Travelling: a word that means differently for a lot of people, some travel for business, others travel with friends to party, a few others travel with their kids to expose them to different cultures some even tracel to reconnect with your family, while some, just want to get away from it all, even momentarily. If you are the latter, a much overlooked (undesrevingly) destination, that should be in your hit list is Kota Kinabalu. Located on the western side of the island of Sabah, this Malaysian province has some of the most lush vegetation one could ever see, with 50% of its land mass covered by a rainforest sheltering some of the most diverse flora and fauna known to man.
Kota Kinabalu or KK to the locals, also has some of the best beaches you can ever wander about. With yellow sand so fine, and waves crashing about, its no wonder why 3.5m tourists annualy jet in from all over just to lounge around and soak in the sun.
Getting away from it all is not that difficult to do in KK. World class resorts dot the island, giving travelers ample choices of accomodations; from 5 star international name establishments to 3 star local businesses, you will never have difficulty in finding a place to rest for the night.
Regular visitors to KK usually just simply grab a towel, put on some sunscreen and spend and entire day basking under the sun, while enjoying the cool azure waters with a cocktail in hand. Then, come sunset, marvel at the skies as it turns into an amazing shade of orange as the sun hits the horizon; it is simply stunning!
If lounging on the beach has lost its appeal, you can book a climb up Mt. Kinabalu, which is just an hour away from the city. Here experienced guides will assist you as you scale up the face of this natural wonder, but, this activity is not just for advanced climbers, even novice climbers can still trek up the mountain with relative ease and safety.
One can be forgiven in thinking that KK has no night life, or, the city is overly strict when it comes to locals and visitors, due to its Muslim roots, but this is far from it. Kota Kinabalu welcomes all visitors with open arms, and a warm smile, showcasing the traditional Malaysian hospitality, the country is very well known for.
Should the urge to whet your whistle hit, you can easily head over to the “waterfront” which is just a 15 minute ride, at most; with its vivid collection of bars, and far detached from the tranquil seaside resorts, this is the place where you can let your hair down and mingle with both foreigners and locals alike. Food here is pleantiful, and, if you have an adventurous palate, Malaysian cuisine will surely introduce your taste buds to new gastronomic delights.
With its location just off the Philippines’ coastal borders, and, the number of direct flights from the Philippines, reaching Kota Kinabalu only takes a little under two hours from the NAIA.
For more information on Sabah and Kota Kinabalu, check out the Tourism Malaysia (www.malaysia.travel) and Sabah Tourism Board (www.sabahtourism.com) websites, or get in touch with a travel agency.
The author is the general manager of Red Rock Travel Facilitators, a travel agency based in Quezon City, Philippines. By starting Red Rock in 2006, William was able to mix two of his longtime interests — traveling and motor sports. Among the services offered by Red Rock are package tours, inclusive of air fare, accommodations, race tickets, paddock passes and other incidentals, for Formula One and MotoGP races. His expertise in and knowledge of travel management and motor racing mean he could serve as an excellent tour guide on any trip. That he is also a lover of timepieces only makes him the perfect person to add a distinct voice to Calibre. The following is the first of his soon-to-be-many appearances in this space.