Kota Kinabalu

November 24, 2014 Travel

Prior to this trip, the only reason for me to visit Kota Kinabalu again was to climb the mountain again.  So, after my mountain climbing accident in Benguet last year, it was scrapped off my list.  But, I got invited to a press tour weeks ago in Kota Kinabalu.  I couldn't resist the free vacation, so I signed up and found out, that there is more to Kota Kinabalu than just the mountain.

AirAsia, which flies to Kota Kinabalu four times a week and Sabah Tourism Board organized the trip.  I was there as AirAsia's PR consultant.  Our three day itinerary included a visit to a cultural village, ziplining, seawalking, river cruising and of course, shopping.  

Mari Mari Cultural Village

Our first stop was Mari Mari Cultural Village.  We actually had a shopping trip at the Pinoy Market before this in our itinerary but we decided to forego because our hotel, the Grandis Hotel, was in the Suriah Shopping Mall Complex anyway.

Mari Mari is like what we envisioned at our Malasag Eco Village in Cagayan de Oro.  The village has traditional houses of Sabahan ethnic communities, including the Bajaus, which is of Filipino descent. The tour, which costs about P 2,000 plus, included a tour of the village, a cultural dance show and a buffet dinner.

Bajau House
We visited several houses and our guide explained to us the traditional ways of each tribes.  Part of the tour also are some activities like fire making, wine sampling and food tasting, which made the whole thing more fun.

Few interesting things about the tribes:

1)  Girls sleep on the loft, to protect them (which is not fun for PWDs);

2)  It is hard to make fire, even for those who do them for a living;
3)  A trampoline is great addition to any house.  Their ancestors knew.

Palau Sapi and Palau Gaya

The next day, we were off to the islands for some water adventure. Yipee!

I have experienced ziplining several times before, both from local destinations and from friends who have this as a hobby.  But, this is the first time I am ziplining from one island to another.

The Coral Flyer, a 250 meter zip line, connects the islands of Palau Sapi and Palau Gaya.   

It was an exhilarating ride and after that, we had a calm sea walking activity. I just couldn't let an opportunity for adventure pass even if the sea walking organizers got worried about the underwater pressure and how it would affect my leg implants. I called my doctor and when he said go, I immediately went to the briefing area.

Cool! It was my first time to do helmet diving and I really enjoyed the activity. We basically donned this heavy helmet, which kept us from floating.  There were also guide ropes to hold on to while we watch the guide and his mini show.

Klias Wetlands

After our islands adventures, we travelled two hours to the Klias Wetlands for a river cruise.

Klias Wetlands is located an the Klias Peninsula.  It is a mangrove forest reserve popular for its bizarre-looking inhabitants, the proboscis monkeys.  These tree-dwelling animals normally hunt for food in the evenings, so tours usually start late afternoon. 

After snacks, we boarded a small motor boat to look at proboscis monkeys . The only problem was it rained and we were forced to turn back.

We did see a few monkeys though.  It was still a fun trip despite the heavy downpour.  

So, there you go my mountaineer friends.  Next time you book a climb in Kota Kinabalu, make sure to allocate time to explore the rest of the island.  There are a lot more and looking forward to returning and seeing more of Sabah.

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