|Visiting Sabah and Joe Yap, March 2012
|When my waterfall friend Joe Yap moved to Sabah last year, it was quite a surprise for me and many of her friends.
She has settled down there now, so it was time to fly to Sabah and visit her.
After a 2.5 hour flight to Kota Kinabalu, I met Joe at the airport.
The plan was to visit the Kiansom waterfalls, but the weather looked not very promising, so we decided to go to a cultural village instead. But first we met Caleb, another friend, who was going to join us for the rest of my stay. It was a nice surprise, I had met him in Peninsular Malaysia and not realised that he was now living in Sabah.
Of course we had lunch first, savoury beef noodles. The village contained a variety of Kadazan/Dusun houses and traditional tools and decorations.
Later we visited the Filipino Market and had a delicious seafood dinner there. Finally we picked up Jimmy, Joe's friend from his work and had a drink at one of the popular nightspots of KK.
The next morning we did a short city tour. Kota Kinabalu (formerly Jesselton) has been almost completely destroyed during WWII, so there is not much interesting to see. The clock tower is one of the few remaining buildings.
Our program for the day was to visit the Crocker range and the Mahua waterfall. It was a long drive, but interesting. We had to pay an entrance fee for the waterfall, different for locals and foreigners. Quite expensive, but it must be said that the park was well maintained and completely free of the usual (Peninsular) rubbish.
The following day our target was the Kinabalu mountain. Not to climb it, but to get more information about the waterfalls on its slopes.
First we drove to Tuaran to have breakfast with the famous seafood noodles. We visited (and climbed) the Ling San pagoda and had a look at the Tamparuli hanging bridge, made famous by a Kadazandusun song.
After that we took the winding road to Ranau. When the weather is good, you have fabulous views of the mountain and you can see several tall waterfalls.
We were not lucky, it was clouded. The road to Ranau follows the ridge, to start trekking to these waterfalls you will first have to go down to the river, many hundreds of meters lower. We tried two roads down. The first one led to two small kampongs, each with their own church. All the catholic churches are signposted in Sabah by uniform signboards, donated by a rich Chinese businessman, after his wife was miraculously cured from a sickness by prayer.
We asked a local for information about guides, but got only vague answers. Our second try led to a school where we had a simple lunch. Here also no useful information, although from here it is only about 5 km to the base of the fall.
Preparing this report I came across a useful link. We were close! In the kampong near the school we should have asked for a guy named Ginik, who has guided people to the fall.
Next time better luck.
From the ridge road we had only occasional glimpses of the falls...:-(
So we drove on and went to kampong Luanti Barau, near Ranau, where there was a Fish Spa. I had heard about fish spa's in town, where tiny fish nibble your feet. This was different...:-) After paying your entrance fee, you just walked into the river, and there were hundreds of quite big fish "attacking" you. Tickling, sometime a bit painful. A hilarious experience.
On our way back, we took the side road to Mesilau, hoping for some views of Kinabalu. It was still clouded, but we could see the mountain, actually the clouds made it extremely beautiful and scenic.
The following day there was time to visit the Kiansom falls, as I was flying back in the evening. These falls are very close to Kota Kinabalu and consist of several tiers. The main fall is really beautiful. When we came back to the car it started raining. We took a scenic route back to KK, but it kept raining heavily, so no views. Another reason to come back to Sabah soon.
Altogether a rewarding trip, with thanks to Joe and Caleb for their hospitality!