Sabah Road Trip Day 1 – Kota Kinabulu

We arrived at Kota Kinabalu at about 2pm. During our Grab ride to our hotel, we spoke to the driver. He told us how an average Grab driver such as he earns about RM200 per day, making over 25 trips from the airport to Kota Kinabalu hotels. His cost of petrol is about RM2 per litre while his car rental is RM55; he rents the car from a friend. Our first stop was Stanton Hotel, which is owned by Baby Crab’s childhood friend, KL.

He also lent us a car for our road trip.

There’s a story behind this.

We set up this trip about 1.5 months ago, having arranged to borrow a car from KL. Then just the day before we flew off, Baby Crab realised that she lost his contact, along with all her other contacts, when her iPhone bricked a couple of weeks ago.

Then began a frantic search through all her connections to find KL’s contact number. Eventually, having found his number in a 3-year-old text message on FB Messenger, we managed to get hold of him.

So back to Kota Kinabalu. We met KL at Stanton Hotel while we were checking in, and he oriented us on his old car. A Porsche Cayenne S. 😱

The car, being old, has a number of flaws. But hey, we’re not picky. We’re just happy to have a car we can use. More about the Porsche later. First, the hotel.

Stanton Hotel is spanking new. The air-con is cold, the showers have great water pressure, and the beds are soft and comfy.

Stanton Hotel used to be a post office. It now has a cafe next to it. Each stay at the hotel comes with a free breakfast. It’s nothing special, but the cafe’s decor is pretty nice.

Our first stop was Yu Kee Bak Kut Teh, because Baby Crab likes to drink soup. And delicious was the soup!

But food here is expensive! One bowl of rice, one bowl of pork ribs, one bowl of pork belly, one plate of you tiao, one plate of bean curd, and one pot of tea cost us RM20.50. I suppose the locals don’t eat this kind of food.

We have a budget of RM100 a day for food for this particular trip.

The ironic thing is that we came to East Malaysia to eat West Malaysia food.

After a quick appetiser here, we headed off. Saw a homeless man and a few pigeons take a bath in a fountain. No, the homeless man wasn’t bathing in the fountain with the pigeons.

This guy was just lying there.

The pigeons flew away as we tried to get a closer pic with them.

Then we were off to the nearby Signal Hill Observatory Tower. It’s quite a walk up, by why walk when you can drive?

It was supposed to have a good view of the city, but meh.

It was originally supposed to have a good view of the sunset too, but buildings now block the view.

After that, it was off to the nearby city mosque where we played around with the Porsche.

We opened a side gate to take this photo, but the side gate led us to a barrier.

So we just lifted the barrier and off we went!

We roamed around the city for a bit before ending up at Anjung Senja where we had dinner and where you shouldn’t because just 500m down the road is a night food market we discovered too late.

In any case, for dinner we had sea grapes (the locals call it latok) and a type of fern that is available only in East Malaysia.

Sea grapes are a type of seaweed. The texture reminds me of eating fish row as they also pop in your mouth.

But Anjung Senna isn’t the place you want to check out. What you really want is the night food market.

Besides a night market that sells cooked food, if you walk a little way in, you suddenly find yourself in a wholesale market. Seafood is really cheap here. And fresh!

They also sell meats and poultry here.

And so much salted fish and ikan bilis of every size and shape.

There’s lots of stalls selling seafood too. I’ll let the photos do the talking.

It was a really crowded place though, and since it started to rain, we decided to leave and find supper somewhere sheltered.

Apparently the weather here in Kota Kinabalu is like this at this time of the year. Fair in the morning and early afternoon, rain and thunderstorms in the late afternoon and evenings.

Supper was at Borenos Fried Chicken. It’s got lots of good reviews but we found the food unimpressive. KFC and Marrybrown are nicer.

We ate here because of good reviews, but it is in the same location as Wellcome Seafood Restaurant. The moment we saw that long row of restaurants, we knew we were in a tourist trap area.

Don’t eat in this area; there’s nothing great about it.

And this concludes our first day of our Sabah Road Trip.

3 thoughts on “Sabah Road Trip Day 1 – Kota Kinabulu

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