Saturday, 8 June 2013

Kula Lumpar & Borneo - Jan/Feb 2013

Day 1 – Entire day spent travelling. Flew out from Heathrow on Malaysia  Airlines A380. First time with this airline. Seats are spacious, entertainment system is top notch and strangely enough the plane takes off when it’s taxiing relatively slow. Still amazed at how something that size (4 huge engines, 494 passengers) glides so smoothly through the air. Anyway, we departed around 10am and with time difference landed just after 7am Malasian time (8 hours ahead). We had booked everything, including transports with Kuoni and our driver was there to pick us up once we cleared customs. Would have been easy enough to jump in a taxi I guess but when you’ve been on a plane for 12 hours, I guess you just want to get where you’re going as quickly and easily as possible.

Day 2
Arrived At Shangri La Kuala Lumpur and it was the most impressive Shangri La I’ve stayed at to date. The welcome, reception, staff, room, health suite – all amazing and top notch service. Our room wasn’t quite ready but we’d expected that so dropped our bags, declined the use of the hotel’s facilities and headed straight of to the city centre. Petronas Twin Towers was the first stop and we toyed with the idea of purchasing tickets for later that evening, but, as we had a lunch reservation @ Atmosphere 360 in the Menara Tower, we decided to give it a miss. And just as well because after eating lunch (282 metres anove ground level – we were zonked and fell asleep. Didn’t wake up til 1am. Went for a quiet stroll across the road from the hotel and found people dining, clubbing and the city still very much awake!
 Day 3 – Today started with a Shangri La breakfast and if you’ve ever eaten at a Shangri La, you’ll know what I mean by literally breakfast from every continent. Whatever you fancied, fry up (beef bacon), continental, American to curries, rice and even sushi. Well, after giving in to gluttony I was barely able to make it back to bed…where I stayed till around 3pm (Thankfully for such a contented hubby who was happy to watch TV till I could move again). We went on a hunt for the         museum – and it was a hunt, but we found it. Nothing impressive as museums go and the main exhibit I wanted to see, Malaysia Today, was closed.

Next stop Batu Caves.

Believe me when I say that if you can’t fit this into your trip to KL, don’t worry. The place was filthy, (crowed as it was Thaisupam) and generally unimpressive. For the first time in a long while tripadvisor travellers have let me down!  But as we were there, we climbed the two hundred and odd stairs to the cave, which was just as garbage laden as the outside so we decided to venture no further.

From there night market. I like the night markets in Aisa. Not because they’re laden with fake goods but quite simply because – they are open at night, when it’s cool! We walked around, ate there, but not at the Nandos we spied in the distance. 
It had been a long day of walking so I headed straight to the health suite on our return to hotel. Ah, a midnight sauna, just what my tired legs needed.

ARRRGGGH - Just came to upload this blog and have lost all the changes ... so here's a summary!

Day 4 – As our chauffer pick up was before 1pm, it didn’t seem worth it to make the effort to go anywhere – especially as I was going to be spending another leisurely morning at the Lemon Grass buffet breakfast! I reined myself in a little from yesterday. My stomach knows no time but eating such carb heavy meals at breakfast didn’t impact well on my ability to stay awake during the day. And so I lazed in the sauna and steam room until departure to Borneo.
The flight was uneventful but couldn’t say the same for our arrival at the hotel. For as much as we loved SL in KL, we disliked the Shangi La Tanjung Aru in Sabah. Well, on first glance that is – the rooms aren’t really of a five star quality. Still, the rest of the resort is pretty great; the pool being particularly amazing and this from the girl who isn’t a fan of pools.

Day 5 – My husband said I tried to kill him, making him walk almost an hour in 30 something degree heat to find a supermarket. I just fancied getting a feel of my surroundings … and everything looks so much closer on a map! Back at the hotel, they’d prepared another room higher up and that night we visited the nearby night food stalls. Great food, lots of fresh fish cooked to order and cheap. This became our nightly dinner spot.

Day 6 – Spent most of today at the hotel. Took a cocktail making lesson. Had dinner at the hotel – their way of apologizing for room quality. Compared to last nights meal at the food market, it was a let down. But I did sample the sweet corn ice-cream on offer – hmmmm, not something I’ll be scouring supermarkets back home for. Couldn’t bring myself to try the yam ice cream.

Day 7 – woke up early to do some bird watching with Paul. Not particularly interested in birds but worth doing. Then later that morning I took his  Aqua aerobics  class before our visit to our resort’s sister hotel - Rasa Risa – to visit the orangutans sanctuary. It’s a rehabilitation scheme to re-introduce orangutans that people had domesticated, back into the wild. They were great to watch and very cheeky. One even broke park of a wooden fencing while sowing off. The place was swarming with mozzies so thick you could see them. Needless to saw we were covered from head to toe; sweltering in the heat but better sweaty than bitten to death!   We got our first real bit of rain today, which is a real blessing as it’s meant to be rainy season!

Day 8 – visited 2 islands - Sapi, Mamukan. The first was nice for snorkeling. While those around me were busy admiring the beauty of the various species of fish, I found myself more interested in trying to decipher which ones were edible.  The second was a much longer stretch of beach. Nice, and though not as beautiful as the kind of beaches I’m accustomed to :)  a beautiful and peaceful place to relax. River speedboat - can u believe they let me drive it ....kindda. After day of total relaxation, walked around the entire city centre of KK. Started near, a city centre hotel, walked to clock tower, observatory, night market etc. couldn’t find a taxi, roamed got to familiar area then to realised it’s where we had started!

Day 9 – Visited a church we happened upon during our walk to supermarket on first day. Lunch on beach then visited the Mari Mari cultural village in the evening.

Day 10 – Water aerobics with Paul - he made us laugh, especially when it came to Mrs Wong - the pregnant white woman. We went into town for some gifts and sweets. Watched the sunset while enjoying a  cocktail and met some cheeky local kids.

Day 11 – Our final day. Finished packing, aerobics, we used the water slides and water war game unashamedly! Lunch at fish place and bid farewell to Jose. As promised he had written out the recipe for the sweet and sour sauce I'd fallen in love with (not that gloopy stuff you get from Chinese restaurants in UK). And one of the ingredients ... MSG! Our final cocktail making lesson. Used the sauna, steam and jacuzzi right up until we were collected for airport to the point where I boarded the flight with wet hair! (I'm sure my mum would have some stern words about that).

Jose - our favourite market chef!

And if you haven’t had your fill of fish while on the island – well there’s the chance to purchase seafood from the airport – just not if you have an onward flight to the UK!

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