Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sabah Adventure

This is my second post and again I would like to share a trip experience. With Air Asia everyone can fly especially with direct flights from Penang to KK. Our group of 17 is made up of close friends and their immediate family.

Day 1 - Sunday 17th, 2007 (Penang – KK)

Our Air Asia flight AK852 arrived at KK on time at 12.35 pm. Rachel, our guide was there waiting for us. After checking in to our rooms, we went for lunch at one of the food court in a shopping complex. We took the whole afternoon checking out the Filipino market which is just 10 minutes walk from our hotel.

We had a grand seafood dinner at the Ocean Seafood Village. We also had a surprised birthday party for 4 of the members whose birthday fall in June. Thanks to Rachel for ordering the birthday cake in advance. We continue the party at our tiny hotel room with sweet rice wine which I bought at the Filipino market early in the afternoon. The wine was so good that everyone decided to buy more for the next few days.
Pick your lobster.

Group with birthday girl and boys.

Day 2 - Monday 18th, 2007 (KK – Poring)

After an early breakfast we hopped on to our vans and headed for Kinabalu National Park. We took a guided tour on one of the trails in the National Park. We also had a glimpse of the highest peak in south east Asia.

Our lunch at Kundasang is mainly vegetables that we bought at near-by market. After lunch we headed to Poring. It was raining quite heavy when we arrived at Poring and we have to wait for the rain to stop before we can hike up to the canopy walk. It was quite a strenuous hike for some and a disappointment at the end of the hike. Most part of the canopy walk was closed for maintenance. We end the hike with a soak at the hot spring. We had a simple dinner across the road just outside the park.

After dinner we gathered at one of the chalet for party. We had more rice wine tonight. I bought ten bottles at the Filipino market early in the morning before breakfast.

Day 3 - Tuesday 19th, 2007 (Poring – Sandakan)

Not a good start today. There were no water supplies to our chalets. All of us had to use the dormitory’s facilities. At the time we left Poring at around 7.30 am there was not a single restaurant or shop opened. We had to travel almost 2 hours to the nearest restaurant for breakfast. We continue our journey for about 3 hours to Sandakan. We had a brief visit at the Australian War Memorial Park before we checked into our hotel. After a good lunch at the hotel lobby, we walked about 20 minutes to Agnes Keith House located on a small hill top overseeing Sandakan bay. Next to Agnes Keith House is a typical English Tea house where we had our afternoon tea break. We spend the afternoon at this place playing lawn polo. In the evening we had another splendid seafood dinner at Ocean King Seafood Restaurant.

Day 4 - Wednesday 20th, 2007 (Sandakan – Sepilok – Batu Putih)

We visited Sandakan’s biggest fish market in the early morning. We checked out after breakfast and proceed to Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary. We were just in time for the morning feeding session. After seeing the feeding of Orang Utan, we decided to do the 1 hour trek up to the water hole at this park. We had a late lunch at a nearby restaurant and move on to our next activity, river cruise on Sungai Kinabatangan. We saw a lot of Proboscis monkeys and Hornbills on this river cruise.

After the river cruise, the group is divided according to their assigned Orang Sungai homes in Batu Putih village. This home-stay program is aliened to all of us and a cultural shock. There is no pipe-in water supply and fresh water is precious. I thought my assigned home was bad. I had to wait for about 10 minutes to fill up a 5 gallon pail for a bath. The 2 ladies assigned to another home were even worst. Their toilet is without door and no water tap inside. They were given only 3 water containers of about a gallon each to do their washing and bathing. The night seems very long at Batu Putih. The experience of staying with Sabah’s Orang Sungai reminds us not to take things for granted especially food, water and the conveniences we have in our present homes.
Batu Putih Home-stay

Orang Utan at Sepilok

Day 5 - Thursday 21st, 2007 (Batu Putih – Semporna)

After a long night every one woke up very early. We had a simple home cooked breakfast and followed by a short visit to the grave museum inside lime stone caves. It was amazing how ancient people carried the coffins 30 meters up a near vertical lime stone hill into these caves.

Our 1.00 pm bus to Semporna only shows up at 3.30 pm. It was late evening when we arrived at Semporna and we have to cancel our visit to one of the factory making jelly. After checking in at the nice Dragon Inn water chalet, we gathered for dinner. Guess what? More seafood again.

Day 6 - Friday 22nd, 2007 (Semporna – Mabul/Sipadan)

The breakfast given by Dragon Inn was extremely little, only 2 slices of bread and a cup of coffee. We had to supplement with a packet of nasi lemak each. Our speed boat to Mabul island arrived at 9.00 am. It was still drizzling and the sea was a little choppy. We left our luggage at Mabul water chalet and went straight to Sipadan island. The weather turned fine when we arrived at Sipadan. The old abandoned Sipadan Resort still standing and now used as rest area. This island and Kapalai is now guarded by Police and Army. We spend the whole morning snorkeling off Sipadan. The water was crystal clear and the corals were the most beautiful ones I have ever seen. We had packed lunch and short break before we head back to Mabul for more snorkeling. A few of us spend the late afternoon walking around the small Mabul Island and enjoy the sunset. That night, we had good Bar-B-Q fish for supper provided by John the Master Diver.
Sunset at Mabul

Sipadan Island

Day 7 - Saturday 23rd, 2007 (Mabul/Kapalai – Semporna – KK)

It was raining heavy, the sea was rough and our morning trip to Kapalai looks doubtful. The rain stopped at about 8.30 am but the sea was still rough so we decided to take another walk around the island. We were lucky, the weather improved later in the morning and off we go to Kapalai. Kapalai is a small beautiful Atoll with only one resort, built on stilts. It was an ideal place for snorkeling. The water is shallow, crystal clear and abundant sea lives. We left this beautiful Atoll at 1.00 pm and back to our ‘little resort’ at Mabul for lunch. Our boat picked us up at 4.00 pm and we arrived at Semporna just before 5.00 pm. We had an early dinner at Semporna before we head to Tawau for our 9.25 pm flight to KK. Every one of us cursed and swears at MAS when they announced that our flight to KK is delayed 2 hours to 11.30 pm. It was almost 1.00 am in the morning when we reached our hotel in KK.
Beautiful Kapalai Resort

Day 8 - Sunday 24th, 2007 (KK – Home)

We slept about 3 hours and left the hotel at 4.30 am to catch our 6.30 am morning flight to Penang. We arrived at Penang 20 minutes ahead of schedule.


This trip was well executed and the itinerary was planned to suit all the participants. The close friendly relationship of group is also the major factor for the success of this trip. Everyone had their shares of fun, joy, experience and unforgettable memories to bring home.

Recorded by WH Wong

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