A friend of mine visited Sabah with four of her friends, and related her experiences there to me. Her information was useful for us during our visit. This is what she wrote…
While in Kota Kinabalu, we went island hopping, it was about RM20 to visit 2-3 islands in a day.
Manukan was quite polluted, so we didn’t snorkel there.
Sapi was awesome and I really enjoyed snorkeling there.
We also tried parasailing, we bargained vehemently with the guy until he was willing to charge only RM55/person, and then we went out on a boat for the activity, I heard most people do parasailing by the beach, so getting to try it out in the open sea was great. It wasn’t scary at all. The sensation of floating about in the air was really serene.
In Kota Kinabalu, there’s a really nice italian restaurant called Little Italy. I enjoyed the food there.
Aside from that, I really liked Super ice cream potong, it came in many fruity flavours that tasted really good, not like cheap artificial flavorings. I don’t think they distribute it widely in Peninsular Malaysia. Our tour guide took us to the factory to buy it. The factory had a store selling various types of goods, so I think you can actually go there too, without a tour guide.
We went to Kundasang for 3D2N and stayed in Pine Resort, which is very beautifully landscaped, they have been awarded several times for the landscaping, I think. Our room cost about RM300 per night for five people.
Halfway up Kundasang, there’s a small town with a market place, called Pekan Nabalu, there is a huge pineapple statute there, so you can’t miss it. Fruits there are sold cheaply, a pineapple only costs RM2, and the five of us couldn’t finish even one, and it tasted really good. They had red colored bananas too, but I don’t remember those being anything special. I found a webpage with a funny post about the reasons to stop in Pekan Nabalu.
On the highland, there is a dairy farm called Desa, which looks a lot like New Zealand’s farms (well, so I was told). It was fun there because of the cool air and the amount of fresh milk on sale, I love dairy products! 😛 The convenience stores in Kota Kinabalu also sell boxes of milk from Desa. I loved the taste of it!
On the second day, we visited this river with huge black fishes as long as my arm, it’s called ‘Tagal’ Sungai Moroli Fish Spa. It only cost RM5 to do it but my friends were too terrified by the sight of the big black fishes, none of them wanted to try it, so we just stared at the fishes for a while and left
Sabah Tea Plantation in Ranau is another tourist spot on the highland. We tried out many different types of tea there, some were good, some were weird. I remember liking one of the flavours but I can’t remember which one, and I don’t see the flavoured ones sold in Peninsular Malaysia’s supermarkets. So if you do try and end up liking any flavours, just buy it then and there! haha. There is a longhouse accommodation behind the plantation, within walking distance, if I remember correctly, but we did not stay there.
And there was the Poring Hot Springs, which was opposite this trail that leads into a village with Rafflesia. The drive into the village cost us RM10/person, and we had to park somewhere near the forest surrounding it and walk into the forest. There were other tourists so I doubt you can get lost easily. We were lucky that a Rafflesia had just bloomed when we were there, as I heard that these flowers don’t stay in bloom for long and if I remember correctly, they take up to 9 months to bloom.
Poring Hot Springs was fun mainly because we had water fights in them, haha. And behind the Springs, we went jungle trekking for a bit and walked on the suspension bridges, it was the longest suspension bridge walk ever, I think there were more than 5 parts to it. A friend took this picture while we were walking on the bridges. So pretty 🙂
We also went to the Kota Kinabalu Park, just to walk around, and enjoy the chilly air.
We actually drove into several resorts just to walk around 😛
There is a war memorial in Kundasang town.
Kudat/Tip of Borneo
We went to the Tip of Borneo, it was a really long drive, at least 3 hours, on very bad roads. Our rented van cost RM350/day and the tour guide drove the five of us. Along the way there are people selling local fruits by the roadside, some fruits were really weird. The ‘furry’ fruit below is called Buah Tarap, it was not bad in taste. Even the corn was different, it was called Jagung Pulut ‘glutinous rice corn’, I liked it too. There are chalets by the tip of borneo, but we didn’t stay there. The tip of borneo had this cliff like area, I have never seen a geographical feature like this, maybe it was because it was kind of a cliff? I don’t know. The wind was insanely strong there and the sight was beautiful to me in an unconventional way, I liked the sense of fortitude the rocks gave, they seem to promise to last forever. Our tour guide said actually the sea erodes these rocks though, haha
That night, after seeing the sunset at the Tip of Borneo, we stayed in Rungus longhouses, in a village called Kampung Bavanggazo, which means big river, if I remember correctly. It cost RM75/night inclusive of dinner and breakfast. The food was delicious. They made the food based on the aborigines’ recipe and I think most of the vegetables were home grown. The owner was called Adrian Angkung, a local musician, who spoke English, he told me he had a German girlfriend, and he had visited her in Germany, showed me videos and pictures of her, haha! There were performances by the Rungus people and we were invited to join their dancing and this game of skipping through slamming bamboos(I think those were bamboos). It was fun. There was a gong making village nearby that we visited the next morning.
Weston River Sanctuary, Beaufort
We also went to Weston River Sanctuary, it cost RM75/person. Another day with long driving and bad roads. In the evening we tried to sight for proboscis monkeys, but it was quite pointless without binoculars, which could be rented but it cost RM35/pair. Sunset at the river mouth was beautiful, though, really breathtaking. Then along the same river at night, there were fireflies, which was amazing! Nothing like Kuala Selangor River’s fireflies, which were barely there. The ones in Sabah, it was like we were looking at falling stars and sometimes they flew towards us. It was amazing!
If you rent a car with GPS, try to look for these roads, Jalan Sulaman or Jalan Salut, it’s supposed to be near Kampung Rugading-Telipok. I forgot which day and which journey were we on, but we went there for Roasted Coconuts and Coconut Pudding. They were really nice.