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Food General Malaysia

KK Adventure Final: Succumb to the spice

Bak Kuh Teh

Bak Kuh Teh. I was so hungry that it took half of my meal before I could take a picture. hehehe

It’s one thing to experience adventures of a particular locale, but like icing to a cake, tasting native food is another adventure of the palate kind.

So how does your Bak Kuh Teh taste like? Honestly, it’s a wierd sounding name, but it’s one of those authentic Malaysian foods you may come across on many of their food or restaurants here. It’s highly customizable to your taste buds, you can choose a combination of spices, with either beef, chicken, or lamb on a bowl of herbal soup and there you go. Instant Bak Kuh Teh. Later I learned (from googling of course) that Bak Kuh Teh is really Chinese in origin. Its recipe was brought here and became really popular due to it’s therapeutic qualities as well.

Satay

Satay! The dark one’s the lamb and the light one is the chicken. I prefer the lamb!

And what better to add on its side is Satay. It’s actually a barbecue but with a choice of either a lamb, chicken or pork. And add to it is the kinda sweet and spicy Satay Sauce! It’s delicious and cheap.

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General Malaysia

KK Adventure 06: City strolling

Kota Kinabalu City at night

City municipal at night

Just something to keep people occupied while I do a major re-design. This would be the 2nd to the last entry for the KK adventure entries. Will try to finish the last part soon.

Kota Kinabalu is a small city. It seems more like other major provinces here in the Philippines. You could actually tour the city in half a day. For us, we managed to go around the city at night, walking, exploring what is there to explore in the city. Night life is a bit “complicated” says one waiter from a resto we were eating. Karaoke bars usually have “Trouble”. Safest place is at the Waterfront, it’s similar to Baywalk without the lollipop lights and resto structures are aligned.

Corner block

Corner block

There’s really no major attractions around the city. Mostly, there’s hotels (from the budget to deluxe), malls lined up and stores on city blocks, and lots of restos and eatiries. It is evident that this is to cater for us tourist. There are souvenier shops around the malls, but the best place for souveniers here is at the Filipino Market where you can bargain to as good as half the original price! In terms of souveniers though, not much on the food pasalubongs since they have no specialty here worth taking home. (Will delve more on the food on the final entry )

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General Malaysia

KK Adventure 05: Sidetrips

Manukan Island

Manukan island. Who you pointing that finger, huh?

Kota Kinabalu also holds other attractions other than the Kinabalu Mountain itself. If you are into water sports or am longing for some underwater scene after that long long trek up the mountains and forest, there’s this Tunku Abdul Rahman Park which comprises 5 islands. We were only able to visit 1 island (yeah due to budget constraints) which is Manukan and spent most of the day there. It’s only 15-20 min by speed boat and cost us like 15 RM per pax and 10 RM entrance fee. Manukan Island is the largest island in the park. It has very nice guest rooms and restos and quite a number of fish if you are into snorkeling. It has powdery beach but not as fine as Boracay. But I love the ambience here, it is simple and elegant and not commercialized as Boracay.

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General Malaysia

KK Adventure 04: Down on wobbly legs

Time to go down

Time to go down!

It’s interesting going down as this time you could see the view, whereas when you climb all was in darkness. Though for some, the darkness was good to cover out the scene, because now you could actually see where you could fall. Going down from the summit is kinda hard on the knees and toes as your body have to balance itself from the pull down. Then navigating through the ropes requires a bit of rapeling skills. Which I found to be fun actually.

Highest Phone booth

The highest phone booth?

Just of the Sayat-Sayat checkpoint is the highest Phone Booth I’ve seen. Yes, it’s working! They may have put these up in case of emergencies or communications from the other stations or if climbers would like to call their friends, loved ones or relatives and tell them they’ve conquered the peak!

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General Malaysia

KK Adventure 03: 2.7 km to the Summit

Morning assault to the summit

The trail after the Sayat-sayat check point.

We barely have a couple of hours of sleep. We had to wake up around 2:30am for our summit assault. Or better yet, we were awaken by the constant sound of footsteps from other climbers on the hallway, getting ready as well. Navigatng through a ton of scattered drenched clothes above our room heater and after having something for breakfast at the canteen we set off to climb the last 2.7km toward the summit.

There was a bit of a drizzle. I went ahead of the group as we started our assault 3:30 in the morning. The first 200 meters was easy, as there were lamp post to guide us towards the Summit Gate. After the gate it was all stairs up and total darkness within the forest. It might be the rains but the trail have flowing water. The hike seems much easier or must be the excitement. I just climbed the stairs one step at the time. Whenever I get tired I would count down from each breath from 5 to 1 and say “Go” to force my self in burst mode to continue on my way up. It seems I got hungry often here and had to munch on my raisins and peanuts on the trail. As I go higher I looked back to see the city lights. The amazing view was somehow fullfilling reward to each ascent. I could see some headlights like 10 to 20 meters behind, must be the rest of the guys I thought. I looked up. It was the moon shimmering bright along the clear skies. I was glad, it was a sign of a good weather.

700 meters up I finally reached the rope trail. I decided to wait for my companions, there were two other groups of foreigners who passed me by until they arrived. I went on with the ropes and navigated beside the rocks. It was fun, I thought. Then we reached a stop where I could see the peaks ahead illuminted by the moonlight and at my back the whole city of Kota Kinabalu at night. It was just amazing and thought this trip was really worth it. Shortly we reached the “Sayat-Sayat Checkpoint” where you have to show your IDs. That was already 7.5 km on the trail from the jump off at Timpohon Gate. And shortly from this point it was a vertical assult.

Break of light

The break of light!

It looks easy but it’s tiring. Walking on these stone surface gradually elevated seems much tiring than going up those stairs. It must be the thin air or the altitude sickness starting to kick in. A friend of mine told me that altitude sickness starts at 10500 feet up, and we’re already like 13000+ feet up. Shortly I could see warm light seeping in. It was the break of light on the horizon. It was just breath taking! I just have to stop and see the sun penetrate the sea of clouds slowly dispersing as the sun shone brighter.

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General Malaysia

KK Adventure 02: Stairway to heaven

Stair Trails

Mt. Kinabalu’s stair trails

Mt. Kinabalu’s trail are mostly stairs, and I hate stair trails. They are more tiring and would put too much pressure on your legs and butts. Especially if you have your packs on. From the start I could already see myself getting wobbly legs when I go down these uneven steps. Like how I see most of the other foreigners descending from the mountain limping on every step down and mostly with sticks for support.

Squirrels

Friendly squirrels scurrying for food.

There are 7 shelter stations before we reach our main stop for the night, the Laban Rata Resthouse. That’s 6km from our jump-off point at Timpohon Gate trail. I must commend the Park Association for maintaining these shelters well. Each have clean basic toilets for your occasional nature calls or digestive emergencys as well as water source to refill your containers. And you’ll occasionaly get visits from these friendly squirrels ready to scavenge food debris from your trail snacks.

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General Malaysia

KK Adventure 01: A new door opens

A door opens

The Peak lodge door opens with the view of Mt. Kinabalu peaks on the horizon at Mt. Kinabalu Park

I’m back in Manila, and my legs are just aching from those endless flight of stair trails in Mt. Kinabalu, a world Heritage site and one of the highest mountain in the South East Asia.

I’ll be writing a series of entries regarding our adventure on the said mountain. Along with that are some side trips and food trip adventure within the city.

Many “Terima Kasih” goes to the guys of AdTrek and Mark of Retrospect who were helpful enough to provide some information that was useful in our trip. And many thanks as well to my companions there who have opened up a new world of international travel.

In the meantime I’ve gotta rest. It’s back to the grind again tomorrow. 🙂