Royal Regalia Built for the 1992 Silver Jubilee of Sultan of Brunei ascension, this is where the collection of ceremonial regalia and gifts to the Sultan is kept and displayed for public to see.
Entrance fee was free and the building is opened daily. You are not allowed to bring a camera in (leave at the reception) but once you’re done with the main gallery, ure allowed to take photos at the front gallery. The main item here is the royal coronation carriage surrounded by the regalia from the royal crowning ceremony in which the current crowned sultan was pulled through the streets of the city.
The Regalia is my final visiting place when I was in Brunei. We’re
done on time close to 4pm and went directly to the ferry terminal. Luckily the
ticket counter was opened so I managed to get my ticket back to Labuan.
All in all, I really had an express tour! Around Bandar Seri
Begawan in 2hours hehehe. Before departing, Uncle Saiful and Aunt Alina invited
me again for a visit, next time I could drive around myself. I definitely need
to come back someday to go around Brunei thoroughly.
Ferry departed on time at 4.30pm and i reached Labuan shore at 6pm.
What’s unique about the Kampung Air (Water Village) is that there are no bridge that connects the mainland to the village. U have to use the water taxi to get around the village. One way trip is charged 50cents and if I’m not mistaken, the tour around the village is B$20. Water taxis embark in front of the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah in the centre of town and the water village itself. All of the Water Village buildings are constructed on stilts above the Brunei River.
Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar Ali Saifuddien
More like a dataran in the middle of the city. At the time of visit, the place in the midst of preparing for the Sultan of Brunei’s birthday.
Tea – AyamKu
Before heading to the
Royal Regalia, we had a pit stop at the local KFC named AyamKu. Actually, we
bought some food since Insyiraah was hungry. And by having food, they could
just eat in the car while me and Aunt Alina had a quick visit into the Regalia.
First stop was Istana Nurul Iman. This is the official residence
of the Sultan of Brunei and the seat of Brunei governments. Civilians are not
allowed to enter the castle and its compound so I was only able to get photos
from the main gate.
“Upon completion, Istana Nurul Iman, became the largest residential palace in the world and the largest single family residence ever built. To be considered for the Guinness World Record, the palace must have once been intended for use as a royal residence, and only the actual combined area of the palace’s indoor floors (a measurement commonly known as floorspace) is considered. As measured by these standards, Guinness World Records currently considers Istana Nurul Iman to hold the title as the “world's largest palace.”- Wikipedia
Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque
This mosque was completed in 1958 and is a must place to visit if
ure in Brunei. It is considered as one of the most beautiful mosque in the Asia
Pacific. The most distinct thing about the build is the pure gold dome. The mosque
is surrounded by a man-made lake with a ceremonial barge at the side.
Woke up early to make sure I would be able to get the
earliest ferry to Brunei. Reached the ferry counter around 7.30am and there
were 2 ticket counters opened where 1 is for domestic and 1 for international. Well,
domestic is for Menumbok, Kota Kinabalu(KK) etc and International is Brunei. Queue
for domestic was very long and I heard the ticket to KK that day already sold
out (don’t know why a lot of people going to KK during Chinese New Year). One way
ticket to Brunei costs RM35. There are 2 class and this is for 2nd
class. I saw in the ferry that 1st class has bigger individual chair
(like in a 3-seater bus) and more private space. Anyway, you cannot buy return
ticket at the counter. Return ticket from Brunei to Labuan has to be bought at
Brunei’s Ferry terminal itself.
Since it’s still early, I went for breakfast at the mamak
shop across the street. There were quite a lot of people. The food price here
was not as expensive as I thought, almost similar to KL.
Journey to Brunei took 1.5hrs and as I suspected, the ferry
was empty hahaha! I got the whole row to myself. The aircond wasn’t that cold
either and there’s a movie played but I can’t remember what it was.
Custom clearance was smooth as there’re not many people
around. Upon arrival outside, I straight went to the ticket counter which is
located to the left of the arrival hall. To be exact, it is located directly in
front of departure hall. Don’t fret, the ferry terminal is very small. U won’t
get lost. Unfortunately for me, all of the counters were closed. I (and a lot
of others there) waited for an hour when I finally gave Uncle Saiful a call.
Uncle Saiful is my friend’s uncle who is living in Brunei. Coincidentally we met
earlier when I went to my friends’ brothers’ house in Shah Alam. He’s returning
from Malaysia the same day as my arrival. Since it’s already 11.30am, I thought
he must have arrived.
11.50am, Uncle Saiful and his wife, Aunt Alina picked me up
and brought me to their house. We had a chat and after lunch, we started our
tour. Well, they’re asking me to just spend the night there since the time will
be very tight if I were to return with the 4.30pm ferry on the very day. Basically,
I will only hv 2hours in Brunei. They insisted that I stay since I hvn’t bought
the return ticket but I had to decline as if I stay, I won’t have time to go
Around 2pm, we departed from the house- me, Uncle Saiful,
Aunt Alina and their 2 youngest kids, Insyiraah and Amsyar; and the journey
Sabah Museum is located at Bukit Istana Lama. Walking from the lodge took us
30mins. The complex contains the main museum, gardens, a zoo, a 2-phased heritage village and the
Islamic Civilization Museum. Entrance fee is RM2 for adult and free for
students (with uniforms or student ID).
The main building also houses the Art
Gallery and the building itself is located on top of the hill. So u need to
walk to get to other exhibition center. For us, we went to the (outside) café first
due to thirst and saw the cultural village next to it. Turned out, this was the
1st phase on the village. The place was run down and no one was around
for a tour or any briefing. The traditional houses were built by its native and
u can wonder around in and out the area but honestly, it’s pretty creepy for us
to go in. it was dark and abandoned.
After that, we walked back to the main
building. Once u stepped in, ure welcomed by the huge skeletons of a whale.
This largest Bryde Whale ever found in Asia beached itself near the shallow
water of Gaya Island back in December 2006. No photos here as photography is
not allowed in the main building.
Once we’re done with our stroll in the
museum, we walked down the hill towards the Islamic Civilization Museum. It’s
pretty close, just a 5mins walk. In the museum, there are a lot of artifacts and
replicas of the swords during the Prophet’s time. Again, no photographing allowed.
Last stop before going back is the 2nd
phase of the cultural village. We were hoping that the 2nd village will
be more maintained but boy, we’re wrong. Well, the houses are newer but it is as
empty as the 1st village. What a disappointment. Well, I guess it’ll
be livelier during school holidays where more people will flock in to the
Among all, I think a visit in the main
building was the best.
We left the museum complex around 4.00pm (can't believe we spent more than 2 hours there!). The walk back to the Lodge felt faster this time. picked up our bags and headed to the airport at 5.00pm. Note: Please expect VERY EXPENSIVE taxi ride if u ask the reception to call. We paid RM30!! I bet u can get cheaper rate if u stop the taxi ur self outside.
By the time we reached the airport, the check in counters were packed. Typical of AirAsia, there is no designated counters for specific destination. Everybody queue to the same counter. What's worst is that in our line, few groups faced excess baggage problem. Come on people, don't pack 2 big bags to check in if ure travelling with 5 adults and expect it'll be under 25kg! Don't be a cheapskate and cause problem to others!!! It took us 1 hour to drop our bags.
Had our expensive @ airport dinner and went in. Faced my 1st time flight delay with Airasia (from 8.10pm to 8.45pm) and safely reached LCCT at 11.15pm.
Found this lodge
when I was bloghopping. Review in TripAdvisor was good and the pricing was not
bad either. I was having some trouble as to decide where to stay, either
Api-api, Kg. Air or Gaya Street. Well, I settled down at Kg. Air which is close
to the Sinsuran Night Market/Filipino Market. It’d be easier for last minute
shopping since the markets and malls are close by. Booked in Agoda for RM180 for 2 nights.
Gaya Sunday market, Filipino market, Handicraft markets, Center Point mall are
only a 5mins walk away. Waterfront Esplanade (where Hard Rock Café is located)
is about 15mins walk. However, the Jetty is whopping 30 mins away ‘sigh’ and
this is pretty important especially once u returned from your island hopping
trip as the return trip to ur accommodation is not included in the package.
Atkinson Clock Tower and Signal Hill are closer to the Jetty and u have to
climb up the hill to get there. In our case, this was not a problem as we
dropped by earlier on before returning our rental car.
Anyway, back to
the lodge. We got the room G03. The room is at the ground floor, all the way to
the back. The room was small with a very tiny window. We never opened the
curtain as u can see the windows from the building behind so we wouldn't want
to be peeked. The room is pretty small for both us and definitely will not fit
non-Asians. Heck, I think even guys will feel very cramped inside. Imagine u
have a double bed in the room with 1-foot spacing with the walls around it,
that’s how big the room was. 1 thing that was really a downside for us was that
there was only 1 power plug so charging our tablets, hps and cameras was a bit
On the positive
side, the room and toilet was very clean. And for some reason, they provided
shower gel. Same with our acco in Kundasang. English breakfast (read as toast,
egg, cereal, coffee and tea) is provided between 7-10am. Of course, the
reception can help u in anything u need (e.g calling taxi to the airport). There
are plenty of brochures on things to do and explore, and a PC provided at the
lounge for u to use. Wanna watch TV? No worries, u can head to the upper floor
where there is a TV lounge.
All in all, if u
don’t mind the space, this lodge is definitely a thumbs up.
The day started as early as 7am.
Quick breakfast of toast at Lavender Lodge then off to the market.
Street Sunday Market.
This market only opens during Sunday
morning (6am-1pm). From the lodge, it was only a 5mins walk. To me, the market
is similar to Satok Weekend market in Kuching, only slightly smaller. There are
plenty of food stalls selling food for breakfast (light food), seaweeds, vegetables
and fruits. There are plenty of clothing stalls as well as handicrafts. Apart from
that, there are few stalls actually selling animals; from fishes to puppies. I couldn’t
find any stall selling fresh seafood like I did in Kuching, so you don’t need
to worry for the smell or the dripping water or puddle on the walkway.
Since this was pretty much a walkthrough,
I was searching for magnets stating “Kota Kinabalu” (but until the end of the
trip, I failed to do so) and food for breakfast (after some toast earlier). Well,
nothing caught my eyes so we ended up just walking to see what kind of market
Gaya Street had.
at T.A.R Marine Park.
At the end of Gaya Sunday Market, we
directly walked to the Ferry. We reached there around 8am (meet up time was
8.20am). Nothing much we can do other than people watching. Food stalls not yet
opened but there were plenty of people waiting for (maybe) their island hopping
trip. Surprisingly, the indoor futsal center opened at 8.15am which is very
early for me.
We saw a couple of mat salleh and after a while, more of
the dive center staffs and divers appeared. Turned out, the meeting point
inside on the upper level of the futsal place was a smaller dive shop. 8.30am,
we’re all hustled up to the dive shop for group introduction and safety
briefing. The dive shop of choice was Diverse Borneo.
The main reason Diverse Borneo was
chosen was both on the diving and snorkeling trip. Both trip utilizes the same
boat and have appointed guides (divemaster and snorkeling guide). Since my
cousin is not a diver, this is a trip we both can enjoy. She was a bit afraid
since she knew there was a very high probability that she’ll be the only one
doing snorkeling that day (and she was right hehehe). However, this turned out
to be very advantage to her. There was only 1 snorkeler so the guide could
focus on entertaining her only. A 3-dive trip costs RM250 and a snorkeling trip costs RM90.
During the briefing, we were told
that our dive/snorkel point will be around Sapi Island and Gaya Island. It’ll
be 2 points in Sapi and 1 point near Gaya, depending on the weather. My cousin
and her guide were dropped off first at Sapi before the divers proceed to our 1st
dive spot. On the boat, there were 1 guy Zam doing his Advance Open Water, his
instructor Apek, me, my buddy Syafiq and our divemaster Alwee (5 divers).
our 1st dive, we parked our boat at Sapi Jetty for our surface
interval. Got a chance to see my cousin (in the water) before we saw the rain
coming. It rained a bit and after an hour, we dove for our 2nd dive
there before our lunch break at 12. Lunch was provided in the package and by
1.30pm, we’re back into the water for our final dive. My cousin told me that to
her, the snorkeling trip wasn’t like usual. Usually, the boat just floats there
and let u snorkel around on your own; or they drop u off at the island and u
wander around. This time, she had the guide who was really excited to show her
everything and turned out that she snorkeled the same time that we dived.
We concluded our trip earlier than
schedule, arriving at Jesselton Jetty around 3pm. The thought of walking back
1.5km was dreadful but we were saved by Zam who offered a ride. The guilt is
still there for soaking his car huhuhu. Jesselton Terminal wasn’t that good in
providing restroom facilities. I don’t know how it is possible to only have 1
restroom for the entire jetty plaza. What worst is that there are only 2 cubicles,
sharing for toilet and changing room. Heck, Syafiq and Zam changed outside
behind the stalls. Then again, it’s always easier for guys.
It was already 4pm by the time we
reached Lavender Lodge. A quick hot shower and we slept like a log after that. I
started feeling feverish and apparently it didn’t get better even after a
3-hour sleep. My cousin went for food hunt alone that night, and I only ate
bread and Panadol. By 11, we both slept due to fatigue.
After checking in and returning the
car at Api-api Center, it’s time for our walk around KK. Mother Nature was not
on our side so we’re in rush to find shelter. Thank God it didn’t rain all the
way through the afternoon.
This boardwalk is said to have the
best view for sunset. But when we went there, it was raining heavily. Our main
reason going there was to visit the Hard Rock Shop. The shop was hidden from
the main road by the big residence in construction next to it. There are also
food center there but unfortunately the shop I was looking for the cheese
banana fritters was closed so we didn’t stop.
Market/ Sinsuran Night Market.
A daily night market were local
catch is sold. Fresh seafood is the main attraction where u can order up and
get them cooked on the spot to savour.
Located in front of Hyatt Hotel, this
giant statue was officiated when KK was inaugurated as a city on 2nd
of February, 2000. To get to here, we walked all the way from the Esplanade,
passing Filipino market, Central Market and the Wet Market. That was about a 1.5km
Another 1km walk up north is the
Ferry Terminal to go to the island hopping. We walked up to estimate how far
will it take to walk from the ferry to our lodge before our island trip the
Air Night Market.
Well, we originally planned to buy
all of our souvenirs here but the night market was pretty disappointing. Nothing
much to be seen as all that’s being sold is clothing. More like the normal
night market in the Peninsular. So we had to ditch to have our dinner here.
Well, we walked back to the handicraft
market since we couldn’t find anything worth to buy at the night market. There are
a lot of reviews saying that buying souvenirs here are quite expensive but we’re
out of options and since we’re not buying a lot, I thought I’d be ok.
Here, I bought the I love KK shirt
for RM33, salt water pearl bracelet for RM35 and few brooches (1 dozen for
Lunch stop was at the same Anjung
Selera in Telipok and we headed directly to our first 2 stops in KK.
stop: Signal Hill Observatory.
This viewing platform is the place
for amazing views of the city and also the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. It is
located on top of the Bendera Hill. It is due to its location that we decided
to go to here first since we still have our rental car.
stop: Atkinson Clock Tower.
Close to the Observatory is the Atkinson
Clock Tower. The clock tower was built in the memory of the 1st
District Officer of Jesselton who died due to malaria. Built in 1903, this
structure survived the destruction of Jesselton town during WWII. It was built
with wood with no nails.
No operating hours restriction or entrance fess for both of the attractions.
The first thing that I checked after
waking up is the Peak; whether the clouds are there or not. Upon seeing that
the sky was clear, we checked out of Kiram around 7.45am. The journey
stop: Kinabalu Park.
Unfortunately, along the way from
Kundasang Town, I could see the clouds started to move in. By the time we
reached Kinabalu Park at 8.30am, the peak can no longer be seen. Hoping that the clouds will move
soon, we drove around the park to Timpohon Gate, the starting of Summit Trail
to Kinabalu Peak.
At the gate, a group of climbers was
stretching prior to their climb. Some snapshots here were all we took (u can’t
see the peak from her) and I saw that it’s only another 8km trail to reach the
peak from here. I actually thought that the trail is somewhere around 20-30km
up (but when I think again, Mt. Kinabalu is only about 4km up, so 30km doesn’t
make much sense hahaha!). Then I thought, maybe 8km climb is possible for me
too??? My cousin is very pumped and has officially added Mt. Kinabalu climb as
one of her things-to-do list.
When we arrive back to the viewing
platform at the reception office, the clouds has lessened but we can’t still
see the Peak constantly. So we went up to the Kinabalu Conservation Center for
a bit of Kinabalu history and profile.
Alhamdulillah, by the end of our
visit to the center, the clouds has moved and we finally got a chance for a
picture of Mt. Kinabalu peak from Kinabalu Park Viewing point. Satisfied, we
departed for KK at 10.45am.
On our way down to KK, we stopped by
the viewing area near Nabalu Town. Our last glimpse of Mt. Kinabalu for the
stop: Rumah Terbalik, Tuaran.
This time, the mission is to find
Rumah Terbalik. We were curious as to why we didn’t see the house at all on our
way to Kundasang. The note clearly said it’s on the way to Tamparuli so why the
heck didn’t we see it?
An hour later, once we reach the Tuaran road
near Tamparuli, we decided to stop by Shell petrol station. To do so, we need
to make a u-turn. Walla! There is the house just nearby!! No wonder we missed
it. The signboard saying “rumah terbalik” was dull but the restaurant and
restroom stop signages were more eye catching. I guess I quickly dismissed it
as rest stop when we first passed through there.
Anyways, we didn’t plan on going
into the house itself. I have read in few blogs that the entrance just around
the house is free but WTH, turned out that we need to pay RM5 for it (RM10 for
full access). Worst is that we weren’t even allowed to go around the house; just
the toilet, café and shop. What a bummer and cheating way to make money.
The journey from Kundasang town to
the Cattle farm took only 10mins. Now only we realized how steep our route is
as we couldn’t see the condition when we first arrived in Kundasang.
The farm is opened daily from 8am to
5pm but the milking is done once daily from 3pm to 5pm. There is a processing
tour as well every Tuesday and Thursday but since our visit was on Friday, we
can only observe the milking. We arrived at 2.30pm and the cows were already
lining up at the center. Before that, do mind the gravel road all the way from
the main junction to the center and stopped halfway to pay the RM4 entrance fee
Parking was quite limited and we’re
fortunate enough to have a spot opened for our car. There were a lot of people
around but it’s not too crowded. We head to the calf and kid pen first. There were
few calves and kids available to be feed by visitors. U can buy the milk and
the veggies there. The condition was pretty sad though, I don’t know why. Maybe
coz the youngsters look really starved. But these young Holstein Cow and Saanen
Goat were really adorable. Huge but adorable LOL.
Close to 3pm, we walked to the main
building where the milking took place. Visitor will watch from inside of the
building, directly across where the cows were lining up. Milking was done while
eating and each cow is attached to a glass container. I didn’t really stay
until the 1st round of cow was finished, so I don’t know how long
each milking process take but the cows don’t seem to be bothered.
A quick shop for milk, yogurt
ice-cream and some souvenirs marked the end of our visit to the farm. The ice
cream costs me RM4 but the milk is undoubtly the best I’ve ever tasted.
stop: Mesilau Nature Resort
Since it’s only 3.45pm, we drove on
to the ‘nearby’ Mesilau Nature Resort. Well, it’s only a 15mins drive from the
farm to the entrance of the Resort passing through the gold course. But another
10mins is needed from the gate to the resort. Plus, it was drizzling and again,
we seemed to be driving deeper into the forest. No more view of Mt. Kinabalu
and no one else was around. Even the booth at the gate where we're supposed to pay for the entrance fee has no one there.
The Mesilau Nature Park also serves
as the entry point to the Mesilau Trail—an alternative to the Summit Trail
(which starts from the Kinabalu Park HQ) to conquer Mount Kinabalu. Opening
hours is 9am to 4pm.
Well, it was quite odd coz when we
reached the Center, it is already closed. Apart from that, we weren’t able to
get a pic of the Mesilau Gate since there’re a bunch of trekkers BBQ-ing there
and we’re not kin to climb up to the gate. 3.45pm, we drove back to Kiram since
it’s getting dark and raining heavily; and we still have to drive out from the
KFC was calling for dinner and it’s
time to pack since we’re checking out early the next day.
After 40mins, we reached Kundasang
town at 1pm and headed to the nearby War Memorial.
stop: Kundasang War Memorial.
At the memorial gate, each of us
paid RM2 for the entry.
“Major G. S. Carter, D.S.O. (Toby Carter) a New Zealander employed with Shell Oil Co. (Borneo) initiated the building of the Memorial in 1962, together with the launching of Kinabalu Park; to commemorate the 2,428 Australian and British prisoners who died during World War IIat the Sandakan POW Camp, and the casualties of the three infamous forced death marches from Sandakan to Ranau. It also serves as a tribute to the many local people who risked their lives while aiding the prisoners of war. Only six Australians survived in this tragedy to tell their horror and there were no English survivors. It has four interlocking but separate gardens to represent the homelands of those who died: an Australian Garden, a formal English Garden of roses, a Borneo Garden with wild flowers of Kinabalu and at the top level is the 'Contemplation Garden' with a reflection pool and pergola.” – Wikipedia.
The walk up to the memorial is very serene. The location is very strategic at the small hill with the winds blowing slowly. On top, there is a small booth where the clippings, signs, photos of the history of the memorial. There is also a small shop, a café and Australian Memorial Hall to enable visitors to view WW2 Documentary Films for another small fee.
As stated, there are 4 gardens. Each garden was maintained regularly. The first garden u’ll find when u climbed up the stairs is the Australian Garden. Further climbed up is the English Garden. Behind the English Garden is the Borneo Garden and finally the Contemplation Garden. At the Contemplation garden, there are rows of plague will the names of the POWs who died during the dead marches. U can walk along the pergola or towards behind the garden to get a breath-taking view with Mount Kinabalu as the background.
We spent about an hour there and
decided to ‘tapau’ KFC for dinner
using the coupons we received from the petrol station in KK.
stop: Kelah Sanctuary, Kampung Luanti Baru, Ranau.
Take the same way out from the Hot
Spring towards Ranau. Do take note that if u search the direction from Poring
Hot Spring, Ranau to Kampung Luanti Baru, Ranau, Google map will show u
direction via Jalan Muruk Sendol. DO NOT USE THIS NAVIGATION. The road after
the roundabout doesn’t exist. We found it the hard way that after a while, it
became a dirt road and that road leads deeper into the palm plantation. Luckily
there was 1 villagers working along the road and we stopped to ask. We had to
drive all the way back and lost 30mins of driving time. So from the Hot Spring,
follow back the road towards Ranau and once u reached the A4 junction, take
right turn towards Telupid/Sandakan. It should take u only 30mins to get to the
11.30am we reached the Sanctuary
(left side of the road. Right before the sanctuary is the Sabah Tea Plantation).
Paid the RM5 entrance fee (for feet. Whole body is RM10) at the office cum
restaurant before proceeding to the back road. When u arrive, u’ll see the
famous signage, a canopy with chair and the ticket booth. Exchange the RM5
ticket there and pay additional RM3 for the camera (per group, so u bring a lot
of cameras but pay only RM3). The ticket stub will have a number there and the
lady at the counter will shout your name once u enter the riverside. U got
15mins starting from that point.
Here’s the thing, believe me 15mins
was enough. Neither of us dared to go too deep into the river. We just stood in
the water at ankle-deep and the fished swarmed us; pretty scary for a first
timer. And yes, we bought packets of food (20cent per pack) to feed the fishes
but don’t dared to feed them by hand hahahaha! We just threw the pallets (throw
SLOWLY as the fishes will kind of jumped at it). U’ll notice that the bigger
kelah will dominate the river. They’re huge and really fighting for the food. The
smaller yellowish kelah will just swim around and nibble at ur feet. Pity them
Like I said, 15mins was just nice
for us. We went up the river and were wearing our sandals when our number was
called for times up. Sure enough, our feet felt really cleaned and smooth after
the visit J
stop: Sabah Tea Plantation.
Tea plantation wasn’t in our initial
plan since we know that we can just go to Cameron. However, since it’s next
door, we decided to stop by. At the entrance, the gate is blocked but no
worries, the guard will let u in once he has taken ur car plate number. The road
is pretty much like in the BOH Plantation but it’s only a short drive to the
Personally, I was disappointed. The place
looked abandoned. The tea trees don’t look green enough and dry. There is no
information center or museum. You can’t walk through the factory without paying
for the tour. So basically u just wonder around on ur own, sit down for a tea
at the old looking café or buy some Sabah Tea/souvenirs at the shop.
15minutes were all we need, then off
to our next stop in next entry.
My day started at 6.30am. It’s
already bright and I went straight to our balcony to see the Peak. Yeay, it’s
clearly there!! No clouds blocking my view!! *grin* We found out that our next
door neighbor already outside, so we rushed out to take some photos out. Being
in Mesilau, we could see the almost all front and side sight of the mountain. It
was beautiful. Very near yet very far. I could clearly the walls of the
mountain (read as “wall” since it is a straight wall, no trees). The sun hasn’t
shined on yet so it has this gloomy-majestic look. I wonder if seeing peak of
Kinabalu already awe me like this, what will my respond be on seeing peak of
After having enough of photos, we
went in to get ready for our plan today. Today was the only full day we had in
Kundasang so we need to maximize the time.
stop: Poring Hot Spring & Canopy Walk.
After our serunding-sandwich breakfast, we departed from Kiram around 7.30am. Including a quick photo stop at the Kundasang Town (note: there is a morning market every Friday here), the journey to Poring took us about 50mins. We planned for the Canopy Walk
first before going to the Hot Spring. Actually, don’t be mistaken, both are
located in the same park. To go to the Canopy Walk, u need to walk thru the Hot
Spring area. Just follow the signage.
You need to pay aconservation fee of
RM3 for the Park (at the carpark entrance), another RM3 for the Canopy fee and
RM5 to bring your camera in (at the Canopy Walk entrance).
Here is a must if u decide to go to
the Canopy Walk:
- Determination to reach the canopy – it’s
not an easy walk. Yes, the first 400m walk from the hot spring area to the
canopy walk entrance is easy. Just like a typical flat walk in the jungle. But once
u go into the canopy walk area, u have to face another 550m hike up the hills. I
said DETERMINATION cause I don’t have the STAMINA but I can climb up slowly on
my own pace. This is one of the main reasons we decided to head to the canopy
walk the first thing in the morning. To avoid the crowd. Less people thru the
track and less people cramped out on the Walkway later.
- Bravery to face ur fear of height – my cousin
is afraid of height. But she is determined to go through. Of coz with some cold
sweats, drama and restrictions (only her in the section at a time to avoid the swinging
effect. Max is 6pax per section at a time), she managed to go from start to the
end J. U’ll
climb from lower point to the highest point and the section also gets longer
and longer. Don’t be afraid and don’t look down too much. The view is very
refreshing. I even managed to spot a bushy tailed huge squirrel (but no pics as
I was in the middle of the bridge when it passed by).
Lucky us, we’re the only souls at
the canopy Walkway all the time. Only on our way down we passed by a lot of
people starting to go up the track. After an hour there, we head down to the
hot spring area.
There weren’t a lot of people there.
Only few outdoor tubs were filled as well as the below pools. Since we were
lazy to get wet, we just dipped our feet into the hot water. Kire ok-lah after the climbed up the
canopy walk, kind of soothing. For those who wanted to take a long bath, there
are also closed pools for privacy. Plenty of toilet and shower room for a
change of clothes.
Nothing much to do other than that. The
information center was closed for construction so after a short dip, it’s time
for the next destination – Kelah Sanctuary.
made 2 months back. As usual, blog hopping saved me. My original plan was to
stay at J Residence but the place was fully booked so we opted for Kiram’s Village.
The location was further in at Mesilau. J Residence was along the mainroad
about 5mins to Kinabalu Park Entrance while Kiram’s Village is 15mins from
Mesilau Nature Resort. Do note that
Kinabalu Park is the starting point of Kinabaly Trail while Mesilau Nature Park
is the starting of Mesilau Trail. To-fro for these 2 places (J
Residence-Kiram’s) is about 30mins.
As forKiram's Village, u
can browse thru their web to get all the details (http://kirams-village.com/or fbhttps://www.facebook.com/KiramsVillageCabin).
This time, I directly called the owner instead of emailing him. I was thinking
of either Chilli or Onions since both rooms cater for 2pax. Cute kn name room?!? The owner, Mr.
Jamalul told me that the rooms are booked for our date but there are 2 new
rooms for 2pax being constructed at the time of conversation; namely, Potato
and Mushroom. The difference on the room is just the bedding, double vs 2
single beds. So of course we grabbed Potato (2-single-bed room) on the spot! Total
for 2nights is RM210. I’m not sure how it’s being charges as it’s 1 day w’day +
1 day w’end rate, maybe RM100+RM110.
When we checked
in, I love it! Everything is new and bathroom is spot clean. Most important,
water heater is working. There is a kettle and cups provided free. However,
there are no complimentary water or coffee here. There are a bunch of stuff u
can rent during your stay such as towel (RM5/piece), BBQ pit etc. They also
have in-house restaurant but we didn’t eat there so no comment on the food or
Being here it’s
like ure in overseas. The air smells crisp and fresh, the flowers very bright
and colorful. The cabins themselves are very pretty with theirs cute veggie
names (Chili, Onion, Broccoli, Carrot etc). I would definitely recommend it if
u decided to stay in Mesilau. Away from the noisy main road, closer to the
mountain. Ah! Desa Cattle Farm is only 5mins drive from the place J
This is our 2nd annual
trip for me and my cousin. Tickets were purchased about 6 months earlier for
RM360 inclusive of 25kg return-baggage for 2pax (so RM180 per pax). Turned out
that we don’t really need to buy too much of baggage allowance since our total
bags weighted only 16kg (and returned at 17kg). Flight from LCCT departed on
time at 11.05am and by 1.40pm we reached Kota Kinabalu.
KKIA building is very small; comparable
to the airport in Kuching and Labuan. But it has one flaw. The immigration hall
is way too small. It only has 6 foreign passport + 4 Malaysian passport + 1
staff counters. Very ironic that the foreigners counter is more compared for
Malaysians. We had to cramped to the 4+1 counters and the queue ended up until
outside towards the tarmac. Anyway, no need to wait for our bags since by the
time we cleared off, 30mins already passed.
Then, a drama unfolds. I already
made our car booking via online atsewabah.com. Perodua Viva Elite 1.0L at
RM85/day (RM170 for 2 days). In my email correspondence, we agreed to give them
a call once we’ve reached the airport on the 27th. I guess a part of
it was my mistake to not reconfirm with them a day earlier. The person in
charge was not reachable when I called from KKIA. There is no office number on
the website but there are few other contact numbers. I finally got hold and the
guy said that he’s not aware of my booking. This is really weird since I thought
it’s supposed to be in their database since there was a booking number upon
confirmation. But the guy said he’ll try to find me a Viva and he’ll give me a
call within 15mins.
After all the hassle, we finally
got a car around 3pm. Payment was settled on the spot and we made a deal on the
returning point near our accommodation in KK 2 days later. Off we go to our 1st
stop, Kundasang. Oh ya, while waiting we managed to savage few KK and kundasang
maps at the Sabah Tourism booth at the arrival hall. No maps were given by the
car rental but then, this is Malaysia so we weren’t worried. GPS helps a lot
My cousin was the driver for 2
days. She said she preferred to drive rather than figuring the road hahaha :p
We had to drive though KK town. We
were quite surprised at the traffic. It’s already jammed although it’s only
3.30pm. It wasn’t even rush hours yet! At first, we planned to stop by near the
UMS for lunch and to pack food for dinner. But for some reason, we couldn’t
find any roadside stall in that area. So we opted for Anjung Rasa at Putrajaya,
Telipok (~30mins from KK). You will not miss this restaurant as it is exactly
by the main road. There is a market nearby as well as a small Giant (where we
bought our water supply).
Based on my blog-hopping, the
route was simple. Just followKK ->
Tuaran -> Tamparuli -> Ranau. But there was a bit of confusion there.
You don’t really need to go through Tamparuli IF you DON’T WANT TO VISIT THE
SUSPENSION BRIDGE. You can just go straight at the roundabout (instead of
taking the 3 o’clock exit) to go to Kundasang. Our initial plan was to drop by
the Rumah Terbalik today and the suspension bridge on our back later on. But it
turned up the other way around. We found the suspension bridge unsuspectedly
after we followed the signboard to Tamparuli (we were searching for Rumah
Terbalik at that point).
Aqua square is the Rumah Terbalik (which we missed on).
Red route - if u don't want to visit the suspension bridge
Blue route - route to the suspension bridge
Yellow box - Tamparuli Suspension Bridge
Some photo session here and there,
we then move on to our main destination. At that point, it’s already 4.30pm. You
can either take the blue colored route or return back. We followed back the route to the same roundabout. If you follow the blue route, you’ll end up to
the roundabout with the pineapple statue. If u take the red route, this
pineapple roundabout is the 2nd roundabout u’ll pass through.
Anyway, we started the climb
towards Kundasang soon after. The road wasn’t bad as I thought it’d be. It is
exactly like the road up to Cameron Highlands. But the view was breathtaking. There
were plenty of passing lanes but it started to rain so with Viva, we just take
our own sweet time driving. We didn’t manage to stop at Pekan Nabalu since it’s
already dark so we drove straight to Kundasang instead. Somewhere on the way up,
we spotted a rest area but we gave it a pass as well.
To reach our accommodation, Kiram’s
Village, we have to drive pass Kinabalu Park towards Kundasang Town. U’ll reach
a roundabout, take the 9 o’clock exit and then go straight at the 2nd
roundabout. The shops should be on your right, as well as the Kundasang War
Memorial. The signboard at the 1st roundabout was way too small to
be seen at night. There are no road lamps so we actually missed the turned. We stopped
at the front to take our 1st Kinabalu pics although the sun already
sets. It’s dark but you can still see the shape of the peak.
If you didn’t see Kiram’s
signboard at the Kundasang town, don’t worry. You mayfollow any of these signs:
Desa Cattle Farm, Mesilau Nature Park, or Kundasang/Mesilau Golf Course (there
is only 1 golf course in the area).
The drive after the 2nd
roundabout near the War Memorial was steeper and darker. U’ll pass thru the
village area and after maybe a 15mins drive, u’ll see a junction to the left
towards the Desa Cattle Farm. Go straight and u’ll make your way down towards
the small wooden bridge (u’ll seriously feel like you’re in the middle of the
jungle here). Don’t worry, just drive passes the bridge and u’ll reach
Kg.Mesilau. Take a left turn at the junction and after that u’ll see Kiram’s
Village on your right. If u still couldn’t find the place, gv them a call
hehehehe ; )
All in all, we reached Kiram at
6.30pm. In the dark, I could see Kinabalu’s peak behind us. I’m excited to
actually see it at daytime the next day! Dinner was banana fritters and maggi. When
we first get in the room, it’s a bit warm. But wait for a while, it gets really
cold and we slept like a log at 10pm hahahaha. Long john + socks + long sleeve
shirt + sweater + long pants really helps….