Super kaduper late post.
Last March, my college friends (Issa, Ghe and Shernan) and I booked a roundtrip flight to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. We were supposed to go someplace else but KK was the only place all of us haven’t been to, and has the available flights for the four of us (piso fare, beybe) on our agreed date (November 24-29). We got the roundtrip tickets for P2,800+ I think.
Fast forward to November. Ghe was/is having some problems so she backed out. Issa backed out at the last minute because she’s sick, in the head. Charot! So Shernan and I ended up going to KK together, to think we weren’t even that close, hahaha. To cut it short, we’re the fafa hunters! Chos!
I’m going to spare you the boring details of how unprepared we were (no hotels and no itineraries) and will just give you the things you need to know when going to KK.
The night before leaving and still not prepared what to bring. Pfft.
obligatory airplane shot
look who I found featured in Cebu Pac’s in house magazine! My Powerhouse host! Coolness!
One. Have your money changed to Malaysian Ringgit (RM) before leaving your country (common sense). We were traveling on a budget so She and I both decided we’ll just bring P15,000 each. I had P10,000 exchanged for RM and the remaining P5,000 to US dollars. If you’re exchanging your money to US currency, make sure to ask the money changer for higher US bills, Malaysia has higher exchange rates for 50 and 100 bill than 5, 10, and 20.
Two. You will be arriving at KK Terminal 2. If you’re arriving at the wee hours of the morning like we did, prepare 45RM for the taxi fare. Pay at the counter before going out the terminal. If you’re arriving in the morning, taxi fare’s at 30RM while the bus is at 5-10RM depending on where you’re staying. Their cars are right hand drive, if you must know.
Jalan Gaya, our street!
how the room looks like from where I was sleeping
Three. We decided to stay at a backpacker’s inn to save money because our logic is we’re not there for the fancy hotel. In She’s words: “dun tayo sa hampaslupang hotel mag-stay ha.” We had Issa booked North Borneo Cabin for us and for 5 days we were only charged for about P2,000. We stayed at an air conditioned coed room, with six double decked beds, with free WiFi. They have common bathroom and free breakfast (coffee and toast with jam) don’t ask for too much, you only paid P2,000 for your entire stay, haha! North Borneo Cabin is located at Jalan Gaya street, it’s one of the more popular streets in KK. It’s fairly safe and clean and you can find Malaysian food everywhere. We met OFWs when we were going home and they said that it was a good thing we stayed at J. Gaya because the other cheap backpackers’ inn located near the pier are where shady negotiations are made. So beware. Agoda.com is the perfect place to look for cheap and high end hotels.
We just walked from our hostel to this bus stop! Yay us for knowing directions lol
Four. Going around KK is easy. In our entire stay, we just walked around the city like locals, except we’re holding maps and we’re speaking gay lingo, haha. I normally hate walking, but KK’s weather when we got there was super breezy so walking did not become a daunting task for me. Make sure to bring comfy shoes! Weather is great so you can wear shorts, just bring a light cardigan (if the weather gets cold), a hat and sunnies (if you don’t want to get too tan).
Five. Malays can speak English fairly well, so you wouldn’t get lost in translation, like how we did when we went to Thailand. Also, lots of Pinoys are in KK already, so get ready to meet lots of them! It’s like your home away from home!
Six. If you’re a lazy planner like She and I, (I’m so done making itineraries, hindi talaga researcher material haha!) and you’re just going to decide on what you want to do once you get there, make sure to visit the Sabah Tourism Office located in J. Gaya and ask about what are the things to do in KK. That’s what She and I did, but having an itinerary for your entire stay works, too!
Seven. Their food is amazing, but a bit spicy! I am not allowed to eat spicy food so I always ask the crew if the food is spicy or not, before ordering. Don’t miss out on the laksa and their fried noodles. Yum! 🙂
These are the seven things you need to know about Kota Kinabalu! If you have any more questions, feel free to leave a comment. I’ll be blogging about the rest of the trip, hopefully, before the year ends!