A Travellerspoint blog

October 2018

2018 OCT 20 - 22 - MALAYSIAN BORNEO - Kota Kinabalu


sunny 30 °C

Hello Blog Readers!

Yes, I am still on the same 2018 trip, just have not been writing or keeping a blog for the last few months. My last blog was when Mitch and I were about to fly out of France to Malta at the end of July after our bike ride. If you follow me on Facebook you would have seen we had a fabulous time in Malta and Gozo Islands during August. I never do a blog while in Malta as it is always the part of my travels that is all holiday and relaxation. We met up with Dolly and Trish in Malta and also had a great day with Andreia and Lena who called in for one day off their cruise ship.

After Malta, Mitch and I flew to Portugal mid August. We again met up with Andreia and Lena in Porto and spent a week travelling with them in our hire cars. It had been 20 years since Mitch and I had worked at Lisbon Expo 1998 and this visit to Portugal was a bit of an anniversary trip. We visited old places we had been before and a few new places. Again, if you follow me on Facebook you would have seen all the photos etc. We had a car for 3 weeks, then spent a week in Lisbon re-visiting the city we knew so well many years ago.

We ended our time in Europe with a 4 day stopover in Northern Italy. A few days by Lake Maggoire was amazing - photos on Facebook. These couple of days really gave a taste of how beautiful this part of the country is. I hope to return again and explore the other Italian lakes and the surrounding area one day.

So, that brings us to the last week in September when we flew from Europe to Asia. We again met up with Dolly and spent just over 3 weeks travelling through Cambodia, another favourite of mine and if you did follow on Facebook you would have seen a lot of eating and drinking was the time consumer in this county.

I did not keep a blog for these last few months as I was either too lazy, or did not want to write again about places I have previously been and shared. However today a new adventure and a new destination begins which I am happy to share with you all if you are interested in following us. Malaysian Borneo is a destination I have not yet visited, and although it is the wet season and we are sure to have some rainy days, we also hope to discover new and interesting sights.

Thursday 18th October we, Dolly, Mitch & I, flew from Phnom Penh in Cambodia to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. Just a quick 2 night stopover before Mitch flying home back to Australia on the 20th and Dolly & I flying to Kota Kinabula to meet up with Miss April and Miss Robyn who flew in from Australia.

**********28 DAYS IN SABAH & SARAWAK**********

Saturday 20th October 2018 – day 114 KL to KK

An early morning start, we were in the taxi to the airport from our Chinatown hotel by 7.30am. It's a good hours drive to the airport and as Mitch's flight back to Brisbane departure time was 10.30 am we had to be there by 8.30 am for him to check in. Our flight, Dolly's and mine, to Kota Kinabalu was due to depart at 11.15 am, a little later but we all caught the same taxi (110 myr = aud $37.15). Of course we were leaving from different terminals so we dropped Mitch off first. I hope he had a good time during the last few months of travelling around, but I think he was happy to be on his way home.

Terminal 2 was just 5 minutes further and the driver dropped Dolly and I off and requested an additional payment to the 100 myr he quoted. I passed him an extra 10 myr and he seemed to be happy with that. We had a little time to kill but were able to check in our bags straight away, which we did then headed to Maccas for some breakfast. We chose Maccas as we'd had a request from Robyn to collect some salt sachets which we may need later to remove any leeches which may attach themselves to us while in Borneo. Ok, good handful of salt sachets later and we were ready for our flight.

Air Asia flight from KL to KK was just under 3 hours long. We landed about 10 minutes ahead of schedule at about 1.45pm. It was hot, with a cloudy blue sky - a lovely welcome to Borneo for us.
Immigration added to our Malaysian entry stamp with 'Sabah entered 20-10-2018'. We collected our bags, and purchased a taxi voucher (30 myr = aud $10.13) flat rate out of airport, no meters are used, so I was advised. Our pre-booked apartment was about 15 minute drive from the airport. Lucky there was a guy there to meet us and give the keys and show the 2 bedroom apartment. All good, home of next 3 nights - 747.10 myr = aud $252.34.
I sent a message to April & Robyn (who arrived last night and spent the night in a nearby hotel) that we had arrived and to come on over. They caught a taxi and soon we were all sitting around chatting, catching up.
The Marina Court Condo has a washing machine and I was already putting that to use as we sat around talking. Just before it got dark we decided to head out to find a supermarket to get some supplies. After a little walking around we were finally given directions to a supermarket where we were able to purchase breakfast supplies (tray of 30 eggs which Dolly will be turning into poached eggs over the next 3 mornings), bread, milk etc.

And of course some much needed mixer for our duty free drinks we all had purchased.
On the way to the market we had passed a seafood restaurant which had tanks full of the sea creatures you could order off the menu. Not going to get any fresher than that. Robyn and I shared 5 mud crabs for 25 myr = aud $8.44, they were a little small by Australia standards but they were yummy, we opted for just boiled, no chilly or ginger or garlic to spoil the taste of the crustaceans. April ordered garlic prawns small and ended up with 1/2 kilo of the freshly cooked buggers for 37 myr = aud $12.50 and Dolly ordered sweet and sour chicken 17 myr = aud $ 5.74 - she doesn't like seafood. But I do, and if this is any indication of the seafood in Borneo then I am going to be very happy eating here.

We are of course here to see nature and the animals that are only here in Borneo.

After dinner we returned to the condo to enjoy some duty free drinks.

Sunday 21st October 2018 – day 115 Kota Kinabalu

We woke up to wet streets, so it had obviously rained during the night. None of us heard it and the sun was shining brightly by the time we all got up. Dolly cooked us all poached eggs for breakfast from the massive tray of eggs we purchased last night. One of many an egg meal we will be enjoying over the next couple of days.

There is a market every Sunday in Kota Kinabalu that we walked to this morning. The market sold an assortment of things, from touristy to food to kittens and puppies in tiny cages. There was a few people walking around the markets but it was not too crowded.
After about an hour of wandering around the market we were hot and exhausted, so headed a few blocks away to a huge shopping mall, an air conditioned shopping mall.
We found a food court and had some lunch, then wandered around inside the cool a little longer.

A few more blocks away was the public jetty where boats leave to visit the nearby islands. We are thinking about doing a day trip tomorrow so walked up there to see what was available. A day trip to 2 islands was ok priced until we were advised about the 'island terminal' which doubled the price of the day trip. I think we are still going to do it as it works out to about $20 each for the day.

It had been raining a little while we were inside the shopping mall, but we managed to walk back to the condo without getting wet. It did not rain again until late in the afternoon, with a good downpour just before 6pm.

We spend the afternoon watching movies on TV and sitting around. Too lazy to head outside in the wet for some dinner, we got Dolly to whip us up some scrambled eggs for dinner, putting a dent in the tray of eggs.

Big walking day today, everyone did over their 10,000 fitbit steps.


Monday 22nd October 2018 – day 116 Kota Kinabalu nearby islands

We had a great day today, up early to enjoy Dolly's poached eggs for breakfast before embarking on our day of island hopping.

A tout had approached us yesterday trying to sell boat trips, so we advised we would be back in the morning. His deal was as good as the others we had spoken to during our walk up to the boat jetty, but this guy was a lot closer to our condo so we didn't have to walk far. He managed to upsell to us and for just a couple of dollars extra each we could hire a private boat for 200myr = $68 to take us to 2 separate islands of our choice and more or less we could dictate the departure times.
The weather looked a little overcast, but it had not rained this morning as yet, and we hoped it would get brighter as the day grew.

Our first island of choice was Palau Sapi, April had read about an interisland zip line that she was interested in doing. It was around 10 when we arrived and there were already people on the beach and more in the water mostly snorkelling. This island is the most popular choice for people who are just doing one island, I think it may be the closest one or the fastest to get to one. Anyway, we found our bit of sand for our belongings and headed for the water, which was a nice temperature, not too warm, still refreshing. April did not come in as she wanted to stay dry for her zip line in 30 minutes. After a cool off, we exited the water and promptly returned with our face mask snorkels. Ok, so we may look like aliens in these things, but they are the best to snorkel with and the easiest to use as Dolly soon discovered when giving Aprils a try for the first time. She has now added this item to her xmas wish list (hope you're reading this Sarina!).
There were lots of fish to been seen just here off the beach.

April went off to do her zip line, she was taken in a boat to the nearby Gaya Island and zipped across the water back to Sapi Island. I walked over to the jetty to see if I could see her, and managed to photograph everyone except April going across. (sorry :-() Below picture is the gap between the two islands with the zip line going across.


11.30am we returned to the jetty for our boat to take us to the next island, Palau Mamutik. This is the one that many of the touts advised was best for snorkelling as there is lots of coral just off the beach. By the time we left Sapi beach was very crowded and even more people in the water which made snorkelling very difficult trying not to swim into someone. Mamutik was only about 15 minutes away by boat, the sea was a little choppy and we did get a little splashed.
First things first, we decided to have lunch before we tried the beach here. We were greeted by a small water monitor that was eating a stolen prawn from somewhere and had lunch in the small restaurant that was hiding behind the big dinning area used for the 45 myr buffet. Our lunch was under 15 myr each.

After lunch we all walked over to the beach for a swim and snorkel. Wow, the fish life here was amazing. So many fish, and lots of different types and colours and shapes. It was great, unfortunately my underwater camera battery was flat so could not take any pictures. Just 2 metres off the beach was lots of coral and swarming with fish. The snorkel masks are great, the fish come right up to the glass and tap on it. Freaked me out at first but then was quite fun. The little buggers like to have a bit of a nibble on us occasionally too, a particular hungry fish biting my arm and drawing blood. All good, nothing too savage, these are not piranha fish.

The afternoon had turned into a beautiful hot sunny day and all of us got a little sun burnt. The water was lovely and so clear.


We called the boat back in to collect us at about 2.30pm. It is notorious that the weather usually turns bad around 3-4 and we did not want to be on the water when that happened as the waves would get quite big which would mean a rough ride back.

The washing machine got a good workout on our return to the condo. Everything as in towels, sarongs, clothing and togs needed to be laundered and hung up to dry before tomorrow when we check out of here. With the machine going we realized we had not used the condo swimming pool as yet and it was now or never. Caught the lift back down and spent about an hour down by the pool. It was huge and very clean. We naughtily used it to rinse the salty water from our bodies.

After the 2nd load of washing was washed and hung out to dry, we headed out to find some dinner. First off we needed to get a local sim card for my phone so we would be able to use GRAB (same as UBER) to get back to the airport tomorrow and to use for other transport in other locations. Because taxis are very cheap here and distances in towns are very short, the drivers refuse to put on the meter which means we get grossly overcharged for any taxi ride. Well this stops now with using the GRAB app, no more overinflated priced rides. We found a phone shop and I asked the young guy to put the sim into my phone and set it up. We purchased some extra credit and when we returned to the condo I tested out the GRAB app and it all seemed to be working. Lets hope there is someone up early tomorrow to take us to the airport.

We opted for dinner in the food court of the mall where we bought the sim. Dined at Borenos - which is the Borneo equivalent of KFC, but much cheaper and they use loads more garlic. 3 pieces of chicken, coleslaw, mash potato with gravy and drink for 14.75myr = $4.99.DSCN2481.JPG

We were lucky today, it didn't actually rain until after we had dinner and it was only a light shower that we had to walk home in.

So, that was our first few days in Borneo. Tomorrow we take a short flight to Sandakan - to the east coast - to where the wildlife hopefully will present itself.

Posted by Cindy Bruin 07:53 Archived in Malaysia Tagged sabah Comments (3)

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