Sifting through the plethora of tourist leaflets and pamphlets collected at the airport, there seems plenty of tours and activities - mostly nature based, from marine life to jungle life, and the ultimate challenge, climbing mount Kinabalu. That's a tough trek, according to folk who have have done it! Takes about 15 hours up and down, over 2 days usually, and costs upwards of 600 RM. I probably won't do it, still having the Penang Hill aftermath fresh in mind! But the treks on the lower slopes could be interesting.
Nice people at reception, even nicer of then to honour 18RM, just under £4 per night for the room as arranged over a few emails. Xplorer backpackers Is the place, right in the centre of downtown, so not a bad deal as things stand today. Just remains to assess whether there are any alcoholic nocturnal creatures in situ!
Got up late, so missed out on the breakfast, but no matter since looking around the place it's brimming with food. Yep, as is typical throughout Malaysia there is an abundance of good, cheap food here, so breakfast is some of mamma's fried noodles with a helping of sweet and sour sauce. Scrutinising the free tourist map, I could hike north towards the jetty, maybe get a boat to the nearby island, or trek south towards the airport, which coincidentally has the only beach next to the runway according to the map - airport it is!
There's no architectural heritage around here, in the downtown area. Looks like its all been swept away in favour of concrete blocks, a few glass plazas and condominiums. I did notice a collection of scenes from old time Kinabalu on a wall, can't remember exactly where right now, if I find it again will take a few snaps. All roads run parallel to the waterfront with perpendicular side streets creating a grid system, so getting lost and confused isn't difficult since it all looks the same. Blocks that create precincts and courtyards, but which one is Xplorers, I'll figure it out later, but for now onwards and Southwards, towards the beach, and airport. Over a river, looks rather grim in there, garbage and quite smelly. A path alongside the river, less smelly now and signs of some wildlife. Those lizards again but smaller versions, perhaps native to Borneo. Gone before I can say "lizard". Further along and an area of mudflats, not to mention a bit of methane in the air. Fiddler crabs, herons and egrets make up the action here. The birds poking at the crabs as they tread diligently across the mud. And just across the bay is a cluster of dwellings on stilts. A community of Wooden houses, the only sign of any heritage in Kota Kinabalu.
|Almost on the beach!|
Getting back to base is actually easier than anticipated. It's dark, but at least the rain had stopped. Second roundabout (has a dolphin statue), turn right then third left and just look for the precinct around there. Yep, there it is, just as I had left it! Free water, coffee, tea, TV with English content and it's cool at night too. The humidity dissipates after sundown, it's a really nice climate here, and no mossies yet! And no sign of any British, European and American alcoholics, well not yet, it's probably a bit too early.