KOTA KINABALU - Sabah, Malaysia

Kota Kinabalu (KK), the capital of Sabah, is real Malaysia and was my first real challenge during my 30-day-trip across JV Asia. Why? Well, It´s on Borneo (!) and it is way too different from european-style of Tokyo and Taipei. The real travelling started right here! And it was so good, that I eventually extended my stay for one week before going to Brunei.


Tokyo and Taipei were amazing cities full of everything you may want to see in big cities. But nothing exotic, nothing tropical, nothinh that I would never seen before! But all that changed with visiting Borneo island.
As mentioned, Borneo is the third biggest island on our planet located in South-East Asia. I did not know what to expect there to be honest.  I have never been to such a countries. I could see only pictures and read some articles before coming there. 
But no real experience with tropical countries. I actually did not know anything about religion habits,  means of transportation, kinds of food, their style, just nothing....But again! I had big luck my couchsurfer! Nice guy around my age, picked me up near the airport and immidiately took me for a drive around the city - Kota Kinabalu. The city is quite vast, not big by population, though. In the end I was so thanful, that my couchsurfer had a car. I observed no trasportation in the city. Only uber etc. The differences between Borneo and Taiwan and Taipei were so obvious at a first glance. Women wearing hijab, quite messy streets, mosques, old buildings, but I liked it somehow and became very familiar with that style. Moreover when you have so good quide! After car-city tour we spent some nice team on the beach with some vodka and beer (Yes, he was driving then, but who cares?!). Actually iot was for the first time during my trip I was on some beach. It was vast one, very calm and with nobody. When finished drinking, talking abour our lives and experience, we drove to some of his friends, went on the roof top and drunk again....Well, I did not expect any better start on Borneo :D In the evening I met his family and went to sleep, because I was kinda tired after my flight and "slight" drinking...


The second day started with swimming in local luxury hotel´s swimming pool. How come? My couchsufer (Eamon was his name) knew British people teaching English language there and those people were living in that hotel. I can not describe that amazing feeeling, when you swimm in a nice pool, palms grow around the area, and you can see the sea just above the horizon, right front the pool. As a bonus we were some time in a gym and in sauna, too. But I could not stay there for a long time, ´cause the weather outside was actually kinda sauna for me all the time :D So when we were dry and weak, we drove to restaurant to have a lunch. Imagine having lunch on the terrace with beautiful view on vast beach, fresh breeze in your back, a beach few metres in front of you, cheap meals.....

That beach and food!!

Eamon, his french friend and me having dinner before going to party

DAY  3

So far went everything good. But I would neither ever expect nor dream about what was going to happen and what  I was going to see!!
Right in the morning we stopped near two mosques. Just wow! Huge buildings, nicely decorated....
The I´ve been offered a trip to countryside to the mountains....to see the highest peak of the South East Asia - Mount Kinabalu! I had to contribute some money for petrol, because the way took around 3 hours. No long thinking about that! Let´s go!! Listetning to the music while going up and down the hills and observing amazing nature all around us! Sometimes we were driving above the clouds, thick forest all over the places, valleys, street dogs, rocks....simply amazing to see all this. I´m not gonna to desribe all my feelings that I felt. I´m gonna rather show you images that speak a thousand words! Just last note...we saw a landslide!! See the video below

Mt. Kinabalu was still behind the clouds

No words needed

Above the clouds


When I thought that this day was already fulfilled enough, I was wrong. In the end of this amazing day I was introduced to Eamon´s friend´s family in his family house in countryside of Sabah. I expected few family members, maybe some snacks or small dinner. Guys! You have no idea, what I experienced. What I´m gonna tell you and show, is one of the strongest experience of all times. Thanks to the time of celebrating their islamic holiday - Eid Mubarak - I whitnessed all the family gathering in one house. Around 20-25 people (including childrens, elderly people, young women and men, babies). And imagine that some of them have seen an European guy (moreover 190cm tall) for the firts in their life. So I was the biggest celebrity of the evening! And I felt great! Almost everyone wanted to have a picture with me, everybody (although they spoke broken english) wanted to talk with me. Apparently, I impressed many young girls, but they did not start a conversation due to thier shyness. Unfortunatelly...Besides taking pictures, answering questions abour Europe, I was very curious about their religious habits, family hierarchy, religion itself, marriage, jobs in their region etc. I was sooo happy to be there and talk with those kind and hospitable people about their daily lifes and religion. No need to mention that I was offered so many kinds of traditional food and drink that after this visitation I could neither move nor breathe.

Family picture!

I would be a pretty Malay woman they said...

With my couchsurfer - Eamon


This day had to be chill for me. You can imagine how tired I was ater the previous one. So Eamon came up with an idea to go to the natural animal reservation to see wild orangutans, birds, elephants, snakes etc. Awesome idea! Only the weather was the biggest fight for me - everyday around 35 degrees and high level of humidity. But eventhough the wather was a big enemy. I decided to wear ĺong pants and na take my jacket on. Perhaps you are asking why? Well, I got bitten by an insect, by a mosquito. I started to panic, because I was not vaccinated (the biggest mistake/danger I have ever faced). I do not wanna think what if I had got malaria...Fortunatelly and thanks Got I felt OK during upcoming days, no health problems.

DAY 5 

After all that, I was sure it can not get any better tha so far. As I knew from the map and from my friends, there are many small islands near by the Sabah region. Small ilands with amazing beaches, azure water, fine sand, view on endless sea....One of the things I was looking forward the most when I was planning this trip across South East Asia were the beaches and exotic islands. All the time I was imaging the feelings how I am laying on the beach with only few tourists , bright blue water  all around me, scorching weather, small islands above the horion. So finally I lived to see that!! I actually asked Eamon right at the beginning, if it´s possible to go on some island nearby. He said no, because it´s boring for him. Well, okey...so I may go there alone, I proposed. However, I quickly changed my mind after hearing about terrorists and cases when they kidnaped Canadian tourists few years ago. Nevertheless, I had a meeting with one more guy (I should have actually stayed with him, but eventually I decided to stay with Eamon) and he was willing to go on the island with me. You can imagine how happy I was!! I was like a child waiting for Christmas.
We went on the island with a name "Sapi island". A "voyage" took around 1,5 hour. I am sorry, but I can not epxress how I felt when getting closer to an island. I saw something like that only on pictures or by watching travel documents. It was truly unbelievable! Tropical island with breathaking view on a vast sea, surrounding islands, beach, and that clean water!! I will not bother you with the describtion, so here are the pictures and videos :)

And event someting cute came to visit us :D

And because it was Eid mubarak seaon, families and friends were gathering almost every evening in thier big houses and spending nice time together. I was really lucky to be hosted by so nice guy and his hospotable family. After spending amazing time on Sapi island´s beach I got invited to take part in huge dinner to my friend´s friend´ family. The culture and habit is like that - the more people you invite, the better for the next year,and just in general. Doesn´t matter that the hosting family did not know me. It was enough that my friend knows them. Their house was really beautiful. No need to mention that there was much food on the tables! I felt so awesome when sitting with many new Malay people around one table, hold on conversation and eat and drink typical malay meals.
I met there also some european people - girls from France and Germany. Actually, very nice and strange feeling (in very positive way) to speak with european people after spending quite long time within asian people :)

DAY 6 and 7

The last days were less exhausting as I wanted to chill before going to Brunei. And frankly speaking, I had neither time nor capacity to absorb all that great moments and experience that I have encountered during last few days. Every day was full of incredible moments, so calm, exciting places along with a presence of nice and kind people. I felt just great. There is simply no special explanation for those feelings and you have to experience it on your own skin.  

I slept in my friend´s friend´s house for two last nights. His house was in calm area behind the city of Kota Kinabalu. There was something amazing on this area of semi-detached houses and it was a big swimming pool for those who live in that area. But nobody used that for some reason - maybe they already took the pool for granted...who knows. Anyway. We used it twice, in the morning and in the evening. Wow! Such a refreshment after all day! Nobody in there, whole pool only for you, palms around the pool.....
I could also see the Malay museum of traditional historical houses back then. 
Very last moments I spent along with travellers like me. There was a house in KK city center used as a meeting point and hostel for backpackers traveling from all around the world throught KK. Apart from meeting many international people (New Zeland, Russia, Bolivia, Peru, USA, South Africa....) I also met one guy, who just sat next to me and started to speak with me. You will not believe now. When I asked him where is he from, he said: "I´m from Brunei!......Maaan!! Im going there tomorrow, I replied! He was like: "Really? Do you have any place to stay? You may sleep in my apartment!"......I could not believe it is really happening to me. This guy helped me so much, because I was already decided to book a hostel there as I could not find any couchsurfer in Brunei. Therefore he saved my money. Thansk to this guy I did not have to struggle with looking for an accommodation, means of transportation, finding place to eat, finding way to sightseeings as he had car! And in hindsight, he made my two days in Brunei amazing and unforgettable!

Meeting point of backpackers....the guy on the right-down corner is that guy from Brunei!!!

Staying in Sabah was the longest stay at one place during my 30-day-trip and now I can say it was also the richest and most exciting stay from all the visited countries in SE Asia!I saw the highest peak of SE Asia, saw orangutans, experienced landslide, laid on amazing beach on exotic island , celebrated muslim traditions, met and spoke with amy local Sabah people and hunderts of other unforgettable moments.

I want to thank to Eamon, Fizul and their families, to Khairul and to other people who dedicated me their time and effort to make my stay in Sabah amazing!!