My new blog: For those who came here for the cake pop class, I've created a new blog with updates on classes and photos over at guiri in the kitchen

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mt Kinabalu via Mesilau Trail - Part 2 (The City)

Although I have been quite worried about the weather (in KL it was raining almost everyday), we were greeted by warm sunshine as soon as we arrived at Kota Kinabalu (KK). From the airport, we took a six-seater van to Akinabalu Youth Hostel at Jalan Gaya.

Our taxi from the airport, fits up to 6 passengers, only RM28

This was just one street away from where we were staying the last time, but I clearly like this new hostel better. There were more bathrooms and toilets to share (of course there were also more rooms). The reception and common area were very pleasant with lots of open spaces and greens. Good thing our rooms were on the 1st and 2nd floor, so we didn't have to climb very high.

As soon as we left our bags in our rooms, our tummies were growling. And guess where we ended up in? Haha... the very same place we had our curry laksa during our last trip. The restaurant was just right below the hostel. So very convenient. This time I decided to give their beef noodles a try. It was not too bad, but I preferred the curry :)

One thing that I was particularly impressed with KK is that the city is very clean. The streets are well maintained and the people are patient. Of course you can find signboards almost everywhere warning people of fines, but you find that too in KL and yet nobody takes heed. Not only that, this particular restaurant that we were dining in actually place a mini dustbin under every table!

Mini dustbin under every table at the restaurant

We wandered a bit before finally deciding to proceed to the Monsopiad Cultural Village. As we didn't quite plan this properly, neither of us remembered the name of the place. We only knew that it was a cultural village. So we went round asking some taxi vans if they knew how to go to the place, and finally found one who could take us there and back for RM60. Fair enough, considering the distance was much further than the airport (from town) and don't expect to be able to just stop any taxi there to bring you back, so make sure you have a backup!

Our little taxi van, can fit up to 10 passengers @ RM30 per way to Monsopiad

Entrance fee for Malaysians was RM45 per person, and you'll be provided a guided tour and a welcome drink (traditional rice wine or fruit juice). There are also scheduled cultural performances at approximately 2 hours interval, each lasting between 45 to 60 minutes. While you are there you'll get to visit the House of Skulls, walk on the suspended bridge, sample various types of home made wines and spirits, try some traditional games, blowpipe, any many more. I personally experienced the bamboo stick dance and the bird-like dance and also given the chance to try the blow pipe (a hunting tool).

Trying my luck with the blowpipe, was only able to shoot targets within 5m range :P

As soon as our transport arrived, we left for the town. That evening we all had Bak Kut Teh in a restaurant not too far from our hostel. After dinner we bought some food for next morning as we would be departing for Mt. Kinabalu before breakfast is served.

It takes approximately 2.5 hours to reach the Mesilau starting point from KK, so we arranged the morning pickup at 6:00am. The Mesilau route is 2km more than Timpohon trail and we wanted to make sure that we have ample time to reach Laban Rata.

Next: Mt. Kinabalu via Mesilau Trail - Part 3 (The Climb)

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Mt. Kinabalu via Mesilau Trail - Part 1 (The Comeback)

For those who remembered, 7 of us attempted to reach Low's Peak of Mt. Kinabalu last September but only 1 succeeded. The rest (including myself) failed miserably, owing to several factors, with the weather being the main culprit. Even if the weather had permitted the climb, we probably would not have been able to catch the sunrise anyway as we were not as fit nor were we mentally well prepared.

The moment I touched down KL, I immediately planned for a return trip. A famous chinese saying, "Shape the iron while it's hot". I was determined to make it to the top and would not accept another defeat. And this time I picked a date which was within the recommended climbing period, avoiding all possible rain spells. Lucky for me, Airasia was having another promotion and I got myself a return ticket for less than RM200. Lyne was equally enthusiastic about returning and TC too wanted to go again as he was not even able to take photo to proof his climb with the strong wind almost blowing him away :P

Since the 3 of us have already tried the Timpohon trail, we decided to go via Mesilau this time round. TC had 2 of his friends join us for this trip, WL and YL. Then TW's sister decided to tag along too... making us a group of 7. And so I had the following planned:

Day 1: Depart KL, arrive KK, visit Monsopiad Cultural Village
Day 2: Proceed to Mesilau Nature Resort for Mt. Kinabalu Climb
Day 3: Summit Climb to Low's Peak from Laban Rata,
descend Mt. Kinabalu via Timpohon trail
Day 4: Depart KK to Pulau Tiga
Day 5: Return from Pulau Tiga and back to KL

TC would head back to KL the day the climb while his friends have opted out on Pulau Tiga and decided to go for white water rafting instead.

Unfortunately for Lyne, she was hospitalized just a day before our flight for suspected dengue and hence she had to forego the trip completely. She was in no condition to even walk for 1km, so the 19.4km that we had to endure on this trip was definitely out of the question.

That leaves only 6 of us.

Next: Mt. Kinabalu via Mesilau Trail - Part 2 (The City)

I Came, I Saw, I Conquered

TW, Susan and I at Low's Peak (4095.2 m above sea level)

Details to follow later :)