My friend with That I stayed with in Kuala Lumpur organized a trip to Kota Kinabalu. This time I decide I would not interfere and bother my friends, so I told them to organize how they thought the trip would be best and I would just pay my part.
Kota Kinabalu is situated on the tropical island of Borneo, and is the state capital of the Malaysian state Sabah, which is one of the two states of East Malysia. Its famous because because of it’s long sandy beach, paradise islands, tropical rain forest and the mighty Mount Kanibalu.
We flew from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kanibalu in the morning. My suitcase was already packed the previous night so there was not much to do beside leave and get into taxi.
At the airport I tried to carry on my tripod, but they did not allow it. After I told them they had damaged my tripod bag last time they put a “fragile” sticker on it and told me to take it to the “oversize baggage” counter. After little waiting at the airport it was time to board.
The flight was about 2 hours and at noon we landed at Kota Kinabalu. The airport was really small and it reminded me of the airport in Zagreb - Croatia.
Our hotel was really close to the airport, maybe 10 minutes away by taxi and the hotel was really nice. After we checked in we went in town for lunch and I took walk to scout and see where the beach was, but I didn’t find it. Because the hotel was also a boat marina and golf resort there was no beach anywhere around, I was a little disappointed but I went to the pool to have some fun which is where we spent most of the day.
When evening came, the rain also started ( I guess this is my signature, because rain always follows me everywhere I go ). It was almost sunset time and I decide it was worth a try to take some photos, the rain was not heavy anymore but it was still there, since I was already wet from the pool I didn’t care much about it. But I cared how my camera would handle it. I know a little rain would not do any harm but I was forced to take only the camera and leave my bag in the room. I also took some plastic to cover the camera to give it some protection and my tripod. Sunset was a really nice, pink color and I think I got some nice photos. The rain started getting heavy again and I was really short on time because my friends were waiting on me to go to dinner. I came back in the room for a quick shower and we were ready to go. We went to a local restaurant with seafood and the food was really nice. After dinner we went back to the room and got ready to sleep.
In a 5 stars hotel I always adore breakfast. So after a big and rich breakfast we had booked a one day trip to a small Sapi island.
Our mini bus arrived and we were already on our way to the harbor where we took a small speed boat to the island. The island was really nice, sandy beach and clean water with corals and colorful fish. The island was very small and not much space to explore, just one small beach and that was all, they also had many activities like jet ski but they were way overpriced. Anyway it was really nice place full of fun, I went swimming, snorkeling and just enjoyed the beach I also got a really fun sunburn, because I put sun lotion only on my shoulders which was ok but the rest of my back was really red. I did not bring my camera to island because I was thought it would be difficult to keep eye on, there would be alot of people on the beach.
About 3pm we were heading back from the island to the hotel, I relaxed a little at the swimming pool and this time we went to dinner early because we wanted to avoid the rush at the restaurant. After dinner we tried to eat Durian, which is a very stinky fruit with not so bad taste, I had many opportunities to try it in Indonesia but I always avoid it.
4:50 am !!! It’s shooting time!! I decide to go take sunrise photos at the City Mosque. It is a stunning mosque with a lake around which gives a perfect reflection when there is no wind. It’s also a great sunrise spot but that day it was too cloudy and I did not get any nice colors in the sky, but I really enjoyed the place.
Later we came back to the hotel and it was time for breakfast and little more sleep. I was also planning to take trips to some other islands near by but after noon the rain started and did not stop all day, so I got a refund on my trip and decided to just relax at hotel. I went to the pool, spa and jacuzzi where I spent almost all day.
There was no sunrise so I decide to go into town. I explored the mall, checked out some shops and ate dinner. I took a night walk near the sea and later I took the hotel shuttle back to the hotel.
Last day in Kota Kinabalu!
I was planning to shoot the sunrise at the hotel and I woke up about 5am, but the was sunrise was not till 6am so I decide to stay in bed another 15 minutes more, it was bad idea... because I woke up at 6:15 and I had to rush out, I didn’t get the sunrise but I still wanted to take some morning golden hour photos, I also experimented with long exposure shots with my Lee Big Stopper 10 stops ND filter. I was shooting all morning and then I just lay down for a rest next to the pool, it was really peaceful and I almost fall asleep there.
Later I went back in the hotel for breakfast and it was time to start packing. My friends and hosts said we would leave for the airport at 11am and before that I wanted to take a look in Hard Rock shop to buy some souvenirs but it was closed and they would not be open till noon! Bad luck, so I went back to the hotel and got ready.
I was ready at 11am but nobody else was, and I was also unable to find anybody till later when they told me they moved leaving time to 12am. It was actually a good thing for me because my friends wanted to take their children to lunch in some restaurant in another part of the city and we would pass the Hard Rock shop. They were kind of unwilling to make a stop there but I already knew what I wanted so I just got out of taxi ran in the shop while they waited for me. I was in the shop for literally 3 minutes... I came back to the car and we started moving I noticed something terrible had happened. I forget my new sunglasses in the shop. My friends did not want miss their lunch and the sunglasses were not important to them, but I got out of the taxi and started walking back to the shop in hopes I would find them ( they were just 1 week old and I did not want to leave them behind ). So I told taxi driver they could pick me up on the way back. Luckily I found my sunglasses in the shop, they were on a shelf where I had put them when I tried on a t-shirt and because of the rush I just paid and left the store. So lucky.
I went out to the street to wait for my friends to pick me up by the street. They called to tell me it would be better if I take separate taxi to the airport so they would not need to stop and I could meet them at the airport. They were a little late arriving at the airport so we were a little rushed and nervous at the security check because there was a line. On this flight I did not have problems with carrying my tripod on the plane.
It was time for going back in Kuala Lumpur.
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