Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sabah Orchid Tour Day 1 - Sep 30 2009

September 30th 2009

Don’t know why but whenever I’m on the eve of flying off somewhere, I usually have trouble sleeping. I guess it’s the anticipation. Even if it’s just flying off to a nearby place (I define nearby as less than 2 hours flight time) like Singapore or KL or in this case, Kota Kinabalu. I had very little sleep the night before my flight to KK from KCH. I was to join a group of 10 for an orchid tour through Sabah. I call it Nature Tour now as we saw a lot more than just wild orchids.

This tour's been in the works for quite a while. Back in 2008 if I remember correctly, I got an email about a trip being put together to Sabah and Sarawak to look for orchids in 2009.

The Tour 2009 was to visit Mt. Kinabalu Park, Mesilau, Poring, Kipandi, Orchids de Villa and Long Pasia in Sabah. It would then move on to Sarawak (Mulu National Park and Kuching). I booked myself a return ticket on Malaysia Airlines KCH-BKI returning on the 13th but then I realized I won’t be able to join the trip to Long Pasia so I bought a new ticket from BKI-KCH, leaving the one on the 13th unused. Thank goodness I got my tickets early and cheap however, RM50 per leg, nett!

Kota Kinabalu Day One

1 City Hotel

I got into KK at around 11am. Went straight to 1 City Hotel where I had reserved a standard room. Quite a pleasant surprise this hotel was, not much to look at on the outside but the rooms looked and felt at least 3 stars. Large LCD TV with satellite channels, big comfy king-sized bed with no shortage of pillows and clean towels, carpeting, free-flowing hot water and the icing on the cake, unlimited use of the free wifi! All for just RM98 per night.

First thing I do in hotels is to check the sheets. Mine had some stubborn stains in them so I had housekeeping put in a new sheet immediately. Friendly staff here.

Meeting the rest of the group

All done, I headed out to the Hyatt hotel less than a block away where the rest of the group would be staying. Most arrived in KK a couple days or so earlier than we did so they had time to mingle and get to know each other.

I’m trying to remember what we did after meeting up in the lobby… oh right, off we all went to Yummy Chicken, a food joint serving all kinds of local dishes from fried noodles to fried chicken to tom yam. We all ordered the ginger chicken which was pretty good and fresh fruit juices. We then split up the cost by 9.

Borneo Books and Texas Grill

To while the afternoon away, we went to Borneo Books. The new Malesian Orchid Journal Vol 4 is out. No idea what we all did between then and dinner, data’s all missing from my archives. We had dinner at a place called Texas Grill right across the street from the Hyatt and most of us ordered nasi lemak (yes of all things!) which turned out pretty good. Then, just short of falling flat on my face nose in my dish due to the sheer weight of my eyelids, we got up and headed back to the hotel where we then met Tony Lamb, who gave us a short but insightful mini presentation about orchids and the flora of Mount Kinabalu. It was enjoyable indeed, even if my eye lids felt like lead. When the presentation was done, I nearly passed out on the floor as I was that tired (very little sleep before the early flight from Kuching).

Orchids – a bottomless pit

Mr. Tony Lamb mentioned that night that the orchid hobby (specifically wild orchids) being a bottomless pit. Well, I’ve hit the bottom of the pit fortunately so my wallet can at least breathe a little easier. I’ve stopped buying plants completely but have not lost interest in them. I love photographing them and have taken thousands of photos since 2007. Even if I was still new to keeping orchids compared to everyone else, I didn’t feel out of place as everyone’s very down to earth and we all got along very well! Not an easy thing to do, putting together a tour for 10 but thankfully we didn’t have to leave anyone by the roadside for being too opinionated. haha

In actual fact, not too much happened on Day 1. I just like to be wordy and show off my three-finger typing skill that “blazes” ahead at 53.97 words per minute (I’m typing in a public space). Next, Day 2 at Kipandi and Mt. Alab.

Here are some pictures from Day 1. As usual, for clearer photos, head to my Flickr site.


Taken from the plane, I believe the mountains in the distance are part of Mulu National Park.


My room at 1 City Inn, nice and clean with a big comfy bed. Conveniently located and free wifi too!


Iced lemon tea served in what looks like a honey jar.


For lunch, almost all of us went with the ginger chicken served in this beautiful piece of china which some in our party attempted to buy on our second visit to this place.


Edna said...

Love your travel log entry! Can't wait to read the next entry. I'm not much a fan of orchid, but I do love to look at them. Any chance you organizing a photography tour? hehe

oenanthe said...

Dear H.,
nice stories you are telling. I like your way to write. We have been at Kinabalu NP last September, too.
I had the fortune to meet you in KCH.

best regards

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