Our Trip Blog.
KK was such an great destination that we had to go back and do the things we missed on the previous trip.
This time we would break the journey up by stopping in West Malaysia instead of transiting through KL airport. That was just too
long and tiring last time.
On our previous trip we had used Malindo airlines but the hassles they gave us with changed flight times meant that we
were not inclined to use them again. We had used Air Asia before and so we used them for all 4 flights on this trip.
So with all this in mind, let's get on with the actual blog:
We were up at 3am to catch a 6:50 flight to KL.
Baldivis Private Ride picked us up spot on 4am (Brian is always very punctual) and we made the long trip from Rockingham to the International airport.
The weather (as is usual for us when we go away) was stormy and wet.
Our flight was delayed by about 30 minutes but eventually we were off.
This trip involved some family business in west Malaysia and then a short holiday in east Malaysia.
I have been to Peninsular Malaysia a number of times and Dorothy was born there so we were returning to familiar ground.
The flight to KK was uneventful but rather boring as there was no entertainment system on the Air Asia flight.
We had pre-paid a meal which turned out to be tom yum rice. Nice but a rather small serving. The drink was just water.
There was a lot of walking to do in KL airport to get out as the place was enormous.
There were plenty of touts proposing silly prices for taxis but we made our way to the taxi counters on level 1 and got a coupon taxi
(pay it all up-front) to Shah Alam for RM73.90.
Kuala Lumpur Airport
Our accommodation was a place called Seth Vacation Stay that is located in Acappella Suites Hotel in Shah Alam.
The rate was RM250 a night which is fairly high in RM but converts to just over $87 Aud.
There is some food supplied including things like fruit, eggs, bread, milk, noodles, tea, coffee and more.
Pretty good value and the place includes a full kitchen and all the facilities you might need including a washing machine, ironing board etc.
We are moving more towards appartments like this and away from the traditional hotel style of acommodation. These self-contained places
are far more flexible and are generally much better value than hotels.
Seth Vacation Stay, Acappella Appartments.
We managed to get to a local shopping centre to change Aussie money and got a rate of Rm2.87 to the Aussie dollar.
Dinner was a Malay version of steamboat which was an all you can eat style and close to the accommodation at a price of RM30 per head.
The meal was interesting and was a slightly different style of steamboat to ones we had tried before as it included a grill as well as a
Steamboat for dinner.
Day two started with a fairly cool morning. We didn't head out until after 10am as most shops don't start trading until then anyway.
Our first destination was Sri Muda where Restron Spring Golden serves the best char siew we have ever eaten.
We have been there many times in the past and were glad to find the food just as good as it had been before.
The best char siew we have ever tried.
After lunch it was off to Shah Alam mall to check out the prices for some spectacles and then to Giant supermarket to get some more groceries.
I spent a quiet evening in the accommodation as I wasn't hungry enough to justify going out to dinner.
The others went out to Sakura Fuji for some Japanese food.
Saturday was family business day with a wedding to attend and Sunday was our last full day in Shah Alam before flying out to Sabah.
View from Seth Vacation Stay.
Back in KK!
It was an early start at 5:30am and then downstairs to wait for a pre-arranged ride to the airport.
6:30 (the appointed time) came and went, so did 6:45, so did 7:00.
By then we were starting to panic and trying to arrange different transport was proving to be a headache.
Eventually Dorothy managed to get a taxi and by 7:45 we were on the way.
The taxi driver obviously enjoyed talking and quickly showed his cab to be the slowest vehicle on the road. All I wanted him to do was to be quiet and drive faster.
To say the taxi ride stressed me out would be a huge understatement.
I don't think the driver stopped talking the whole way to the airport.
As we got out of the cab some idiot started trying to organise a ride and some toing and froing started. Dorothy joined in and I am afraid that my patience with
talking had fully run out by then.
I snapped at her in order to shut down any conversation before it got started and if I hadn't been so stressed I would have dealt with it in a much more gentle
Inside the airport signage was woeful and it took a bit of time to sort out where we had to go.
An attendant was standing at the entrance to baggage drop-off and told us we had to go back to some machines and print our own boarding passes. She didn't help
or explain anything else.
After some head scratching at the machine we finally had our boarding passes and made our way back to the baggage drop off where the attendant told us we had
to go back to the machine and print our baggage tickets. She couldn't have told us that the first time?? I was rapidly reaching boiling point by this time
and when we came back to the baggage drop off for the third time and the attendant waved me through and I found there was some sticker I had to put on the
boarding pass, my patience finally evaporated completely.
I was less than complementary about her ability to help airline customers who had no idea what was required.
We finally got to the boarding gate with literally minutes to spare only to find that the plane was delayed by an hour!!!!
I guess I don't have to say much more about how the day went from there but it took until the following morning to recover.
Arrival at KK Airport.
I still can't work out why 'the west' hasn't really discovered KK yet. It has a different ( more relaxed) atmosphere to west Malaysia
but still has plenty to do and the same great food available.
There are plenty of places to stay from cheap and comfortable to 5 star luxury.
Picking up the rental car and arrival at the apartment went smoothly enough but the stress left over from the flight still took some time to
Rental car from Mayflower at RM110 a day.
We went out for dinner looking for a nearby restaurant we had been told about. It was supposed to be just up the hill.
Somehow we managed to miss the restaurant and wound up on a dark road that leads up over the hill into the centre of KK.
We stopped at the first Chinese restaurant we came across and had some simple (but tasty) noodle dishes.
After that we dropped by Suria Sabah mall to pick up some much needed supplies.
It hadn't been the best start to our time in KK but after devouring a cheap and tasty meal, things were finally starting to look up.
Kim Fah Chinese restaurant.
Day two wasn't exactly exciting as we stayed mostly around the area where our accommodation was.
We finally found the restaurant that had been recommended (Chef Tan's) and had lunch there. In fact we had been sitting almost outside it without even realising it.
The food was good but higher than usual pricing for KK. The restaurants are obviously meant for people staying at the Peak Vista apartments rather than other
more cash strapped locals.
Not wanting to do a great deal more we went back to the same place for dinner so it was a quiet day.
Day three involved a little more moving around as we headed down to Central Markets to get some fruit.
We then wandered around KK Plaza (just across the road) and did a bit of shopping. From there we moved on to Centre Point and had lunch at a Chinese
Restaurant (Beaufort) where the food was also good and cheap.
That was it for the day and we spent the evening in the apartment pigging out on tropical fruit.
KK Central Market
The most adventurous day of the trip so far came on Thursday when we went down to Jesselton Point and booked an island hopping ride to Gaya, Sapi and Manukan Islands.
The forecast wasn't great but we still had quite a few things we wanted to do so there wasn't much choice but to head off and hope for the best.
Cost was quite reasonable as the transfer between the three islands was 100Rm for two people and then a 25Rm island entry charge when we landed on the first island.
It is rather interesting how the west is often accused of discrimination but in Asia it is perfectly ok for locals to be charged one price and foreigners to be charged one
4 times as much. That was the case with the island entry fee, Dorothy (Malaysian) was charged just 5Rm while I was charged 20Rm. I can just imagine the outcry
if Malaysians visiting Australia were charged 4 times as much for entry to our national parks as Australians.
The Ticketing Hall at Jesselton is the place to get tickets and people are warned not to negotiate with touts outside. Booths 1-11 are for island hopping and they
all change the same fees.
We left Jesselton at around 9:30am and the ride across was only about 15 minutes. There were patches of rougher water but in general it wasn't too bad.
The first island, Gaya, was pleasant enough with a covered restaurant area to sit in and enjoy the view but the beach was quite small and with rain showers hanging
around, there wasn't a great deal to do.
We had hoped to do some snorkelling while visiting the islands but the water was stirred up and rather murky so it wasn't worth it in the end.
Pick up time was 11am and we were more than ready to go by the time the boat arrived.
The section of Gaya we were taken to was just opposite Sapi and although the island is very large, this section seemed cut off from other areas.
Looking at information online later, it is obvious that there is a lot more to Gaya than the small area we were dropped off at.
At the landward side there is a local floating village and around the island there are different resorts.
The showers continued as we did the short hop to Sapi Island. Sapi is in fact just next to Gaia and for the adventurous; there is a zip line between the two.
Sapi turned out to be a complete waste of time. It was dirty, completely over crowded and had no decent restaurant or nice place to sit out of the showers.
If I was going to the islands again, I would give Sapi a miss. The boat picked us up at 1pm and we were so glad to get away.
Sapi Island, dirty and over-crowded.
Manukan was so much better but by the time we got there the heavens had opened up and without any side covers on the boat, we were soaked by the time we arrived.
It would have been much better if we had been able to walk around Manukan but at least the restaurant we went to, had nice comfortable seating and was a pleasant
place to sit while we waitied for the rain to ease off.
The food was expensive and the drinks exorbitant so we opted for 12 satay sticks with rice and cucumber for RM30. As I expected there was very little meat on
each stick but at least it was nice enough.
Murphy was obviously watching us again as the rain cleared just as it was time to leave. At least that meant a nice ride back to Jesselton Point.
We dropped in to Suria Sabah shopping centre again and decided to go to Sushi King. We were a bit disappointed with the variety of dishes on offer but at least
it was cheap enough at 69Rm. We had expected to pay over 100 but there was some kind of deal on and we got the food at about 40% off the normal price.
Parking for the day cost 9Rm and the car park is right next to the jetty area which is convenient.
Parking in the shopping centres in KK seems to cost about 3Rm which at current exchange rates comes in at just over $1 aud.
Near Suria Sabah
With just 4 days to go in KK we decided to hit a few spots around town. The first was to have breakfast of delicious dim sum at Foo Phing's.
It was only 6 km from our accommodation but the Google navigation software on the phone constantly got the directions wrong. I gave up on it and just did
the navigating myself.
We had 12 different types of dim sum and at a princely cost of $24, for what would have cost about $70 in Australia, we came away full as ticks and pretty
happy. At least we were happy until we reached the car and found a parking fine for RM30 on the windscreen. We had no idea that parking tickets were required
there and we had a book full in the glove box.
Foo Phing dim sum
We went to have a look at the much vaunted beach at Tanjung Aru and while it was ok, it really isn't much when compared to the stunning beaches we have
Perhaps we should have gone at sunset as that is when most people head out there to get some nice evening photos.
Tanjung Aru Beach
From there we visited the Magellan Sutera and sat and enjoyed the view for a while before moving on into town.
We revisited Central Market for more fruit and then went across the road to KK Plaza to buy some things to take back home to Oz.
We tend to mostly take home odd things like 3 in 1 coffee, Malaysian nibblies etc. Probably a bit odd sounding to many people but we aren't much into collecting
souvenirs to stick in cupboards.
The weather had cleared a bit and we were hoping for a couple of good days as we still planned to visit Kinabalu Park and then go to the Mari Mari Cultural
Village on our last full day in KK.
Apart from the rather bad day when we went island hopping, the weather had been fairly kind and had mostly managed to rain heavily after we got home from whatever
activities we had been doing each day.
With time now starting to run short we did a bit of exploring to the north of KK into the government complex where there are some very interesting buildings.
We had lunch at a local Chinese restaurant and sadly it turned out to be the worst meal of the trip so far.
The day had started off nice and sunny but by the time we were eating lunch the rain had arrived.
We called in at a local shopping centre (local as opposed to a more touristy one) and bought a couple of extra items to take home.
The day looked increasingly dull and grey so by mid-afternoon we had retreated to our accommodation.
Buildings north of KK town.
The objective for the day was Kinabalu Park. This is about 90 kilometres from KK and although in Australia that would be about an hours drive, here with the
winding mountain roads and slow traffic, it is more like 2 hours.
The drive up was easy and pleasant and once above a certain altitude, we were able to turn the car air-con off and open the windows.
It was nice to be able to enjoy fresh air again.
The entrance fee for the park was 20rm for foreigners and just 5 for locals. This would go down like a lead balloon if it was tried in any western country but
it seems fine for Asian countries to enact discriminatory policies and nobody bats and eye at the process.
The park has some accommodation and a couple of places to eat. Many visitors opt for the more up-market restaurant but we like more local style food and opted
for the store near the Botanical Garden.
There is another fee to enter the garden and the same policy of charging foreigners more is in place here, but at least this time, not at a ratio of 4 to 1.
Everything was tropical in interesting enough but I can't say that it was exactly enthralling. The best thing really was the drive up through the mountains
and the sight of Mt. Kinabalau. The day we visited it had a small cap of cloud but that just gave it and air of mystery so we weren't disappointed.
The mountain roads are pretty rough, in fact the road most of the way wasn't great. There are some overtaking lanes but there are plenty of locals who have
no regard for safety and happily overtake on blind bends. You need to keep an eye peeled for these crazy people if you are driving yourself.
The trip took about 6 hours in total with a couple of photo-op stops along the way.
Kinabalu Botanic Garden
Mari Mari Cultural Village.
We detoured into KK town on the way back and grabbed a bite to eat at a Chinese coffee house before the heat of the afternoon got too much and we headed
back to the Peak Soho.
The last full day of the trip to KK was just as nice weather wise so it was a good time to check out the Mari Mari cultural village.
I had been before but Dorothy hadn't and although she was initially reluctant to go, she was glad she did in the end.
Mari Mari Cultural Village
The village gives and interesting insight into the culture of the 5 main tribes in Sabah and there are some things to taste along with the cultural
information on offer.
There is also a show and a meal as part of the admission price.
Mari Mari cultural village
We had originally planned to head into town after we had finished at the village but the afternoon was another real hottie so we retreated to the Soho again
before heading out in the cooler evening.
On our final night in KK we went back to the Kim Wah (Beaufort) restaurant in Centre Point. The food there is good and cheap and we didn't regret going back.
It has the same name as the Chinese coffee house style restaurant we ate at on our first night in KK so there was a bit of symmetry to the last night.
A visit to the supermarket in the basement of Centre Point and it was time to head back to Soho for the last time.
Dinner at Kim Wah (Beaufort) Restarant
Back to West Malaysia.
The last morning in KK dawned with bright blue sky.
The drive to the airport was uneventful but when we arrived there was nothing telling us where to drop of the rental car.
Another stressful episode ensued while we tried to work out what to do but eventually it was all sorted out and as we now knew how to do a self-check in,
everything else went smoothly enough.
Our flight was late (something we were now used to) but the flight itself was fine and we arrived in KL only a little later than scheduled.
Air Asia flight
Self check-in at the Emira Residences (near Aeon Mall) was easy and after a shower we headed off for dinner at Sakura Fuji.
Once back at Emira we grabbed some drinks at the shop below the apartment block and then retired for the evening.
Breakfast the following day was something I had been 'hanging out for' since we arrived in Malaysia.
It was roti and paper tosai at a local mamak shop. These shops serve Indian style food and are one of the cheapest places to eat. The food is delicious and
I can't get enough of it.
Sadly there don't seem to be any in KK so I had to wait until we were back in Shal Alam before I could finally get my gums on some.
After breakfast we walked over to Aeon Mall and did yet more shopping (good job I increased our bag weight by 10kg) and I also managed to get a much needed
One last meal that we wanted to have before leaving Malaysia was satay!
We organised a taxi to Shah Alam Mall where there is a Satay Hut and our last meal was 20 satay sticks, peanut sauce, rice, onion and cucumber.
It just doesn't get much better than that.
By 9pm it was time to head for the airport and just after midnight (don't you just love midnight horror flights?) we were on our way home to Perth.
Overall the trip ticked all the boxes we had wanted but it had been very full and very tiring.
As we reach our 60s, we certainly get tired much faster and it is a lot more effort to do the things we used to do easily.
Mari Mari Village.
Seth Vacation Stay pool.
Crispy noodles with pork
Mari Mari Village
Market on the way to Kinabalu Park
Near Central Market
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