First night in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysian Borneo!
Kota Kinabalu Travel Blog› entry 15 of 69 › view all entries
Today we managed to get up on time and make our flight to Kota Kinabalu(KK) in Malaysian Borneo and since it was an early flight we were in KK by 10am which was nice cus it gave us the whole day to find a place to stay and get some scuba lessons booked. Lonely Planet suggested the Step Inn Lodge as their favorite place to stay in KK so we figured we’d check it out first before heading to any of the other places. We stopped off at the Malaysian Tourism place in the airport so we could get a map of KK and after a 20 minute bus ride we were in the heart of the city. The street signs seem to be few and far between and the main roads seem to change names almost every single block for some reason which makes navigation slightly more difficult. Luckily though the city is pretty small so it doesn’t take long to walk anywhere and within 15 minutes we were upon the front entrance of the Step Inn Lodge. One look at common area and I was sold, it’s very open and homely with huge 10 foot open windows that look out onto the streets below. A little more expensive than the other places listed in the Lonely Planet book, for roughly $25/night you get a double room with aircon, fan, comfy beds and free breakfast in the morning. We didn’t even bother checking any other places since we were content spending a little extra for the nice setup, plus we were told it’s a great place to meet backpackers so we couldn’t go wrong.
After we were all settled in, Jordan and I went looking for some Scuba places to see if we could find a last minute class that would hopefully start the next day. It took about 5-6 different places before we decided to book through Sabah Divers, it was the cheapest place but also the friendliest and for just over $130/each we were getting the 3 day open water SSI course. Although it’s not the PADI course(which they offered for $150 more) we did a little research online and most people said that SSI is just fine and that PADI is waaaay overpriced and less personable. Luckily the course starts tomorrow as well so that was a bonus.
The rest of the day we spent walking around KK, exploring their many malls and shops, checking out some local foods and finally managed to find a post office to mail out some postcards from Singapore. By 6pm we were back at the lodge and got a little relaxing time in before going out to see the festivities for the Harvest Festival that was starting tonight. Jordan was kind of down cus he wanted to see Deer Cave in Borneo thinking it was on the Sabah(northern) side of Borneo when in fact the cave is located in Sarawak which is in the southern part of Malaysian Borneo. We also didn’t do enough research before coming here cus I thought we were by Sipadan which is supposed to be one of the best diving sites in the world but unfortunately we are about a 10 hour bus ride away so we might not be able to make it there either since Jordan is supposed to leave June 10th and he still wants to spend a bunch of time in Thailand. I guess we’ll see how it goes and see what kind of options we have, there’s more to Borneo than we thought and it’s gonna be tough to fit much of it in which really sucks.
It was around 9:30pm when we were finally able to go out due to the terrible rain that hit the city around 7:30pm. The rain was like a torrential downpour and if you stepped out in it even for a couple seconds you’d be soaked from head to toe. We stopped off at an internet café to check flights and start weighing our options for how to see everything in Borneo that we want to see and still get to Thailand so that Jordan can see enough of Thailand before he has to leave. Nothing really got decided but Jordan seems to be weighing his options and might even be extending his trip if he can afford it, the only problem though is that the next flight after the 10th isn’t until the 27th so he’s have to stay another 2 weeks. That’d be perfect to see everything here and still get to Thailand but he’s gonna see if he can afford it before making any decisions.
It had started to rain like crazy when we were in the internet café so we were stuck there till close to 11:30pm and when we finally got to the place where the Harvest Festival was being held, there wasn’t much going on due to the rain. There was some sort of fashion show or something going on under a tarp with probably 15 girls participating and maybe a couple hundred people in the crowd but other than that, it looked like the rain had put a damper on the festivities.
We decided to call it an early night since we had to be at scuba diving school at 9am and since there wasn’t much going on, we figured it would be a good night to catch up on sleep.