Sunday, April 26, 2015

Kota Kinabalu - Day 2 of My Journey to East Malaysia

As it was already dark when we arrived at Kota Kinabalu (KK) the day before, we took the opportunity to explore the surrounding areas of Jesselton Hotel under the bright daylight on day two instead of planning for a full day trip.

However, it was too sunny for our liking as my lazy companion decided to sleep in and only woke up at about 9am! Nevertheless, my objective was clear; to check the route to Jesselton Point!

Aside from Mount Kinabalu, KK was also blessed with a marine park consisting of five islands for beach lovers. To get to the marine park, Jesselton Point with its jetty was the best way for the general public. To read more on Jesselton Point, click here.

Checking out Suria Sabah; one of the few modern shopping centres in KK which was also in superbly close proximity to Jesselton Hotel.

In addition to retail and dining outlets, Suria Sabah had cinemas, amusement centres, karaoke lounges and even a library! I endeavoured to watch a few movies in KK as i had reserved plenty of free time!

Library @ Suria - boasting a good view of KK tourist district, it lacked only a small sized cafe like Galileo Cafe in Singapore's public libraries! Don't you just love sipping a cup of coffee overlooking a good view while reading a good novel? Well, i do!

A proverb by the great man, Confucius. In contemporary times, i am sad to say that reading is the last thing on most people's mind; playing games and watching videos have taken precedence in the internet age we live in.

The lack of a cafe in the library can be remedied; there's another appropriate place in Suria Sabah. Do check out the food court on level three.

Instead of a city view, i bet you would be as glad to have a sea view! Right ahead of us was the largest island of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park; Gaya Island.

It was lesser known for its pristine beaches and the island was in fact notorious for its illegal settlement consisting of stilt houses as seen in the above picture.

Graffiti House across Suria Sabah - the arena for colourful street art! Click here for the separate posting. 

Right opposite Suria Sabah was an old mall backpackers and free and easy travellers should take note of; Wisma Sabah (Wisma means home in Malay).

There's a high concentration of tour agencies and this should be the first point of contact for new travellers. I don't think it is necessary to book online for day tours as prices could be much cheaper here and there were more unique offerings. 

Popped by another shopping mall; Wisma Merdeka and this would be the place where you can sign up for a data plan! I eventually settled for hotlink which had a basic RM 25 plan for overseas calls and data and topped up RM 15 for extra data. Do keep in mind that your passport would be required for registration your payment would be subject to the recently implemented 6% goods and services tax.

Using a stapler-like device, the SIM card was cut into the smaller micro-SIM format so that it can be fit into my iPhone. It was almost like watching a technical session at school with cutting and filing! 

Map for your reference. 

Was supposed to walk over to the central market and Filipino market but it was honestly too hot! We cut short our walk as our tummies were grumbling for brunch! Guess what we had! 

Kentucky fried chicken! At one time, i thought Malaysian KFC had fallen into the same predicament as Singapore but it seemed like the ones in East Malaysia were unaffected.

Paid about S$10 for two sets of snack plate (2 pieces of chicken, coleslaw, whipped potato, a soft bun and a cup of drink); chicken was seasoned well and the bun with small pockets of custard kaya was extremely yummy! 

Time to digest the meal even though our relaxing stroll was more to make a round back to Jesselton Hotel where we had to prepare for our day trip at 1pm. 

Melimewa The Store - you can get your usual supermarket stuff here although i found the prices to be on the high side. A pack of Old Town 3-in-1 white coffee was priced similarly to Singapore.

Other end of the Gaya Street which featured a simple Chinese styled arch signalling the entrance to the avenue that had been the centre of business in KK for more than a hundred years.

Unfortunately, World War 2 had destroyed almost all the buildings and there was an obvious lack of character among the "new" buildings, unlike the old town in Ipoh

A pretty nice water fountain in the middle of Gaya Street. Be careful when you take pictures as it was also a roundabout for vehicles! 

Those who wished to purchase local food stuffs (Sabah coffee, tea, snacks etc) can drop by the many souvenir shops located in the vicinity of Gaya Street. Do note that the prices might not be as cheap as you thought. 

An uncommon way for displaying pamphlets; on the ceiling beam! From a marketer's point of view, it attracted attention yet exposure would be minimal as not many people would stop and stare with their heads tilted up along a narrow walkway. 

Starting our day tour for the Proboscis Monkey River Cruise & Fireflies Tour

Hotel Shangri-La that was a far cry from the Shangri-La we know of. Guess this hotel wasn't under the same company proud of their five-starred lodging! 

The tour bus drove past another area on mainland Sabah that had stilted houses. One of my major regrets from this recent KK trip was not signing up for a local city tour which might bring us to the interesting settlement. 

We finally got going after the coach had picked up everyone who signed up for the tour. According to our friendly tour guide, Ken, it would about two hours depending on traffic condition as the further away we were from KK, the narrower the road which was shared with slower moving vehicles. 

Stopped by a petrol kiosk for us to take a pee! Don't just take a pee; check out the convenience store to hoard on snacks you can have on the coach. 

Continuing our journey which brought back fond memories of my carefree childhood when i stayed in a kampong till 1986. 

Contrary to popular assumption, East Malaysia has a large Christian following and this can be seen from the many signboards leading to churches. 

Padi fields, i think.

Borneo island was notoriously known in Singapore as the place contributing to the annual haze situation in Singapore and i could not help being reminded when i saw remnants of burnt forests along the drive.

Chinese cemetery.

Cruised past a railway track; if not for the limited time whenever i am overseas, i would have loved to join my friend, Andrew, in his train-ride expedition! 

Chinese temple; surprisingly, i didn't visit any religious dwelling in this KK trip. There is a higher likelihood of being doing so if i am with my mom. 

Most houses in KK were like some of the black and white houses in Singapore; on elevated beams which could because it would make the house more cooling for its occupants.

Muslim cemetery. 

For details of the Proboscis Monkey River Cruise & Fireflies Tour along Garama River, click here. No other activity as we arrived back at Jesselton Hotel at about 10.30pm! 

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