Thursday, March 3, 2011

Budget Trip to Kota Kinabalu (KK)_Part 1

BP and I just came back from Kota Kinabalu (KK) yesterday. And today, way back to WORK! Oh boy, i just can't wait to blog about our 4 days 3 nights stay at KK. Comparing to Kuching, we went to less places but more driving this time..seriously, a lot of driving(s)!! Anyhow, i personally like KK more than Kuching. There are lots of surprises and unexpected events in this trip. I just love them! Overall, we spent only RM500/pax which, included the airticket (thankss to AirAsia =)), accommodations, transportation and food, plus car petrol. So cheap!! We did not do much planning this time though we had booked our airtickets a few months back, but thanked God, everything went out was indeed a memorable travelling experience!

Since there was only 1 flight/ day from Penang to KK, it was about 10.30pm by the time we reached the newly renovated/ extended Terminal 2 of KKIA which caters for AirAsia flights only. Terminal 1 is for MAS and FireFly. Don't get confused ya:) My newly-wed USM coursemate, Jonathan and his wife, Elize picked us from the airport. So nice of them! I realised it was a short distance from the airport to the KK town ~around 10 mins drive. Days before, Jon had booked us a 3-nights stay at a service apartment (Promenade) which is situated right at the heart of KK town. Here's the room -->
Not bad for a price of RM81.20/night

Well equipped apartment!
Weekdays mean working days!! Jon couldn't accompany us throughout the whole trip, but nevertheless, he (and Elize) tried to find time to meet us for dinner. That was good enough :) Anyway, there was nothing much on the first day. Jon gave us a car tour, guided us the routes in KK town, showed us shopping malls one after another, and pointed/recommended certain highlighted places to us.

Day 2

We woke up early ~8am even though we had turned off our hp alarm (we thought we can sleep better and well rested the next day).. Yes, I did slept well but BP had sleepless night (hohohoo he dreamt of ghost~~~again). Promenade apartments are just right behind their hotels. Jon asked us to find his friend, A****y who is working there to help us to arrange our transportation and tour plan. But after browsing through the brochures with different kind of tour packages, BP thought we could get a better deal elsewhere, not in this 4- stars- hotel. This trip would just be a light and easy one, since we had no plans in climbing the Mount Kinabalu. After leaving the hotel, we had our breakfast in a local coffee shop, I can't remember the name. But if you can spot Cititel Express Hotel, then you are able to spot this coffee shop too. I had a bowl of kway chap (flat rice noodle with braised pork meat + internal pork organ -stomach, intestines etc), a pork noodle i would say...., and yum yum It was delicious! i wish i can have a bowl of it right now. BP ordered a plate of kan lau noodle (dry noodle). To me, it looked more like wan tan mee in Penang or kolo mee in Kuching. Delicious pork soup noodle (RM5) =)

BP's dry noodle with char siew (RM4), so so only~

After breakfast, we went to Cititel Express Hotel to ask about their car rental. We finally decided to rent a Kancil(M) for Rm100 per day with deposit of Rm200 (It's only RM80 in Kuching, S'wak). This little Kancil was superbly good. Frankly, it is so much better than my WIRA at home! I could not ask for more! And guess what?!, BP's license has expired without his knowledge! Supposedly, I had to be the driver, but..ahem ahem he still d****. Without further ado, we headed to the Kinabalu National Park with the help of Sabah maps and a hand phone gps.. Hurray!! We were excited like small kids !! it was about 11am, when we started our journey, after filling up the petrol.

It was a bit difficult to read the maps at first as, the ones that we had only covered the KK town, until we finally found a complete map of Sabah in the car !! Interestingly, we came across UMS. We heard a lot about how beautiful this place is, and since we were already there, we went in without hesitations. We were lucky that the security guards did not stop us. They never bother to check Kancils, i guess. This university is HUGE with beautiful views of the South China Sea. Amazing...Out from the university, we saw 1Borneo (the shopping complex) and Tune Hotel. Afraid that we might get lost, I asked for directions at Tune Hotel. Tony the receptionist, drew me a map. Very simple map indeed> From Tune Hotel, go straight until you reach the 2nd traffic light--> turn right--> go straight until the T- junction--> turn left--> go straight passing Tuaran-->then turn right to Ranau-->go straight and you'll see the Kinabalu Park. Sounds easy, but hah, it took us ~ 1.5hours to reach to the park.

The roads are winding but wider than Cameron Highland roads. Very exciting and adventurous, but i did felt tensed up as i needed to overtake cars and lorries that were slow. I haven't been driving a Manual car for quite some time, pardon me..And worse still, the gps could not find the map to the national park and the signboards in Sabah is so ChipsMore, now you see, now you don't!! huh?! What do you mean? Well, let me explain. The signboards are only displayed when you are almost reaching the top..Imagine how happy we were when we saw the signboards! Finally, we knew we were on the right track! =) The entrance fee to the Kinabalu National Park is only Rm3 (for Malaysian)/but for non- Malaysian it is Rm15. Both of us forgot to bring our sweaters. This place is on a hilly area, so it's coldddd!! On our first attempt to capture a picture of us with the most spectacular view behind us(the reason we went there), a lady dressed in a mount climbing wear, offered to take pic for us. So thoughtful of her..

Mount KK and us ^^
There was a restaurant situated inside the park. We thought of having our lunch there but to our surprise, they offered a lunch buffet for a whopping price of RM50.50. They shouldn't have charged that high. Mount KK Trails(above pic).. i like this 'take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints'. This was the place we met the sporting lady again, who helped us to take our photos earlier on. Without thinking twice, i asked her if she would like to join us for lunch. Since she was alone and waiting to check- in to her hostel at 2pm, she was delighted to join us. Kathy, was her name and she's from Australia. Walking out from the entrance, we saw a restaurant on the other side of the road. The food price was comparable with the food in KK town. We had fried rice and fried mee mamak. Kathy had a plate of rice with mixed vege in oyster sauce. Sorry, we were too busy eating and chit chatting, no photographs were taken hahaa. It was indeed fun having her around.
Welcome to Malaysia, Kathy!

By the time we finished our lunch, the rain started to drizzle and the weather was getting colder. Kathy offered me her cardigan which i needed it so badly. Though it was raining, we insisted to track at least a short trail in Kinabalu Park. We bought raincoat (RM8 each) but it was not helping at all.

Beautiful rafflesia and us, in raincoats ^0^

Stay tuned...To be continued...

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