Monday, August 27, 2007

Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

On the Singapore's national day holiday weekend, we went on our first family holiday. It’s also baby’s first holiday and my first visit to East Malaysia. Read on for more firsts.

Day One:
After a late brunch of yummy & hot soupy pork noodles (no photos as I was busy gulping down the dish when it’s served), we visited a beach resort at Kampung Karambunai. The stretch of white sandy beach is pretty and many people (mostly Caucasians) were sunbathing at midday…for the sake of getting a tanned skin (is it considered fashionable?), it’s crazy considering it’s SO hot and you soak in the harmful UV rays. And no, sun-block lotion doesn’t block all the rays. Sorry.


We were hiding under shades enjoying the sea breezes, the scenery, people-watching and drank cooling coconut water, straight from the fruit.

The rest of the day was spent at H’s uncle’s home, catching up on stuff. Had durians, mangosteens and Tarap fruit for tea. It’s H & my first taste of Tarap, and we’ve never known its existence before. And have never seen one in West Malaysia or Singapore. It has strong smell (strong but unlike durian smell) where you can smell from a few meters away. The flesh is soft, chewy and sweet. Nice.

Tarap fruit Tarap
Tarap Fruit

Dinner time, it’s steamed fish head (the biggest fish head I’ve ever seen, and again I was too busy eating), sautéed vegetable with steamed rice. It’s all good. The price for 4 adults, RM45!!!! That’s what I call value for money.

Day Two:
Day trip to H’s uncle’s plantation in the outskirts. I was amazed that my almost 8 months old baby could withstand and fall asleep on the 2.5 hours of bumpy car ride (each way). Views of Mount Kinabalu, highest mountain in Malaysia and 3rd highest in South East Asia were breathtaking. I’d love to train and conquer it one day. But for now, it’s good enough admiring from afar.

Looking @ Mt. Kinabalu R0012713
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Lunch consisted of more durians, mangosteens and tarap from the plantation. And my poor hubby fell sick after that. He threw up thrice on the way back. Cause was unclear as the rest of us were fine. Luckily, he’s back to his chatty self after a nap and downing 2 panadols.

Day Three:
In the morning, I visited my aunt (my mom’s sister) for the first time in my life. She’s moved here before I was born and she’s never been back. And hey she lives pretty near H’s uncle place (where we stayed on this trip). When she appeared from her front door, it’s unmistakably my relative. Her features are like mom’s, and her voice is pretty similar too. It’s funny how my mother’s sisters all look & sound pretty much the same.

What’s more surprising is that my aunty and her husband know H’s uncle and H’s cousins, who used to live across the street from her.
My aunt treated us to a yummy lunch. And this is the only meal I remembered taking food photos because I wanted to take a picture with my aunt for memories.


It’s KK city tour after we bid farewell. I imagined the city to be full of skyscrapers (I guess I live in Singapore…:P) but no, there are only a few tall buildings. I guess the tallest building in KK is Tun Mustapha Tower at the Likas bay area.
Tun Mustapha Tower. Also a Sabah icon.

Love the view of the City Mosque.
City Mosque

And this is the Sabah State Mosque.

Window-shopped at one of the shopping malls (couldn’t remember which) and had coffee at Starbucks. Ok I admit it’s such an un-touristy thing to do, mediocre but expensive coffee :P

All sorts of salted seafood
At this Pasar Ikan Masin (Salted Fish Market), we bought a box full of dried shrimp, anchovies, fish crackers and dried cuttlefish. The seller will pack, seal and tied the box with rope and made a handle for you to carry. Cheap and good service!

Then we caught the lovely lovely sunset at a yatch club.
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If you ever go to Kota Kinabalu, you should have at least one seafood meal (if not all, heh), the reason: cheap and very fresh seafood. H’s uncle & family brought us to the seafood restaurant where the locals go, and well, to be honest, the seafood was indeed fresh but the cooking was just ok (may be my expectation was too high).

Boiled prawn is sweet which is nice, fish is fresh but the buttered prawns were a tad too salty. The best dish of the night was actually a non-seafood, it’s the braised chicken with some kind of gravy which is so delicious. I’m sorry I cannot explain what’s in the gravy. It’s just… YUM!

It’s bye bye Kota Kinabalu the next morning.

~The travel bug’s itch is scratched, at least for now. :)