Monday, June 22, 2015

Signal Hill Observatory Tower / Platform & the Signal Hill Jungle Trek Trail @ Kota Kinabalu [Sabah]

Background Story 
the Signal Hill Observatory Tower / Platform was touted as a tourist attraction but some of the online reviews were so scathing; i totally didn't want to spend my precious time going there! 

I would not if not for the freed up morning time on the last day of my KK trip. The walk wasn't comfortable under the bloody hot sun although we persevered all the way; so glad that pampered Alex was in a rather good mood and didn't complain much. 

Shall share more about the journey up the observatory on day seven of the KK itinerary. Anyway, on first impression, i must say my verdict was aligned with the online reviewers who gave a low rating. 

The view, however, was breathtaking; i gave my head a knock and lamented i should have visited earlier as i bet the change from day to night at sunset would no doubt be extremely spectacular!

Built precariously on the edge of a cliff, i am hoping its structure remains sound after the shocking Sabah earthquake a few weeks ago.

One of two circular pods at the platform, i could not find any reliable information on when the structure was built although it gave out an aura of familiarity to the rocket tower in Singapore; likely constructed in the same period.

Those hoping to catch the sunset may consider sitting at the benches next to the platform. Safety wise, i thought it was a better option too. 

According to a local Sabahan (yes Mit, i am referring to you), this observatory was more popular at night with many young locals dropping by at the cafe to gaze at the night view of the city and simply, to chill out.

Some might disagree with me but i thought it was quite worth my effort to trek all the way to this place, despite losing my way a few times. Purposely, by the way. 

On a moody day, this would be the kind of place that would assist me to recollect myself, pick up the pieces and be optimistic for a better tomorrow. 

Smoking was allowed! For a non smoker, we were so used to having smoke-free premises that we tend to forget it isn't the case in many countries! 

Don't you just love zoomed / telephone lens!? This was Wisma Merdeka in the picture and behind it, past the water, was Pulau Gaya of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park!

A very tall multi-storey carpark! It was actually very near to Jesselton Hotel; basically just across the small road where our hotel room faced. 

Roundabout although i would like to draw your focus to the Nishiki Japanese Restaurant where the van was parked; which was said to be the oldest Japanese restaurant in KK. Be warned, service was renowned for being slow. 

Signal Hill Observatory Tower / Platform was marketed as the highest point in Kota Kinabalu city but i beg to differ; the white house as shown in the photo was way higher! 

Alex with the Sabah state flag; adopted in 1988, it featured the silhouette of Mount Kinabalu!

We walked up using the hard way from Atkinson Clock Tower and decided to check out Signal Hill trail instead on our way back! We also factored in time savings as the foot of this trail would likely be in close proximity to Jesselton Hotel.

Loving the downward walk! 

An appropriate shelter in the middle of the jungle trek in case it rains; give me a hundred bucks and i doubt i would use the shelter when night falls! Damn, i noted the upward climb for the staircase at the back.

Thank god the staircase was downward sloping after that! In your haste to get out of the trail, which was done in less than five minutes, do be mindful of the "dangers".

Missing and broken wooden planks! I am unsure how well lit the trail would be at night so please do exercise caution! 

Landed safely and we were right; right ahead of us was Jesselton Hotel

This was taken at the start of the jungle trek at the foot hill where you could still take a pretty good look of the Signal Hill Observatory Tower / Platform. 

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Location
Jalan Bukit Bendera, 88400 Kota Kinabalu, 
Sabah, Malaysia

How to Get There On Foot
I would recommend the jungle trek near Jesselton Hotel as it saved a lot of time and was safer (less chance of being hit by a speeding car) although you may consider the longer way if you decide to check out Atkinson Clock Tower as well.

Map
As a show of comparison, do refer to the two trails we took as demarcated above; blue signifies the signal hill jungle trek trail while yellow denotes the route we took from Atkinson Clock Tower.


For the summarised itinerary of my 7 days, 6 nights Kota Kinabalu (Sabah) trip, please click here

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