Mount Kinabalu: The Journey (Part 1 of 7)

Having driven to Kota Kinabalu numerous times before, I was well aware of the long journey that lies ahead.  We departed our quiet little town of Kuala Belait in the wee hours of 4.30 am and travelled through the shortcuts of villages and padi fields.  The aim was to arrive at Kuala Lurah to join the multitude of cars already queuing before the immigration point opens for the day.  Sure enough, we arrived at Kuala Lurah being seventh in the line.

Comfortable position Yun Hung finds a comfortable position to sleep! I’m the driver for the whole journey so.. envy envy!

As soon as we reached Limbang, the first order of the day was breakfast! we ate at the food stalls above Limbang’s open air market.  From there, we discovered that Limbang’s kueh tiaw is thick and wide.  But all is well as the kueh tiaw was well ‘char’ fried.

Limbang's kueh tiaw Limbang’s kueh tiaw is unbelievably thick and wide, look at the size of it against the chopsticks!

After filling our stomach to our heart’s content, we continued our journey to the land beneath the winds.  The rest of the journey going through Temburong and Lawas then into Sabah was fairly smooth (apart from road blocks by … cows!), stopping only at Beaufort for lunch.

Roadblock!ROADBLOCK! No, not by the police… not by the Transportation Department, but by.. cows!  Dozens of cows crossing the road at snail pace.

Beaufort Chicken Rice Beaufort’s chicken rice: Sweet (Literally)!

We finally arrived in Kota Kinabalu (KK) city slightly pass 1400 hours. It was a big relieve for the driver that it was the last drive of the day!

Borneo Backpackers Borneo Backpackers is always my backpacker’s inn of choice.  There’s no reason to stay in a nice hotel room if what you only need is a place to sleep!  It’s only RM20 per night!

First thing on my mind after checking into Borneo Backpackers and settling ourselves into our room-for-one-night… BATH!

Room for the nightOur 10-bed room, which was occupied by us.  The room in Borneo Backpackers is always in tip-top shaped with clean floors and fresh bed sheets, and not to forget, friendly reception!  Access into the inn is via a security coded magnetic lock gate, so you can be assured there will not be any strangers that goes wandering into the inn.

Window to the world Meet Neko!  She is the extremely friendly, extremely lovable, extremely huggable official cat of Borneo Backpackers who can be spotted looking out to the world from a window, or from the verandah.

We immediately wasted no time and headed for the nearby Filipino market for some handicrafts and also ‘Bak Gua’ (Dried BBQ pork meat) for our loved ones back home!  After that, we made our way on foot to the nearest and one of the latest shopping mall in KK, the Suria Sabah.  To my delight, the exterior of the mall was already wonderfully decorated with Christmas ornaments.

We had our dinner at the famous Upperstar Grill & Bar, which is frequented by many locals so we had to wait for a table to clear.  I’ve dined in Upperstar from my previous KK visits and I really loved their Lamb Chop so I decided to order the same!

Lime Tonic Grilled Lamb Chop
The lime tonic was my drink of choice . The Grilled Lamb Chop remains my favourite at Upperstar.

After catching the “Life of Pi” at Suria’s GSC Cinema, it was back to the Backpackers inn and call it the end of Day 1 of our journey.  I was so tired from the drive that I fell asleep instantly and the next moment that I opened my eyes, it was already morning… Day 2.

We had our breakfast at KK’s Kah Hiong Ngiu Chap, which shot into fame when it was featured in Astro’s Food Channel in the programme “Taste with Jason”.  “Ngiu Chap” refers to Beef Soup and is usually served with either mee hoon or kolomee.  The place is also famous for their extra hot chili paste which can also be bought for RM10 per bottle.  I bought 10 of bottles to ‘spice up’ the lives of my loved ones at home.  Sharing is caring right?

Ngiu Chap Mee Hoon Ngiu Chap Kolomee Generous Tender Beef Cubes
(Top-left) Beef Soup with Mee Hoon.  (Top-right) Beef Soup with Kolomee.
(Bottom) Cross section shot of the beef cubes to show how ‘thick’ the meat are!

Once the beef noodles craving was satisfied, it was time to say bye-bye to the bursting chaotic city and up and into the fresh cold air of the mountains, Kundasan.  Kundasan is the closest village to Mount Kinabalu and one can get a panoramic view of the mountain there, and that is where we will be spending the night!

Click here to read the next part of the article.


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