been lots of activities in KK, maybe someday I will go back there to do more of them. πŸ™‚ Upon reaching Sabah Oriental Hotel, our only activity left was Β a buffet hotel lunch. haha!

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Of all the buffets I have tried in our stay in Malaysia, this is the richest in desserts. I almost cried infront of the two conjoined tables filled with different cakes, ice cream,Β halo-halo…

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…and there was also a chocolate fountain!

After the very sumptuous lunch, we can only rest our butts in our room because the hotel pool is under renovation (pity!). Looking over the balcony, there wasn’t much of a view. 😦

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The next day, we had our last hotel meal in MAS and bidded goodbye to the beautiful, underrated but rich country (just like my beloved Philippines).

There were only a few people on board when we flew back to Manila.

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The last sight of the beauty that is Mount Kinabalu…

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The moon saying hello to the Philippines-Sabah boundary.

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I have not gone to Johor, Penang and Malacca and they all are worthy of a visit! I shall come back to this country, oh totally!

Verdict: 9 / 10! 1 went to the pricey cab rides. hahaha! I looooove Malaysia and its people! Filipinos are known for being hospitable but on this trip I knew that Malaysians are almost if not equally hospitable. And they do not want to take advantage of the tourists, they are very keen in assisting instead. πŸ™‚

P.S. I’m as sad having finished writing about this trip as I was when my Malaysian vacation wrapped up. Haha!

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