Taking the Long Way travel blog

My dorm in KK; definitely NOT the Sheraton

Kota Kinabalu

KK Jetty

Heading out to the islands





Sapi Island

Fish injury


On Mamutik Island




The second hand clothing market

Seafood at the night markets

After NO sleep what so ever due to a snoring China man in my dorm, I left Sandakan yesterday morning in a foul mood and caught a bus 7hrs over to the western side of Borneo to Kota Kinabalu.

I booked into a backpacker's called Summer Lodge on someones recommendation, who shall remain nameless, and discovered to my dismay that I had basically paid to sleep in a concrete coffin. A windowless room the size of a laundry, containing 2 bunk beds and a fold out. Fortunately there was only one other person staying in that room, if it was full I don't know how we would fit.

Discovering that my poor claustrophobic self would have to sleep in a vault was more than I could bear so I took myself off to explore Kota Kinabalu, or KK as its called, with the little daylight left. Its not a bad little city, very clean and organised (by SE Asian standard) but also more expensive. It's on the waterfront and has a lovely esplanade with the obligatory pricey restaurants and pubs but also alot of the typical Asian markets, food stalls etc.

My personal favorite was the second hand clothing market, I have never seen anything like it. An outdoor clothing stall with racks like any normal shop but all second hand and sorted according to gender, type of item and fabric; all spread across an area the size of a small Kmart. I was inexplicably drawn to the denim section and the racks of denim pants, denim shorts, denim jackets and denim shirts...I think it might be genetic :P

I met my dorm mate this morning, Eva and headed out with her and another guy from my hostel, Ross, to the jetty to charter a boat to snorkel at some nearby islands. For $25 each we hired a boat and driver for the day, all snorkeling equipment and went to 3 different islands in the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park. We went to Mamutik, Manukan and Sapi islands. They had the nicest beaches I've seen so far in Asia (although in all honesty no where near as nice as back in Oz) and whilst the visibility wasn't all that great there were some gorgeous fish and coral to see.

Unfortunately the marine life did not seem to appreciate me in the same way I did them and I was bitten twice by some savage aquatic animal that drew blood. I then understood the sign posted on the beach; 'swim here at your own risk'. It caused vivid flashbacks to a certain dolphin incident in Honduras 2 years ago.... needless to say, no one else was bitten by anything today.

I went out for dinner with some others from the hostel on the waterfront and my favorite menu item of the day was: 'Lettucino'; the delicious new healthy drink of lettuce, lime juice and sugar syrup. No, I didn't try it.

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