Kota Kinabalu and Pulau Mamutik

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June 29th 2008
Published: June 29th 2008
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We arrived back in Kota Kinabalu after an uneventful 6hr bus ride via Ranau near Mt. Kinabalu. After we settled in we went for a walk and ended up trying 'cheesy wedges' at KFC...hmm.

The following day we decided we should do some touristy things...so we walked to the Sabah Museum. It was probably only a 1.5km walk at most, however because of the heat and humidity we were both exhausted and drenched in sweat by the time we arrived. Turns out the walk was not at all worth it, the museum was old and not particularly exciting so after quickly looking around we walked back to our hotel and collapsed under the fan.

The next morning we walked to Jessleton Point to catch a boat out to Pulau Mamutik, one of the smaller islands in the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park just off KK. After about a 30minute ride we reached the island which was gorgeous. Pulau Mamutik is one of the islands in the park which you are allowed to camp on, we hired a tent for 30RM and set it up on the beach. We then hired snorkels and headed into the water which was warm, clear and full of tropical fish. Unfortunately most of the coral around the island was destroyed by dynamite fishing, however there are still heaps of fish and the coral is starting to recover. On the island you can buy food to feed the fish with. One particular species of fish has started to associate people with food and charges at you! They are a little too brave and Scott ended up getting biten about 4 times.

At about 3:30 we bought our dinner from the small restaurant on the island (which closes at 4pm daily) and by about 5pm we basically had the entire island to ourselves. Surprisingly the restaurant isn't overpriced which is pretty good considering that they are the only option once you are there. They sold all the typical local dishes plus some western stuff such as sandwiches and pancakes. After we got our dinner we read on the beach near our tent and scared away the monitor lizards which seemed to like the smell of our food.

When the sun began to set, Scott lit a fire on the beach while I traumatised some unlucky hermit crabs. From the island you have a great view of Kota Kinabalu which actually gave off a fair bit of light so it didn't get particularly dark. You could also see all the planes taking off from KK airport which was surprisingly busy considering it's such a small airport.

The following morning the sky was beautiful and clear so we could see Mt. Kinabalu behind KK. The first people we came across were the staff at the restaurant when we went for breakfast at about 9am. We spent the day snorkeling and reading on the beach and eventually caught the 3pm boat (which of course, turned up fashionably late at 3:30) back to KK.

We had dinner at an amazing little Northern Chinese restaurant we stumbled across which is run by a husband and wife team. The wife was our waitress and she offered a lot of advice about which dishes went together - in fact i dont think we ended up actually choosing any dishes ourselves! However, we are both very glad we accepted her advice as the food was absolutely delicious. We ended up with green beans stir-fried with garlic, leek and new peppercorns; a fried eggplant dish with a 'gravy' (normally neither of us like eggplant, but this was so amazing); vegetable spring rolls and storm sand chicken (basically really tender fried chicken - the Malays love their fried chicken). We had a very entertaining night as the couples children were helping out in the restaurant. We watched the 8 year old boy explain to one of the customers (who had a newborn baby) how babies are born which involved him animatedly showing the lady how the doctors cut open the mother (apparently they cut you right from the top of your chin right down to your stomach - ouch!). We're definitely going back as the food was delicious and the service was great and we want to try everything else on the menu!

This morning we got up early and went to the morning market which runs along Jln Gaya - the street out the front of our hotel. The market was really busy and full of food, pets, clothes, cds...basically everything. We ended up buying quite a few curry puffs, donuts, biscuits, cakes and drinks...yum.

We decided to skip Mt. Kinabalu national park as we weren't planning on climbing the mountain so tomorrow we are heading back to Pulau Mamutik before flying back to the Peninsula the following day.

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