Barbee Travels travel blog


We arrived around noon in Kota Kinabalu (KK) the largest Malaysian city on the northern part of Borneo. We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring around town. The Lonely Planet says KK has the largest outdoor street market in Southeast Asia. So that was definitely on our plan to check out the night market down on the Jetty. About 2 hours after we arrive we experience our first tropical downpour. Even though this is considered the dry season it still rains in the afternoons. We wandered around the area for the remainder of the afternoon then at dusk we headed down to the night seafood market and ate the day’s catch. Chad ordered shrimp and a large white fish and the three of us shared the meal because there was so much food all for about 4 dollars. After dinner we wandered around the downtown and found a 8 story mall and took in a movie. It was enjoyable for several reasons first a movie, second the A/C was cranked down so it was cold and dry. It was nice to find a relief from the humidity of the day. It was 5 ringett (the Malaysian currency) which is about $1.65. I love these cheap movies. You can also have a beer at the movies. A definite plus and helps a bad movie go down better. It was after midnight when the movie was over so we wandered back to our hostel. The next day we had a leisurely morning and it was late morning before we headed out to pin down our climb of Mt. Kinabalu. It took several hours to do this and we had the typical OP luck. It is currently the high season so there are very few slots but we found a day that had seven slots available. We also opted to do the Via Ferretta route, Via Ferretta in Italian means iron road. The plan is to summit and watch the sunrise then we do the Via Ferreta. This is the first and highest VF route in Asia and VF is very popular in Europe but there are no routes in the USA. In VF there are fixed steel cables and foot pegs pounded into the granite. You clip in your harness into the fixed steel cables then climb down a super exposed route. From the photos we have seen it looks kick ass! None of us have ever done VF so we are all very excited about the experience. Our two day climb ended up to be expensive as trips go. It cost about $275USD. The problem is lodging. There is only one company that owns all the lodges in the park so they can set the price. It costs $100 a night which is a relative term because we alpine start at 0230 to be on the summit by sunrise. The views should be fantastic if the weather is good. Hopefully I will have some great photos to post after the climb. We ended up spending 4 days in KK arranging our climb and our diving in Semporna. On two different afternoons we hired a water taxi and went out to several islands that had good beaches with some nice snorkeling areas. It was nice to relax and spend some time playing in the water to help beat the heat and humidity of the afternoons. At Sapi Island we saw some Komodo dragons. We observed them eating the leftovers that people threw at them. They were between 5-6 feet in length. They are very primeval looking. Our afternoons, however, were cut short by the afternoon showers. On the 4th, our group split into two different trips. Seven of us went to climb the mountain and 6 went to do an overnight river trip to check out the wildlife. We plan to get together in a few days to regroup for our diving trip.

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