Priscilla, our guide for this day trip to Kinabalu Park and Poring Hot Spring, warned us that the drive up to Kinabalu Park would be similar to navigating the winding roads at Cameron Highland and i braced myself by bringing along a few plastic bags; you know, just in case i need to purge.
Turned out it wasn't that bad and i reached the first leg of our journey, Nabalu Market, with a full bladder instead. For non mountain enthusiasts like me, this should be a place you mustn't miss when you visit Kota Kinabalu.
Reason being Kota Kinabalu was best known for its majestic Mount Kinabalu and Nabalu Market happened to provide a panoramic view of the mountain that was most importantly, accessible by motor vehicles.
Pity the top was enveloped by a thick layer of cloud, lending an aura of mystery to the mountain considered as sacred and spiritual by the local tribes.
On a clear, cloudless day, you might be blessed with sightings of the four main peaks of Mount Kinabalu; Alexandra, Low's, St John's and South. Shockingly, Low's Peak is the highest point at 4,095.2 meters.
A panoramic picture for the sake of proving i was there. Honestly, i did consider climbing the mountain but knowing how accident prone i am, there is a higher likelihood i would kill myself. In addition, i could vividly remember my torturous non-summit hike up South Korea's Hallasan!
One of the mountain villages; i have always imagined this would be the ideal place to retire and i have already identified a few places! At the moment, rank number one is Nantou county where Cingjing farm is located.
Enough of the scenery; let's proceed to the market.
There were quite a few buildings although it was obvious that they were catered for the lucrative tourist sector; i was expecting to see a local market with fishes gasping for breath on a tray of ice and hanging pig heads.
The adventurous me would have climbed up the tower for a much better vantage spot to take photographs and i would have done so if not for the big "no-entry" sign.
Back to the market - you can find local cultural handicrafts, nuts, magnets, key chains, small packs of grains and even fruits! I was thinking if the pineapples are the super sweet species known as Sarawak Pineapples.
If you ask me, i would very much prefer the market at Cameron Highlands which was more a famer's market where you can get fresh vegetables and flowers.
Stalls at Nabalu were closely packed with one another and i didn't venture inside as we were given limited time. It also did seem that products were pretty much the same across stalls.
My eyes were instead captivated by the beautiful, breathtaking landscape behind the buildings.
A good retirement plan would entails buying one of the stalls facing the mountain; doing business is secondary and the main priority is to get a comfortable chair overlooking the impressive sight.
Would you dare to buy cut fruits when you are overseas? I have had quite a few bouts of food poisoning and i am always cautious when it comes to purchasing cut fruits from this kind of stall. Kaoz, the pineapples looked so yellow; must be damn sweet!
Another building; i didn't manage to cover all the buildings and regretted not hurrying along to check out one that was filled with souvenir stalls!
Magnets and keychains again; you could find plenty of them at cheaper prices at Gaya Street Sunday Market although you may wish to note that quality can be an issue. Choose carefully!
Trinkets; one of the few things i would not buy back as souvenirs for family and friends. The other things include clothes, shoes, bags, watches etc.
Almost bought the mini guitar for the kids!
Bananas of varying sizes.
Alex and i pondered for a while on nylon-net thingy; we initially thought they were fish nets but who the hell would fish on a mountain?! Maybe as net for volleyball? It eventually dawned on us that they were hammocks!
Those afraid of dogs might want to keep in mind of the many dogs we chanced upon at Nabalu market; they were generally harmless and would ignore you unless you are holding on food.
The most amazing thing happened to me; a tiny ladybird landed on my finger! Isn't it weird that the last time i saw a ladybird (after a long hiatus) was also at a mountain. Maybe it's a sign.
For the summarised itinerary of my 7 days, 6 nights Kota Kinabalu (Sabah) trip, please click here.