… Africa, Australia (+ New Zealand) and Asia

Kota Kinabalu, Kinabalu National Park and Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park

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Sabah… a place of many promises for a traveller and a nature lover. Thirty years ago this statement would have been totally true but nowadays it seems its jungles, its tribe-people or its animal life have been hiding – at least from me. Again I have to say that doing the sailing in Miri made me spend many days that would else how go to finding what I was reading in the books about Borneo. Of course no regrets there but still; some places just put you of…

Bus in Kota Kinabalu

Bus in Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu (also known as KK) is not the worst of the cities I have been to. It is actually pretty nice! It has a remarkable museum, a nice enough mosque, it is known for its sunsets at the promenade, its Sunday markets and it is a good place for placing your headquarters when about to explore Sabah (or what’s left of it). I was also lucky enough to catch one of the two days of the Harvest Festival (Gawai Dayak) being held in KK and so learned some things about the tribesmens’ traditions… The people are very friendly and smiley and I have made some good friends while here. From its nearby “attractions” I went for two; the Kinabalu National Park and the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park.

The Kinabalu mountain is a very famous destination with a widely-known 4000m peak to all the fans of trekking and mountain climbing. There I planned of spending 3 nights. Instead of climbing the peak though, I found myself walking every other trek in the park but Low’s Peak. The reason; it was too damn expensive! The cheapest option was to pay about 700 RM – which translates to roughly 150 Euro… that for a mountain that you climb yourself is just too much! Maybe if I was carried to the top I would have thought about it a second time 😉 In any case, the equivalent of Forestry in Sarawak is called Sabah Parks here in Sabah and they are responsible for the mess. What makes the price so… spicy is the accomodation options in the middle of the trek – you have to do it in two days. Even if you wanted to do it in one day (which is an option too) thus cutting down your costs (and maybe your knees afterwards too) Sabah Parks says; only 4 people a day are allowed to do it… I wonder why. In any case the market is responsible for giving business to those people who have triplified the prices in one year and nobody says anything. I would not give them my money. The rest of the trekking around the park (the free option) was OK but in times I had to climb more pipes and hoses than jungle – they just don’t care. Kinabalu will soon fade away in my memory I reckon and this is a shame because the place IS very beautiful… As to be expected I did not spend 3 nights as I had planned – I spend two days walking the rest of the trails and one night in a hotel outside the park. Then I went back to KK. Having some time I decided to go and see another National Park.

The Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park is basically a group of five islands along with their coral reefs very close to the shore of KK. It is administered by Sabah Parks too. Being a bit cautious about what I was about to see I decided to make a day trip to two of the islands; Sapi and Manukan. People were snorkelling away and day-trippers like me with their families or their other half were having a stroll. Everything seemed normal and then I tried to go for a swim… In both islands the sea was so dirty that not even me (that I don’t usually mind it) did not have a dip. How could people snorkel and get their children to do the same? Maybe because they had paid to be there already… In any case in both of the islands I followed the trails and tried to find an alternative but without success. I did see two huge monitor lizards though… near a huge pile of rubish trying to find food.

Tomorrow I will be flying to Thailand. I do not know what to expect – although I have a lot of feedback but I guess is what you make of it. To do that though you have to have the options and in Sabah those options seem to have long disappeared for the traveler.


2 Responses

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  1. Έλα ρε γίγαντα!
    Όλα καλά;
    Εγώ μια βδομάδα ακόμα δουλειά και μετά ριλάξ.
    Καλό καλοκαίρι! (Τι σε λέω τώρα;)


    June 4, 2009 at 9:19 AM

  2. Pou se tagorim? Kalo kalokairi!!! Ta leme ta xristougena! Kai kalos na ta dexteis! I kartula estalei simeron! Muac!


    June 5, 2009 at 5:10 AM

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