People most frequently say that travelling abroad unaccompanied by somebody can be quite challenging especially when you’re there to explore the local culture. However, I am delighted to share with you that even though I was alone in my journey, the entire trip to Kota Kinabalu went smoothly and I managed to enjoy it in my own means.
Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in .
Welcome to Sabah! Malaysia is on the spectacular tropical island of Borneo. Sabah is a land of stimulating natural scenery, lavish ancient tropical rain forest, vibrant coral reefs and mysterious ethnic beliefs.
Yeah I had a 3-day and 2-night trip in Kota Kinabalu in February last year! It was my first visit to Sabah and what an amusing experience it was! I had some firsthand and unforgettable memories that I will never forget for the rest of my life.
Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in .
Related Article: Best Backpacker Hostels in Malaysia
I was delighted in visiting the islands and do shopping at the various outlet stores in downtown Kota Kinabalu. I also had a chance to immerse myself with the natives and the tourists. I was quite surprised to know that a lot of Filipinos are residing there but it’s indeed a good thing for me since I could just communicate with them freely using my mother tongue.
In addition, eating the local foods there was also commendable. Some of them were strange but mostly were mouth-watering. Originally, I intended to include trekking in Mt. Kinabalu in my travel plan but my fear ate me since it’s one of the tallest mountains in South-East Asia so surely it’s quite high and I was too scared that nobody could help me immediately if something bad or dangerous would happen to me since I was travelling alone but anyway my escapade went like this.
On my first day, I had my city tour and it was pleasurable. I walked around near my accommodation and saw various sights with great appreciation. I then hired a taxi for me to reach farther attractions and know more on their culture. I visited Kota Kinabalu City Mosque, Suria Sabah, Filipino Market, Gaya Street Market, Tun Mustapha Tower, Wawasan Intersection, Seafood Port and Warisan Square. I have also seen Atkinson Clock Tower and Swordfish Statue when I was wandering. I took a lot of pictures for my family and friends to see even they were not with me physically on that certain day.
At exactly 5 pm, I was then searching for Toscani’s Wine & Dine Cafe at Waterfront since I’ve read a lot of good reviews that it offers delicious dishes, pleasant atmosphere, nice view to the bay and the amazing sunset. It surely didn’t fail me because all the foods that I ordered were really yummy like their seafood pizza, baked potatoes with cheese jacket and steak in wine. The waiters were very attentive too so for me it was quite fantastic.
On the next day, I decided to go snorkeling in different islands and the good thing was I joined a group of vacationers in their boat so it didn’t really cost me a fortune. Tunku Abdul Rahman Park is an aquatic park encompasses of Pulau Gaya, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamutik and Pulau Sulug. All these islands are just ten to fifteen minutes boat ride from Jesselton Point, the ferry port where you can charter a boat to the isles.
First, we went to Mamutik Island since it is the nearest and the smallest island among the five islands of the Park. It is very popular because of its proximity and is an ideal setting to embrace tranquility. Then we departed for the second location of the day which is Manukan Island. When the boat just landed in the landmass, the school of fishes welcomed us. I then rushed to go out from the vessel since I was excited to take photos of the sea creatures while someone fed them. The small paradise was really alluring for me to discover more.
Transportation Tip: If you’re looking for the cheapest way to book the Trains, Buses, Ferries, Transfers on this route, we use to compare the prices!
The third stop was the island of Sapi. Upon arriving to Sapi, I still joined the group and enjoyed a delicious BBQ lunch served buffet-style directly on the island’s beach, and after I was on my own, roaming the island without restrictions finding the best spot to rest. After filling our stomachs with the fresh and tasty foods and relaxing then we proceeded to the group’s next adventure which is fishing.
The owner of the boat then started the engine, had the headcount and directed the way to a peaceful spot which is known as the fish’s hub. He then prepared the needed materials like the fishing rods, bait and hooks for us to get started. Since some of us were beginners then he explained the procedures on how to do it through gestures since he couldn’t speak English well. As I could remember, it was not a big deal since we fully understood what he wanted us to do and luckily I caught two small fishes.
After fishing for an hour, we then decided to go back to the mainland and not to visit the remaining islands because we were too tired already. Basically, the island hopping package was a bit expensive for a solo-traveller but I never had regrets availing it because the experience was worthwhile. I met some cool people and had never-ending laughter with them which you couldn’t buy. Though they have different nationalities, beliefs and personalities, it never became a hindrance for us to understand one another. So, whenever you plan to go to Kota Kinabalu then never miss island hopping in your itinerary.
For my last day in Kota Kinabalu, I went to different shops to buy some souvenirs and delicacies that I could bring back to the Philippines. I guess it was amusing to visit different stalls and compare which were the cheaper deals. I think I was enhancing my bargaining skills too during my trip. Finally, I’m ready to go.
Overall, I think I only explored like 60% or less of what Sabah has to offer. My experience was really marvelous and superb. And although seafood restaurants are abundant, the cheap ones patronized by the locals are just too far to reach on foot. And did I mention that the taxi drivers in Kota Kinabalu do not switch on the meter? (You should be clever in haggling for a good price!).
Life is an exploration. Spread your wings and fly as far as you could!
- 7 Awesome Things to do in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- 7 Awesome Things to do in Penang, Malaysia
- South East Asia Visa Guide for Europeans
About the Writer
I’m Geraldine R. Codizar of Cebu, Philippines. I am an ESL teacher for more than five years now. I am 26 years of age and my ultimate dream is to travel to various places not just to see the hidden beauty that lies in every place but also to encounter the locals and appreciate more the real essence of our existence. I do enjoy immersing myself to anonymous settings since it’s quite challenging and rewarding. I want to join the contest since I want my parents to have the opportunity to be with me and also for them to know that life is a great adventure even at their ages now.
THIS IS AN ENTRY FOR THE 1ST YEAR ANNIVERSARY TRAVEL WRITING CONTEST OF TWO MONKEYS TRAVEL GROUP