Kota Kinabalu, the main city in Borneo, was my travel hub for this trip. From here I managed to plan a kind of roundabout loop trip taking in the majority of the sights that I wanted to experience in Borneo.
I normally start a trip by flicking into the Lonely Planet and looking at their suggested itineraries and the top sights in a country. From there I’ll do a bit more research into the ones that look interesting, from both guide books and blogs. Finally, I have to see how viable getting around a route that I want to do is. Then I’ll look into what needs to be pre-booked and what I can just do on the road.
I’m a big fan of using guide books as a starting point for trips, but I’m always weary that in their own way guide books are trying to sell the place. I’ve found that they occasionally oversell what there is to do in a place. Kota Kinabalu was one of those cities. Proclaimed as a, ‘place that will grow on you once you get to know it’, I found the only thing growing from getting to know it was how much more interesting the rest of the country was.
Indeed it was from here that I did what ended up being a 15 hour day trip to go rafting for a couple of hours. I love train travel, something Brunei isn’t known for, so the chance to ride one of their two train lines up into the hills for the start of the rapids was one I wasn’t going to pass up. The rapids were decent, nothing mindblowing, but good fun. The trains were as rickety as I’d imagined, to the point where one broke down for three-hours on our return, meaning we then hit the rush hour jam to get back into the city.
I also escaped the city to one of the nearby islands for a day relaxing on the beach. The beaches were fine, but too packed with tourists and nothing in comparison to the beauty of the beaches in the Philippines.
The sites of the city took about an hour to take in and the big markets weren’t that much to shout about. The highlights of the city was the delicious fish market, with super cheap assortments of fish to devour and the sunsets here were also beautiful and there were plenty of spots offering you a nice, if expensive, sundowner as the colours rippled around you.
My final meal here was the perfect end to the trip: a local eateries Laksa and cheap beer. I eagerly await when I head off on a longer journey and find more plastic seated delectable places.
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