Tropical hot, smelly, charming, spicy, friends smile- I am back in Asia!! Actually I'm landed in Kota Kinabalu, Borneo, Sabah, Malaysia. If you ask me why I chose to this place, the answer is pretty simple: I don't have a special reason, it was more that I saw this name in an Asia airline website when I looked for flights in Malaysia and immediately thought "what a cool name" - I had a good gut feeling! I just researched a little bit about the place and heard about jungle and not so touristic… so I just booked the flight!
I arrived totally tied on the airport, took a bus to the town and got thrown out in the city. I looked for a hostel and found a really nice home stay called Lucy's Home stay. Even though accommodation in Asia are generally cheap, staying in hostels is even cheaper and you meet other traveller.
For travelling in Malaysia, an islamic country (it's the first time for me)- I researched some behaviour rules like: when pointing it's preferable to use the thumb with four fingers, rather than the forefinger, always remove shoes when enter places of worship, mosques, temple or home stay and when you receive something use the right hand… cover your legs and shoulders…
So when I arrived I watched a lot of veiled women, as well as liberal women who wear quite short cloth (I think most of the are chines tourists).
Kota Kinabalu isn't a big city. It has big shopping centre with a lot of quit european brands, fish and cloth markets and every sunday they also do handicraft markets.
It isn't very tourist but still you can book some cool adventure. Very renown is the highest Mountain in Malaysia of 4095m above the sea level which you have to book in advance and it's quite expensive (800 Malaysian Ringit= 200 euro for accommodation, guide and entrance fee) and takes you 1-3 days. I'm not on a fit level with my back, so I didn't decide for that but I met people who are absolutely amazed by walking up from 1:30am (in the night with a torch!) to see the sun rising at 5:30!
With a girl I met in the hostel I went for a white water rafting trip which is a 2 hours drive with the Van + 2 hours with a very old and slow train. Driving with this shaking train was an experience for itself! I sat on the ground, packed with hundreds of malay and Chinese, hanged out my legs and drove along the river and watched out. Unbelievable that people really live next to the river in a very basic tin shed of wooden chalet. When you look at them they directly wave their hand and smile. It's amazing.
After a short introduction of what you do when you fall out of the inflatable boat we started our journey 13 km down the flash flood. Our boat was only packed 6 people - 2 of them are guides)- so quite light! I wasn't prepared of the heavy flood and when we came into the first flood, the boat blew us away, I couldn't see anything, thought I was under the boat, tried to breath but everything was so quick, one heavy wave after the other and I thought we lost the control. In fact it wasn't dangerous, because we all wear a helmet and life jacket and got instructed how to behave in cace of capsize. But I was struggling and I will never forget this feeling!
Travelling in Malay takes time! They don't really have busses that drives regularly. You have to take a Van taxi and wait until it is full to take off! So if no one comes, you won't get a lift!
Anyway, I think KK is worth to see it!
Stay: 5 days
Activities: visit cultural heritage village, rafting, cinema (maleficent and xmen), explore fish, food, cloth and handcraft markets, world cup watching between 0-2 am in the night, boat ride to island Manukan and snorkel
Accommodation: Homestay (28 RM= 7 Euro per night)
Highpoints: rafting and got capsized two times, train riding, meeting awesome people in the hostel,
Lowpoints: so much plastic in the sea! It is so sad! Turtle, fish and riffs die because if the f***ing plastic! People her just don't have the the awareness of the danger
Next: Volunteering in Tampot Do Aman (an eco camp, styled like the traditional Rungus life, on the tip of Borneo