It was my birthday trip. Kota Kinabalu was the pioneer birthday-trip destination. The first among many places that I would visit while celebrating my birthday. I was supposed to go with one of my friends but she bailed out on me so I ended up going alone with Moche. And that was the end of it.
Kota Kinabalu Day 1
The day started early with a very bad news. But everything was set and we must proceed. I was having some migraine and the queue at the Kota Kinabalu immigration was a mile long. But Tropical Holidays Paradise was a really good travel agency. Their manager actually went inside the airport to try to speak for us when I texted him that we were taking too long with the immigration. But thankfully, we finished before he got to the immigration area.
Later on, the same manager treated us to dinner at a diner beside our hotel. After that, we checked in at Cititel Hotel, a three-star hotel with a very central location. A few minutes later, the receptionist was ringing our door to give me some medicine for my migraine. Again, a treat from the manager. Their customer service was really superb!
Kota Kinabalu Day 2: Kinabalu Park and Poring Hot Spring
Mt. Kinabalu is the highest peak of South East Asia and its peak was visible when we visited it. We were blessed with clear skies so we had the perfect view.
Meanwhile, it was in Poring Hot Spring where I first had the chance to see Muslim girls swim. It was pretty disconcerting watching them swim in long-sleeves, pants and Hijaab (veil). I was really concerned about them catching a cold or something since once they get out of the water, they will be really cold all over because of all those garments retaining water.
Later on, we got the chance to see the Raflesia, the world’s biggest flower. According to the locals, they stink because of the rotten meat placed near them. These meat attract flies which are in turn food to the Raflesia.
Kota Kinabalu Day 3: Sapi Island Tour
The Marine Jetty was really impressive. It was mandatory for everyone to register before getting on any of the boats. And the water was really clean and so clear that you could see all the fish that were happily living there!
This was where we learned the trick in fish feeding: fill an empty mineral water bottle with bread, then as you go snorkeling, hold out the bottle before you and let the sea water fill up the bottle, soaking the bread and making it so soft that they float out of the bottle. The fish would be guaranteed to swim to you.
Kota Kinabalu Day 4
Free time a.k.a. wandering around the streets of Kota Kinabalu
March 12-15, 2010