The Flyz's Blog

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Kota Kinabalu: The place & the people

The place; Kota Kinabalu is really different from KL in alot of ways, its alot cleaner, alot quieter, alot fresher and hella lot nicer in general.

Night seems to come alot earlier in KK too, by 6.30 - 7pm, it's literally night already. I think the earliest time the sky turns night dark in KL is by 7.30. It's very quiet too at night, probably largely due to the fact that there's alot less motorcycles there than KL, and maybe it's just that I stayed at some god-forsaken place.

And speaking of god-forsaken place, the hotel I stayed in is really bad, it's the little fancy building on top of a small hill near Karamunsing area, the white hotel that's supposed to look like a castle. It's opened in 1989 (Proudly declared at the entrance) and I think it's never been serviced since then. The room has this perculiar musty smell of old buildings, the air-cond is a big-ass unit the size of a closet that is never cold, but will somehow freezes over overnight, everynight, the mini-bar fridge that smells weird and is never cold too and the TV is smaller than my office PC's monitor. And they they call themselves a 3-star hotel, and did I mentioned that they're part of a relatively large hotel group in Malaysia? It's pathetic...

Karamunsing Complex reminds me abit of Imbi Plaza, except that's its bigger and hella lot less dodgy. The upper floors of the Plaza is largely dominated by computer shops and hair saloons, so the entire place got a perculiar smell of saloons? Which reminds me, what smell are those anyway? No matter which saloon you go, its always that smell, I'm suspecting it's those solutions they used when perming hair, anyone got any idea?

The most common vehicle there is the four-wheeler pickup truck. From work-horse pickups like the old Toyota Land Cruiser Stationwagon to luxurious Range Rovers. Comes in all sorts of accessories you can think of on a pick-up truck, flatbed covers, crew cab, roof storage area, roof racks, snorkel exhaust pipes and hood spoilers. The most perculiar one I saw is definitely the one I saw parked at the hotel one morning, a big ass Toyota Hi-lux 3.0 that's converted into a low-rider, means no high suspensions like a typical pickup, complete with spoilers and car-parts brand names sticker on the door. I didn't check, but I bet it got a hige ass exhaust pipe as well to complement the sports pickup truck look.

Food in KK in general wasn't much different from KL, prices are pretty much the same, maybe slightly steeper there on certain food. Except seafood of course, the cheapness of seafood there is phenomenal. It almost gave me a shock when my colleague started ordering during our first dinner there at a seafood restaurant, I was expecting the bill to be more than RM 200, but it came less than RM 100. I knew seafood there is cheap, but have no idea it was THAT cheap!

The people; I've got to admit that KK has got some of the most beautiful chick girls in Malaysia. My friend mentioned that its most likely that most of the girls in town are the aboriginals of Sabah, which is the Kadazans, and Kadazan girls are quite well known for being beautiful. They're very fair and looked a little like Malay with abit of Chinese features. But then again, maybe it's the exotic looks that's attractive, like Latinos and Japanese, the distinct look that you'll recognise at a glance.

Almost everybody speaks abit of English there, so it wasn't too difficult to communicate because I can never understand what they're trying to say when they're talking to me in Malay. Not to say my Malay is bad, matter of fact, I'm very fluent in Malay, it's just that they speak in very different dialect. The sounds of their Malay is very 'baku' and some words are different than the normal Malay used in KL. Mandarin is the common Chinese dialect there, and there are alot of Hakka people there, so I have no problem speaking to Chinese there.

Another very distinct thing about KK is that there are very few aliens (Banglas and Indons) there, even the construction workers are local. Unlike KL where everywhere you look, you're bound to spot an Indon or a Bangla among the crowd. I've no problem with Banglas, in my opinion, they're one of the most hard-working people I've seen and they're really here to work, not to do shit like the Indons. The lack of Indons also means you won't see hordes of them sitting around smoking kreteks and making noise and that alone makes the entire place generally cleaner, quieter and hella lot nicer.

When you sit down to eat in KL, it is a safe bet that there will be some fella approaching you selling pirated DVDs. But instead of selling DVDs, you'll be approached by people selling fake leather goods and watches, handy-craft and dried seafood in KK. I've seen a fella hauling a big ass crafted figurine of a horse going table to table at the restaurant trying to sell it off for RM 200!

The people there are rather friendly too, easily approachable and willing to chat. By the 2nd day of the exhibition, I already know most of the people around my booth and can start chatting with them. I've worked at Mid Valley for years and I think there are still a few guys that I've never spoke to at the shop next to mine. And the fact that they're friendly also helped when you're hitting on a chick at one of the booth nearby, although I never made any milestone success with any of the girls at the exhibition, but at the end there's her...

But that is another story.

Before this, I was: MUDding
Currently listening to: Sarah Brightman - Any Dream Will Do
Currently feeling: Tired, restless, emo


  • A nice write up about KK. Next time you should try Le Meridien Hotel, one of the latest hotel in town. The room is spacious with a big screen TV and you can ask for seaview room which will give you the chance to observe the sunset process from your room. I was there in the first week of April for two nights. Normally I stayed in Promenade Hotel when I was in KK but Le Meridien is much better.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:36 PM  

  • I stayed at that 'little-castle-on-top-of-the-hill' simply because it's the nearest to Karamunsing Complex where the exhibition is at.

    By Blogger Flyz, at 8:59 PM  

  • NICE! :-)

    By Anonymous bokky, at 11:30 PM  

  • I don't know why people come to KK and stay at the 'castle on the hill' ALL the damn time. Maybe it's because it's marketed as part of a hotel chain, making people think the quality and service are better than it really is.
    Like you said, it's crap. Next time, try the Promenade or Hyatt. They're right in the heart of KK and the food's better too.

    And don't even get me started on aliens. We got tons of Filipinos here.

    By Blogger ElKay, at 5:57 PM  

  • Thanks for the nice remarks about KK and the people. Glad you had a pleasant stay though you have have to put up at a crap hotel. Hopefully you'll have a better experience next time.
    From: Sinokadazan Girl

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:00 PM  

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