Malaysia

Sabah Soujourn 2013 – Part 8 – Sandakan walk

On the free map you can get at the airport tourist stand, or at hotels, a walk is shown. it’s a pleasant, easy walk.  But as it is the tropics, for me always the best time to go for a walk is first thing in the morning.  If you want to have tea at Agnes Keith house, then time your walk accordingly – not too early. These are photos taken during this walk.

20130710 (6)s

I started at the Sandakan Hotel

20130710 (8)s

There is actually a sign, here

20130710 (9)s

in MPS Square

20130710 (11)s

In MPS Square

20130710 (12)s

In MPS Square

20130710 (13)s

MPS Square

20130710 (14)s

20130710 (15)s

the stairs start opposite MPS Square

20130710 (16)s

it’s nice and shady

20130710 (17)s

no one around, either

20130710 (18)s

20130710 (19)s

the last few steps up

20130710 (20)s

looking back

20130710 (22)s

This sign is at the top of the steps. I didn’t count, so I don’t know if it is accurate, but it’s not a hard climb.

20130710 (25)s

walking towards the Japanese Cemetary – although I didn’t go that far

20130710 (28)s

The official residence of the Chief Minister of Sabah – after this I turned back

20130710 (32)s

not open yet

20130710 (34)s

20130710 (35)s

20130710 (36)s

20130710 (38)s

20130710 (39)s

nice view here

20130710 (44)s

the tallest building is the Sheraton

20130710 (47)s

Clock Tower, in the middle of the roudabout

20130710 (50)s

after the Sung Siew School I turned left, skipping the Ancient Graveyard found down the road on the right – on the right is a footpath, at the moment

20130710 (51)s

20130710 (53)s

house next to the temple

20130710 (55)s

20130710 (56)s

no footpath any more

20130710 (58)s

just before an ovehead bridge you turn right and follow this covered walkway

20130710 (59)s

housing for some people

20130710 (60)s

St Marys Cathedral – Catholic

20130710 (63)s

St. Francis

20130710 (65)s

St. Michael – Anglican

20130710 (67)s

They have time capsules in this rock

20130710 (68)s

St Michael

20130710 (72)s

back in MPS Square, having completed the walk

Sabah Soujourn 2013 – Part 6 – Sandakan

Sandakan seems like it is in the middle of nowhere. It is quiet, clean, quite small and friendly.  From KK it is a short flight, but apparently not an easy drive.  When you arrive the airport is tiny, with only a couple of luggage carousels.  Then it is about 30 minutes drive to the town. The taxi voucher is RM30 to the town. And by the way, a taxi will charge RM30 for the trip back to the airport from town.

The following photos are intended to give an idea of the inner city of Sandakan.

20130708 (1)s

It’s only about a 40 minute flight – but not an easy drive – to Sandakan. It feels like we are going to the middle of nowhere.

20130708 (11)s

flying out of KK

20130708 (13)s

enroute from KK to Sandakan

20130708 (14)

a small airport

20130708 (17)s

A big sign you see on the way into town from the airport

20130708 (17a)s

many houses on stilts on the water that you can see on the way to Sandakan

20130708 (18)s

the mosque

20130708 (19)s

the Sheraton on the left, where we stayed

20130708 (20)s

street in Sandakan

20130710 (77)s

street in Sandakan

20130710 (75)s

street in Sandakan

20130708 (21)s

street in Sandakan

20130709 (277)s

very very old looking local buses

20130709 (278)s

a local market

20130709 (279)s

a local market

20130709 (280)s

a local market – big pail of milo

20130709 (281)s

a local market

20130709 (282)s

a local market

20130709 (283)s

a local market

20130709 (284)s

a local market

20130709 (285)s

a local market

20130709 (286)s

a local market

20130709 (287)s

the Malaysian navy

20130709 (289)s

the hotel from the waterfront

20130709 (291)s

waterfront restaurants

20130709 (292)s

waterfront restaurants

20130709 (293)s

waterfront restaurants

20130709 (294)s

near the waterfront

20130709 (296)s

sculpture

20130709 (297)s

sculpture

20130710 (2)s

waterfront

20130710 (4)s

waterfront

20130710 (73)s

Sandakan streets

20130710 (76)s

Sandakan streets

20130710 (79)s

Sandakan streets

20130710 (80)s

waterfront

Sabah Soujourn 2013 – Part 5 – Kota Kinabalu (KK) – hotels and waterfront

In KK we stayed in two different hotels. The first was Gaya Central.

20130707 (20)s

This is near the waterfront, and not too far from Jesselton Terminal. RM157 for a night. The room has a shower, but no bath, and a safe. The staff were friendly, if not all that knowledgeable. Breakfast was OK. Here are a few photos.

20130707 (21)s

20130707 (24)s

20130707 (25)s

the view from the window

20130707 (26)s

the view from the window

Below is Signal Hill lookout, where a went for a walk as depicted in a previous blog in this series on Sabah.

20130707 (26a)s

Signal Hill lookout – you can just see this in the previous photo, on the left.

Following are some photos of the waterfront, starting at the east and moving west.

20130707 (26c)s

20130707 (26d)s

20130707 (27)s

20130707 (28)s

20130707 (30)s

20130707 (31)s

20130707 (32)s

20130707 (33)s

20130707 (34)s

20130707 (35)s

20130707 (36)s

20130707 (39)s

20130707 (40)s

And then a little further along is the tousit waterfront area, as depicted in another blog in this series. Opposite this is the second hotel we stayed at in KK.

20130710 (123)s

This is the Klagan hotel. Again, it is near the waterfront.We were given an upgrade – delux with bath & separate shower. The price was RM225 per night. The staff were helpful and friendly, there was a safe, iron, ironing board, hairdryer, and amenities in the room. And breakfast was good.

20130710 (127)s

20130710 (128)s

20130710 (131)s

20130710 (135)s

20130710 (135a)s

20130710 (136)s

20130712 (1)s

stairs from the 10th floor to the breakfast room

The following is breakfast…

20130712 (2)s

20130712 (4)s

20130712 (5)s

20130712 (6)s

20130712 (7)s

20130712 (8)s

20130712 (9)s

20130712 (10)s

20130712 (11)s

20130712 (13)s

20130712 (14)s

Sabah Soujourn 2013 – Part 4 – Kota Kinabalu (KK) – Little Italy restaurant

And as for eating in KK?

Every morning we had a big breakfast at the hotel.

After that we were busy with excursions, and only had two nights free to eat in KK. For one we were very hungry and ate in a nearby hawker centre before we starved.

For the other we wandered around. On the waterfront there are plenty of tourist establishments, with quite high prices.

20130707 (45)s

20130707 (44)s

20130707 (46)s

20130707 (47)s

A couple of blocks in the food is much cheaper.

Little Italy was recommended by a friend, and was full of patrons, with quite a queue outside.  As most waiting groups were larger, we two actually got a table after only a couple of minutes wait.

20130707 (58)s

The service was not particularly good – I gave up and went and fetched menus, for example, but they were rushed off their feet.

20130707 (60)s

20130707 (61)s

20130707 (62)s

The food was good though, and the house wine reasonably priced.

20130707 (64)s

ravioli

20130707 (65)s

scaloppine

We had hoped to visit again before leaving KK, but we ran out of time.

20130707 (63)s

Sabah Soujourn 2013 – Part 3 – Kota Kinabalu (KK) wildlife excursion

We had half a day left in KK, and were leaving the next morning. Our last chance for:

Proboscis Monkey River Cruise & Fireflies tour.  This tour takes you by bus through the countryside  to a place on the river about two hours drive from KK. Then you have coffee and a snack, and board a boat to see wildlife in its natural setting, and after dusk you see fireflies. You have dinner by the river. Then you are driven back to the hotel, arriving between 10PM and 10.30.

But it is dependent on the weather and luck what you actually see, if anything. If it rains, you are unlikely to see anything, and you’ll also probably get wet. We were not at all sure about the weather on that day, but we decided we’d go and hope for the best.  We rang the agent one hour before pickup to ensure we could get on, and they said to book online but pay the guide.  Once we booked online they texted us to confirm.

I did worry about the drive back at night, hoping the driver was going to be safe.

SUMMARY

The tour was good. They did as promised. We saw lots of wildlife, enjoyed the dinner, and the driver drove safely.

DETAILS

They picked us up at the hotel on time, did a couple more hotel pickups, and then we were on our way.

the bus

the bus

20130711 (99)s

The drive was quite pleasant, and with one brief  comfort stop along the way took a little over two hours.

20130711 (101)s

we followed the rail line for a while

20130711 (102)s

there were a surprising number of churches along the way

20130711 (103)s

20130711 (107)s

20130711 (109)s

20130711 (114)s

20130711 (115)s

20130711 (117)s

20130711 (119)s

Afternoon tea was relaxed…

20130711 (122)s

20130711 (123)s

the view from the restaurant

20130711 (124)s

…and when we were ready we donned lifejackets and boarded boats, at about 4.45PM. You could hire binoculars for RM10. About eight in our boat, and quite a few more in the other.

20130711 (126)s

the inlet the boats were moored in

20130711 (127)s

our boat

20130711 (129)s

the river

We headed downriver, passing old settlements…

20130711 (131)s

20130711 (133)s

And we saw some devastation of the jungle…
20130711 (179)s

We continued for about 25 minutes before one of the guides spotted some proboscis monkeys in trees near the river. We watched and photographed them for a while.

20130711 (146)s

20130711 (148)s

20130711 (154)s

20130711 (156)s

We moved on, saw a monitor lizard on a tree…

monitor lizard

monitor lizard

then a tree with poisonous fruit that in earlier times was used on darts to make them poisonous…

20130711 (160)s

20130711 (161)s

the poisonous fruit

…and further on saw some more proboscis monkeys. Then we turned around.

20130711 (168)s

On heading back upstream it started to rain, and the canopy over the boat was erected. Luckily the rain was light, as the canopy wasn’t very effective. It stopped after a little while. It was getting dark.

We saw the same monkeys, higher up in the trees, settling in for the night.

20130711 (175)s

Then, as the sun was setting we saw a herd of water buffaloes crossing the river. We stayed and watched for a while.

20130711 (190)s

20130711 (196)s

20130711 (197)s

20130711 (204)s

20130711 (213)s

Finally, further upstream we came across fireflies.  It was still perhaps too early to see masses of them, but we saw quite a few. And a beautiful sunset…

20130711 (226)s

20130711 (230)s

20130711 (239)s

Then it was back to the wharf, and dinner.  We’d been on the water a little over two hours. The dinner was very good.  Tiger beer was extra, at RM10, and soft drinks were extra too, but I don’t remember the price.

20130711 (242)s

20130711 (243)s

A little before 8PM we started back to KK, and the driver was very cautious, so it was a slow, but thankfully safe drive back. We were back in out hotel before 10.30pm.