A few weeks before the movement control order was implemented, my church’s care group organised a trip to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and my wife and I joined them. I’ve heard of the many wonderful stories about this beautiful land but have never been able to visit until then.
When we arrived in KK, we went straight to Kundasang town, which is really close to Mount Kinabalu. It was hot when we got there but by the time we checked into our resort, the weather drastically changed and it was very windy and chilly. We had purposely booked our stay at the Kinabalu Pine Resort as all of its cabins have porches that face the majestic mountain.
The view was just so rewarding; I was recently retrenched from my company and had been feeling stressed before the trip but looking at the mountain and its surrounds made me feel so relaxed and free of all worries.
After breakfast the next morning, we went to the Desa Cattle Farm, a dairy farm by the foot of the mountain. As we passed by idyllic green pastures with cows grazing on grass along the way, we realised why this place is sometimes known as the “New Zealand of Malaysia”.
Some of the activities you can do at the farm include feeding calves and kids (baby goats, not children!), checking out how the Desa company processes its milk and other products, and of course, taking tons of pictures with gorgeous backgrounds. We also had ice cream and frozen yogurt (a must-try for any visitor) made from the fresh milk. Our visit to this place was both fun and educational.
We also went to Kiram’s Village, a homestay that’s surrounded by gardens with beautiful and colourful flowers. This place seemed like it could be an ideal retreat for families looking to escape the city.
Of course, you can’t stay at Kundasang without checking out the Kinabalu National Park, Malaysia’s first World Heritage Site. The main attraction at the park, at least for my wife and I, was the mountain. The place boasts of over 5,000 vascular plant species and a ton of fauna, too. It is home to some 90 lowland mammal species!
Our tour guide told us that many of the plants found here are in the Nepenthes family, namely the Nepenthes Rajah, the world’s largest pitcher plant, and the Rothschild Slipper orchid, one of the rarest orchids in the world. We enjoyed our casual walk here and the museum was very informative too.
For those who don’t know, Kinabalu Park’s Timpohon Gate is where climbers would start their ascend to the mountain.
Also at Kundasang is the Sabah Tea Plantation, the only organic tea farm in Borneo. We had some freshly-made tea pancakes at the restaurant here, as well as a sip of its special pandan tea.
When we returned to KK, we had a wondeful seafood feast. KK is known for its relatively cheap seafood and there is no shortage of restaurants and stalls that serve fresh and delicious seafood meals here. We feasted on crabs, sea snails, geoduck, softshell crabs, tiger prawns and fish.
Before leaving the city, we managed to visit the Gaya Street Sunday morning market, which is a weekly bazaar that sells almost anything under the sun including antiques, souvenirs, plants, food and even pets. It is a very busy market.
We were told that the market usually starts at 6am and opens until 1pm. As we were walking around, one of our members recommended a coffeeshop selling Sarawak laksa and a drink called “teh tarik Madras”. We tried both of them and true enough, they were absolutely delicious.
On our flight back to Kuala Lumpur, my wife and I were busy chatting about our trip and how we should revisit one day with the whole family. What we first envisioned to be a boring destination turned out to be an enchanting holiday. Its beautiful environment and relaxing atmosphere had captured our hearts.
The views expressed are entirely the reader’s own.
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