Kota Kinabalu: The Climb


Kundasang is about 2 hours drive from Kota Kinabalu and that’s why we woke up at 7am to get ready and have our breakfast before Julius picked us up for a long drive to Kundasang. Along the way the scenery is very much in tune with nature… everything was green and seemed untouched by modern civilization. No tall buildings, no traffic jam, just plenty of trees which soothens the mind and also made it a sleepy journey.

The ride up to Kundasang wasn’t as topsy curvy as the road in Cameron Highlands, quite bearable actually. And upon arriving at the foot of the great mountain, we were greeted with mist from the white clouds, the cold wind blowing against our necks and the colourful handicrafts from the stalls nearby. It was another 15 minutes up the mountain, so we stopped to refresh ourselves with hot milo & teh tarik at a lil’ cafe & a quick toilet break. I was tempted to buy the thumb piano but didn’t know where to put it in the already small apartment of ours, so I skipped that and bought a cap instead.

Mount Kinabalu

We finally made it! The welcome sign says it all. At this point, if you’re in for the long climb, best be prepared mentally & physically with all the right equipments and listen to the local guide. The temperature is rather chilly here and lucky for me, my aunt lent me her sweater, if not I would have peed my pants from the chill. :pBut sad to say, after the very long and early morning journey to Mount Kinabalu, all we saw were mist and lotsa lotsa mist.

There wasn’t peak of the mountain in sight.. at all! So here’s something to learn from this experience, before departing to Mount Kinabalu… best to check the weather and to make sure you can see it when the day is sunny & clear. It’s just like the episode in Kuching where we drove all the way to Semenggor only to discover the orang utans were enjoying the fruit season and we couldn’t get a peek at them. But but… I made it to the great mountain still even though I didn’t get to see it in person. Does this count or do I have to come back again to catch it?

We're here at the foot of Mount Kinabalu.

We’re here at the foot of Mount Kinabalu.

The weather can be cooling so put on a sweater just in case.

The weather can be cooling so put on a sweater just in case.

Nabilu Cafe

After the short climb (he he), we were hungry and had to have lunch before our next journey. My mother had everything planned out for this trip so all we had to do is just follow. The drive down from the mountain saw a few interesting lodges facing the beautiful scenery and the locals making their way up for work. We stopped at the ‘Nabilu Cafe’ which also houses rooms for backpackers and such to order some hot meal.

The place is very much intact and looks like a 1960s living room area.I ordered the Luwagi Fried Rice which translates to fried rice with fried chicken, fried egg, crackers & satay sticks. Not bad for lunch but it is not cheap as this is the only restaurant on the mountain. While we ate, we answered a survey question by a student on preserving the natural mountain environment and my aunt who is a music teacher questioned the grammar, the sentence & spelling. He he. “Aiyoh.. just answer lah” I told her and luckily she did.

After eating we made our way down and saw the road works at the foot of the mountain. I hope they don’t destroy the natural surroundings any further. There’s also a commerative place for soldiers who had died during the war while hiding from the enemies here. Still no sight of Mount Kinabalu so I’ll just leave it at that until next time.

Retro setting & surrounding.

Retro setting & surrounding.


Luwagi Fried Rice.

Where to next Julius?

Where to next Julius?

About Yafieda Jamil

A Malaysian girl currently working abroad in Phnom Penh city. I love a good road trip, hot cappuccinos, spicy food and staring at old buildings. My mission is to inspire people to see the world differently before we all get any older. Oh and giraffes are the most beautiful creatures on earth.

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