My 48 hour runaway trip to Kota Kinabalu. Great food, great place, awesome long time friend. I guess my activities here suitable for all ages and health condition.

Gong MonsopiadMy trip this time might not looks like a backpacker trip. But it’s more to my escape from my hectic life in Kuala Lumpur. Working with major player in national oil and gas company really put me in a “runaway” feeling.

I actually planned the trip while chatting with my school alumni. One of the member was feeling very sad of having separated with her beloved family. She was posted to East Malaysia and has to leave her family in Putrajaya, teaching at a place called Beaufort. Empathy with her, I planned to visit her and bought a flight ticket to Kota Kinabalu with Airasia return ticket for only RM200. It was a promotion ticket that I bought 2 month before the day of the trip.


10th April 2015,

That morning, after having breakfast with my friend, I was heading to Putrajaya Sentral by my own car. I parked my car at Presint 9, Putrajaya, a trick that a friend told me for a free parking. Everybody knows that airport parking or any transit parking is expensive. Therefore, I leave my car at apartment visitor’s parking there and walked almost 1 kilometer to Putrajaya Sentral. From there, I took ERL, the airport transit speed train to klia2. It’s really cheap from Putrajaya. If I’m not mistaken, it’s only RM6.10 per trip.

In less than 15 minutes, I reached klia2. I was lucky that I arrived just in time of the gate call for boarding. That’s why passengers are always being reminded to come within 1-2 hours before departure, because the plane might decide on departing early 5-10 minutes from the original schedule.

My flight took 2 and half hours to reach Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. Touched down at 3.10 pm, it was actually early 10 minutes from the original schedule. I walked out the arrival hall with excited feeling. This was my second time being in Sabah. I waited at the seat outside airport, waiting my friend to fetch me. Due to some problem, my friend fetched me after 70 minutes waiting at the airport.

From the airport, we drove straight away to Promenade Service Apartment at Jalan Api-api, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. This service apartment rate was RM226/2 nights stay including taxes. It was a studio room with twin bed. You can cook at this studio apartment. They is a quite a complete small kitchen. And, its only 15 minutes walking distance to Philippine Market.Promenade Service Apartment

Since my friend was having a health problem, I hold myself from asking her to bring me out after check in. I let her rest until the sun down. We prayed Maghrib and then we went to Dataran Todak to find seafood for dinner. The locals called it Dataran Todak, but the outsiders might call it Todak Waterfront. Most tourists will find seafood at Philippine’s Night Market but my friend told me that Dataran Todak is the best. It is because the seafood will immediately cooked or grilled after we picked, while in Philippines market, some of the seafood were grilled hours before. My friend also told me that the cleanliness of the Philippines market is really doubtful.

Since my friend already stayed there for a year, I believe her opinion. For me, I am ok with local foods as long as it’s not harmful and poisonous. As a backpacker, I used to eat whatever halal food as long as I can fill my stomach and survive.Seafood Dataran Todak Lobster

My friend ordered too much for both of us. But I know that she was actually showing her hospitality to me as her guest. She ordered fried squid, butter prawn, black paper scallop, steam fish, chicken tom yam, vegetables and rice. Total bill was RM100 including coconut water and 2 glass of lime juice. Considered our ordered food can feed 4 people, if we were at West Malaysia, we might pay RM300 for the same portion of this seafood. Worth right?

Seafood Dataran Todak Siap

Since we were both grew up for 5 years from same boarding school, we have lots to tell each other. Most of the conversation was to recall all the memories of our school time. We spent 2 hours eating and chit chatting while looking at people congesting the area.

After that, we just decided to go back to our service apartment. We both agreed that we will visit Philippines market which only 100 meters from Dataran Todak tomorrow night.


11 April 2015

I planned to jog or have a morning walk but my friend did not agree if I do that. Then I have to hold myself, spending few hours on bed that morning.

Mee TuaranAt 9 am, we went to a restaurant downstairs. I ordered Mee Tuaran at RM8 per plate. The portion given was quite a lot. Its look like a normal fried noodle at Peninsular Malaysia’s restaurants. Maybe the taste of the noodle makes the difference and claimed to be the original taste of Tuaran. I don’t know. I think so. But I like the food. Since Kota Kinabalu is the seafood town, the noodle I ate was rich of seafood cooked together with the noodle. The coffee tastes awesome too.

Since my friend’s foot got problem, its slow down our movement. I need to help her to get down through stairs to reach the parking at the basement. We then drove to Penampang district. Our destination was Monsopiad Cultural Village.

Monsopiad Cultural Village Monsopiad Counter

As we reached Monsopiad Cultural Village, there was no one except us. We need to register at the counter before proceed our visit. Then we realize that the entrance fee is quite pricey for that small area. The entrance fee is RM20 per person. If you want to see cultural performance, you need to pay RM35 per person. If you want to see performance and have a tour guide, the price is RM45 per person. Expensive, right? The visit to Monsopiad Cultural Village is inclusive the visit of the House of Skulls. I only take RM20 package.

Monsopiad was a Kadazandusun warrior from 300 years ago. The House of Skulls displays 42 skulls of warriors and pirates killed by Monsopiad. During that time, when warriors met as enemy, they fought each other until one of them being killed. The head will be chopped and the skull will be displayed as a symbol of power. There are lots of rituals explained by the guide, who by himself an original Kadazandusun tribe. We can understand the tribe by having this visit to Monsopiad Cultural Village. We also can have free drinks of Sabah tea and coffee at a nice wooden building with unique architecture.

Suria Mall Food CourtAfter 1 and half hours visit, we left the cultural village and heading to Suria Mall at Kota Kinabalu town. The mall is next to the sea. The food court at this mall is facing the sea with few islands. It’s really nice view. I took advantage to taste local food. I ordered fish paste noodle soup. The taste almost the same with Chinese noodle soup.

After that we went to a bookshop. This is my personal request to my friend to bring me there. I bought 3 books out of my plan as I really crazy with books. Then unintentionally we went to ground level of the mall, there was an event like food fiesta. I saw lots of Sabah’s food product marketed and introduced there. I got chance to taste some of the foods. One of the product that gained my attention was chocolate product. The taste of the chocolate drinks and pudding really awesome.

We went back to our service apartment to pray and clean ourselves. Then we went out again to Tanjung Aru. I really want to see sunset there. We almost missed the opportunity to see it. There were lots of people ready with cameras at the beach. I reach just in time when the sun touched the sea and sunk. It’s really fast but I manage to take few pictures.

Tanjung Aru Sunset

water danceAfter the sunset, we went to Perdana Park Water Dance. The show was only 20-30 minutes and we can see the water dance with colorful lights played along with the water movement. We really enjoy the moment. It’s only RM1 to enter to the parking and having this good water dance performance.

We continued our ride to food court at Jalan Api-api. The food court located next to the sea. As I still full, I just ordered grilled cockles and lamb satay. Both menus are really nice and tasty.

Filipino MarketAs promised we continued our visit to Philippines market. The road were congested and we have to look around the parking few times. It took 30 minutes to find available parking. Philippines market got almost everything. My friend bought Terubuk Masin, a salted fish made by local Sabah and Sarawak. Philipine MarketThere are also lots of merchandise, souvenirs, fruits, seafood,  and dried food are sold here. There is also hawker and wet market too. I only bought a few dried foods for my friends and family. If you want to buy a lot, the seller can nicely pack for you in boxes with a handmade holder.

We went back to our room at 11.30 pm. It’s really tired but we were happy that we still able to visit few places in one day.


12 April 2015

It is our last day. My flight scheduled at 11 am. We went down for breakfast at 9am. Then we check out at 9.30am. My friend drove me to airport and she went back to Beaufort. It’s a short journey but I was happy that I can visit my friend and have fun at few places. I reached klia2 at 1.30pm.

I planned to come again and have real backpack to Sabah. I will make sure to visit Kundasang and hiking Kinabalu Mountain, doing island hoping and snorkeling at Manukan Island.

My cost for my 48 hours journey as follow:-

Flight ticket return KUL-BKI, BKI-KUL RM200
Accommodation (Promenade Service Apartment) RM226
Monsopiad Cultural Village RM20 X 2 = RM40
Perdana Park Water Dance RM1
Dinner at Jalan Api-api RM31
Dried food RM20


 *The rest of the cost including transport, parking, and foods were covered by my friend as both agreed.

*Cost of the books purchased is not related to this journey.