Returning back to the hotel in Kota Kinabalu we had a pretty chore based afternoon – laundry….birthday gift for Hannah….and a coffee from the amazing coffee place we had found before we left on the tour. Sarah and I then headed back to the hotel as we were hosting ‘pre dinner’ drink in our hotel room. Sarah had bought a bottle of bubbles from duty free with her and, as it was Hannah’s birthday the next day, it felt like a very appropriate time to drink them!
The team arrived at about 6.30 / 45pm, we enjoyed some bubbles, rum cocktails (beautifully made by Jeremy) and a few beers before heading out into town. Edwin took us to the restaurant for dinner – on arriving we were pretty disappointed with where we were, but he absolutely knew what he was doing. The restaurant was on the waterfront….a little bit cheesy but the food was INCREDIBLE and, not long after finishing our food, Intrepid had arranged a birthday cake for Hannah and a live band came on so we enjoyed (many) beers and got steadily merry as the evening went on. At one point we spotted a pretty drunk pair dancing to the live band with a snorkel and mask on ….I guess they may have met diving and were enjoying themselves afterwards! Along with this we also laughed at the Malaysian / Korean table who were taking *serious*, stare into the distance photos of each other constantly throughout the evening. All pretty entertaining.
A few more drinks in and it was time to move on. Everyone was still up for more of an evening so we moved on to a cheesy karaoke bar! Sarah and I did a spectacular rendition of ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ while others sang ‘Scrubs’ and other equally wonderful songs…. It was a funny karaoke bar though as they rotated between the tables and the people of Asia seem to take karaoke VERY seriously so the singing was pretty good and the song relatively boring….until they got to us!
1.30am arrived and it was definitely time to head back to the hotel….all nicely lubricated. We collapsed into bed and asleep in no time.
Wednesday was the first day of my final location on the trip…. Sarah and I were heading to a fancy resort for 4 days of complete relaxation. We were up quite early (amazingly, considering the night before) to say goodbye to Hannah as our little group began to go our separate ways. Hannah was getting an early boat over to one of the other islands for a few days to end her trip. When initial goodbyes were done the rest of us headed down to pick up laundry and get a coffee in our favourite coffee shop…..none of us on the best form really!
The rest of the morning Sarah and I wrote of completely – we chilled in the room, showered, packed, picked up some supplies for the island and got some cash for the few days away. At about 1pm we headed to the pier to get the boat out to the island. From the taxi we went back into backpacker mode…. Backpacks on and walking through the pier, it didn’t last for long as we arrived at the check in for our hotel and the experience changed entirely! Porters, welcome drinks and snacks inhaled we were ushered onto the boat for the 30mins ride over to Gaya Island and the Gayana Eco Resort…. Sailing across clear blue seas we soon saw our destination in the distance and it looked beautiful. Multiple individual huts surrounded a wooden walkway into the sea – we were pleased with our choice!
We arrived to our welcome drink, were shown around the resort and taken to our little hut overlooking the lagoon. We headed straight to one of the two restaurants for lunch – a seafood restaurant looking out to the ocean. All the fresh seafood were in tanks at the entrance to the restaurant waiting to be weighed and cooked! After a long negotiation of the menu we settled for some prawns in buttermilk sauce and scallops in amazing dressing (I can’t remember what it was….but it was tasty!). The food was absolutely brilliant.
When we were done we went on a bit of an explore of the resort – to the pool, around the other restaurant, to the research centre and to the dive centre, just to get our bearings of the place. We then made ourselves at home in the room before showering and heading out for cocktails. We had a cocktail included in our package everyday which we took full advantage for! Having had a late lunch however we decided to skip dinner as we weren’t at all hungry….instead we headed back to our room, put on a dvd, ordered chocolate brownies and chocolate fondant before heading to bed in some really comfy beds!
Our trip on the island has been really quite relaxing throughout – exactly what I wanted at to end on…. We have spent time by the pool, snorkelled, I went diving for the day on the second day, we went on a jungle trek up into the island, drunk cocktails and eaten some incredible food. A fantastic end to my travels – and definitely a different ‘type’ of travelling! It is now the afternoon of last full day on the trip – tomorrow we’re spending the day heading back over to Kota Kinabalu, to Kuala Lumpa and back to London….crazy the time has come already! We still have the rest of today though…. A bit of spa action this afternoon before have a nice meal and a few cocktails to end the trip….