Got “Red Deuter” and my RM 39 hat. I don’t really need much. “Red Deuter” was a blast to travel with, because it allows me to pack the essentials I need all at one go. I purchased “Red Deuter” here in Malaysia. Initially I intended to purchase a bigger pack in amazon.com but was running out of time. I decided to get “Red Deuter”. instead. The version that I purchased is designed for kids, but personally I think, anyone who is going for a short trip can still use this version. Its convenient and easy to bring around.
“Red Deuter” was enough to get me excited for a trip to Kota Kinabalu for some fun, leisure in the sun and luxury of time. No work. No stress. Just pure freedom. At least that’s what I felt.
It was May 2015, me and my best friend decided to travel light and couch surf at a friend’s place in Kota Kinabalu. He had a decent 3 bedroom + 2 baths bachelor’s pad with a small balcony. It was nice of him to let us stay. Every night we spent in his crib, we made sure we invited him to every outing that we had planned – Just making sure he knows we appreciate him letting us crash his place for the next 4 days.
We had an early start, woke up at about 5 am, did our last minute packing and had a wholesome breakfast at a mamak restaurant just 5 minutes away from where we live. My usual order – toasted bread, half boiled eggs and a teh tarik to go with. Thanks to another good friend of ours, he was willing to pick us up from our house, join us for breakfast and drop us off at the airport. Toll and fuel was on us. We try our best not to free load too much.
At KLIA 2, we did a mini emergency marathon after printing out the Air Asia tickets. We were too relaxed and too ecstatic, that we forgot to look at the screen for our boarding gate. We soon realized that we were running late and immediately began running with the heavy backpacks on our backs. The gate was number 20 and it was hell far! Guess our gym sessions paid off. We finally reached the gates and to no surprise we were the last two and the petite flight attendant lady in her red uniform was already announcing the last call. We were sweaty, pumped, warm and ready for the 2 hour flight to Kota Kinabalu.
Kota Kinabalu is the capital city of Sabah. Also known as the Malaysian Borneo, Sabah is one of two states on the island of Borneo and is home to the tallest mountain in South East Asia. Standing at 4,063 meters above sea level it boasts a majestic ambiance and pride where only nature is capable of creating.
We landed in Kota Kinabalu just before lunch. With no time to waste, we looked for snacks while waiting for another good friend of ours to come pick us up at the airport, get settled and then grab lunch. Lunch was noodles with prawns, fish cakes, crabs and some veggies. Awesome start to the trip!
Mind you. for some people planning is always crucial when they travel. Itineraries planned, accommodation booked, activities booked, transport all set and etc. Although for some, “not planning” is a thrill! We didn’t plan anything except for which flights to take, what day to start traveling and where to stay. Take note: “not planning” is a bad idea if you decide to climb Mount Everest. We wished we didn’t have to include plans to come home though.
We woke up early on this day too. Despite having a long night the night before, we were determined to make sure we spent our 4 days in Kota Kinabalu the best we can before heading back home. So, we decided to do tandem paragliding. Our friend who picked us up at the airport the day before, hooked us up with Jonathan, an experienced para glider and an amazing extreme sportsman. Lucky for us, we got a decent discount.
Before taking off, Jonathan briefed us on the safety measures of using the glider and how to get the right wind when taking off. In paragliding, taking off is the most crucial, once you’re in the air and if your wind is strong, you can expect to experience flying in the clouds. I was super excited.
During the briefing, Jonathan pointed towards a flag, explaining to us that the flag needs to point at the opposite direction of where you will be running to lift off – Guess where the flag was pointing? No where near to the direction that we needed. The wind was blowing everywhere, it was strong, but just not the right direction.
At this point it was only 10 am and Jonathan soon explained to us that there’s another part to paragliding – its known as para waiting. Para waiting is a situation where para gliders would wait for hours till a good strong wind comes along. Tip: bring food and drinks to keep you full and hydrated while para waiting. Warning: Para waiting may take one whole day.
Its now 3 pm and after many hours of whistling – an old belief to call for a good wind and some rain, we finally had some luck and my best friend was first to go.
I was next. The wind was blowing strong and it was blowing at the right direction. Wow, I have a chance to para glide into the clouds and take amazing thrilling selfies with a selfie stick that doesn’t belong to me. This is it. My first extreme sports experience! There was only one problem. My best friend and Jonathan was still paragliding. Apparently we had to take turns because there is only one glider. Great. – there goes my wind.
At 4 pm we headed back down to KK city from Kundasang and along the way we stopped at a cow farm, which was already closed when we arrived. However the cool air was a breeze and we got to see Mount Kinabalu very closely – without actually climbing it.
Day 3 & Day 4
Since I didn’t get to para glide, we went sea kayaking on day 3. One can sea kayak at Dinawan island where you will find reef and sandbanks surrounding the island. The island is also well known for it’s private family getaway. To get to Dinawan, we had to take a boat ride from a jetty at Sungai Kudat.
On day 4 we decided to take a chill pill and enjoy the remaining hours we had in Kota Kinabalu. Although the trip was only 4 days, I had the best time. We got to do the activities that we’ve been talking about for months before we went, we got to eat good food, enjoy good air, met with new friends and got to live life.