Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sabah - Kota Kinabalu

21st May 10 - Kota Kinabalu

Last year, somewhere around this time, I was somewhere far, far away from Malaysia. If you haven't seen where I've been last year, go find out!

This year, I've decided...well, I've been travelling places far, far away and did not really gave my own country it's fair share of chance. So this year, I am going to East Malaysia - Sabah

At 7:50 PM, we were ready to board the plane to KK and I saw the sign below.

Puzzled, I asked the AA rep in red.

Me: Excuse me, is the flight delayed?
AA: Yes. It will be delayed until 8:50pm
Me: What? There's no announcement and nobody inform us
AA: Yes, I am about to announce now. Didn't the officer at the check in counter inform you? (Making a sweet-innocent face)
Me: No!
AA: (Making a sweet-innocent face)
Me: #$%^*

I was really frustrated with the delays from Air Asia. They have already delayed our supposedly morning flight to evening (Think about 1 day of time wasted). And now, right as soon as we were about to board the plane, we were asked to wait another hour! I was upset as we will reach KK around midnight.

When we reached KK, we had to take a cab to our hotel. Thanks to AA, we are now charged midnight rate. RM45 for a 5-minutes ride to our hotel. Woohoo!

As I entered my room, a heavy cigarette smell lingers around the room. I called the reception as our floor is a non-smoking floor. They said probably it's from the previous occupant of the room. Since it's getting late, I asked them to spray some freshener in the room instead. Half an hour later, they never come and I called again. They told me they could not find the spray. I was tired and decided not to pursue anymore. Oh well, perhaps I should relax a little bit since it's a vacation and let it go!

22nd May 10 - Pulau Manukan & Pulau Sapi

I've heard wonderful stories about Sabah and its islands. Typically, Si Padan island. Well, since I am not a diver and was scratched by corals the last time I've been to Pulau Payar...I am not a big fan of getting into the sea again. So, I'll start slow by going to nearer islands - The islands in Tunku Abdul Rahman Park.

Tunku Abdul Rahman Park consisted of Pulau Gaya, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamutik and Pulau Sulug. We decided to check out Pulau Manukan and Pulau Sapi.

Pulau Manukan

This is the 2nd largest island in the Tunku Abdul Rahman park after Pulau Gaya. After a fun bumpy ride on the speedboat, I got excited the moment I saw the clear waters of Pulau Manukan. I can even see corals and fishes right on top of the jetty.

Look at the fishes. They are all over me!

They looked like tadpoles!

We only have 45 minutes in Pulau Manukan as we started off late. That'll explain the lack of pictures here. However, we have a full 4 hours to spend in the next island. I wonder what the next island brings...

Pulau Sapi

Tada! OK, as you can see, Pulau Sapi was even more amazing than Manukan. The water is clearer and cleaner.

I even had a private boat! Woohoo!

All the pictures above were taken before we even reach the park's entrace. The sea was greenish-blue & the weather is sunny!

We thought it will be helpful for those interested to visit these islands.

We were greeted by these slow moving but very huge monitor lizards. They roam freely within the island and loves rolling on mud. Apparently, everyone is drawn to them!

Monitor lizard vs QQ

Somewhere out there, another family member decided to have a little adventure of its own.

Monitor Lizard: Ahh...I smell food. Where is da food?

Monitor Lizard : Aha! Here it is. Yummy food. You humans love to waste. Shame on you!

Monitor Lizard: Mmmm...all these eating makes me fat. I need some exercise. Dumb humans leaving their stuff everywhere. Let me teach them a lesson.

OK. Enough of the monitor lizard and its life story.

As a Malaysian, sun is always shining bright. We don't need to wait for summer for sun tanning. We can get them just by walking from the office to the car park. Staying fair is our ultimate life goal. Getting under the sun (especially for girls) is a nightmare. So, QQ splashed a good amount of SPF130+++++

OK beach and sun! Here I come!

I found a nice lookout from the beach

Even though I looked like I am enjoying myself, these rocks are actually BBQ-ing my butt off!
Quickly, take the picture!

Hot! Hot! Hot!
I am taking this shot to show the world the clarity of the water. See my feet?

Time to snorkel for good! The water temperature is just perfect for this hot weather. Underneath, everything looks calm, cool and quiet. It made me forget about the heat for once.

Fishes in Pulau Sapi

It was fantastic meeting those fishes and enjoying the charm of the island. I thought to myself, I dont have to go far and wide as those pretty beaches can be found at home too!

It is time to go home. The boy driving the boat back was trying to impress the tourists by making sharp turns and making emergency brakes (I am not sure if that's the term for boats). Sea water splashed all of us and when we reached the shore, we were all wet as if we just came climbed out of a pool.

Next to Jesselton Point, was this new mall - Suria Sabah. We were pretty hungry and it's drizzling. We better hide inside.

We saw a huge sign at the entrance - Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa since 1973. Well, there's nothing better to eat now than a good plate of Nasi Lemak that was made famous since 1973. I wonder what's so special about it?

Tada! This restaurant serves different types of Nasi Lemak. We ordered Nasi Lemak Masak Merah and Nasi Lemak Rendang.

Well honestly, there's nothing very special about it. And if you wonder why the Nasi Lemak below looks like Nasi Lemak Ayam Goreng (Fried Chicken), that's because they got our order wrong. In fact, they got everything wrong from our drinks to the type of Nasi Lemak we ordered.

Since we were hungry and thirsty and everything looks good to us, we decided to just eat whatever that was served. Halfway through, I noticed whatever we ate was exactly the same with the opposite table. So, they made the same order twice without realizing it?

I certainly hope that it's not a tradition for this restaurant to serve the wrong order since 1973.
The food ... hmm, I can get better ones out there.

Right...we are walking back to our hotel when I came across this stall selling what looks like a fish ball stuff with octopus meat. It has this window showing the workers preparing the food. I was drawn to the way they prepare the Takoyaki. It's not very easy and it looks yummy as they stuff octopus meat and vegetable inside the semi rounded ball. Then there was sprinkling of what looks like cheese on top. Then the ball is turned over and the worker completes the other half of the ball. Once it is done, the Takoyaki is brushed with Japanese seasoning, top with a generous amount of mayonnaise and finally sprinkled with katsuobushi

After enjoying ourselves with the Takoyaki, we continued our journey back to the hotel. Oops...I gotta stop for ice cream. We should have taken a taxi back. This walking back to the hotel is making me a glutton. Here at the sea front of KK over looking the islands.


23rd May 10 - Gaya Sunday Market

One of the highlights of my trip to KK. This is a must go place and it's only held on Sunday morning. Before that, we had breakfast at a nearby hawker center. I ordered this Sabah Wantan Mee with dumpling as I saw it is a hit in this hawker center. After waiting for about 15-minutes (too long for Penang standard) the food finally arrived.

Unlike Penang Wantan mee which is covered with black soy sauce, this one is covered with oil.
It tasted like those instant noodles in a packet and you pour the cooking oil included inside the packet over the noodles. Then, you eat it. Thinking of it still makes me shiver.

So, I tried the dumpling soup. The dumpling tasted weird. Unlike the sweet succulent dumpling I ate before, this one has a tinge of sour and the meat felt like it's not really fresh. Now, I am really shivering thinking about the food. I wonder why this stall is a hit with the locals?

After our breakfast, we took a taxi to the Gaya Market. The taxi driver warned us before hand to be careful with our belongings as there are pick pockets around. Yeah, my friend had his phone stolen there. So there you go.

The market as expected is crowded. There you can find an abundance of stuffs...

Shrubs of durian and other local fruits (if you are planning to plant one at home and you can sneak past the customs)

Cute Pets

Weavings & Baskets

Roots & Sticks

Traditional toys

Local snacks

Shells & Corals (although personally I rather have them alive in the sea)


Handcrafted souveniers with the taste of Sabah's culture

Oh yes! Plenty of pearls and jewellery. KK is famous for its fresh water pearls. These are unprocessed pearls so they are not the handsomely rounded ones seen in jewellery shop. They also come in different shape and sizes. So what does it mean?

These pearls are on bargain prices. If you know anywhere else in the world that gives a better bargain, tell me!

One strand of this pearl necklace could cost as low as RM30. But of course, it depends on the shape, quality, its color and the material used to make them wearable.

The 5 star Hainanese chicken & BBQ pork restaurant at Gaya Market is so far the better food around since we arrived in KK. The food is a teensy bit salty though. Oh, I enjoyed the ice lemon tea with a generous amount of lemon to taste on this hot Sunday afternoon.

After lunch, I saw this cute old school ice cream van. It has the "Love Makes the World Go Round" song on repeat. I cant resist an ice cream in this hot weather!

Somehow, this ice cream van reminds me of the ice cream van from "Legion". Where the music keeps playing and out jumps a zombie.

We hang out at Central Point mall for the rest of our time in KK.

At the same floor in the same shopping mall, I spotted 3 Michelle's Shops.

This is not a rare sight as I noticed in KK, mass duplication is common. Like there are 5 KFC restaurants within 5km radius. Hmmm...I noticed that the locals love KFC as I can see them everywhere. Heck, one of the building was also named as Wisma KFC!

If you go to the local handicraft center, you will be walking in a maze of stalls that all looked identical. Even the way they arrange the stuff are identical. If you walk towards the market place, you will find stalls next to each other selling identical goods.

Here are some miscellaneous sights in KK and also showing you our favorite shop "Things & More". Haha! The name of the shop is really funny but the stuff is at bargain prices.

That's all folks. I would say KK is a growing city. KK is more famous for its islands and of course Mount Kinabalu-the highest mountain in South East Asia.

Till then, let me enjoy my ice cream...

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