Waterfront, Kota Kinabalu

Saturday 8 January 2011
Eleven years ago, to my parents' horror, I decided to backpack to the island of Borneo. Although I'd grown up in Kuching, the capital of Sarawak (Borneo), I know little about the other cities. I explored by foot, hopped on buses and sailed down the Kinabatangan River in the wee hours of the morning to check out crocodiles and the local wildlife. One can't leave Sabah without the obligatory visit to Sepilok, The Orangutan Rehabilitation centre. Once the Sabahans found out that I wasn't a Japanese but a local, I was coddled and lectured incessantly for traveling alone. The owner of the backpacker I'd stayed in sent her two workers to the bus stop with me. I was told that they must accompany me at all costs as it was dangerous for a single girl to travel on her own. The bus driver insisted on checking out the backpacker's before I entered the premises. Everyone I'd met gave me their cellphone and landline numbers and insisted I called them should I require any assistance. I had the best of times and vowed to return one day.

My cousin decided to surprise me with a visit to Kota Kinabalu. She remembered our conversation years ago about Sabah. The day after Little L and I arrived in Miri, we were whizzed off to KK on a quick 3 day trip. On our second day there, we had a mission. We had to find a boat. Actually, I'd like to say that the boat found us.


This man walked up to us and asked if we were interested in hiring a boat to the islands. Look at the expression on his face! The look of utter torment and anguish during the bargaining session.  The guy could easily win an Oscar for his method acting. He turned out to be a really nice guy.

On the way to his boat, the kids and my cousins looked like they were going to pass out from the smell of rubbish and fish at the wet market on the waterfront so I decided to venture out on my own.


Coconut Juice


One of the many vendors at the market

aiskacang machine

I call it the ais kacang machine as it's used to shave ice.


Ayam panggang (barbecued chicken)

barbecued chicken2

And here's how to do it, grilling and basting.....

barbecued chicken wings

And the result

pisang goreng

How can I walk past a pisang goreng (friend banana) stall without getting some? At RM 1 for 8 pieces, it was a bargain. My cousin looked appalled at my diet but hey, some people have a list of things to buy when they're on a holiday. I have a list of things to E.A.T.


I was seriously tempted to buy some of these luscious mangoes but I don't think the hotel would've appreciated the smell wafting through the building.

sea cucumber

Sea cucumbers. My cousin's dad used to sell these at the wet market in Sibu. When I was a little girl, I used to watch him clean hundreds of them in the pail.


I think these were called "white tigers"?? They look like slugs to me. Anyone from Sabah can tell me what these are?? At RM 300 a kilo, they're not cheap.


Killing time by fishing


The row of mostly male tailors along the Waterfront.


  1. The street food looks yummy!

  2. Not particularly hygienic but they were certainly delicious.

  3. you were in kk! why didn't you call?! anyway, you made kk look so exotic in the photos lol:D

  4. Hi Terri, I thought of contacting you but with a quick 3 day visit, we just didn't have a lot of time. I will certainly call you on my next trip to KK. It is exotic! LOL. Well, to me anyway.



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