Emails from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

To: Pards
Subject: Selamat Datang Kota Kinabalu!
Date: May 15, 2010, Friday, 7:30pm

Hi Pards!

Thanks for taking care of my last minute work bilins over there. :) Don’t worry, I have your bilin as well to give you suggested itineraries and accomodations when you go on vacation here. So here, I’m emailing you a detailed documentation of my stay here in KK.
Today is officially the start of our OTS in KK. We already arrived here in the evening last night through Air Asia flight from Clark, Pampanga so we didn’t much have time to shoot and go around. I didn’t sleep quite well last night in my single room at Cititel Express. My 95 MYR room didn’t even have windows! And they only have nine local channels on TV. What’s worse is that the silence was deafening and I could literally hear the buzz in my head! Good thing I’ve transferred to a triple sharing room, which is much bigger, this time with my room mates who will just be arriving any time now through Cebu Pacific. Oh, don’t forget your toothbrush and other toiletries though because they don’t provide any. In fairness with Cititel Express, it’s liveable–the rooms are neat and its location is accessible and walking distance to a lot of food establishments, local malls, and night life smack in the middle of the city. You could still consider staying here.
Anyway, in the hotel’s reception area, you could inquire from Mr. Lee regarding the tour packages you can avail. Today, we went to Kinabalu Park and nearby Poring Hot Springs. It’s a two-hour Bas Mini ride (van ride) from the City. We were a bit worried at first thinking that the mountain’s peaks wouldn’t show up to us and would be covered in clouds. I got really excited when we finally saw Mount Kinabalu in its glory. As it peaks at 12,455 feet above sea level, it is indeed MAJESTIC! We stopped over by the road side to take advantage of the great view we were seeing. A few more minutes, more tourists stopped over in the spot we were shooting. As the clouds were already going up again, we then went off to the Park. Since Kinabalu Park is located in a hilly area, remember to pack up extra warm clothing or a scarf at least, to ward off the cold. By the time we arrived there, gray clouds were looming the mountain again.

Inside the park, there’s Kinabalu Natural History Gallery where you can see an exhibit of flora and fauna of KK. One of the attractions in the Kinabalu Park would also be the Mount Kinabalu Botanical Garden (prepare for 5 MYR entrance fee). Then there are other hiking trails which you can take.

Are you into hot springs Pards? Well, if you’re the type who would want to de-stress and soak the sores of your muscles in the springs, Poring Hot Springs offers hot sulphuric minerals deemed to have soothing and healing properties and popular among the locals. It’s just not my kind of trip though. It’s seemed sooo hot! Bikinis or short shorts are a no-no here, ok? Most of the bathers are covered with like wet suits. Other than the hot springs, you can also visit the tropical gardens, Poring Canopy Walkway (no harness baby, go at your own risk! And prepare for a fee for your camera), Rafflesia flower site (world’s largest flower which doesn’t come very often), and Kapungit waterfalls.

Your reliable hiking shoes with grips or teeth would come in handy here. Though I love my Havs, I didn’t use it of course. Don’t wear any slippery sandals; otherwise you would really slip. My friend was a victim.

On the way back to the city, just as I thought I wouldn’t be able to take any good snaps, we saw the peaks of Mt. Kinabulu again. This time in a wide range.

I’m about to have dinner now in the Waterfront Esplanade. I’ll continue with my KK adventure tomorrow!
Best regards,


Sent thru my BlackBerry Wireless Handheld

* * *

To: Pards
Subject: Selamat Datang Kota Kinabalu! (Part 2)
Date: May 15, 2010, Saturday, 10:30pm
It’s already my third day here and I feel that I haven’t been much productive! (in terms of shooting that is). Since there’s no El Nino here, the weather has just been erratic. In the morning, it was sunny, then at almost noon, the rain just poured. That’s not perfect timing for most photographers (and vacationers) you know.

By 8:00am, we went to Kota Kinabalu Wetlands Center where it is covered with mangrove forests. While we were strolling on the boardwalk, we were hoping to spot some interesting birds and wildlife but to no avail. Raj, our guide, told us that they usually show up early morning when they would find breakfast.

Rain poured hard but we ensured our cameras didn’t get wet with that sudden rain. We freshened up at the hotel in time for lunch at Devi’s Cafe Curry House. If you’re craving for Roti or Banana Leaf Set, you shouldn’t miss this Pards. My Roti lunch was about 7 MYR with cold Chrysanthemum tea drink.
I don’t usually take my afternoon siesta when I’m out on vacation. But because of the gloomy weather I guess, I did. By 3:30pm, I was back on track with my iPod as we went off to Sutera Harbor beach, hoping to catch a glimpse of the sunset. It was peaceful and tranquil in the area. I guess I got inspired with my Neo Soul tunes so I got some photos despite of the gray clouds challenging me. Sutera Harbor Resort by the way has 5-star hotels, a golf course, a marina and a country club with extensive recreational facilities. We didn’t go inside anymore.

Tanjung Aru beach is supposedly your ringside to the “best sunset on earth.” The aru trees take part of the scenery. Too bad, no crimson sun peeped for us that fateful afternoon. I should have just joined Michelle to do yoga by the beach.

For a shot of the cityscape at night, we went to Signal Hill. It’s an observatory platform where you can get a nice view of the city.

Another nightscape shot was the KK City Mosque, also known as the “Floating Mosque,” the largest mosque in the City boasting of its beautiful architecture. We were able to catch numerous worshipers in the prayer hall. Tourists are not allowed inside though, only up to the doors. This is also nice to shoot early in the morning or late afternoon where you can see the beautiful reflection of the building in the waters.

It’s a long day indeed. We still had earlier dinner at SEDCO Center, hosted by local photography club. I still want to do so many things but we have so little time (and ringgits!) left! I want to stay longer…

Best regards,

Sent thru my BlackBerry Wireless Handheld

* * *

To: Pards
Subject: Selamat Datang Kota Kinabalu! (Part 3)
Date: May 16, 2010, Sunday, 12:30pm

Pards! Would you believe I’m already going back to the Philippines?! I’m waiting now for my flight back to Clark. This morning, I just went to Gaya Street (Sunday Market) to buy pasalabongs (Kuih Lapis and Borneo Coffee). Another pasalubong you can buy is batik bags. Their other abubots, you can also find in the Philippines.

After shopping, I had nothing else to do so we finished off our last ringgits to take a boat ride going to a nearby island where a floating village is situated. Here’s one of my last shots in KK.

I’m still missing out on so many things here in KK! Things I haven’t done (which you should really do!):

Island hopping (and a swim at the beach) – At Manukan Island and Sapi Island.

White water rafting – At Kiulu River.

Shooting wildlife (eg. probosis monkey) – At Klias River Cruise. Also includes firefly watching at night. Or in Lok Kawi Wildlife Park.

Climbing Mt. Kinabalu – 2 days and 1 night (or could be 3 days and 2 nights. This is for the more adventurous (and fit) ones.

Make your leave longer Pards! Mine is really bitin. Save up for more and plan well. :) Hope these recommendations help.

Gotta go now! See you back there.

Best regards,


Sent thru my BlackBerry Wireless Handheld


One thought on “Emails from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

  1. Pingback: 30 Places before 30 | The Traveling Havaianas

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