Friday, August 10, 2012

Day 3 in Kota Kinabalu: Exploring Sabah


On our 3rd day in Kota Kinabalu, we got a tour guide arranged by a Pinay receptionist of City Lodge for a total fee of MYR 380 (MYR95 each for the four of us).  He drove us to other towns of Sabah.  It was slighty drizzling when we left Kota Kinabalu, thus, the existence of  fog along the road.
along the road to Kinabalu View Deck

we drove up hill and how beautiful looking down at the tip of the mountains with fog like floating smoke 

foggy areas, imagine the chill!
We were picked up at 7:00 AM and our first stop was Mt. Kinabalu View Deck.  Longing to see more of Sabah, we were all awake and took the travel time enjoying the green-patched scenery of trees and plants that were looked familiar to me. We drove up-hill most of the time, thus, looking at the mountains like we were on top of them.  The fog seemed like smoke coming out of the tip of the mountains for their morning greeting to Ms. Sunshine.

Kinabalu View Deck
After one hour, the van stopped at Mt. Kinabalu View Deck.  When we opened the door, freezing cold wind welcomed us and we were a bit unprepared with clothes most fit for Poring Hot Spring.  We just took some pictures and of course, our jump shots.  Stayed for a half hour only, we were chilling already when we got back to the van.
Prep for a jump shot! And I did it my way =)
From the View Deck, our tour guide drove at the other side of the street to the nearby souvenir market for a quick stop supposedly for breakfast and shopping, of course. But we were not hungry yet nor interested to shop so we just roamed around the place quickly and there did we find the viewing tower.  Out of courtesy, we bought a few key chains from the old lady, only to feel regret at the end of our trip that we did not buy much! It was much cheaper than those in KK City.

Souvenir market near Kinabalu View Park

our souvenirs, artsy key chain
Then we took off again and had a short stop at the Falls View.  The un-melted fog was too much to handle.  It was freezing cold with my tube dress and scarf so we only stayed for a quick photo-op.
the cigarette-like falls from the deck
By around eleven in the morning, we reached the Kinabalu Park.Kinabalu Park is Malaysia’s first World Heritage Site and I'm sure always in the bucket list of mountaineers to climb.  Since we had so much to see and visit on that day, we waived going through the summit trail as it requires at least half day to reach the first stop.  
The Summit Trail of Mt. Kinabalu
Walkway to the entrance of Kinabalu Park

Records of those who conquered Mt. Kinabalu
Instead, we just stayed for a while and waited for some squirrels to come out.  It was awesome but a bit scary feeding them.  With nothing more to do, we took some photos around the park and enjoyed the scenery a bit.
one of the attractions in the park, feeding the friendly and sometimes shy squirrels
We then went to the nearby Chinese restaurant known as Kundasang Fairy Garden Restaurant for lunch which we later learned was the usual stop-over of our tour guide.   We were too hungry and ordered much to our delight! We were always big eaters during travels. =)
map of poring hot springs
With a filled stomach, we drove again going to Poring Hot Spring.  The scenery along the road was relaxing with Sabah green tea plants covering most of the fields. I saw a lot of KK and Malaysia flags even in the small houses along the road.  I did not realize Malaysians are so nationalistic to have their flags hanging anywhere in Sabah.

the common slogan in every tourist spot
"take nothing but photographs
leave nothing but footprints"

Stones colored white because of sulphur
There was so much to do in Poring Hot Spring!  We decided to start with the Canopy Walkway then later a relaxing dip in the hot spring. Our tour guide showed us the entrance and agreed on the time that we were going to leave Poring.
going to canopy walkway, you'll pass by the hot spring area

hot spring area

the so-called enclosed bath tub
Heading towards the Canopy Walkway, we passed by the slide pool, hot spring area and the enclosed bath tub.  There were cottages for rent as well for overnight stay and located near the rock pool and hot spring area.  We passed by the Butterfly Garden but waived that too.  We had so much in our tours in the Philippines to see the same place again in Sabah.  After a few minutes, we reached the entrance of Canopy Walkway.  We paid MYR5 for the entrance and MYR5 for each camera fee. (Don’t understand though why we should pay for the camera.)
ticket to canopy walk + camera fee for bringing cam in taking pictures =)
Anyways, it was not hard to follow the trail to the Canopy Walkway.  The directions are vivid and easy to follow, no need for a tour guide.  I felt like closer to nature as we trailed the steps to the walkway. 
the easy to follow directions
 There were so many creatures to see and views to appreciate.
wild flower inside the rainforest

view above
After a 550M+ hike, we reached the Treetop for our first canopy walk!  The first walkway is short (perhaps 10 meters) and was quite wet due to dew drops from the trees.  We reached Platform 1 and proceed to another which was quite long and a little bit scary.  We had to stop for a while for the first group of people to cross the walkway. 
The treetop is one option for the first canopy walk

it's like a  maze at the top of the trees
At every stop, we paused and looked around us.  The beauty of nature is beyond compare!
the view from the top

All smiles though it's a bit scary
When we completed the canopy walk, we went back for our next stop – Hot Spring.
But by the time we reached the entrance, it was raining hard and we had to wait until the weather got better.  It was a long wait and when we arrived at the hot spring area, it was too crowded already. So we just had a quick dip of our tired feet from the trail and then took off.

Our tour guide offered to drive us all the way to Jambatan Tamparuli, the old suspension bridge in Sabah.  I forgot the name of the place but this is the way going to the Kiulu White Water Rafting.  Along the way, we stop over at an overlooking restaurant for a restroom break. 
one of the tourist stopovers with the afternoon fog
After more than an hour drive, our tour guide woke us up! We were too tired from the trail and it was like a long trip. The humid and sunny weather added to our sleepiness.  He told us to cross the suspension bridge  and picked us up at the other side.  He said he had to get some coffee to keep him awake.  How I wish I can join him, I was too sleepy too.
suspension bridge
We enjoyed crossing the suspension bridge! It felt like we were in one of the provinces in the Philippines.
at the top of the bridge; feels like I'm in Pangasinan going to Manaoag Church
the signage at the other side of the bridge 
After almost an hour, our tour guide picked us up and drove back to Kota Kinabalu.  It was raining again and was inviting for a nap.  At one time, our tour guide was waking us up to look outside but we were too sleepy and tired to open our eyes.  When we were getting nearer the city and it was only past 5PM, he offered to drop us off at OneBorneo, one of the major malls in KK.  From OneBorneo, there is a scheduled shuttle bus going back to Warisan Square.  You just need to register in their log sheet for the scheduled trip at least 30 mins before the scheduled trip and you’ll be issued with ticket.

With only one hour to shop, we did it so quickly that I managed to buy a handful of The Faceshop products and Vincci Shoes.  It was on sale and I bought a lot of nail polish! By 7:30PM, we took the shuttle bus to Warisan Square. 
We were too hungry that we were too excited that we just crossed the street and NOT through the pedestrian lane

our remnants at Port View Seafood Village
It was in our itinerary to have our dinner at The Port View Seafood Village and watch the cultural dance scheduled at 8PM and 9PM.  The food was superb so with the performance!
After dinner and too tired for a much-filled itinerary for the day, we hailed a taxi in going back to our lodge.
With the influence of Malay tradition and culture, we ended the day (or night) with the performers of cultural dance


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