Friday, August 24, 2012

The KK Diaries: Finding a Home Away from Home

Day 2 - Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

Dear Diary,

My friends woke me up at around 7AM. Still groggy, I tried my best to open my eyes. Now that I'm on a vacation, I shouldn't waste much time to make the most out of my trip. We ate breakfast at Casuarina Hotel, located a few meters away from our hostel.

Kota Kinabalu


Then, we checked out and boarded the 16A bus. For only 1.00 Rm, this is the cheapest ride to downtown Kota Kinabalu. Armed with maps and sheer determination, we explored downtown KK and finally found a place that we can confidently call 'home'.

It was around 11AM when we arrived at the central bus station. The heat of the sun was unbearable but my travel buddy, Brenna, loved it. She hadn't seen the sun for three weeks already, thanks to the monsoon rain that battered her hometown, Manila.

It was a Saturday so there were a lot of people waiting at the central bus station. Hence, siksikan sa loob, parang rush hour Manila MRT lang. But that didn't prevent me from sleeping inside the bus, diary. Traffic was terrible, instead of 10 minutes, it took us almost an hour before reaching our final destination. It was THAT terrible. But nevertheless, we alighted near the junction of Jalan Gaya and walked a few hundred meters before reaching Sensi Backpackers Hostel, our refuge here in KK. Beads of sweat poured on my forehead and on my back. The weather in KK was so hot and humid, diary! But I ain't complaining though.

Kota Kinabalu Sensi Backpackers Hostel


We were really surprise on how clean and organized the hostel was. Interestingly, the caretakers of the hostel were all Filipinos! It's nice to know that someone speaks the same language. At least we won't get homesick.

And oh, we also have free breakfast, free towel, free water, everything's free! Thus our 30 rm. per night at Sensi was worth it.

Now back to our original plan.

After our 2-hour siesta, we left Sensi to explore more of downtown KK. Like my hometown, Davao City, KK is very organized and clean. Although, one thing that really bothered me was almost everyone in KK owns a car. I seldom find taxis and buses. People there either walk or ride their own car. Wow, sila na ang mayaman!


Kota Kinabalu


We entered Suria Sabah Mall and got astonished when I didn't see any security guards near the entrance. It was kinda new to me. But then again, nothing beats the malls of my beloved country - bigger, more choices and of course, MORE CROWDED.

We walked, played patintero with the fast-moving cars (holy schmuck), and walked a few hundred meters before reaching this particular spot. I surmised that a building used to stand right here on this particular spot. Interestingly, the columns were decorated with beautiful graffiti/street art. Street art for the win!


Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu


We went back to the hostel to freshen up, and I truly regret it. The sunset was so dramatic that the sky turned orange to red for several minutes. WE SHOULD HAVE STAYED AT THE WATERFRONT AND WITNESS THE BEAUTIFUL SUNSET!!! Despite that, we were still optimistic that tomorrow's sunset would be as beautiful as this one... or so I thought.


Kota Kinabalu


When the sun was completely down, we went back to the downtown area and eventually got lost. We studied the map and momentarily stayed on this particular square (I forgot the street)...

Kota Kinabalu

... when all of the sudden, a group of kids lighted a firecracker. Immediately, I ran away from it. IDK, I ain't used to firecrackers diary, blame it to Davao City's firecracker ban ordinance which was lifted last 2001. But I reckon it was a funny experience. LOL

For dinner, we decided to walk (again) and explore Waterfront. There, we met our hostelmates, Jaime and Alberto, both from Spain and Cho from Hongkong. We just basically chilled and talked about almost everything related to traveling - Alberto's love for the Philippines especially El Nido, Palawan, Cho's life in Hongkong and Singapore, Jaime's amazing experience in India and the list goes on and on and on. Surprisingly, the waitresses of Bar Tzar were Filipinas. It was nice to have a conversation with them for more than 10 minutes. Did a few kamustas and listened to their stories on how they ended up here working outside our beloved country. True enough, the nicest Filipinos that you'll meet are found outside the country. IMHO.

Kota Kinabalu


What I really loved about our trip, dear diary, was that we were not always in a hurry. Life in KK was laid back; it wasn't really THAT stressful compared to other major cities that I've been to.

So far so good. Tomorrow, we are planning to invade the upper part of KK. Hoping to see those picturesque mosques and the beautiful sunset at the waterfront.

'Til then diary. Still have to finish this one can of beer. And I tell you, San Mig beer tastes better and way cheaper in the Philippines!

_____________________

Read more of my Kota Kinabalu stories here.

39 comments:

  1. I wanna go here too! thank you for giving us a glimpse of kota Kinabalu! this is now added on my list next year. ^_^

    Jan Ashlee,
    breakawayph.blogspot.com

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  2. I've always wanted to visit malaysia.. Getting lost is always part of the adventure! Looks like you had fun and enjoyed the trip naman :)

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  3. Yeeeesssss Kota Kinabalu is a laid-back place. Sarap magliwaliw lang :D

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  4. I see more adrenalin rush to your 1st post about your travel to KK, maybe because of the onslaught of the rains in Manila where it almost hindered your adventure. So far on this post, it's just like a walk in the park.. Hope to read the continuation of your adventure in this place..:D

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    Replies
    1. Yep! Chill mode lang... and I LOVED IT!

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  5. i have half the mind to book a trip to KK now. CebPac has a seat sale p naman.

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  6. Enjoy yuor trip.Philippines commodity is really cheaper to other countries. Good to know that there are Filipino's there in the hostel that you can talk to.

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  7. Nice to note some similarities between KK and Ph. Looking forward for the next one when you go to the upper part of KK.

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  8. Very interesting. KK and Davao a bit similar. Love reading your blog. Thanks for sharing.

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  9. I wonder what those firecrackers are for? Are those kids celebrating something? I would have reacted the way you did, I am so afraid of firecrackers, but I'm thankful for our lgu for banning it. =)

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    Replies
    1. Siguro dahil malapit na matapos ang Ramadan :)

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  10. KK looks like an interesting place to visit. I think I need to begin saving money to bring the whole family there.

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  11. Your story made me recall the first I traveled abroad with my Mom & brother. We got lost also, good thing Singapore is English speaking country so its easy to ask help =)

    I can see from your photos that KK is just like our beloved Davao City, laid back and relax, not too many tall buildings though from your story we have far more better malls than they have. Nice trip =)

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  12. KK is like Davao, sans the power lines and jeepneys. You're right, I still prefer to shop here in the Philippines than in KK. :)

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  13. I have to try KK. I only had a stop over there pero never stay in KK.
    I loved your street art photos :)

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  14. I should visit KK, soon. Hopefully, early next yr. Wish me luck! :-)

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  15. Ang ganda at ang linis ng KK nila. ;) Even the ruins are painted with street art. Kung dito yan sa Manila, may drawing na ng penis yan or may sign, Bawal umihi dito (pero mapanghi pa rin). :))

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  16. Hope to visit Kota Kinabalu as well. Looks like a nice fine place to visit.

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  17. I'd love to go visit Asian countries soon too! Your diary must love hearing about your trips and we do too! :))

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  18. My uncle has been to Malaysia a couple of times and he told me it's like the Philippines. It's one of the countries I should visit daw if I were to travel abroad for vacation :)

    Nice street art. And lovely hostel ^^,

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    Replies
    1. Malaysia is like Philippines... but more progressive! :D

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  19. Interesting story, Renz... especially with your bonding session with other travelers :) Anyhow, is it more humid in KK than here in the Philippines? Oh.. I also loved your graffiti background.. :)

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    1. Hi Mai! Mas humid pa sa KK. 5 minutes I took a shower, pinagpawisan nanaman ako! :D

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  20. looks like hostel is a good idea... graffiti reminds mo of the 90s - lovely... :)

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  21. Kota Kianbalu, because of its name brings to mind an exotic, foreign country.

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  22. I've been hearing a lot about Kota Kinabalu and I never thought that it was that pretty. I mean, iba kasi na-picture out ko nong narinig ko yung name. Anyway, I love the "street art" and also the hostel kasi bibihira ka naman makakakita ng hostel na katulad sa tinuluyan niyo plus the freebies too.

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  23. looks like you've enjoyed malaysia... shows in your pics. Yahweh bless.

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  24. Really great shots, dude! I wonder if I can find an app for night shots for my iPhone...

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  25. it was a very nice travel adventure in KK... i hope one day i could visit the place... need to save more ... i found my next target place after a couple of years maybe:D thanks for the post

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome, Dennis. Di naman masyadong mahal dito sa KK :)

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  26. Heard a lot of good things about Kota Kinabalu.. Hoping to be there one of these days, (or probably years?) haha. XD

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  27. My friend living in Malaysia told me that sometimes sunset is around 8PM, have you experienced it? Also there are good yummy foods and cheap as well.

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    1. Sunset in KK is 7PM, but in West Malaysia (as well as Singapore), it's almost 8PM. Well, their timezone should be +7.00 GMT not +8.00, but yeah... the rest is history. Haha!

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  28. Looking forward to find a home away from home in KK. The place is very interesting as most people say. ^_^

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  29. my cousin lives in Malaysia now. I hope to visit that place some time!

    PS. Should I bring my own car? hohohoho. Kidding =P

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