Last September 27, I decided to fly to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia for a vacation. I was travelling solo, my very fist solo travel overseas! I had so many awkward moments during my 6 days of stay in Sabah.
“Kota Kinabalu is the capital of Malaysia’s Sabah state in the northern part of the island of Borneo. Often referred to as KK, it’s a coastal city partly surrounded by rainforest. It’s known for its bustling markets, modern boardwalk, beaches and waterfront Kota Kinabalu City Mosque. It is also a gateway to Kinabalu National Park, the home of 4,095m-high Mount Kinabalu.” – Google Knowledge Graph
The definition itself that made through the Google Knowledge Graph sounds boring, right? I was alone. I have nobody to talked to but myself, and my friends at home. I am beginning to think that visiting Kota Kinabalu was my worst decision.
Here are some of the reasons why going to Kota Knabalu for a vacation is a total mistake:
In Sabah, most of the foods are chicken and sea foods. They serves the best chicken meals that I have to try them in every restaurant I have ever been in Kota Kinabalu. Even the fast food restaurants offers fried chicken with some delicion nasi or rice. They also have the best side dish that it was so delicious that I couldn’t even remember how its called. Yes. Food in Kota Kinabalu is one of the reasons why going on a vacation in this place was a mistake. Why? Because you will definitely look for these foods in your hometown. How I wished I could take everything home during my last night.
It is okay to drink alcoholic beers in Kota Kinabalu, though during my stay, I couldn’t find enough bars to drink. Until I reached Jesselton Point. Have you tried drinking your favorite beers in a port while watching the sunset? Yes! That’s experience. I can never forget that. And it is a mistake that I can’t stay for good in Kota Kinabalu. Having a vacation here is a mistake, I should be living here!
In the Philippines, we can go to the beaches anytime. We have white sand. gray sand beach, some with sand bar, mostly with the best sunset to watch with. But in Kota Kinabalu, it surprised me to find a solemn, quiet place to enjoy the beach. I went to only two beaches, but both of them speaks to every water activities in Sabah Region. It’s clean, warm, safe and you can literally sleep peacefully near the shore. Also, you can do a little hiking if the sun is too high for you. 😉
Similarly to the Philippines, Kota Kinabalu also offers a Cultural Village that makes us, the tourists to experience the old Kota Kinabalu. Where the villagers era is still alive. “The village features 5 different ethnic tribes in one village. They are the rice farmer Kadazan-Dusun, the longhouse resident Rungus, the hunters and fisherman Lundayeh, the cowboy and sea gypsey Bajau, and the famously feared headhunting tribe Murut.” – (https://marimariculturalvillage.com/)
Being a solo female traveler means that you have to look after yourself. Though we can’t assure our safety in any places, I could say that Kota Kinabalu is a safe place to wander even after 8pm. The people are really nice and helpful. Though some finds it hard to speak in English, they will definitely try just to talk to you and lend you a hand.
Personally, I am a nature person. I find it calming just to stay in a sea of grass, or seating on the port, watching people passing by or a rainbow making a show. I love having to see big trees in line with the blue sky. And Kota Kinabalu has everything of it. Everything.
My vacation in Kota Kinabalu was really a mistake, because I felt connected with it. It is the kind of place where you will come back for the second, third or nth time. It was a mistake that I was a tourist. I could live here, I just know I can. It was a mistake because it opened my eyes to the wonders of a simple place like Kota Kinabalu and I can’t stay for long.
And it’ll be your biggest mistake not having to visit this part of Malaysia.