07 December 2009

Mystical Taste of Borneo

Song of the night: I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas

Today work is good and slow, starting new projects for the end of Q1 next year. But the Monday blues came at night, being mellow and sentimental about life, passion and relationship... woohoo I guess quarter-life crisis beat me again. So anyway, I successfully got off this mellow feeling by taking shower, slurping hot tea and listen to above spirit song repeatedly. What will you do to rip off empty feeling?

The 'angel' tea that helped me through this night is this Sabah tea I brought back from... Sabah! Let's quote what they wrote here on the package. "Sabah Tea is cultivated in the pristine foothills of Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia's first ever World Heritage Site, where nature offers the most conducive natural environment for tea growing..."
"Brew yourself a cup of Sabah Tea and enjoy the mystical taste of Borneo Rainforest."

So here I am, willing to write a synopsis of my solo traveling to Borneo.
Borneo is a big Island in South East Asia that is divided among 3 countries: Sabah and Sarawak from Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, and Kalimantan from Indonesia. My trip was going to Kota Kinabalu (KK) in Sabah and Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB) in Brunei Darussalam.

1st Day - Night
Flight to Kota Kinabalu from Singapore at night, I reached Kinabalu Backpackers Lodge around 8.30 pm, checked in, put my bags and directly went to Gaya street nearby where many food stalls located. I tried to walk around after having dinner but the streets were dark and many guys were looking at me (even shouting from inside a passing car), so I decided to just go back to the lodge.

2nd Day - Day
The journey began, first stop was Mount Kinabalu Park. When I chose a hotel to stay, I would check and match the hotel with places I want to go. Buses to go to Mount Kinabalu Park is just walking distance the lodge I was staying. On the way there, I made a quick stop at Atkinson Clock Tower. From city to the mountain takes 2 hours, too bad I forgot to bring my iPod (left it in the lodge). In the mountain I did trekking. There are many trails we can explore.

2nd Day - Night
Went to Night Market for dinner. There is also Philippines Market selling pearls and jewelries on the same location.

3rd Day - Day
In the morning I went to Jesselton Point harbour to take boat to one of Tunku Abdul Rahman marine park islands. There are 5 small islands: Gaya, Mamuntik, Sapi, Sulug and Manukan. Some islands are big and provide resort to stay overnight but others are very small only for one day visiting. I heard all islands are beautiful for snorkeling and sea walking. I went to only one island, the biggest one which is Manukan, for snorkeling.


3rd Day - Afternoon/Night
Flight from KK to BSB. Hopefully before sunset I could make it get into water taxi (river boat) takes me around Kampong Ayer (or in English mean Water Village, where houses and schools built above the river) for 45 minutes costs B$15 per person. It was so nice, right after I felt so tired traveling alone and deep in my heart I wanted to go home to Singapore, I was seeing sunset on Nurul Iman Palace and beautiful Omar Ali Mosque and thought "thanks God I am here". In BSB, I stayed in KH Soon Backpacker Resthouse. Despite of its barbarian room that is quite dirty and no windows, the location is perfect. Near to water taxi spots, bus terminal, Omar Ali Mosque and food stalls. After dinner, it's still 8 pm but I headed into bed and fell asleep peacefully until 8 am in the morning. I guess I was so tired after snorkeling in the morning. Maybe you will think that spending many hours in the trip only for sleeping is useless, but actually it's good to get back your spirit and mood. And actually there is nothing you can do in the night at BSB, even the local people say it is a ghost city at night.

4th Day - Day
Visited Omar Ali Mosque, and Brunei Museum. Due to the fail transportation there (will tell about it in other posting), I have to admit that I preferred to spend the rest of the day in Coffee Bean, waiting for my flight back to Kota Kinabalu.

4th Day - Night
This time I didn't stay in the same lodge as the first nights, instead I stayed in Borneo Global Backpackers because this one is closer to my upcoming planned places. After checked in, I went dinner to Tanjung Aru Beach where many seafood stalls beside the beach.

5th Day - Day
Went to Sabah State Museum and Heritage Village (RM 2). Then in the afternoon fly back to Singapore!

More pictures in my facebook.

Tonight is a good good night. Time to sleeeep!

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