15 March 2009
The buzzing sound of the engine fills my ears. I am flying over 800km/h towards Kota Kinabalu a.k.a. K.K, Sabah for an expedition.
I reached the airport at approximately 8.00a.m after 2 hours of flight. Check into Sabah and meet our tour guide at the entrance of the airport. We took a van to our hotel, “1 City”, located at the heart of Kota Kinabalu itself. We drop our bags and luggage and walk to a coffee shop to have our breakfast which is Sabah Chicken Rice. Not bad…Then, we head towards a flee market. Our guide drop us at the entrance and headed to the Tourism Malaysia Office (forgotten the name, but something to do with tourism office)
At 10.00a.m, I was suffering rather than enjoying myself. The market was so hot and it was so humid. Like a flee market, there is stalls selling souvenirs, pets, toys, drinks, small plants and many others. The only thing that caught my attention is the dogs that are on sale there. The dogs were not like dogs you would see in a pet shop. They look like stray dogs. Plus, it is not that cheap. In K.L, people want you to take the stray dogs away.
We were supposed to meet the tour guide at the entrance of the flee market at 11.00a.m. But, he is no where to be seen. I was getting angry and frustrated. He told us to be at the entrance at 11.00a.m…We then head towards a coffee shop. We ordered some drinks to cool our self down.
After that, we met him and decided to have lunch. We walk to a shop that serve Vietnamese Chicken Rice. I know you are wondering..Isn’t this Sabah not Vietnam and did your just have chicken rice at 9.00a.m? Now is just 11.30 or 12.00.. On our way, we stop buy, wanting to buy some bottles of water to be drank throughout the day. But, at the shop there, it was more expensive then what we saw at another grocery shop near the coffee shop we went. My parents went there to get the bottle, while we wait there.
Then later, we all went back to the hotel, tired and sweaty. We checked-in and when to my parents room. Our(me and my two brothers) room is not ready yet..We also had a bad news. Our room is located at a different floor.But later, our tour guide did some magic and our room were just 3 doors away. The hotel is new, about 3 months old, according to our guide and some people. The room was nice, clean and tidy.
The first thing we did was to grab our beds..”haha”. I did get a proper bed. My younger brother was left with a makeshift bed, but, the bed was position right below the air-conditioner…He liked it, of course. We were supposed to rest till 4.00p.m. But, it is the replay of Man United versus Liverpool. I could not resist watching it. I remembered of the airport security or custom who asked us who won yesterday, when he heard us discussing about it.
When it reached 5.00, we (my family) get ourselves ready and headed towards the water front of Kota Kinabalu located just 100 meters away. My brothers and I took a lot of photos, not surprising since we are into photography. We met our tour guide later at the water front and took some family pictures. Then, we headed towards the Filipino Market which is by the water front. The market is opened throughout the day and night. After enjoying our self along the whole water front, the tour guide brought us by foot to shopping malls looking for ski mask for the climb to Mt. Kinabalu. At last we found some.
After shopping, we went for dinner in a food court. The food court is special, there is no stalls but restaurant. Never seen that in K.L before. We ate seafood and some local Sabah food. The foods were not bad. Don’t know about the price, since the guide “belanja us”. By the time we finished our dinner, it is already dark but not late because of the same time zone. We headed back to the market at the water front to see some local food (Keropok). We decided not to buy it 1st but wait till the last day of the holiday. We then return to the hotel to rest and be prepared for tomorrow’s water rafting trip.
16 March 2009
Water rafting day…
17 March 2009
The day came. We woke up and prepared ourselves for the climb to Laban Rata. The drive in a van to Mt. Kinabalu took us about 2 hours, if I am not wrong.
On the way up, about an hour from Kota Kinabalu city, we stopped by “Nabalu”, a place or rather a stop with a row of shop houses and stalls selling souvenirs. Over there, there is a platform for us to view the peak of Mt. Kinabalu. The mountain was so majestic, but it looks scary for us as we will be climbing it in an hour. We took some photos there and when on with the journey to the headquarters of Kinabalu Park. I was feeling okay, not wanting to think so much about the challenge we will face but to enjoy the expedition.
We reached the headquarters and met out guide that will guide us up the mountain. He wasn’t tall but very short, maybe caused by the heavy load/ supplies they have been taking up the mountain since they were small to earn extra bucks to support the family. we did some arrangements for a bag to be taken up by the guide. It weighs 16kg! I wonder how is he going to carry it, but it is not very heavy for him. A
fter our lunch pack was passed to us, we were immediately sent by a van to the Timpohon Gate, where we will start the hike up. The start of the hike was very relaxing, I can consider the first kilometre a walk in the park. But, within the next few kilometres, the thin air begin to affect me. My legs don’t really hurt during the hike, but my lungs had to work very hard to get the oxygen from the thin air. The trek up to Laban Rata is 6.0 kilometre. It is advised that hikers hike up 1km/hour so that you will not have Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). AMS is caused by the high attitude. Anyone can have AMS, even the fittest person. So, we go up slowly and enjoy ourselves. It took us like schedule, 6 hours to rach the top, which is 2.00p.m that day. I was sleepy at the last kilometre of the hike to the hotel in Laban Rata. I yawned many times because of the lag of oxygen in the thin air. We were luckily as the tour guide manage to book the Laban Rata Resthouse that is managed by Sutera(if i am not wrong). Many hikers try to get that hotel as there is a restaurant in it. Other hikers have to stay in other hotels around that area. During dinner or lunch, they have to walk over in the cold to have their meal. Pity them. The room there is okay, comfortable..don’t expect a five star hotel at 3,272 meters/10,735 feet above see level. But it is equipped with a heater in the room and heated water. But I did not shover up there. What is the point, I don’t want to suffer. Haha.. We were one of the middle earliest to reach Laban Rata for that day. Others came later, some really late. We had our tea break at the hotel’s restaurant. I drank about 3 to 4 cups of Hot Sabah Tea, not thinking about the caffeine that will make me unable to sleep that night. Luckily, Sabah Tea will not make me unable to sleep. Later that day, we had a buffet dinner. The food was okay, better than what I expected to eat.
After dinner, we packed our bags for the summit the next day. That night, there was a small drama, suddenly, there is a blackout for 5 minutes. I pity those in the toilet. haha..Talking about toilet, our room is so strategic, it is right in front of the toilet. So, we don’t need to worry to wake up late the next morning or I would say mid-night. I slept at 7.00p.m or 8.00p.m. ( I couldn’t recall, but I know that I slept before the heater which is automatically on at 8.00p.m).
18 March 2009
The next morning, we woke up at 1.ooa.m. It was very cold. I went to wash myself and headed down for breakfast. I ate some fried noodles and scrambled egg and drank Sabah Tea that would keep my body warm. At 2.00a.m, we started to climb for the summit. At the beginning, we were still walking in the forest. My younger brother suffered from stomach ache and went down with the guide right at the end of the forest part.
After an hour, we started to climb on bare rocks. The rocks were so cold. We did not even get proper gloves as we thought we just need one to hold the ropes. We were actually wearing a thin layer of leather gloves. Sayat-sayat Hut was at the beginning of the bare rocks. It is the highest hut build on Mt. K.K. The hut serve as a checkpoint where your name will be registered. From the hut onwards, you are considered to have climbed up to the summit. At the 7km, we were crossing the mountain towards the peak which is 1.5 more kilometres away. The hike from that point is quite difficult. The terrain is steep and you don’t even know which peak is the highest peak. I thought that we were reaching when I reached the 7th kilometre, because I could see many peaks. But unfortunately, we had to crossover the mountain to the other side. The wind was not kind to us that morning. It was blowing very strongly, till I had to stop sometimes to hold my position and not lose my stability. We walked at 1 hour per kilometre throughout the hike.
At 5a.m, we reached the peak, just in time for sunrise. It was very cold, 2 degree Celsius! I wasn’t prepared for such a cold condition up there. There were many hikers at the peak, approximately 50 on a tiny peak. We took some photos and wanted to go down as it was very cold up there. But, there were people who wanted to go up to the peak, and we could not get down easily, but to force ourselves down. The hike down was great. I got to see how steep and long I hiked up to the summit. The sun warm me slowly as the wind keep on blowing at a slower pace now. Going down to Laban Rata was easy. I forgotten how long I took, but I remembered that I reached down by 8.00a.m. I had my second breakfast, some noddles and hot tea with lots of sugar.
Later, about half and hour later, both my parents reached Laban Rata Resthouse. We left the rest house/hotel at 11.00 a.m. The descend down was terrible. It is worst than going up the mountain. We reached down at, I forgotten..LOL.. But, we were like half an hour earlier than our parents and guide that reached down together. We took a bas to the HQ of Kinabalu Park and had our lunch at a Sutera Resort. The food was okay only. I rather eat some seafood at KK city. In order to go to the Hotel Restaurant, we had to go down a flight of stairs. We were like suffering to go down, as our muscles were cramp and tired due to the descend from Mount. K. After lunch, we waited for the guide to fetch us to our hotel. Again, he was late. This time, very late. We waited like 1 hour plus. He said that his car overheated, when we asked him why he was late. I don’t know whether I could believe his words this time. Since he drove his kancil up, he had to fetch my brothers and me first. We when to Fairy Garden Resort. Then we headed to our room. We rested and watch some shows. My parents came much later since they met the other group of hikers from Agape(seremban) church. We do hike with those group in west malaysia. They would be starting to climb the next day.