Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sabah: Maiden Trip (Part 2)

On the 2nd day, we headed to Kota Belud - a small town located north of Kinabalu park. The journey took us roughly 1 1/2 hours. Hubby wanted to go to this town as it was a Sunday and the locals gather together only on Sundays to sell their wares. Market Day is known as "Tamu" (meeting place).

There werent many interesting stuff there actually and it was a disappointing trip. Apart from the few stalls selling local fruits, kueh and handy crafts, the rest were selling typical pasar malam items like T-shirts, jeans, slippers, shoes, hair accessories! Goodness, i thought Tamu was suppose to be a showcase of the unique heritage from the local tribes but the whole thing just ended up being swallowed by commercialism.

Hubby was intrigued by this exclusive area at a far, away corner.

Its old womenfolk selling homegrown TOBACCO. Dunno why he found it so fascinating. They were all giving him the eye while he was busy snapping photos. Is it legal to sell homegrown tobacco? hmmm

Anyway, one thing I don't regret though is this:

Tarap! A local fruit that's unique to Borneo. Looks like a cousin of Cempedak. Its flesh is milky, sweet and soft. YUM! Cheap too! An average sized fruit would cost between RM1-RM2! How's that for a nutritious meal?

On the way back, we dropped by a row of stalls along the road. My mum and I ended up buying rattan baskets - guess no matter where I go, I must end up buying a 'handbag' haha.

We didnt do much the rest of the day. Basically just walked around in Kinabalu park and rested.

Here's a pix of the Hill lodges in Kinabalu park. Beautiful little houses - small I think, but with a magnificent view of the Kinabalu mountain! One of the park rangers mentioned that Europeans would come and stay in these lodges for several months to do bird watching.

Wow - when would the day come when i'd be able to go holidaying for months?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sabah: Maiden Trip (Part 1)

This trip marks the very first time my parents would step on board an airplane. Hence the momentous occasion captured above. At an age when even kids travel (sometimes on their own) in airplanes, it has taken my parents little more over half a century to make this journey.

There were no panic attacks during take off. They certainly enjoyed the airplane food. I guess the first few times are always fun, being served while flying several thousand feet up in the air.

We rented a car and had a quick turn around Kota Kinabalu town. Small and easily covered if you don't take the city traffic into consideration. Weather was hot hot HOT!

First up: Little Italy! Apparently THE place where locals and foreigners head to for authentic italian fare. Its located just opposite Wisma Merdeka. Lots of blogs warned that it would be crowded. We arrived slightly past lunch time so it wasn't packed.

Hmmm scanned the menu. Its pretty complicated and offers lots of varieties that i've never heard of. Hmm.. and I thought i knew italian food pretty well. We weren't that hungry so we settled for just a few choices. The thing that caught my eye was this:

Its called Schiacciatina. Looks good eh? Goes great with the eggplant lasagne we ordered - just as the waiter recommended - yum!

Onwards. We moved out of KK town, using the coastal route towards Likas. Beautiful scenery.

We drove an auto Wira 1.5 so you can imagine what an a-r-d-u-o-u-s journey it was once the road got steeper. Overtaking was almost impossible, unless you want to risk a head on collision.

The journey from town to Kinabalu Park took approx. 1 1/2 hours with breathtaking views of the valley.

I booked us at Sutera Sanctuary Lodge, Kinabalu Park as I think my parents would prefer staying in highlands rather than at sweaty beach resorts. Though it was hot throughout the journey, it was immediately cool when we entered Kinabalu Park.

We stayed at Nepenthes Lodge - 2 bedrooms, pantry and living area complete with a fireplace and ASTRO. (important to my hubby).

Great view from the balcony. You can almost see peak of Kinabalu mountain on clear mornings.

We had dinner at Liwagu restaurant, within the park itself and just a minutes' walk from Nepenthes.

Food was surprisingly good and affordable with ala carte Asian delicacies ranging from RM12-RM14 (served with steamed rice). Portions are pretty large too. My dad ordered Chicken Curry even though he was having a persistent cough. According to him, spicy food is good for coughs and colds. A-Hem.
Beef & Veg Hotpot and Ginger Chicken was tasty. Tom Yam soup was only so so - i prefer the clear version, not reddish and made the mistake of having it with mihun which got soggy while I was taking pics :(

Otherwise, service was good with friendly staff.

We finished the first night off at our lodge with a warm cosy fire and hot coffee :)