Mt. KinabaluGoing to Sabah was destined to be an adventures trip. All I did to organize this trip from the start was to reserve a hotel in KK for the time of after our arrival some time at night. But already o nour way my choice was questioned "In our list the hotel is only listed 2 stars or below - and it will cost some 140 RM for the three of us?" Well, and I thought I was the person who was in need to keep his money together. But searching for the cheapest rate and trying to cut a good deal seems to be a widespread german disease (how else could discounters like Media Markt advertise on slogans like "Geiz ist geil"?). Anyway, we arrived at KK Airport on time, and got a cab from the airport to our hotel for RM 13.6 (fixed price). Reaching our hotel (The Kinabalu Daya) we were quite happy that there was a 7-11 and an indian mamaks store right next to it - so no worries for snacks. But since we all were quite tired, we were not up to go into the city, searching for a bar which would offer some drinks. So we went back to our room and got sleeping early (after watching a documentation on Fidel Castro's Regime on Cuba on National Geographic Channel). Well and indeed the Kinabalu Daya is worth its money, although the floors in the hotel smell a little, the room and the attached bathroom was clean. Also a TV with astro (like mentioned above) could entertain you there, if you don't like the karaoke bar on the 1st floor of the hotel.

We couldn't decide what to do the next days in the evening, so we postponed this decision to the next morning. My initial planing was to spend the next day in KK, and try to figure out a little tour into the wilderness for Sunday. Relax a little on the beach and not to get into too much stress. Monday we then could have a full city tour and later fly back - a relaxing holiday. But I underestimated the needs of my friends for "higer, wider, faster", or however youmay call it. Although the tour through the highlands, Penang, Lake Temenggor and Kota Bharu gave quite an insight into Malaysia this is not enough! Bianca at least wanted to go for the Orang Utans... Unfortunately the rehabilitation center is at the other end of Sabah... So there are two possibilities, either drive through the whole country by bus or car, or fly from KK to Sandakan (which is at the coast of the other side). Well. The next morning we got into some planning and (I don't want to reconstruct this..) ended up in renting a car with the following schedule planned:
Saturday: drive to Sandakan, stay overnight in Sepilog (Orang Utan Park).
Sunday: See Orang Utan, visit Crocodile farm nearby, drive back to Poring (Site with Hot springs near Mt. Kinabalu), stay overnight at Poring, visit hot Springs at night.
Monday: Dawn at Mt. Kinabalu, do a hike in the morning, go back to KK, do sightseeing there in the afternoon and then fly back. Quite stuffed...

But you can imagine nothing turns out to be like it is planned to be..

We hit the road on Saturday at about 1200am. This time we didn't get a comfortable Waja, but only an old Saga (but at least with a 1.5l motor) - but with manual transmission! In Germany I would prefer manual gear shift - but not here, when it is set at the wrong side.. But I managed the shifting quite well - the switch for the blinker turned out to be the bigger problem. It is also mounted on the wrong side, and so I always got the wiper, when I wanted to indicate a overtaking maneuver. The highway turned out to be road which was similar to the trail that lead us up the mountains to the Cameron highlands. So driving serpentines once more.. Lucky us the 1.5l motor was quite good for getting passed big trucks. But at this point it was clear that the 388km to Sandakan wouldn't be such a great fun...

Road on our way to SandakanDriving through the land can be a little tiring, but a nice experience, too!. On our way up the hills we had a great view on Mt. Kinabalu on several occasions, and insights into the Malay environment was possible, too. Stopping at the mountain visitor center after about 2 hours drive, we managed to reserve two rooms for Monday night at the hot springs, that we could possibly bath there the whole night on our way returning from Sandakan/Sepilog. But we still hadquite a distance to go, so we hit the road again as fast as possible. After driving a third of the distance between Mt. Kinabalu and Sepilog we had a stop at a small town called Telupid, and had some the Tarik and Rot Canai there. It is a very rural town, and around a few food stalls, there were mainly veggies sold. So we carried on for our way to Sepilog.
At SepilokWhen we finally arrived at the park resort, it was sometime past 5:30pm, so the visitor center was already closed. Then we started to look for a room. But the cheap lodge near the visitor center was already fully booked, and the resort a little behind offered only a room for some 140RM, which laid directly behind a swamp. Fearing the mosquitoes, Bianca and Christian opted to try some other spots for accommodation. The country resort was also fully booked (Rooms would have been quite expensive there anyway). So we headed back a little bit on the road that lead us to Sepilog and stopped at the Labuk BB. The facilities there are basic, but they had free room, cheap beer and a reasonable price. It was alread past seven at this time, and we decided, to cancel Sandakan from our list, since we wouldn't see too much at night there anyway.
Labuk BB AcomotationThe Labuk BB is run by a Chinese couple, which are real good hosts. We got some good dinner, and a beer was only RM 4.5. (apparently the price of beer is a good indicator, whether there will be backpackers hanging out on a certain spot - cheap beer prices seem to attract this species of homo sapiens). Talking with our hosts we figured out, that Robert actually also run his own jungle camp somewhere in the Borneo rainforest, just besides the Kinabatang river. Other guests told us, about the interesting sightings they made doing a tour on the river. So it came, that we overthrow our plans once again.. Crocodile farm, Kinabalu Park and Kota Kinabalu where kicked from our timetable, and we got enough time to visit the jungle camp after seeing the Orang Utan, and spend the night there before heading for the hot springs. And that should be the final schedule!

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  1. Malaysia in the news

    I enjoy reading news from Malaysia in German news. Unluckily only very few news make it to Europe, but within the last days three reports made it to Germany. The first one is not very spectacular if you know the Malay way to handle traffic tickets. You ju


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