A Travellerspoint blog

Sapi Island, Sabah, Borneo

Yesterday Honza and I took a speed boat (yes I was singing "I'm on a boat, everyone look at me cos I'm sailing on a boat ;-) ) to an island about 15 minutes from Kota Kinabalu. For about $10 we got a return boat ride, island entrance fees and snorkel and mask. We found an area uninhabited with people and took to the water. WOW! It was heaven: not too cold,not to warm. And beautifully coloured:turquoise-green-blue. I managed to see some awesomely colourful fish. Since the water was so calm, I could float with my head under water for ages without going too far out. I was definitely a mermaid in a past life, as whenever I'm water I can play forever! ;-) In the back of my mind was always the stupid-lame-o thought "what if a shark comes?". At times I would scare myself when I saw a shadow... too much time spent in South African waters can have this effect on you.

It was great to sit under huge coconut trees eating juicy fruit: pineapple, papaya and some banana's with a cool breeze giving us some relief from the heat and humidity.

While we were chilling on a secluded beach, a friendly jungle animal came and checked us out: varanus salvator (water monitor lizard).He (or she) was about 1.3m in length with a long tongue. He saw that we were ok, then he (or she) went for a swim (he probably had to go "monitor" something in the water). Thank goodness I wasn't in the water at this time, I would've shat my pants (or costume in this instance) if I saw him (or her) coming towards me.

We did some jungle trekking in the afternoon. The island is really small, so in one hour we covered most of it. It's like any usual island jungle- tall trees, lush plantation, birds, loads of moisture in the air. It was a tinsy winsy bit of training for the HUGE mountain I am going to try tackle on Sunday-Monday:Mount Kinabalu. Which stands at a mighty 4095m! Yes, I am already sh**ting in my pants....so please wish me luck, hold thumbs, do good-luck dances;anything you can think of that will help me achieve this incredible task! :-)

Posted by piratejax 21:57 Archived in Malaysia Tagged beach_snorkeling_island_swimmin Comments (1)

First Borneo Beach Experience

So today I woke up and decided it was time to hit the water. Honza had to do some work, so I went alone. I made my way to the bus station. It felt like I was at the taxi rank in Cape Town! Not as busy- but the same messy-not-sure-where-is-what kinda vibe. I asked a guy for help and he directed me to the right bus. There is a time schedule, but here "schedule" is like "holiday" in Korea-- i.e. non-existent. So the bus leaves when the driver feels like it. It cost 1.50 RM (50 US cents).
There was a German dude on the bus going to airport, so he was a little nervous that he would be late. I talked to him a bit- he has been traveling since last year May! He's from Munich, but was sick of his office life so he decided to see the world. He was on his way to Tawau (I think that's the right spelling) to take a ferry into the Kalimantan (Indonesian part of Borneo). I love how there's this unsaid "bond" between fellow travelers, and that to strike up a conversation is what's expected. There's no weirdness, or shyness to overcome.

About 45 minutes later I arrived at "First Beach" (on the map I think I could've walked it in 20, but anyways...) Since I have been spoilt with South African beaches, it takes a lot for a beach to impress me. Well, Kota Kinabalu needs to up its game! The beach was alright- very narrow with trees lining the coastline. It was delightful to hear birds squawking in the tropical fruit trees above. The water was very calm and so warm! The open sea with 3 small islands dotting my vision really did my mind some good! For about 2 or 3 hours I hang out by the beach- watching different people coming and going, hearing many different languages. Eventually the sky opened up and released its load, but the rain is nice and refreshing and sitting under cover listening and watching it, is calming. And it was good that the sun went away, because I doubted the strength of the it and almost got badly burnt. In just 30 minutes some parts of my body were already red! So, together with my "British accent', I look like a regular pommie!Dammit! ;-)

My level of patience is going to increase ten fold being here- things just don't happen "now"--you need to wait a while. Like waiting for the bus, and not getting agitated or angry. But I am actually doing super in this regard :-)

ok, peace out xo

Posted by piratejax 03:19 Archived in Malaysia Tagged beach Comments (0)

The beginnings...

So, here I am writing from Kota Kinabalu, Borneo-Malaysia. It’s a warm, muggy evening and earlier we had a torrential downpour- the sound was gloriously deafening.
But let’s backtrack at bit. I left Seoul on Saturday night, after a rather tearful goodbye session. Saying goodbye to Korea, to all my wonderful friends was a pretty hard and emotional thing-I seemed to have gotten rather attached to Korea. I flew with Air Asia to Kuala Lumpur; I then waited for another flight to take me to Kota Kinabalu. By the time I arrived in KK I was feeling like a zombie, so zoned out. Thank goodness I had my wits about me to remember to take all my things. I took a taxi to the centre and found the lodge. There was a mix up with the rooms/booking so in exchange the owner gave us the first night free in a 4-man dorm, with bunk beds. Lucky me choose the bed that would later break a bit- I swear I did nothing to it! I just lay there and the slats below come adrift resulting in a dip. I was scared I would fall right through to the stranger below me! My friend, Honza arrived later that night. Despite his long journey (he flew from London), we went out for a celebratory wow-we-pulled-this-off-beer :-)
The lodge’s location is right in the middle of it all- close to us is an area filled with bars, restaurants and in the evenings they play music~ so there’s a cool vibe ;-)

Malaysia reminds me of South Africa :-). So I feel a bit of home. The brands in the shops are similar to SA (Nestle, Cadbury, Maggi). And it’s strange that they seem to be obsessed with drinking Milo! Coming from South Korea where Milo is so expensive- it’s a great change :-). And- they drive on the “right” side of the road, i.e. the left ;-).
The people here are so friendly, warm and open, always smiling and eager to talk to us. And almost everyone can speak English.

Last night we had an AMAZING supper! Was it Malaysian? Nope! It was good old KOREAN! :-) The prices were waaaay higher than they should be, but I didn’t care-it was so cool to speak some Korean to the lady (she was impressed ;-) ) and to explain the food to Honza as well as teach him to use chopsticks—not bad for a beginner. On the TV was some K-pop… It seems I can’t go a few days without a dose of Korea…

At the moment we are trying to figure out a route to take, so for now we have no set plans. But it’s been nice to not be rushing off somewhere or having jam packed days filled with activities. In this permanently hot and humid weather you can do nothing else but take it easy and chillax! ;-)
This is the biggest contrast between South Korea and Malaysia- the pace of life. Even though I’ve only been here for a little while I can already see that Malaysians enjoy their life and are not workaholics. Down by the pier, in the evening, there are many people (young and old) just chilling out. On the streets no one seems to be rushing anywhere. But I must say that from the clothes I have seen in shops—Korea is number one in fashion!
Earlier we came across a food market. I have never seen that many banana’s at once! We bought a pineapple and papaya- hmmmm delicious! :-) Finally I can eat as much fruit as I want and not break the bank (unlike in Korea when I had to make my one apple last a few days or go bankrupt).

This is all I got to say for now. More will come later! :-)

Posted by piratejax 05:10 Archived in Malaysia Comments (2)

(Entries 31 - 33 of 33) « Page .. 2 3 4 5 6 [7]