Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu Travel Blog

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The Petronas Towers, KL

We arrived in Kuala Lumpur (KL) on the day of their 49 year anniversary of Freedom from Britain, which to us just meant a good excuse for a party!  We explored the city by day and, by night, did what the locals did and stood outside the Petronas Towers waiting for the celebratory fireworks at midnight, which were pretty good.  The celebration was much like New Year but the Malaysians were a lot less drunk, probably because the price of alcohol is extortionate there.

The next day we decided to celebrate our 6-month travelling anniversary by going out for lunch.  Being poor travellers we should have opted for something low key, but we forgot all about that and booked ourselves into the 'high rise' restaurant of the KL Telecom Tower.

A Probiscis Monkey surveys his kingdom
  All you can eat buffet for 11 pounds was actually very good value, but the champagne we ordered was not.  Never mind!  We stayed there for 4 hours and definitely had a good celebration, and got our money's worth on the food front - 7 courses in total!

Two days in KL was enough to see the main sights and the following day we flew across to Kuching, in the state of Sarawak, in Malaysian Borneo.  Kuching was a pretty place but was not too much to write home about, with the exception of being James' old boss' home town, but it was a great base for getting to the surrounding National Parks.  Our personal highlight was our hostel which was serious luxury, i.

The bats leave Deer Cave, Mulu
e. we had a boiling hot mega power shower (the first for a long time).

So off to Bako National park we headed to see the rare Probiscis Monkeys (which have huuuge noses) and the beautiful Malaysian coastline.  We did use it as an opportunity to bed in the 'his n hers' hiking boots we had purchased in KL (they were the only boots that fitted Pam, but James wanted to copy me).  Fortunately, there were not too many people around to witness our fashion faux pas.

Another flight or two with cheap-as-chips Air Asia (equivalent to EasyJet) and we were in Mulu National Park, famous for its caves.  We arrived a little later than planned as our flight was delayed, which unfortunately was a sign of things to come for us. 

This was another opportunity to work our 'his n hers' boots, so to the caves we headed.

A snake, a snake!
  We went to Deer Cave before sunset to watch the 2-3 million bats head out for their nightly feed.  As you can imagine it was pretty impressive to see and the swarming eagles were loving it too (hoping for a bite of the action ;)).

The next morning we walked to Wind and Clear Water Caves and enroute were stopped in our tracks by a long, skinny, green snake resting across our pathway.  Deciding attack was the best form of defence we stood back and waited for it to move on.  After what seemed an absolutely age, this tactic was not working, i.e. it was going nowhere.  So feeling all Steve Irwin, brave James threw sticks at it, which suprisingly did the job.  The snake decided to get out of our way rather than kill us, which was nice. It later transpired that it was either a Leaf or Tree Snake, which are both venomous, although not deadly, but we were glad we did not have to make the distinction.

His n Hers
.. After these caves we headed to Deer Cave which was enormous - check out the piccies - the largest known caves in the world!

A guided night walk concluded our visit, which pleased James and his chronic arachnophobia as we got to see lots of spiders from the Tarantula family (and yes, they were poisonous)! Again, see the piccies.

Flight delays were our next installment.  Our flight from Mulu to Miri was delayed which meant we missed our connecting flight to Kota Kinabalu (KK).  Although the delay was due to a technical fault Air Asia kindly devoided themselves of all responsibility resulting in us having to buy, not one, but two more flights in order to get to KK to go diving this century.  This was our first travel trauma that cost us more than a fiver, but we made it to KK, albeit via Bintulu (the rear end of nowhere and further south than we started) and a day later.

A spider! A member of the tarantula family no less
  So we collected our hire car (luxury - the principle, not the car) and promptly drove for 9 hours across the state of Sabah to get to Semporna in order that we could dive Sipidan the following day - hurray!

Our accommodation at Semporna was cool, it was basically a floating hotel with an open air bathroom.  Pretty groovy for a hostel and a great pre-cursor for the day to come.  We were up at the crack of dawn for the diving of our lives.  The site was an hour speedboat ride from Semporna and we had three dives planned for the day.  Basically we were diving off a 600m drop off and it was superb.  The coral was fantastic but even more amazing was the marine life.

Green Turtle
  We saw (and I touched) giant green turtles, reef sharks, moray eels, huge shoals of Jack Fish, giant puffer fish and all the usual tropical fish (butterfly, nemos, unicorn, trigger, scorpion and box fish).  Our final dive of the day was in a strong current, which meant we just had to drift along with it.  It was like watching a conveyor belt of colour go past - a first for us and very cool.

Gutted to have to leave the same day, we drove for 5 hours to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre where we spent the following day watching my ginger friends - awesome!  We are sure we spotted Vaughany's cousins a few times and a few of my ginger ancestors.  James also seemed to have a rare affinity with the orangutans - something to do with being hairy!

All-in-all a great way to finish off what had been an actioned pack week, but more was to come as we jumped back in the car and hit the road once again, heading for Pam's nemesis, the 4,095m summit of Mount Kinabalu....

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The Petronas Towers, KL
The Petronas Towers, KL
A Probiscis Monkey surveys his kin…
A Probiscis Monkey surveys his ki…
The bats leave Deer Cave, Mulu
The bats leave Deer Cave, Mulu
A snake, a snake!
A snake, a snake!
His n Hers
His n Hers
A spider! A member of the tarantul…
A spider! A member of the tarantu…
Green Turtle
Green Turtle
Black-Tip Reef Shark
Black-Tip Reef Shark
Shoal of Jack Fish
Shoal of Jack Fish
Moray Eels kissing
Moray Eels kissing
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