Need an adventure getaway but a little tight on time? Want to catch a little weekend trip to Sabah?
Then read on ;)
I’ve designed a 3D2N Kota Kinabalu Travel Itinerary where you have the chance to experience adventurous activities like quad biking and waterfall hunting. If the weather permits, you will also get a chance to, like me, experience a breathtaking mountain sunset! This is a great way for travellers to experience Sabah the way we do and if you are a Sabahan, this is a great way for you to rediscover Sabah.
Let’s assume that you are someone who will be flying to Sabah on a Friday (weekend trip). Don’t waste your time, book the earliest flight you can. Ideally, you would reach KK at about 10-11am. I highly suggest that you rent a car, if possible, a 4-wheel drive. A 4-wheel drive would be super useful for the ride to the waterfall! If you are travelling with someone who is driving in KK, skip this step.
Drive straight to Kundasang so you can check in and have lunch before you’re first activity - Quad Biking! For us, we departed from KKIA at 11:30am and arrived at our stay at Sutera Sanctuary Lodges (got a pretty good last minute deal on Agoda.com!) at 1:30pm. It would take a little longer for you to get there if you were staying closer to Kundasang Town, maybe an extra 20 minutes. You will be passing through the KK-Tamparuli-Ranau route and let me tell you, it’s a long and winding road with lots of trucks..so be careful when you drive.
Now lets talk quad biking. The company that does this in Kundasang is WHOA! Adventures, they have plenty of time slots for this activity but I think there are more people in the morning sessions. My recommendation is to take the last time slot which is 4pm because it won't be too sunny and you will be back in time for dinner! Also, since we went on a weekday (Wed), there was literally no one else but us so it was like a private ride! Really enjoyed that.
They have 3 packages to choose from but we chose Package B because it goes through the 2015 Earthquake Site. The activity took about 2 hours for us and that was more than enough time to quad bike (my hands were getting tired by the end of the ride). You are allowed to stop to take pictures (wished I knew that when we passed by the beautiful mountain view where there was no telephone poles in sight) and there will be guides to help you out should there be any problems.
They have rates for single riders and double riders but they also have separate rates for Malaysians and International tourists. Unfortunately, you have to book ahead and you will also have to pay in full (which I didn’t like but it worked out for me). You can refer to more details and also book at: http://whoaadventures.com/package/atv-kundasang-sabah
We were done by 6pm and it was a 20 minute ride back to Sutera Sanctuary Lodges. Along the way, we saw one of the most breathtaking sunsets I have seen in my life. See! I told you. Sign. I will never get tired of sunsets in Sabah. Once we got back to our room, there was nothing much for us to do after dinner so we just stayed in. If you have any recommended activities, please let me know in the comments section below, I would love to hear some!
Surprisingly, the night that we stayed there, we sort of felt a tremor! I initially thought it was a giant gorilla that jumped on the roof..I still slept like a baby HAHA..but the next day, one of the staff told me that it was the tremor. If you didn’t know, Mt Kinabalu had an earthquake not too long ago and occasionally there would still be tremors. Interestingly, the locals there were used to it already so there was no panic. In spite of that, I still saw many climbers the next morning during our checkout at 8.50am.
To think that people from all over the world come so far just to climb Mt Kinabalu and yet I’ve never even done it. I think I would melt from exhaustion if I did. But you know, never say never. I might have a Mt Kinabalu Climb Guideline up here in the future lol
The next day we woke up to get some breakfast at 7am and while walking to the restaurant, we were greeted by a beautiful sight of the mountain! Ah, no fog to block the way. I took a few pictures because the weather was really nice.
We had booked a hike at Murug-Turug Eco Tourism Waterfall at 9.30am so we didn’t have any chance to explore Kundasang more. We had to check out and leave at least one hour prior to that. Since we were staying right at Kinabalu Park, the front office was super busy as there was a lot of climbers that morning! We ended up being 15minutes late but the guys there was super nice about it. Since we were there on a weekday, there was only us and another group of boys who came earlier than us.
Murug-Turug has three packages and they allow walk-ins on weekends for Package A and Package B. If you decide to go there on a weekday, then you then it is required for you to book in advance as well as pay a 30% deposit. There is also a minimum 5pax per group requirement but its okay if you are less than that..you just have to pay more. For us, we chose Package B with only 2pax so we had to pay the price of 5pax which was RM75. I think this is a fair price to pay since this is really hard work for the guides. They have another package--Package C, which is for hardcore hikers, for that you MUST make a booking regardless if it is weekdays or weekends. They have a separate price for Malaysians and International Tourists as well. If you need more details: you can visit their Facebook Page or Whatsapp Pet at +60193173477 (He was the one that took our booking and he will be able to give you more info).
If you did not bring your shoes or if you don’t want them to get wet (and they will), you can rent a pair of rubber shoes from them for RM3 a pair. It really helped us to keep our grip on those difficult slopes! Overall, our adventure took us 3 hours. 1 hour to trek down to all three waterfalls, 1 hour to relax at the final waterfall and another hour to trek back to our car (it might even take less than an hour if you are really fit). Trekking down was easy for me but I wanted to dieeeeeee when we had to trek back up, thats why we took an hour lol Let the pictures begin!
I enjoyed every minute of this adventure because it was just so beautiful. The waterfall was beautiful, the greenery was beautiful..everything was! At the end of the trek, halfway up, you can see the whole overview of the forest and the waterfall. I couldn’t resist but to take a picture ala-ala Alexis Ren. I wanted my Alexis Ren moment too ok!
Murug-Turug is situated right in the middle of KK and Kundasang, so this is basically a pit stop on your way down to KK on your second day. You HAVE to take this activity if you truly want to enjoy Sabah. The easiest package that you can take is Package A since it is the same way up and down and it takes less time and less energy. Package A is also kid friendly.
After a tiring hike back up, we managed to get back to our car slightly before 1pm and it took us an hour to drive back to KK where we had lunch before checking-in at 3pm. After check-in, there was nothing much to do except take a shower, rest and wait for the ocean sunset. There are so many places to watch the sunset in KK but if you want to have really good seats, try to be at the restaurant by 5:30pm. It will still be a little hot at that time but if you are a little patient, then you will be rewarded with the best seats to sunset watching (if the weather permits of course).
Unedited photo taken at Hotel Grandis' Skybar using an iPhone7
On your last day in Kota Kinabalu try out lunch at D'place at Plaza Shell, a restaurant that serves authentic traditional Kadazan food. In the picture below, you can see a big round tray filled with many dishes..this was included with the ambuyat set. If this is too much for you, then you can try out their individual meals. But if you go there for dinner, you might enjoy having the food buffet style (it is still the same food shown in the picture). Since we had to fly back really early in the morning, we didn't really have much time to explore KK but you can if you have the time!
That's about it, I am getting sleepy as I type this. I hope you like this post and I hope that it gives you a little bit of inspiration.