5 things I love about Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

  • Snorkeling – Immerse in the beautiful sea and see the corals
  • Seafood
  • Mount Kinabalu, Kinabalu Park, and Tea Plantations
  • Souvenirs
  • Friendly locals

More pictures here

Just returned from a fantastic trip to Kota Kinabalu with my family. We had an enjoyable time there. One of the highlights of our tour would be the Boat trip. I booked a local operator – Borneo Boats and Beaches Private Tours, whose Boss and the owner is Captain Jonathan Shale. More reviews here. Highly recommended. Punctual meeting time, friendly, respectful, experienced and polite boat crews. They ensured our safety during our entire trip. We also had a nice lunch on board the boat; prepared by the boat crew.

We had a five-hour leisure cruise around the Islands off Kota Kinabalu – Mamutik Islands and several others. Had fun snorkeling, jetskiing, etc. Had the opportunity to see the beautiful corals. My kids were so enthralled that they took almost an hour to snorkel nearby. I managed to capture a short amateur video. We were all first-timers so you can imagine the initial anxiety that we all felt.

Other places that I would recommend to visit

  • Kinabalu Park
  • Mount Kinabalu
  • Pekan Nabalu
  • Desa Dairy Farm
  • The Philippine market, KK
  • Seafood Restaurants
  • and the list goes on ….

We stayed at Grandis Hotel which is just beside the Jesselton Jetty, where most of the boats/ferries start their journey. There’s an attached mall, Suria Mall, beside it. There are some grocery shops available within the mall plus several pharmacies like Watson and Guardian. Fast Food restaurants are also in abundance (Kenny Rogers, KFC, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, etc.). I saw a particular interesting sushi restaurant which had long queues almost every nite. Plus there are other branded stores and bookstores available within the mall premises.

My family has a mixture of young and senior citizens. Therefore I had to take into consideration of our daily tour activities: not too much energy exertion BUT lots of shopping and market tours plus seafood. I also had to balance with the youthful activities which involved my teens and boy – who clamored for lots of swimming and nature walks. All in all, we had an enjoyable holiday; would plan for another trip back to Sabah one day 🙂

Jesseltown Jetty, KK

Cravings – Singapore

We came back to Singapore for Eid / Raya celebrations 2016.  The journey took us more than 15 hours on the road: starting from the time we left home to the time we reached Singapore.  Flight was delayed by an hour.  To top it up, the airport was full due to other flights being delayed as well.  Journey was uneventful but most importantly, we arrived safely.

(Btw, I recommend travellers to use the porter services whenever you’re flying off from the Jeddah airports.  They can help you with the checking-in of your baggage and know their way around the airport especially when it’s crowded.)

Touchdown and one of the things that couldn’t wait was ‘Murtabak’ – a local food. Something that all of us were craving 🙂

Murtabak – close up

One of the highlights of our vacation: Food. Yes; local food that is.  The list sounded something like:

  • Murtabak
  • Durian
  • Chicken Rice
  • Nasi Lemak
  • Mee Siam
  • Mee Rebus
  • Tulang
  • Indian Rojak
  • Mee Hoon Goreng
  • Laksa
  • etc etc

Here are some of the food pics:

Here are some of the foodilicious places (my personal fav)

Other sites on Singapore food worth checking out:

Apart from that, places in Singapore worth checking out:

Malaysian Escapade 2016

We had a short family vacation to Kuala Lumpur during our recent home vacation in Singapore last July-August 2016. Visited relatives on my wife side.  Been more than 5 years since we last met them.  Took AirAsia. Journey was OK until we were about to land at KLIA 2 terminal. Lots of clouds and it was a little bumpy with an air pocket to go along with it.  The flight was OK but my wife who wanted to taste the Nasi Lemak was disappointed as  it was unavailable for both flights. Lesson learnt: If you want to taste some of the food on AirAsia, it’s better to make the order online prior to the flights 🙂

The walk from the aerobridge to the immigration counters at the airport was far as well.  For those who are travelling with elderly passengers, I recommend getting the wheelchair services.

Prior to the holidays in Malaysia, my wife recommended me to get a private driver to bring us around KL city.  I’m not keen on driving in the busy streets and getting lost and stuck in the traffic jams. I agreed to her suggestion.  We stayed at a hotel very close to the old Pudu Prison – Berjaya Times Square.  We like the location of the hotel; close by to eateries and easy to get around.

Our driver (second from left) with the van that seats more than 6 passengers.

The main event for this trip was the visits to relatives whom we have not seen for a long time.  Enjoyed meeting them; food was great and the moments spent were priceless.  Here are some of the pictures:

My wife managed to eat one of the fish dishes that we could not get in Singapore – Terubuk fish.  We got them at Kampung Baru.

And getting those elusive “jeruk”


Managed to met up with my cuzzies for a dinner at one of the restaurants in the hotel.

To top it up, my son loves to take pool-dips at hotels.

and below are the rest of the pics that we took during our stay there:

Last thoughts:  Some of the advantages of using a local driver are

  • knowledge of local roads; the lanes
  • style of driving
  • if you’re lucky, they take the initiative to get some of the stuff that you crave due to their local contacts
  • advice on where to go and best buys

By the way, If you are visiting Mid-Valley Mega Mall, they have a complimentary wheelchair service for the elderly.  We took advantage of this service as we were travelling with a senior citizen (my mother in law).