Thursday, 15 July 2010

Kota Kinabalu trip – 15 Jul 10

Even though I set my alarm clock at 6.30am, I woke up at around 6am. After packing my belongings, I board bus 171 to Yishun to meet YQ for breakfast. YQ mentioned that the beehoon at Chong Pang is delicious so we had our breakfast there. I found that it's so so only, maybe my standard is too high. After our breakfast, we took bus 858 to airport.
Our heavy breakfast

45min later, we reached Changi Airport Terminal 1. Luxiang arrived a bit earlier than us and we proceed to check in first since Chew Hiang sms me that she and her sis would be late.

As I didnt make seat selection when booking the airtix, we were allocated seats when checking in. I found that Luxiang and us were seated at different rows even though we check in together. I guess it should be because I booked the airtix separately so the airline just allocate the seats available randomly.

Terminal 1 is currently undergoing renovation, it is fitted with window facades which resembles Terminal 3. The window facades also makes the area more spacious. This is much nicer than the previous dimly lighted Terminal 1.
Terminal 1

There is a small hiccup when we were at the boarding gate. Luxiang lost his boarding pass and we searched frantically to discover that Luxiang place his boarding pass inside his pouch. 0_0"

Actually, we could bring our water bottles onboard the flight, just emptied the water before the boarding gate and refilled at the waiting area. Now I dun have to spend $3 to buy a 300ml mineral water on the flight. =p
Waiting for our flight
Our flight 3K527
No wonder Singapore is one of the busiest port in the world

Yesterday, I checked online that this flight is full but there are few empty seats available. YQ and I were allocated window seats at almost the back of the plane and there is an empty seat beside us so we asked Luxiang who is sitting behind us to come over. Chew Hiang and the rest were seated at the emergency exit row.
Taking a short nap

After 2 hrs, we reached Kota Kinabalu airport. Kota Kinabalu is the 2nd busiest airport in Malaysia after KLIA. Currently, there are 2 terminals in the airport. Terminal 2 mainly serves Air Asia while the rest are serve from Terminal 1. Our flight landed at Terminal 1 at around 1.10pm and there are aerobridges at the gates, hence we could avoid the blazing sun. From my observation, there are no aerobridge at Terminal 2.
Plane landing soon at Kota Kinabalu
Kota Kinabalu Terminal 2
A huge Samsung TV welcoming us
Baggage carousels

Within half an hour, we cleared the immigration custom and someone from Lavender Lodge was waiting for us at the arrival hall.
Our airport transfer
Kota Kinabalu Airport Terminal 1
Saw the railway track along the road?

We reached Lavender Lodge in 15mins as the airport is only 7km away from Kota Kinabalu city.
Lavender Lodge

I felt a bit annoyed with Lavender Lodge when they told me that there are only 2 ensuite bedrooms in the lodge. They should have informed me earlier when I made the reservation for 3 ensuite bedrooms. Since YQ and Luxiang doesnt mind sleeping in a bedroom with no attached bathroom, I decided not to pursue further. We paid our accomodation upfront when checking in. We also rent a locker for RM10 to keep our passport and valuables and this amount is refundable.

The owner Jenny is very friendly and recommended us the nice food in KK. Of cos the list that Jenny recommended were in my food list cos I have done my research. =p
Checking in
Free maps available
TV Lounge on the 2nd floor
When we entered the ensuite ensuite bedroom, there is a smell lingering in in the room. It seems that ensuite rooms are seldom occupied compared to other rooms. We put our belongings and went out for lunch as we were starving.
Ensuite bedroom
Bathroom inside the bedroom

I have agreed with Eileen from Kota Sarang Travel Tour in the email to meet at Lavender Lodge at 2.15pm for collection of payment. We made full payment to her for the river rafting on Saturday.
Our first meal in KK is at Restoran Sing Heng. Address: Ruang Sinsuran 2, Kota Kinabalu (Near Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu) Opening hours: Open daily from 7am to 4.30pm
Look out for the street name
Restoran Seng Hing
Stalls inside Restoran Seng Hing

The guys ordered Tom Yam while the gals ordered Mee Tuaran. Actually the Tom Yam is not really those Thai Tom Yam, the soup has a strong wine smell and the local called Wine Prawn Soup. The prawn soup doesnt taste nice at all so the guys ordered 2 more plates of Mee Tauran. Mee Tauran taste like Mee Goreng and it's quite delicious, much better than the Wine Prawn Soup. Mee Tauran cost RM5 per plate and the Wine Prawn Soup cost RM7 which we find that the price is expensive in Malaysia standard.
Tom Yam soup and Mee Tuaran

After our lunch, we began our own city tour around Kota Kinabalu. In my itinerary, we plan to visit Filipino Market, Sabah Tourist Information Centre, Marlin Statue, Atkinson Clock Tower & Signal Hill Observatory. Before we came to KK, Chew Hiang fractured her baby toe so we were discussing whether there is a need to rent a van to bring us around. In the end, we didnt rent since Chew Hiang's toe is recovering and the cost of RM400 for 8hr rental was expensive.

I joked with YQ that Singapore cars can be found here as there are many S plate cars here and he really believed it. Hahaha...
S plate car but it's Sabah car

Our first attraction is Filipino market. It is located next to the Centre Point Shopping Complex on Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens. It is called Filipino market as most of the stalls are run by Filipino immigrants. There are souvenir stalls selling T-shirts, keychains, jewellery, magnets, handicraft etc. We spent less than 5min inside since none of us wanted to buy anything.
Filipino Market
Fruit stall
So many salted fish in the background
Sea cucumbers
Tailors and sewing machines
Souvenir stalls
Salak aka Snake fruit

From the Filipino market, we strolled along the Tun Fuan Stephens Road to the Merlin statue.

I'm craving for strawberry
Pulau Gaya at the background
We are at KK!

Marlin Statue is at a roundabout outside Hyatt Hotel. This statue was inaugurated on 2 February 2000 when Kota Kinabalu got city status.
Kissing the Merlin Statue
It's sorching hot sitting on this fish
Streets in Kota Kinabalu
Signal Hill Observatory at the top of Signal Hill
We are going to have our dinner at Little Italy tonight
Have you seen an Islamic bank in Singapore yet?
Huge billboards

Sabah Tourism Building was built in 1916 and is one of only three buildings still standing after Allied bombings at the end of WWII. Address: 51 Jalan Gaya. When we reach here, it started to drizzle so we took a short rest inside the building.
Sabah Tourism Building
Acting busy
Map of Sabah

We passed by Jesselton Hotel which is one of the premier boutique hotel in Kota Kinabalu and was built in 1954.
Jesselton hotel

During normal days, Gaya street is just like any other streets. On Sunday, it is closed for the Sunday market.
Gaya Street

We had our tea break at Borneo 1945 Museum Kopitiam which is located on the ground floor of Borneo Backpackers. Address: 24 Lorong Dewan, 88801 (near Gaya Street Police Station), Opening hours: Mon – Sat 7.30am – 12am.
Borneo 1945 Museum Kopitiam
Logo of Borneo 1945 Museum Kopitiam
State of Borneo 1945
Antiques collectibles inside the kopitiam museum
Group photo

Luxiang and Kenneth ordered 1 set of coffee, 1 bread toast and 2 soft boiled eggs each. This set cost RM7.50 ~ S$3.20 while Chew Hiang and Ricky ordered hot Borneo white coffee and cold Borneo white coffee which cost RM5 ~S$2.20 and RM6 ~ S$2.60 respectively. The price here is pretty expensive while the food is mediocre. The coffee is quite bitter to our taste. Just once for the experience is enough.
Bread toast
Borneo white coffee
Soft boiled egg

After our break, we proceed to our next destination - Atkinson Clock Tower.
Gaya Street Police Station
Climbing up the stairs to Atkinson Clock Tower

Atkinson Clock Tower, located at the base of Signal Hill. This all-wood, no-nails structure was built in memory of Francis George Atkinson in 1902, the first district officer of Jesselton, as KK was then called. Other than the Sabah Tourism Building, this is the other building which escapes from WWII bombings. There are 3 building which remains from WWII but the Land and Survey building was burnt down in a New Year Eve Fire in 1992.
Atkinson Clock Tower

From the Clock tower, we walked along the winding road up to Signal Hill observatory. The road is quite deserted except cars passing by, we saw less than 10 people walking along the way.
On the way to Signal Hill observatory

After about 15min, we reached the observatory. From here, we have a paranomic view of KK city. I noticed that there is no high rise buildings here cos when the planes took off, they will fly past KK city. During our 1hr rest here while waiting for the sunset, we saw quite a number of planes taking off.
View from Signal Hill observatory

However the sunset was blocked by the clouds so we left the observatory empty handed. The sky here also turn dark earlier than Singapore. By 6.30pm, the sky is even darker than 7pm in Singapore.
The sunset is blocked by the clouds
Colourful Land Rover

We walked to Little Italy which is located at the Ground Floor of Hotel Capital. Address: Jalan Haji Saman, 88813 Kota Kinabalu Sabah (Near Gaya Street) Opening hours: 10am – 11pm.
Little Italy is run by an Italian family, they started out seven years ago outside the city center, but business was so good, they had to move to accommodate more patrons. The interiors has an European style and diners are advised to come earlier since there are limited seats indoor.

The total cost for our dinner is RM178.15 ~ S$77 which is reasonable for 6 pax. However the famous lemonade is a bit steep at RM7.90 ~ S$3.40 for regular glass. We ordered large glass but we didnt knew that we were served the regular glass until we saw another table drinking the large glass. Do order the large one as the small one will be gone before you know it. The ravioli and Risotto Nero are delicious. The pizza crust are thin and taste delicious too.

Interior of Little Italy
Who dares to order at 11pm when the restaurant close at 11pm?
Ravioli combo
Cream caramel and Lemonade
Risotto Nero - Squid ink rice
Pizza Bianco (Mozzarella cheese, cream sauce and turkey ham)
Pizza Carnivora (Beef bacon, turkey ham, beef salami, onions & pineapple)

After our dinner, we took a stroll along the way back to the Lavender Lodge. Our plan was to visit Kampung Air Night Market but on the way back, we bought mineral waters and bread for fish feeding tomorrow at KK Plaza so we decided to go back straight to the hostel.
Pubs in KK
Night stalls
People playing pools

We went back to our rooms respectively for shower and after that, we went to Luxiang & YQ's room to chit chat until 11plus before returning back to our room for the day.

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