February 19, 2012

Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Feb 8-10, 2012. Kota Kinabalu or KK is the state capital of Sabah and is located on the tropical island of Borneo facing the South China Sea. It is home to the the mighty Mt. Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Southeast Asia and from which the city got its name. 

Fun Flight. We booked our flight late last year when Cebu Pacific offered promo fares. The short two-hour plane ride was made more fun with the airline's signature inflight games. The mechanics are simple -- stand up and show your wackiest face and win a prize! Fortunately for us, my son was in the mood for games and made his best, wackiest face. His prize -- a bag which he immediately opened and stuffed with his snacks.

The wacky/bungal pose. Who could beat that?!?

Kota Kinabalu International airport is small and upon arriving, passengers are racing to get immigration cards. We have to wait for quite a while before they brought in new cards for the rest of us. I suddenly felt defensive of our own airport back home. Whoever voted it as #1 world's worst airport clearly hasn't been to KK yet. 

The Suite Life. From the airport, it was a 5-minute cab ride to our hotel at Sutera Harbour Resort. There are two hotels at the property -- the Pacific Sutera Hotel and the Magellan Sutera Resort, with the former having a more business setting and the latter with a more resort feel to it. We stayed at the Pacific Sutera but we can use all the facilities at both hotels including the Sutera Harbour Marina. Sweet! What's more, our room was upgraded to a Junior Suite! Suuuper sweeet!!!

The next day, we had buffet breakfast at Cafe BolĂ© (which comes free with our accommodation). Food wasn't so great so I was only able to eat bread, fried rice and omelette (a blessing in disguise to my forever problematic bulging tummy).  After, we headed to the Sutera Harbour Marina to do laps at their Olympic-size pool while the kids played at the slides and shoot some hoops at the kiddie pool.

Kiddie Pool at the Sutera Harbour Marina

Since this vacation should be a chance for us to laze and unwind, we pass up on visiting the park in Mt. Kinabalu or trying on the rapids of Kiulu river for a more relaxing visit at Manukan Island. We got a tour package from SeaQuest which includes transfers, buffet lunch, snorkeling gear and entrance fee.
Manukan Island

Sea. Sun. Sand. The kids had a blast playing in the water, digging the sand and picking up just about anything that interests them. Good thing the waves were calm so we can let them be while us parents lie on the sand and soak up some sun.

By 4pm we head back to the resort and this time stayed at the Sutera Pacific pool area. We ordered dessert and drinks at the pool bar and took a lot of photos while waiting for the sunset.

Smoothie and dessert at the Pool Bar.

Unfortunately, it was too late when we realized that it was NOT a good package and we could have been better off just getting the transfers to Manukan Island and having lunch elsewhere. 

Next day, we headed to the Magellan Sutera pool area. The loungers there are heaven -- big, comfy and shaded with huge parasols. The kiddie pool is a little deep for my little ones so we just stayed here for a while and went back to the Marina pools where there's a slide (kids just can't get enough of these kid-friendly slides) and the water's depth is just right for them. 

The Magellan Sutera pool area.
We checked out at 1pm and left our luggage at the concierge. We took the cab (RM12) to KK Plaza to kill the time until our 6pm flight back to Manila. The only brands we recognized there are Nike, Adidas and Giordano and the rest are clothes and electronic stores that resembles those in Greenhills. There's a Nike store that sells socks for 40% off and I just couldn't resist buying such a steal, so I took 10 pairs! :)

Soon it was time to head back to Manila, along with our tanned shoulders and sunburned cheeks. This short trip might be over but we have reasons to go back -- visit Mt. Kinabalu and go on a white water rafting.

How to get there: 1hr and 50mins non-stop flight via Cebu Pacific
Currency: Malaysian Ringgit (RM). We brought USD with us which we exchanged for RM. They only accept USD50 and USD100 denominations for exchange.

1 comment:

  1. Nice blog!

    visiting from GT and just followed your blog :)