The Borneo diary

Remember the Sabah quake on 5 June 2015? The most heartbreaking thing for me as it stops me to attempt on ascending Mount Kinabalu. Based on a diary that I wrote during my time there, about the adventures, ups and downs throughout the trip.


On 5 June 2015, Sabah quake in Mount Kinabalu with a magnitude of 6.0
Upon hearing the news, I was  very disappointed as the next day was my flight.My dreams to scale the summit of Kinabalu was shattered.
Quite a number of my friends warned me about an aftershock, but I took enough courage to flew over to Kota Kinabalu.

Knowing that there will be nothing much to do, I remain my destination unchanged.

Sabah


DAY 1

Arrived at Kota Kinabalu airport and took the airport taxi for RM30 back to my accomodation, Akinabalu Youth Hostel. Since I arrived late around 9pm, there are only a few options for food  around that timing. I decided to have Bakso Perut (Intestine Soup) and Teh Ais (Ice Tea) for RM7.50. I walked through the silent Gaya Street before heading back to the hostel at the same time thinking of the plans for tomorrow. I entered my dorm and there are 2 backpackers from China. As they dont speak much english, language barrier is a problem between us and didn’t talked as much.However, the locals in Sabah are very approachable when you needed help and very friendly as well. Due to the recent quake, the locals told me that there are a couple of places that are not advicable to visit and thus there is nothing much to do so far.

Sabah

Sabah
Gaya Street
Bakso Perut (Intestine Soup)
Bakso Perut (Intestine Soup)

DAY 2

Woke up for a free breakfast the hostel and head to Gaya Sunday Market. There are nothing much to see or  buy as it starts early in the morning  from 6am to 1pm.I continued my way and walked to Atkinson Clock Tower, the oldest standing structure in Kota Kinabalu, followed by Todak Waterfront.There are a stretch of stalls that served fresh seafood along the waterfront and a great location to catch the sunset as well. The prices of the seafood here are reasonable. I managed to try a Sabah speciality dish called, Nasi Goreng Ikan Leking (Fried Rice with Salted Fish), it looks simple and boring but trust me, it taste way better than it looked. Definitely a thumbs up. Must try! Just a short tour around Kota Kinabalu for the day, planning for an island trip Manukan Island is everything goes smoothly.

Sunday Gaya Market
Sunday Gaya Market
Atkinson Clock Tower
Atkinson Clock Tower
Todak Waterfront
Todak Waterfront

Sabah

Sabah

Sabah

Nasi Goreng Ikan Leking (Fried Rice with Salted Fish)
Nasi Goreng Ikan Leking (Fried Rice with Salted Fish)

DAY 3

Woke up later than usual and missed breakfast.I looked out of the window, and it was pouring. In the hunger state, I went down and had a simple meal nearby my hostel, Roti Canai (Flatbread) and Teh Ais (Iced Tea). Since it was pouring, i have to cancelled my plan to Manukan Island . Instead, I decided to took a tour to weston village, in search of the proboscis monkeys. The journey from Kota Kinabalu to Weston Water Village was approximately 2.5hours. Not much of tourist in the tour due to the weather conditions and season. I went on for a boat ride started the search of the monkeys. Proboboscis monkey are only found in Borneo. The special thing about them is that they do not feed on bananas, they feed on mangrove leaves. They are a very shy creature as well which really make it hard to snap a close view of the monkey.As night falls, i got the opportunity to watch the fireflies during the boat ride.After a tiring tour, I called it  a day. Honestly, i wasn’t enjoying much here in Kota Kinabalu. It started to get boring and i know its time to move on and I made booking for my next destination. Kuching, Sarawak!

Sabah

Sabah

Sabah

Proboscis Monkey
Proboscis Monkey
Fireflies
Fireflies

DAY 4

Another morning in Kota Kinabalu, I have to head off to the airport to catch my flight.I was looking forward for my adventure in Sarawak. As there are no restriction compared to Kota Kinabalu, i was very excited to  make my landing there. As i reached the Kuching International Airport, i bumped into an English guy at the immigration cleareance. We talked and decided to split the taxi fare to our accomodation. For my  accomodation in Kuching, i decided to stay over Marco Polo Guesthouse. The owner was very friendly and provide plenty of information around the town. The famous landmark here was the Kuching Waterfront. I managed to spend the remaining afternoon walking the stretch of the waterfront. The landscapes across the waterfront was phenomenal, regardless of day, dusk or night. There are a a little night market across waterfront and something caught my attention. I met Nikki, i browse his unique drawings and I went on to get one. Nice piece of artwork, Thumbs up! The night went on, RUAI (Sarawak Bar) a bar of reggae/sarawak fusion. The speciality in this bar was Tuak (a form of Sarawak handmade wine) and a gentle reminder for those who are about to try it, prepare the taste in between vinegar and rice. Take note that tuak is a strong wine.

Sarawak
Marco Polo Guesthouse (dorm)

Sarawak

Sarawak

Sarawak

Sarawak

Sarawak

Sarawak


DAY 5

Woke up late and I ran out of ideas and plans on what to do for today.The public transportation is very confusing to me as there are no proper bus-stop nearby. I changed my plans to walk to Kuching Waterfront again. I took a boat to cross the river for RM1 and explore the other side. Across this side, there are plenty of villages of different ethnics of Sarawak. There are also a local speciality here which is Kek Lapis Sarawak (Sarawak layered cake). Plenty of shops that sells those cakes, plenty of variety and most importantly, they are freshly made. After walking around, I’m running out of ideas what to do next. I was in the state of loneliness, stress and this solo trip as been unusual for me. I’ve not met or made much friends. After sometime while I was sitting down, soemthing popped up my mind. The attempt to hitch-hike. I gave it a try by standing beside a road and try to stop the passing vehicle. I was considered very lucky on my first attempt. It just took 20 solid minutes for a kind hearted guy to stop the car. He was asking all sort of questions of why i’m here, where i’m from etc. After spending quite sometime explaining myself to him and answering all of his question, he offered me a ride to tour me around. Toured me around Pantai Puteri, Mount Santubong and Fort Magherita and also introduced me to a signature dish called Nasi Kerabu (Herb Rice Salad). Its getting dark and I decided to head back. He dropped me off nearby the waterfront and i headed back to the guesthouse from there. When I got back,I was invited for dinner at Chinatown by the owner of the guesthouse and that wrapped up my day of an  impromptu solo adventure.

Sarawak

Sarawak

Sarawak

Sarawak

Pantai Puteri
Pantai Puteri
Mount Santubong
Mount Santubong
Fort Magherita
Fort Magherita

Sarawak

Nasi Kerabu (Herb Rice Salad)
Nasi Kerabu (Herb Rice Salad)
Chinatown
Chinatown

DAY 6

I woke up earlier than usual this time. With plenty of options on what to do, I chose to head to the key attraction in Kuching, Bako National Park. Still confused with the public transportation, i followed behind a group of french girls blindly and hop on the same bus with them knowing that they are heading to Bako as well. I did a solo hike along the trails, in search of proboscis monkey in a closer look and guess who i bumped into, the English guy that i met at the airport, Eoin. I was happy the moment i saw him. The only solo backpacker that I’ve met throughout this entire trip. No more feeling of loneliness.I tagged along with him and continue the hike. Our hiking came out a disappointment, we are unable to catch a glimpse of the proboscis monkeys and its getting darker. We managed to catch the last bus back to Kuching town and head dinner together. Last dinner in Sarawak and it have to be a special one, Laksa Sarawak. Just the perfect dish to wrap up the day.After that, we went for a drink at a Dart Bar. Eoin was feeding me with informations about Kalimantan which i planned to go earlier. I was in dilemma by then. After some drinks with Eoin, we parted ways as he was heading to Kuala Lumpur the next day while I am clueless on what to do.I headed back to the guesthouse. When i reached the guesthouse, i took the decision to book my flight back home due to time constraints, lack of research done, and lastly budget. I’m capable to extend my journey but I couldn’t afford to risk it. I have to make it back home on time due to my commitments. Guess, it’s time to leave, and I’ve not covered as much.

Sarawak

Sarawak

Bako National Park
Bako National Park

SarawakSarawak

Sarawak

Laksa Sarawak
Laksa Sarawak

DAY 7

Woke up earlier to catch my morning flight back home.A last goodbye to the owner that treated me like a family. The hardest part of life is leaving awesome people that you came across maybe once.The owner took the initiative to call the taxi for me to Kuching International Airport. Time to head back home, back to reality. Flew back to Singapore and touched down at noon.I was somehow had the feeling of relief, happy and excited to get back home for no reason. Maybe this trip was one of my worst trip as i struggled to make plenty of friends, somehow not so successful impromptu plans, the sorrows and loneliness.

Sarawak


Whatever the situation is, the experience from this trip was terrific as I wondered how i managed to pull through it and I still questioning myself till today.

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