Kota Kinabalu and our first bit of beach

Trip Start Aug 27, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed

Flag of Malaysia  , Sabah,
Wednesday, September 29, 2010

We arrived in Kota Kinabalu after a 3 hour flight from Hong Kong and had to start thinking for ourselves for once as we were on our own! I had planned the trip to Borneo so had booked most of our places to stay…and the dreaded climb up Mount Kinabalu – what was I thinking?! Our hotel Eden54 was a lovely little place and it was actually really nice just to be able to chill out a bit more and choose what time we get up, rather than having every hour planned out by our tour group. KK was loads quieter than I imagined and actually very westernized so quite a different atmosphere to rural China. 

 On our first day there, we decided to take a trip to see the nearby islands of Mamutik and Manukan so wandered to the Jesleton pier and hired a speedboat to take us island hopping. The islands were beautiful, virtually deserted and it was our first sight of a beach since we set off over a month ago! We spent the day lazing in the sunshine, swimming and snorkeling and took a short walk across one of the islands, only to bump into the biggest lizard I have ever seen. Borneo is indeed famous for its wildlife! 

That evening, we decided to sample what the lonely planet describes as the 'best and cheapest place to eat in KK' - the Filipino night barbeque. When we got there, I could not believe the amount of fresh fish on offer. You just walk up to a bbq stand, point at what you fancy and ask for the price, and then choose corn, rice or seaweed to accompany your food. The meal was AMAZING! We had the biggest king prawns you can imagine, fresh tuna steaks, a large crab, rice, corn, drinks and seaweed for about 15. It was so good that we ate there both nights that we were staying in Kota Kinabalu. The locals showed us how to mix a dipping sauce consisting of chilli, vinegar and lime and it was the nicest sauce we’ve ever tasted!

On our third and final night in KK, it was an early night as we knew we had an intensive two days ahead of us – we were being picked up at 6:20am for the journey to Mount Kinabalu. I have to admit that I was dreading this and couldn’t wait for it to be over! But I packed my daypack with hat, gloves and headtorch and tried to prepare myself for the long trek ahead!
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