Friday, February 21, 2014
KOTA KINABALU, SABAH
Quite the draw for those wishing to find natural landscape backdrop to proceedings as the countryside itself is charming.
Kota Kinabalu is not only the gateway to lush jungle and abundant wildlife in Sabah’s heartland, but is also a luxury adventure destination in its own right, whether you stop here for a few days before your trip to the interior or to relax for a few days afterwards. Tropical islands, sandy beaches, lush wetlands and parks, and golden-domed temples, these are just a few of the things you can look forward to seeing here. This gorgeous resort city is tucked into the west coast of Malaysia, and it is one of the hidden gem tourist locations in the country.
Sabah is located on the east of Malaysia and the only way to get there is with an airplane. We were extremely lucky that Malindo Air was offering a really good rate to Sabah. Of course there are other flight options but the best fare that one can find is from Malindo Air. The new airplane which comes with an entertainment system and a USB charger port… How convenient! A visit to KK is not perfect without swimming in the Poring Hot Springs, Which are 40km northeast of Kinabalu Park in the lowlands, as opposed to the Parks highlands. Our drive took about two hours to get to the Park. The view was phenomenal, and the Hot Springs have baths along a hillside. Simply get in one, turn the water on and wait for it to fill up so you can soak away stress and relieve aching muscles in the spring’s sulphuric minerals. Beside the Hot Springs there are several other attractions around like a butterfly farm, an orchid conservation centre, a tropical garden, a Rafflesia flower site & the Poring canopy walkway. The canopy walkway is not what the tourist sites will have you believe. It is no ‘stroll amidst the lush canopy of the Menggaris trees’ and are actually 157.8 meters long and 41 meters high. A little tree top walk and good views, yes. The walk itself is over 1km in length; over 500m uphill through the jungle, a good hearty walk that left me breathless, but was lots of fun.
Kota Kinabalu has a few gems lying less than 30 minutes off its coast. A bundle of small islands that are a part of Tunku Abdul Rahman Park that are connected via speed boat make for a great day trip and break from the city. Getting to the islands is easy – you walk down to the jetty where there’s a large room with small booths where people sell tickets for a speed boat to the islands. You can also arrange to rent snorkelling equipment and do snorkelling/diving trips here as well. If you just want the speed boat to get you over to the islands, most companies advertise the same price, just make sure the one you choose has a boat leaving soon! Just let the company know what time you want to be back on the mainland and they will book you on that speed boat to come back. At the Island if you want to catch a glimpse of what lives under the sea, don a Snorkel and flippers and head out as the water is remarkably clear and the underwater flora and fauna before your masks turns into a kaleidoscope of brilliantly stunning colours. You can swim over hardly touched healthy young corals, discover big marbled groupers lurking in the shadows and even encounter turtles. Craving more thrills, go Scuba diving, a practically religious experience for divers. You can in your local sarongs walk along the beach to the over water restaurant for a mouth-watering taste sensation of arguably the finest BBQ you can find in Malaysia. All in all it’s the perfect spot to unwind and enjoy and wander the beach.
THE BEACH SIDE
Kota Kinabalu doesn’t exactly seem to hide its charms. ‘If you’ve got it flaunt it’ could well be the sea side town’s motto. Famed for its beach stretch and even more famed for its vibrant nightlife, it is a popular vacation destination. Start your evening with drinks at the lounge in your hotel and move on. Nightlife and party enthusiasts never have a tough time searching for a place to enjoy the evening with narrow alleys filled with unique bars and restaurants to choose from. By the way you might be more than happy to find Massage parlours as a further point of relaxation and for the ultimate indulgence one can retire to massage beds and saver the true Asian feel. Their special mineral oil sets the mood and a cup of green tea completes the experience. Voila!
published in Tlf