Luckily, the plane took off just after it's 11 am departure time, and we were well on our way to Malaysia. The plane ride seemed like forever (six hours to be exact) and as we began our initial descent into Kota Kinabalu it looked like we were in for some sun and fun. However, when we landed it was raining and very cloudy. We knew that this was a possibility, because it's the end of the rainy season in Malaysia. When we booked our tickets, we decided to chance it-- we figured warm weather and a little rain was much better than the frigid winter here in Seoul.
It did rain for most of the afternoon, but Jen and I kept busy doing other things: Eating, drinking daiquiris, booking a trip to the islands, and getting a warm stone massage filled up the rainy afternoon. By dinner time, the rain cleared out. We enjoyed dinner at Al Fresco (one of the many restaurants at Sutera Harbour Resort, which also became the one we ate EVERY meal at). After dinner, we enjoyed happy hour and live entertainment.
On Sunday, we woke up early to get to breakfast. To our surprise, it was beautiful and SUNNY. After breakfast, we walked to the harbour where our boat for Manuken and Sapi Island was departing at 8:30. Kota Kinabalu is located on the coast of the South China Sea- within a ten minute boat ride, there are 4 different islands. Manuken being the largest, and Sapi being the smallest. This area happens to also be where the first ever Survivor was filmed- which I thought was pretty cool.
Anyways, once on the island we partook in a bit of snorkeling (not nearly as much as we wanted, since it wasn't as good as we were expecting). Later on I decided to para sail (for the first time ever) which was probably my favorite part of the whole trip! We did some swimming, and decided to go back to the resort to eat lunch and do some swimming there. The rest of the afternoon was fun and relaxing!
Monday, we decided to take the two hour journey to Mt. Kinabalu (the highest mountain in all of south east Asia) Also, interesting fact number 1,002 --- Mt. Kinabalu is part of the Himalayan Range. We did a bit of hiking, I saw the biggest ants I've ever laid eyes on and we saw the largest flower in the world. Also, we did a canopy walk 50+ meters above the rain forest floor. After a trip to the botanical gardens, we made our way back to civilization. Jen and I then had table side BBQ at our favorite restaurant, which consisted of: king prawns, salmon, steak, chicken, and lamb. It was all delicious. That same night, I saw the most beautiful sunset ever!
Tuesday, we had 1 game plan-- RELAX. We both wanted to read an entire book that day, and enjoy the sun. It was a sunny day, but luckily it wasn't too ridiculously hot. After a later breakfast (later being 8:30 instead of 6:30 like the two days prior) we made our way to pool. The resort had 4 pools, but our room over looked the biggest of them, and we liked that one best. We spent the day lounging, swimming, and enjoying the many happy hours. I think I had close to 20 banana daiquiris in 3 days. They were delicious and refreshing! In the afternoon, to take a break from the sun, we did Batik Painting ( see photos below) It was a great break from the heat, and a great souvenir to bring home.
We enjoyed dinner, while watching our last sunset. Eventually, we made our 12:50 am flight. By 7:00 am on Wednesday we landed in Seoul. The saddest part, is by 9:00 that same morning, I was already back at work!
Overall, a great trip and a great break from the real world!