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A trip to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Preparation:
I did most of the study for this trip from Lonely Planet guide book. The launch of the budget airline " Air-Asia " from Johor Bahru, Malaysia made it easier to get a cheap ticket to Kota Kinabalu. The tickets can be booked on-line. Asia-Hotels website offers the best rates for Hotel accommodations in Asia. I got my reservations done thru them for Hyatt Regency in Kota Kinabalu.
 Day 01 (Sunday Dec 07 2003)

The day started early in Singapore as I headed to Kranji MRT station to board the causeway link bus to get me across the border to Malaysia. As I went through the Malaysian immigration I flagged down a cab to get me to Johor Airport (Senai). Air Asia flights happen to fly from this airport.
I was to board the afternoon flight to Kota Kinabalu. The flight was smooth without delays. I took a pre-paid taxi from Kota Kinabalu airport to Hyatt Regency.

 
The downtown Hyatt is ideal if you like to be near the good restaurants and Pubs. In the evening I had dinner at Ocean sea food restaurant in Api-Api centre. The food was great especially the Chilli Crab and steamed sea bass. I checked out the Shenanigans Pub at Hyatt Regency. The music wasn't that good.

Day 02 (Monday Dec 08 2003)

Having booked the day trip to Kinabalu national park the previous day. I was picked up at the hotel early at 7.30am. The trip includes a long drive from Kota Kinabalu to Poring hot spring stopping at a few souvenir shops along the way. The canopy walk at 80m in Poring hot spring is great. The trek on the dangling rope bridge does give a close up feel for the flora and fauna of this equatorial rain forest.
A sumptuous  lunch was served in a restaurant at poring hot spring.


 

The next stop was at Kinabalu national park which is 1623m above sea level. Having decided not to do the trek up the mountain. I spent some time walking around some trails at the park. On the way back  there was a  stop scheduled  to see the world famous Rafflesia flower.
Tried some Chinese food for dinner at Port view Sea food restaurant. This place was popular with group tours. Popular items on the menu are butter prawn and steamed fish. The food was awesome. Later I Walked around the downtown and tried some local pub called Reef.

Day 03 (Tuesday Dec 09 2003)

Took a day trip to Tunku Abdul Rahmen National Park. The trip was mainly to the islands of Sapi and Manukkan which happens to be the best diving and snorkeling places in Borneo.

The package tour also included a introduction to sea walking which happens to be new in Borneo. The marine life in Sapi was great. A lot of colorful fishes very close to the shore.

 
A great barbeque lunch was organized in the island of Manukkan. Lazed around the beach until the evening and hopped on to the last boat back to the mainland. 
The dinner today was at Kampung
Nelayan Floating Village restaurant with Sabah cultural dance included. This place happens to be the most popular sea food restaurant in Kota Kinabalu. Surprisingly it wasn't expensive. The cultural show was also well layed out. 
Day 04 (Wednesday Dec 10 2003)

Started the day with a great break - fast at a local food court. I had a early check out to get my flight from Kota Kinabalu to Kaula Lumpur. After a short flight for 2hrs I was at the bursting Malaysia capital.  A word of advice its easy to get to downtown by the new KLIA express train. The taxi's are always caught in the traffic jams. I had booked a room at the 5 star Pan Pacific Hotel. The location is great but the staff at front office are terribly slow.

 
 
The evening was spent walking around the numerous shopping malls in KL. Tried some Chinese food at Jalan Alor (near Jalang Bintang). Don't miss the barbequed Sting ray fish. It is very popular here.
China town is a great place to shop if you are looking for some bargains and good local food.
The pubbing scene is great in Kuala Lumpur. Bangsa has good selection of pubs. Its also a good place to get a feel of the local population.
Day 05 (Thrusday Dec 11 2003)

The whole day was set aside to explore KL by local trains and the mono rail. Its easy to get around once you get a hang of it. The train lines link China town, Little India and all the shopping districts. 

Another land mark in KL never to be missed is the twin tower. Its still the tallest building in the world. The first few floor house a huge shopping centre and some fine restaurant.

                  
 
Checked out from Pan Pacific in the evening to get my flight from Kuala Lumpur to Johor Bahru. I took the KLIA express train to the airport. It was a breeze. The flight back was great and on time. There is also a connection bus from Johor airport to Singapore at a very reasonable price. But I choose to go to duty free zone in Johor and try some seafood. After the immigration at the border I was back again in Singapore. What a great trip it was.

For more pictures from this trip. Take a look at my Photo gallery

2003 Raman Srinivasan. All rights reserved