Monday, June 30, 2014

Travel Fever: Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia


After learning that I will move to a new country soon, my good friend R graciously offered to host me to a 3-day visit to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. R, together with her adorable cousins, visited the Philippines last March. My boyfriend and I promised to return the favor and visit them in May 2015 for the Harvest Festival, which obviously won't happen anymore. I'd love to see them before I leave, so we decided to arrange a quick trip by end of July.

This will be my third time to visit KK. The first time was with my girlfriends. I was young and with some of my best girls, so naturally, most of my memories were of food, alcohol, dressing up, partying and a lot of silly stories that still make me and my BFF Tara cry with laughter. The second time was with the boyfie. It was a celebration of my 27th birthday in the small but charming island of Sapi. 

Spent my 27th birthday at Sapi Island | 2012
  
This time, our hosts plan to bring us to their native village two hours away from the city. I have no clue where it is, but R said it's like Tagaytay except that there's a nearby falls where we can swim and cook BBQs. I'll let my OC self rest and leave the preparation to my friends. 

UPDATE: According to R, their village is called Tambunan. The valley is peppered with terraced padi and  picturesque villages. There's also a dense bamboo forest surrounding the village, a legacy of the British colonial period.  Also, the Rafflesia Forest Reserve is just outside  this village. Rafflesia is one of the world's largest flowers. This strange plant is called the "corpse flower" because of its foul odor, which some say smells like rotting flesh. Cool facts! :)

Apart from that, I still have 1.5 days to spare and so I decided I'll go on a foodtrip and visit some places of Sabah culture. A few minutes of research and some friendly recos brought me to this list.


SIGNAL HILL OBSERVATORY PLATFORM. PHOTO VIA http://ilovesabah.info.

I have a fascination for observatory towers. I guess it has something to do with my belief that we always have to see the bigger picture to better appreciate a place, a situation, even a person. Also, looking over a place from greater heights humbles me and make me realize how small I am and that the world is not always about me. It keeps me grounded.

Signal Hill is the highest point in the city and a good place to watch the sunset. The boyfriend and I get a high doing this. A big can of Tiger beer sounds good, too.

A couple of minutes drive from Padang Merdeka will bring you to the airy deck where you can get amazing views that extend to the outlying islands of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. Best of all, it's FREE!


MARI MARI CULTURAL VILLAGE. PHOTO VIA www.AirAsia.com.

A visit to this village will immerse you with the different traditions of five Sabahan ethnic tribes - Bajau, Lundayeh, Murut, Rungus and Dusun. There's blowpipe-making demonstration, fire-starting using bamboo and tattoo-making. Very similar to the Philippines. So what I'm more interested to try are the traditional delicacies from each ethnic group.

The price is a little steep at around RM140 or Php 1,900/pax and the place is around two hours away from the city so I suggest you spare a day to get the most out of it.  
ignal Hill, the highest point in the city, is one of the best places to get a good view of Kota Kinabalu. Just a couple of minutes drive from Padang Merdeka will bring you to the airy deck where you can get amazing views that extend to the outlying islands of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and further. - See more at: http://www.sabahtourism.com/destination/signal-hill-observatory-platform#sthash.uzTbyLJo.dpuf
ignal Hill, the highest point in the city, is one of the best places to get a good view of Kota Kinabalu. Just a couple of minutes drive from Padang Merdeka will bring you to the airy deck where you can get amazing views that extend to the outlying islands of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and further. - See more at: http://www.sabahtourism.com/destination/signal-hill-observatory-platform#sthash.uzTbyLJo.dpuf
Signal Hill, the highest point in the city, is one of the best places to get a good view of Kota Kinabalu. Just a couple of minutes drive from Padang Merdeka will bring you to the airy deck where you can get amazing views that extend to the outlying islands of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and further. - See more at: http://www.sabahtourism.com/destination/signal-hill-observatory-platform#sthash.uzTbyLJo.dpuf


SABAH STATE MUSEUM AND HERITAGE VILLAGE. Photo via http://www.sabahtourism.com.

The Sabah State Museum is a good alternative if you want to know more about the Sabah culture without going out of the city. The place offers information on their Natural History, Ceramics, Ethnography and ArcNhaeology exhibits. There's also a Heritage Village where you can  experience different types of traditional houses of the various indigenous groups of Sabah. 

To reach the Sabah State Museum and Heritage Village, ride bus no.13 (towards Penampang) from either bus stations in front of City Hall or Wawasan Plaza in KK. Admission fee is RM15 of Php140 for non-Malaysians.
By bus, take the No.13 (towards Penampang) from either bus stations in front of City Hall or Wawasan Plaza in KK - See more at: http://www.sabahtourism.com/destination/sabah-state-museum-heritage-village#sthash.2aPBGkU9.dpuf




KK NIGHT MARKET. Photo via http://www.borneoecotours.com.

Food is and will always be a big part of my travels. Food represents the character and diversity of different race and culture, and it's also a good way to know locals! Start a conversation about food and you'll never run out opinions. Try it! :) 

The KK Night Market is one of the most famous in South East Asia and promises fermented prawn, jungle honey and exotic fruits as well as a thousand and one kinds of BBQs. Now I'm hungry! I love the Hawker Food Stalls in Kuala Lumpur, and so I'm really anticipating an even greater gastronomic adventure in KK.  

The KK Night Market is located in Jalan Kampung Air near the old Filipino craft market.

I hope you find this helpful, especially if you find yourself KK-bound anytime soon. :) Safe travels! 

Much Love,
Dang

6 comments:

  1. Exciting :) Will be waiting for pictures!

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  2. @Tara: I'll miss you, sis. Rememeber La Bamba??? :P

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  3. cant wait for u guys to come! get ready your camera and batteries! hehee miss u too tara!!

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  4. I wish you a most enjoyable trip here in KK. Do try out the local cuisines offered at Grace Point, Sembulan and other local favourites ya.

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  5. Thanks for the tips, Ismail! I'll be sure to check them out. I have a feeling this trip will be all about food! :D

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  6. @Ranie: Will be sure to bring a power bank. Haha. See you soon, babe! :)

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I'd love to hear what you think. Fire away!