Borneo – Kota Kinabalu – Pulau Sapi

Kota Kinabalu

What surprised me during the flight from Georgetown to Kota Kinabalu (KK) is that the flight attendants were wearing jeans. Branded Air Asia naturally! After landing the usual taxi counter helped us to get transportation to the city. It was already well after dark. We didn’t know where we wanted to stay so again chose a name from our guide. Just for your information Trekker’s Lodge doesn’t exist anymore. We ended up in Sensi Hostel. In KK hostels represent a better standard than the hotels. We found that out later on on our way back from Sandakan. The rooms (doubles without windows) cost MR70 and for 4 people MR120. they also have proper cheap dormitories.

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Georgetwon, Penang, Malaysia

Lots to be said about why we flew to Penang from Langkawi instead to take a ferry. Also let’s not fail to mention that our flight was delayed and even thought we left much earlier than our friend/owner of Rainbow Lodge we arrived in Georgetown much later, so late in fact he gave our reserved rooms away and we had to look for a different accommodation. (Taxi from airport to Georgetown MR44) Which let me tell you wasn’t easy. And to find two rooms with windows in the same hostel. Impossible! Well for us without window (flip of a coin or three I can’t remember) in Kimberley House just around the corner.

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Langkawi cable car

Langkawi skybridge

As promised Langkawi Cable Car, Sky bridge and panorama. (Taxi to get there from Pantai Cenang MR26). The price to get on both middle and higher deck is MR30 but if you would like to add trekking from the highest deck to the middle one total price is MR99 (see they know their marketing). Cable car as a way of transportation might be exciting but the most amazing part is the sky bridge. It was closed for maintenance when we were there. Shame!

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Langkawi Malaysia

langkawi malaysiaLangkawi is a duty free island near the Thai border. During the peak season it’s very busy and quite expensive. Off season we were welcomed by rain and more backpacker friendly prices. Langkawi means reddish brown eagle in colloquial Malay and hence large eagle statute is symbolising the island. We arrived by boat in the harbor witout any idea where we want to stay. After quick consideration we chose Pantai Cenang (Cenang Beach). Taxi there costed us MR24. We didn’t know where to start looking for accommodation but the driver got us really annoyed when pretending to be death to our requests to stop. He brought us all the way to AB Motel. Typically it would be the last place where we wanted to go after all this. Maybe he meant well but seemed to be very cheeky about it. It came to verbal scuffles to the extent that a by walked asked what happened. Anyway it was still raining as we sat down to have some coffe. Bent over a guide and telephone already started to lose hope for something in our budget. When the girl from the cafe came over. She advised us to walk pass Restaurant rasa and turn right into a small street where cheaper accommodation is available. This is how we went from MR170 per night to MR70.

It obviously wasn’t the right time because there was nobody around and the guesthouses looked deserted. Finally we got to Rainbow Lodge. Nicest place where we stayed for me anyway. Very friendly staff. We had a small “house” for ourselves which had a hard but comfortable bed and a wet room (aircon and TV for those interested) and two chairs on our small patio. What else would you want… well sun. This is how it looked like when we finally got to sit on the patio

The weather did improve with time. So we got sun burned in the end. There are many attractions and activities in a sea/island resort like this one. Massage, spa, paragliding, water skiing, karting, night market. Details you can find here.

I will dedicate a separate post to Langkwai SkyCab (cablecar). Now it’s night life time and our local for the stay. It was a bar made of wooden boards in front of the grocery store in which the bartender bought beer for the clients. All other alcohols were delivered. The barman and his assistant Leila were very friendly but not pushing and we really had a lot of fun. The mix of coctails on our first night was awsome but made us stick to beer and gin & tonic the following nights. Check out Bob Marley!

Our bartender in the foreground

One cocktail costs MR12 and depending on relationship with bartender can be stronger or weaker. Saying this I can imagine they are way stronger at the beginning and then have less and less alkohol and more and more “colorful stuff”. The speciality of the house are card tricks making clients jaws drop.

Some people will not stop to amaze me. Like this German guy who went to the shop to buy a beer and then wanted to sit by the bar to drink it. Honestly?

Ok long awaited beach pictures arrive:

Regarding last picture. One day we came to the beach and to our surprise noone was in the water. What? We thought about it for a second but headed into the sea anyway. A first and I just behind him. Suddenly something touched my leg. It felt like plastic bag floating in wated. We kept going. A thinking “What the hell is wrong with her??!!” It happened again and third time and this is when I said let’s get out and so I did. When I reached the shore I saw the rash of jellyfish you can see above and waved A back. Terryfing. Later on we tried to move little further down the beach where we saw some people but once we noticed brown jellyfish we gave up.

To sum up: we had great time even though bathing wasn’t so great. We had better experience in KK (Kota Kinabalu). Next post will be about cable cart as promissed.

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Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi, train, ferry and the rain

We left Kuala Lumpur on board of an overnight KTM train to Alor Star (Alor Setar). Heads up for anyone looking for sleeping cart: buy the tickets well in advance. You can do it here online.

Another of my dreams came true. Not trans Siberian, but still exciting. I have to say it was more comfortable than I expected. We got tickets for the last compartment on top benches opposite to each other. We didn’t even get a chance to settle in when we saw a small service cart approaching. A girl and a guy were pushing it towards our beds, then stopped foe 20 seconds and started to walk back again. Without a word. This is your service so if you want to buy something to eat or drink here’s your chance.

I woke up before sunrise. Lying on my bed I was considering what the weather will be like and trying to figure out the route of rain during rainy season. Having no idea what so ever about meteorology I made up theories of where it should be raining and where not. I went to the toilet which was thankfully cleaned. Breakfast – terribly sweet cookies and mango juice. God, save us all from forced sweet breakfasts. A. had potato bun which tasted like bread plait. Better option.

Just 20 minutes before our stop steward told us there is a restaurant compartment and we could have coffee!

When we got off that train the only thing we could think of was coffee! Outside the station just behind all the taxis there was a plastic canvas spread above small table and portable kitchen. We sat down among the locals and asked for “kopi susu” which means coffee with milk. This caused a lot of joy and undeserved suspicion that we know how to speak Malay.

Our taxi driver on the way to the ferry (MR25) turned out to be really friendly and talkative. He had never heard of Poland. Has 4 children with Thai wife, 2 studying at the University – one Arabic law and the other Arabic language. They are married over 32 years and his oldest child is 23 years old. The main plantations around Alor Star are rice (not brown), palm trees and rubber. The brown rice is grown in Borneo and tends to be really expensive.

He believes Borneo is really beautiful even though he only saw it on TV, never travelled. He used to be a fisherman but driving a taxi is more profitable. He asked us if there is anyone famous from Poland. “Walesa?” “No” “Dudek?” “No” “John Paul II?” … embarrassing silence; A. “Not everyone likes him…” Blond moment what can I say…

The ferry cost MR23 and the remedy against mosquitoes MR23.80 and it turned out this was this natural substance that doesn’t work. We got on the boat. It looked dirty and old. Nobody wanted to sit next to us. This might have been the whole day and night without shower. It took us 1,5 hours to get to the island. We watched Malay movie about a woman who runs away from her husband with their child co he hits her. The passage was rough and the boat was kind of falling apart. The pillars meant to hold the roof above our heads were loose and didn’t help a bit. Just before we got to the island it started to rain and it rained all the time this day and throughout the evening. I was tired, quite hungry and discouraged. But we made it.

We managed to find cheap place to stay and food but more about it in my next post.

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Wow! Roller Coaster in Times Square

Ok this might be weird that I will have one post dedicated to a shopping center in Kuala Lumpur. Believe me, I’m not a great fun of those but I had to make an exception. I came across a mall with cinema, we even have those in Poznan, but not with a theme park!
Berjaya Times Square Theme Park is Malaysia’s largest interior theme park measuring 133000 square feet. Before we got to the mall we thought the roller coaster will be just there, in the middle of the shopping center just behind the entrance. This turned out not to be true. When we entered there was no sign of a roller coaster or even a ride. Confused, we started to wander around looking for directions. On the shopping mall map we saw that the theme park was located on the 7th floor. Firstly we took the escalators. And believe me it’s not the best option. Crowded stairs are located far away from each other to make people walk between the shops before they can get to the next level. So from 2 nd floor we decided to take a lift. We qued. We qued for what seemed to be ages and was probably 3 minutes. Behind some friends who at the last moment decided not to take the lift and before we could blink the elevator was gone. Amazed we waited another century for the next one.

When we got to 7th floor we found out the entrance is on the 5th. Another lift. The ticket is MR48 for an adult. Another “be aware”! To get on the roller coaster you need to leave your things in a locker. The be able to do it you need tokens. To get tokens you need to buy a card and top it up. You can’t pay cash to get tokens. So the card and top-up was MR10 – MR5 deposit and MR2 for a locker the balance is returned. We didn’t know that and bought most expensive frutella like candies.

My boyfriend describes the ride as “…surprisingly good, I did not expect it to be so exciting, in the end it is under the roof.”
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9EfuMQ2GpE&feature=youtu.be]

There a couple more rides and a floor dedicated to small kids so if you are travelling with children don’t hesitate!

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