Thursday, February 11, 2016

Sabah - Borneo Reef World

A pontoon is a floatation device with buoyancy sufficient to float itself as well as a heavy load. Basically, it's a floating platform. The highlight of this trip was obviously Kundasang but I was more excited for this sea trip hihi. Sabah is well known for its beautiful beaches, islands and diving spots so it's just absurd if we skip the island trip on our first time to Kota Kinabalu (though Mili have been here a few times, i think she went to Manukan). I can't remember how I came across this sea walking activity but I remember reading about it a few years back and that activity was somewhere near Jakarta so I was sort of excited when i found out we've got it here in Malaysia. I still can't swim well, let alone skin dive so I was curious about this sea walking activity. And one of the reason was that I wanted Abah to experience and see what we usually see on our snorkelling trips.
To the pontoon.
We were surprised (and impressed too) that Abah went straight to get his snorkelling gears but he decided not to snorkel when his mask kept fogging and that the water was too deep. However we're proud he didn't hesitate!
We didn't exactly walk on the sand, just an underwater platform but i didn't really mind.
The helmet is 25kg and the glass sort of made me dizzy.
You can see the underwater walk-through at the top of this photo. This pontoon has been around for about 10 years.

Guestbook :)
So after the sea walking activity, I was given this guestbook and was minding my own business doodling when i heard some guys shouting, "Whale shark! Whale shark!" and i quickly ran to where the fuss were and there it was, a young whale shark swimming around the pontoon. I think it was about 10ft long. The guys who were obviously all divers splashed into the water one by one (even the cook haha) because apparently the whale shark will only come near the area once a year and that this was the first time ever at the pontoon. How lucky!!! We can't miss this opportunity so Mili and I put on our snorkel gears and joined the fun. It was like a dream!

Sabah - Kundasang

We wanted to just travel in Malaysia, maybe Cameron Highlands but my sister & I were too lazy to drive up and that we're not too sure if we're up for the winding road. Then, Mili suggested if we should fly out but too short notice, we couldn't find a good bargain for the flight tickets (in fact, i had only about a week to help plan things). We decided to check out Kundasang since none of us have ever been there (I myself never been to neither Sabah nor Sarawak). And so our belated birthday trip started off in Kota Kinabalu, a surprise treat for Abah.
Jetty, about 15min walk from our hotel next to Padang merdeka.
Mount Kinabalu's reflection. 
We rented a Myvi from Kota Kinabalu to Kundasang (RM120/day) and my heart skipped a beat once we saw the beautiful Mount Kinabalu. We made sure to stop at every good viewpoint by the roadside.
Stalking some cattle at Desa Cattle Dairy Farm.
Before planning the trip, I asked my friend if she knew anything about Sabah and she instantly suggested Kundasang (because i can only think about the beautiful islands surrounding the state), of how most of the people who went there described it having somewhat of a New Zealand vibe (with the green hills and chilly wind). After approximately 2 hours drive, we arrived in Kundasang slightly earlier than our check in time so we decided to get some of those New Zealand vibe at Desa Cattle Dairy Farm. At the entrance you will need to pay RM5/adult and drive up to the main farm. The road, as Abah said, "Very very very bad". Seriously, they should have 4x4 ride to take visitors from the entrance to the farm. So at the farm they have a herd of cattle, you can feed the calves and kids and at about 2:30pm, you'll get to see the process of milking the cattle, by machine, not manually (to my sister's disappointment). If you're hungry, you can get pizza, waffle, sausage, ice cream and yogurt. It's just weird they don't have hotdog..
Adik baby.
The kids are alright.
After that we went to the vegetable and fruits market along the roadside. Beautiful vegetables and fruits, so geram! We were looking through the brown rice and saw this packet written 'Brown rice after earthquake' which obviously made us wonder and the makcik chuckled saying, "Means it's fresh laa". Like, duhh haha.. (Major earthquake happened in Sabah back in June 2015)
That pumpkin looking thang is what they call avocado cheese.
View from Kinabalu Pine Resort's restaurant.
Mount Kinabalu from our resort.
I don't know the name but it sure looks like fairies, aye?
While driving up to Kundasang.

About 30mins from Kundasang is the town Ranau (where you can find Maybank) and a bit further up from Ranau is the Poring Hot Spring, which we didn't go because I was already tired from driving and that the next day Mili wasn't feeling very well so we drove back to Kota Kinabalu. Before leaving Kundasang we did stop by Mount Kinabalu National Park however we were not up for hiking so we just drove around the accessible area. Would definitely come to Kundasang next time, gotta get a place with kitchen so we can cook up all those fresh vegetables yum! Heh. Anyway, we stayed at Kinabalu Pine Resort and I think it was a good bargain (because I just like staying at old buildings, my sister not so much), only they really need to upgrade the food a bit. We stayed at Block F, had a clear view of the mountain except that they just had to place the electric pole in the middle of that nice view. So I suggest for you guys to take Block R if you guys wanna stay there.
This is not an advertisement. But I like this hand drawn map.

Trip duration: 30 Jan - 2 Feb 2016