Our Stay at Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort and Spa, Kota Kinabalu

With the overwhelming experience at Mount Kinabalu over, we took our luggage which was longing for us from the storage room and got into a small shuttle which sent us to Tuaron, the town where our hotel was located. Our hotel was Shangri-La, a well-known hotel chain around the world. It was near a golf course, which was called Dalit Bay.

After passing through the security gates which lead into the resort, we arrived at the reception, which was a vast lobby with a small café at the corner. We checked-in at around 5pm, tired from head to toe. However, we pushed on to make it for the rest of the day. The resort has 4 restaurants. Despite that, only one was open that day. The restaurant is called Tepi Laut and it served different kinds of Asian food. It is a hawker-styled eatery where you get the food by going to the different kaleidoscope of food stalls. In some of the stalls, you choose raw ingredients and pass them to the chef who will cook them for you on the spot!

The food was sumptuous, as we also ordered two drinks, which were orange juice and hot chocolate. The food I got for myself was chicken rice, fried chicken and some stir-fried veggies. For dessert, I had 2 slices of cake and a scoop of chocolate ice-cream. After our unique dinner, we went back to our room and ended the day.

During our meal, we were also entertained by an extravagant performance by a group of daring hotel members who put up a really good cultural show and entertained us! I volunteered to assist them in their performance, which was really cool! The experience was really exciting as I got to shoot with an ancient blow bow and did a stick dance. It really kept my adrenaline pumping!

 

We woke up quite late for breakfast the next day as we were still very tired from the two days of hiking. We quickly changed and got to the breakfast hall, which was downstairs, and began having breakfast. Their dining area was very spacious, and there were a lot of food choices, just like the restaurant, Tepi Laut. There were many typical breakfast foods such as French toast, loaves of different breads and a variety of eggs…

As I said, we woke up considerably late. Thus, our breakfast was quite rushed to finish in the nick of time. Anyways, after our quick meal, I decided to go to the hotel’s archery range to try archery as that is an activity that does not require the use of one’s feet as mine’s were still aching!

I had three rounds. One of them was complimentary, while the other two were paid. So in total we paid a reasonable 88 ringgit which came from my 100 ringgit budget. You might be wondering what the budget was about. Well, as we are loyal Golden Circle members of Shangri-La, we are given a free 100 ringgit voucher each day which we could spend on numerous activities!

After the meaningful aiming session, we went to the coast and tried out the hotel’s kayaks, which were in sleek condition as we explored the tranquil seas. During the hour of exploration, we chanced upon a group of people who had just caught a shoal of gargantuan fishes. The scene was interesting as we examined the types of fish they caught from afar. With an hour almost gone, we headed back to the watersport center and returned the boats to the managers on duty.

We then went for lunch. With our legs still aching, we had a slow but worthwhile walk to the resort’s Italian Restaurant. We had a quick glance at their Italian Menu and made our delicious choices and ate them with no regrets!

With lunch over we had a long nap until late afternoon, when we decided to swim at the hotel’s pool for the rest of the day. We had dinner at Tepi Laut…again! But still certainly had a great meal!

Anyways, Thursday we had a similar schedule, but actually also went to Dalit Bay to try out the hotel’s driving range. We were given 100 golf balls, which was quite a plenty, as we struck it out at the range, where the balls would land in water! Yes, as the balls had the ability to float on water, the Golf Staff would collect the balls after opening hours! Thus the name of this venue is Aquatic Range!

My dad and I took turns to hit the balls away into the lake as we did many far shots, with some even near the hole! With our shooting practice completed, we left the majestic golf course to have dinner at the usual place…

The next day was our last whole day in the resort. So, I decided to have a visit to their nature reserve, which was nearby the hotel. It was called Rasa Ria Nature Reserve. I was there to act as a Ranger by feeding the different wildlife that dwell there. Along the way, we explored the flora and fauna of this interesting place and took the different and short pathways which led to adventure!

 

We fed the chickens, squirrel, monkeys and fishes with the friendly trainers, which was lots of fun! With that done, I joined the kids club, where I got to make my own Olympic Badge logo and Swim! When I returned to my room, I realised there was a celebration going on as the hotel staff were singing happy birthday! They also gave a birthday cake to us for a treat!

Night time, it was time for the greatest feature during our luxurious stay in Shangri-La. In case you were wondering, we chose this majestic hotel for one big reason. It was a very special occasion for us: it was my dad’s birthday. The whole day, we were waiting for an anticipated dinner at the Italian Restaurant. However, due to the fact that the seafood restaurant would open instead of Tepi Laut, we changed our mind on where to eat and it was truly worth it. That was also the first time where I ate a fish still intact and freshly cooked! And it was like a minefield. My parents ate similar dishes to what I had chosen. For dessert, we finished it off with a surprise birthday song from the staff and a big complimentary birthday cake which was another sumptuous masterpiece. That was my dad’s second birthday cake! With the birthday memories taken we went home for a good night sleep!

With the last day upon me, I just swam since breakfast all the way to lunch on the last day, which was sad…

 

Expedition to Mount Kinabalu

We woke up at 5am for an arduous adventure. We were in the city of Kota Kinabalu, and after 2 days in the bustling streets, it was time for a getaway to the highest peak in Malaysia. You should have guessed it. We would be climbing Mount Kinabalu. And I really have to admit it was already quite a difficult challenge. In fact, it pushed my body to its limits.

After a quick and light breakfast, we changed into our comfortable hiking wear and headed to the big shuttle bus that would bring us to the base camp of the mountain. Though there were more people to fetch from neighboring hotels, we were out of town by 7am and were ready to begin our journey by 10am, after filling all the important documents. That day, it was raining intermittently, which was going to make us struggle a lot as the ground was going to be slippery and wet.

Our guide was called Roy, and was a very nice guide. He gave us our packed lunch before we began our trek. We would be walking to a guest house called Laban Rata, which is 6km from the base, but not a flat 6km. It was an uphill 6km walk, which would be a totally tiring and different story.

As the first 2km were as easy as pie, I overexerted in strength so that we could get away with them quickly. However, the difficulty increased, and I started to feel fatigued.

Types of paths

Though we had plenty of time to rejuvenate at each stop, the pressure was overwhelming and we got little energy back for the next kilometer or so to the next stop. Despite that, we pushed forward, only to encounter rough boulders which were a huge obstacle for the last 2km. I had to stop like every 100m or so as I had little energy left. Although there was only a kilometer left to go, we could not hasten the pace. It was already 3.30pm.

I kept on drinking gulps of water as the guest house  begins to be in our site. We did not give up as we remained positive. Soon enough, our perseverance paid off and I felt like kissing the ground. It was paradise to finally arrive at the dorm.

However, the bloodbath was not over yet as we still had about 3km left to go which we would cover the next day early morning provided the weather conditions were fine. So first things first, we ate a heavy dinner and went to bed early as we, particularly my dad, looked like living zombies!

Photo credit Lim Kai Xiang Facebook

The next day, we were woken up by the sound of the alarm at 1.30am, not lightning from the outside! We were very jolly for this miracle as it had been raining for the past 3 days before our arrival! Quickly with enthusiasm, we dressed up after a short rinse before heading downstairs for a light, in fact too light supper! By 2.30am, we were up and about with our guide who fetched us for another 4 hours…of death!

It’s 2:30 am and we’re going there to the peak under the moon!

The first part of the 2nd course was mostly made up of man-made wooden flights of stairs, which were certainly my area of expertise. From now to the peak was 3km away! So near yet so far, and every breath you take counts! The checkpoint is approximately 1km from the guest house. There, you have the last proper break and toilet before you are all on your own for the race against time to reach the peak by 6am! The next half almost killed me! As we were above 3900 meters from sea level, I had a higher chance of getting altitude sickness, which I unfortunately got…

However, despite that, we made it after overcoming a lot of steep slopes with only a white rope in handy. The view from the peak, which is called Low’s Peak, was breathtaking, I couldn’t take my eyes of the lower mountains around us and the blazing hot and cool orange sun…it seemed to be like a fantasy!

Anyways, with all the selfies and photos taken we scurried at a faster rate for the guest house so I could go back to bed and have power nap.

We arrived back at the guest house at around 8.30am, where I had a quick nap to rejuvenate my energy levels, before having another light meal, which was breakfast, with Coke! We packed our bags, took breakfast, check-out and begin another big descent back to the base camp!

Before long, we had all our things packed and were ready to get going to base camp, which was another 6 excruciating kilometers downhill, at least. Before we left the dorm, we decided to take a photo with Roy as a remembrance.

As we strode down, we realized that our rate was a kilometer per hour. So, we tried to hasten the pace across the rough ground. Unfortunately, my mom was soon in trouble when her knees started aching…

As the distance decreased, it seemed it was just increasing. Our bodies started complaining as my mom started to become fatigued. Her body seemed to be giving up but even with only a kilometer left to cover, she was like thumping the trekking sticks to the ground. Soon enough though, she was on the same boat as me. I was also facing the problem. However, we eventually arrived there at 3pm! We were so elated that in the bus, we were dumbfounded. And that was the end of the journey. We had a simple buffet lunch before getting our certificates for this honorable achievement!

Overall, our trek had a lot of countless challenges. We overcame all of them and had an enjoyable trip with nature as we concluded the climb with a lot of pain, memories, photographs and stories to tell!

I made it! We made it!

 

Leaving Mt Kinabalu

Our Short Holiday in Malaysia

On the 9/10/16, we decided to go for a short two-day retreat in JB (Johor Bahru). Our route to the gigantic mall in JB Central, which was called City Square, was a long but worthwhile one.

We first took a ride with an Uber driver from our house to Woodlands checkpoint. Everything went fine as there was no traffic jam, for now.

We had a quick stroll across the bridges which led to the immigration area. There, we had to wait for around 30 minutes before we could have our turn. With that part done, we headed to the bus waiting area to look for a bus to the Malaysian side, well…initially.

However, we came to realise that there was a serious jam at the road that led to the other end. So, we took the chance and had a long walk across the strait which is approximately 2km long, which we were used to. The only difference was that we were smelling and breathing carbon monoxide from the cars, buses and trucks.

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We eventually finished the long walk and concluded we made the right choice as we were faster than the cars. To our dismay, more trouble and menace came in as we had to go through a 45-minute queue in the Malaysian immigration. For most of the times, I was sitting at the side while my parents queued. Soon enough, we were out of there.

For most of our stay, we moved around near our hotel and stayed in the hotel, took a swim and all the usual stuff one would do during vacations. However, I’d like to share some of the special events I had during our momentous stay.

 

One was that I went to Malaysia’s GO KART track, where I had quite a drive which really took me aback. As planned, we had 10 minutes to use the track with beginner karts as we were newbies to this. They have 6.5 horsepower. We had to take note about all the different types of flags and other stuff before we were allowed to drive. Soon, we were on the track.

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For the first lap, I made two mistakes of the same type, which were poor drifts. For the rest of the other laps during this ride of my life, I did not make any more mistakes.

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My mom was quite slow and got a yellow flag, which meant she had to go to the pit-stop. She realised that she was slow because she was pressing both pedals at once.

My dad went fine and fast.

We had to stop soon as a group of pro go kart racers entered the track and I surely did not want to mess up things with them.

Another major event was my first time in a gym. As there was not much to do in the morning before our check out back to Singapore, we decided to try their gym.

In their small gym, I tried their treadmill for 15 minutes at 8 km per hour which was fun business for a first timer. I also tried their elliptical for 5 minutes and I did that at a really fast rate!

That is my short summary of our major events in Malaysia. For heading back, we took a similar reverse route, but instead of walking across the strait, we took a bus as there was no jam.