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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sabah, Malaysia: Setting my foot on the Land Beneath The Wind

I was there with a passport; when I should have not even bother to have one to see Sabah. Well, that's life. If we really never fight for what is rightfully ours; then, we lose the fight even before it started. I'm trying hard to put my words just as common as it should be; as I know by fact, my travel to the Eastern Part of Malaysia is the reason why you're reading this blog; and not because of the Philippines claim to Sabah. But, true enough you'll feel the Philippines presence once you step your foot in it. Why?

  1. Majority of the so-called Malaysian natives there speaks Filipino.
  2. Buying goods using Philipine peso is much appreciated; so, they can just send it straight to their families in the Philippines. Haha! But when asked if they're Filipinos; they would readily say "I'm Malaysian". They preferred to be Malaysian, I got the point.
  3. The crafts cannot be denied as made by Filipinos.
  4. The market place is like going to any "Talipapa"in the Philippines.
  5. I felt I never left the Philippines at all!
Okay, so what happened with the claim? I guess, the Malaysian flag in the airport showed everybody who won the battle. Hmm.. But, I read their rent of Sabah to the Philippines was increased? What? Malaysia is renting its own? Ayayay! 

Anyways, let me not ponder much on this issue and let me tell you how I wander in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

The airfare promo grabbed my attention and readily I asked my friends if they like to join me traveling in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. I tell you, once you had the plane ticket; everything that follow is a bliss. We booked in Shangri-la hotel via agoda.One thing I cannot do (not just yet) is to back-pack on international tours; so, spending a little more for a good accommodation is a must in traveling abroad.

It wasn't hard to exchange money from Philippine Peso to Malaysian Ringgit. In fact, in most of the stores PHP is preferred; so try keeping most of your peso in your wallet and just get a few RM.

Our hotel is located in the heart of the city; so, it wasn't that far from the airport. Everything we needed was just a few steps away from our hotel. At the ground floor of the Shangri-la is a huge restaurant; but, we saw that the price for food is relatively expensive so we scouted for a cheaper meal. Good thing nearby restos were easy to find. The food is cheap. A full meal cost us RM 4 or just PHP50.00; considering it's a huge serving. The food taste like the food in 4-star hotel. Not bad eh? :)

Since we arrived late; we didn't have much to do; except to drink in our room. Surprisingly, the beer is expensive there; almost PHP 100 per bottle. We just bought a few bottles just to relax; and the brand of beer we bought intrigued us. "SKOL" it is. My friend said; that's the beer for students. HAHA!

Our Day 1 trip really started on our second day in KK Malaysia. We woke up early to visit Sabah beaches. We rode a bus to go to Tanjung Aru Beach. This cost us RM 1.20 pax/way. Tanjung Aru is about 6 km away from Kota Kinabalu. To get there go to the bus station in front of Wawasan Plaza and ride bus No. 16. Tanjung Aru offers a pleasant view; although, the water is not as clean as we expected. It offers almost 2km stretch of fine, brown sand. The good thing about Tanjung Aru beach is the food stalls that offer fresh fruit shake and grilled seafood.

After eating in the nearby food stall in Tanjung Aru beach; we headed to Manukan Beach because we were dying to swim! It was hot that day, and we had our swimwear packed already. That shouldn't go to waste :)

We didn't wait for the bus; instead, we rode a cab to bring us to Jesselton Point where we had to ride a boat to reach Pulau Manukan beach. The taxi ride cost us RM15. Not bad for 5 passengers. The Jesselton Point has lots and lots of restaurant. The place is well-designed; and, getting the boat tickets is well-organized. The boat transfers cost us RM54 each. The boat glided like a s speed boat! Since I'm not used on that speed for an ordinary boat; it made me think of what to do in case the boat flip...haiiizzz..

The boat ride was almost 30 mins and the Pulau Manukan Island offered us a rich marine sanctuary. The school of fish can be seen without going deep. Just stand on the bridge and watch them swim around almost everywhere. Wow! That was spectacular!

Compared to Boracay and Palawan, Pulau Manukan is just an ordinary beach; but, if marine richness is concerned; Pulau Manukan offered me more :) Buying anything from the store in Pulau Manukan is not recommended. They're too pricey! Better bring the food and drinks you need.

At 6pm, we headed back to Jesselton Point and went back to our hotel.
I'll continue our adventure in Sabah, Malaysia on my next post. 'til then :)

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