Monday, June 22, 2009

Kota Kinabalu Trip

I've at least had the opportunity to spoil myself with a vacation to Kota Kinabalu about two weeks back. Finally managed to drag one of my closest friends, Mr. Zayd, the ever so busy chambering student along. The trip was originally meant to include Cik Dian, but slight difficulty with her parents resulted in just the two of us. Just the two of us, building castles in the sky... God, how queer does that sound. Haha. So yea, plane tickets, skybus tickets, hotel room... all booked prior to the trip, and we were off to paint KK red... So I thought.

So here's my trip report:

Day 1

I arrived at the Jelatek Putra LRT station at 7 a.m., carrying a heavy orange luggage bag that my mum loaned me, and a light backpack that has served me all throughout Form 6. There weren't that many people around, so I was temporarily happy, until the next train came. Macam ikan sardin! I was supposed to meet Zayd on the platform, but he was a bit late. So I jumped onto the train, might as well I thought.

I met Zayd at KL Sentral and we took the next skybus to LCCT. An hour of an unforgiving bumpy ride, with loud squeeking noises coming from the failing absorbers later, we arrived at the LCCT. Zayd had this perplexed look on his face when I was boarding off the bus. Moments later I had the same look on mine. Dude, where's our bags!!! From where we were standing the luggage compartment looked empty, all the passengers had collected their bags. We stood like idiots for a couple of minutes, only to realize that there was an elevated compartment hidden from our view. Haha, bagus la tu! Belum apa-apa dah kelam-kabut... We laughed our asses off, what a fantastic start.

So we went for breakfast, then collected our boarding passes and waited for the plane. An hour of boredom passed, and we were finally beginning our journey across the South China Sea towards Borneo. Mind you, that was the first flying experience I've had in many years, so I came up with all the random crap to entertain myself. Playing with the reclinable seat, playing with the foldable table, you name it... I forgot how boring it was. No hot stewardess, maybe that's why... Haha.

The plane touched down and we were in KK! It was like I was in a different country. Most of the people looked chinese, and the way they spoke, different. In a charming manner. We had lunch in the airport itself, then took a cab straight to the Promenade hotel, which was right smack in the city centre. We got into our room and rested for a bit. Before we knew it, we were exploring KK inside out. Api-Api Centre, Plaza Warisan, Centre Point, all done in one evening. Had a sumptuous dinner at a Thai joint called TamNak Thai in Api-Api Centre, as recommended by Zayd's local friend. Then we went back to the room to get some sleep. Early day the next day.

Day 2

Woke up at 6.30 a.m., the sun was already up. Took our baths, packed some clothes in my backpack and went to the mamak to have our breakfasts. Yea, they have that over there too. Haha. Then we were off to Jesselton Point, the jetty where we took our boat ride to Manukan Island. Cost us about RM17 per person to and fro. The journey to Manukan took us roughly 20 minutes.

We were pretty excited looking at the crystal clear blue water when we arrived, swimming fishes visible underneath the surface. So the first thing we did was to park ourselves at the beach, and put on some sunblock. It would've burned us if we didn't, the sun already high up. Then we geared up the snorkeling equipments and straight away swam aimlessly. Me at one end, and Zayd at the other, following schools of funny looking fishes that eventually became too friendly and bit us... Haha.

At noon we were pretty much tired already. So we decided to take a break and help ourselves with some mouthwatering lunch. Two freakin' huge burgers and two black coffees from the beach restaurant. Enough said. Dua-dua terlentang! Ooooh, and the waitresses were cun! Even more a reason to laze around longer over there. Haha. They all had this chinese, plus native, plus malay look. I was like wowwie!

After lunch we decided to explore the other side of the beach. I thought it was even more beautiful than earlier. So I figured might as well snorkel some more, what else was there to do anyhow. The fishes were different there, somewhat more colourful. I even saw sea cucumbers on the floor. But they didn't stop biting one bit, so I quit after a while. They freak me out now. Haha. Later in the evening we chilled at yet another side of the island. That side they had huge rocks near the bank. So we dried our wet clothes on the hot rocks and took some funny pictures there. Before we knew it, it was already 4 p.m., and we were leaving Manukan with heavy hearts.

Back in the city, we strolled along the coast and through more malls. Thought that we could reach the hotel on foot, but soon gave up as we were too tired. So we took a cab from halfway. We went to the same place to have dinner after cleaning up a bit. After dinner it was massage session at a place somewhere nearby, and we went back for some good night's sleep right after.

Day 3

Woke up a bit later than the day before, at about 7 a.m.. We were supposed to get up earlier, cause' that day we were going to leave for Kinabalu Park in a tour van that was scheduled at 7.30 a.m.. But we managed to get ready in time, thankfully. So yea, the tour guide, Mohamad came right on time and we were off heading towards the direction of Mount Kinabalu.

The winding road lasted for more than an hour, but somehow I felt fine. Maybe because the view was magnificent. The summit of Mount Kinabalu was hiding behind the veil of white clouds, it was gorgeous. We stopped at the Nabalu Market for breakfast, and bought some souvenirs for families and friends at the market, which was designed to be a long house. After that the journey continued.

We passed the entrance of the Kinabalu Park, but Mohamad suggested that we head for the Poring Hot Springs first, since it would soon be crowded. So that was another forty minutes of winding road to cover. We finally arrived, and the first thing we did was to go for the Canopy Walk. Had to climb up hill for about twenty minutes to get to the starting point, which proved to be quite an exhausting task for unfit people like us. Haha. The experience of crossing the five canopy bridges was quite daunting, but it was a good one nontheless.

After Canopy Walk we headed towards one of the small waterfalls, which was another ten minutes walk from the base of the hill. We chilled at the waterfall for about thirty minutes, we didn't have much time to spare. But I managed to enjoy soaking myself with the cold water streaming down from the fall. Relaxing in the midst of the natural calming sound of water flowing. We had a look at the hot springs on our way back to the entrance, but that was it. Didn't feel like bathing in 'em. Then it was time for lunch right across the street.

Forty minutes heading towards the direction we came from, and we were back at the entrance of Kinabalu Park. The park is one of the two bases where climbers begin their difficult journey to the top of Mount Kinabalu. Even at the base it was already super cool, imagine up there. So we drove around the park, stopped at the visitors' centre and another spot to snap some pictures. We enjoyed the breath of fresh air for a change. At 4 p.m. we began our journey back to town.

That was pretty much Day 3. Didn't fancy doing much nonsense in the evening, so we settled for McDonald's and headed straight back to the room to chill. Watched some B rated movies they were showing and went to sleep.

Day 4

This time we didn't have anything in our plans, so we woke up late. That meant 8.30 a.m.. After bath we went to have roti canai at the mamak, yet again. Then we strolled along the Api-api centre towards Plaza Warisan, finally ending up the famous Filipino Market. We made a zig-zag along the maze of gazillion stalls selling souvenirs and such, mostly pearls and handicrafts. Bought some stuffs for my mum and Cik Dian, Zayd bought a batik shirt for his dad. Then we headed back to the hotel room to pack up our stuffs, it was time to check out.

Left our bags at the concierge and went for a brief lunch and coffee at Plaza Warisan. Then straight to the airport after collecting our bags. At the airport we met a tour group from Perak. They were old schoolmates celebrating their school's anniversary, a bunch of fifty and sixty year olds. So I was told that they climbed up the Mount Kinabalu for their trip. Not everybody made it to the top, which was not a surprise. But one 68 year old did! Holy motha! Tercabar aku! Not just that, a daughter of one of the participants, an 8 year old, managed to reach the peak 2nd among the climbers! That's it, I'm definitely coming back to climb that damned mountain, I said to Zayd... Haha.

We arrived at LCCT at around 7 p.m.. Took the skybus to KL Sentral and arrived there at 8 p.m., this time we knew where to look for our bags! Haha. So Cik Dian picked us up there, with her electric blue Encik Cooper S, balik dengan penuh bergaya! Had dinner after that somewhere in Ampang. We gave her the purse we bought at the Filipino Market, and the vacation was officially over...


dania said...

one unsatisfied reader complaining;

This is a censored version of the report. Where's the kupu kupu? where's the wonderful massage story? Meh.

Come to think of it, Encik Cooper sounds like a driver-like name. Not cool la.

GLAD you had a blast in KK :D!

Irfan Shai said...

damn it! i know u were gonna bring that up... wonderful massage session had to be left out, kesian la zayd... it's meant for public to read u know! no kupu-kupu!

Anonymous said...

Salaam Irfan,

When you decided to climb Mt K, make sure u give me a call in advanced. Sure would like to have a go at it myself. How about an all-guys affair next time around. We could drag your dad along, ha ha
Glad u had a wonderful time....

pak su

Irfan Shai said...


haha. who knows, someday maybe. i dun think ayah can last though...


Anonymous said...

Yes where is the massage story?


NN said...

Hello irfan,
how much does it cost u for a trip to kk roughly? Including Mt. KK climb?