Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Flying into Kota Kinabalu from Brisbane we were greeted at the airport and whisked away to the Magellan Sutera Hotel on a 7-night luxury escapes package – a generous treat from my parents and it did not disappoint. From the moment we set foot in the 5-star luxury hotel we were treated like royalty. What followed were days of bliss as we cooled our heels in the numerous pools around the Sutera Harbour complex which housed two hotels, a sporting complex and a marina with impressive rows of yachts and catamarans – their white sails saluting the blue Borneo sky. We are back home again in less than 6 months, this time, to do some research for my next book which you can read about here: http://karenkhlee.com/2016/07/10/the-harvest/.
We have never been resort types but the convenience and facilities on offer is a godsend when traveling with young children. There is a kid’s club that runs activities to keep children entertained while parents get to relax for a couple of hours, there is also a bowling alley, movie theatre, and the beach. For the parents, there is golf, water sports, spa treatments and a spot of shopping. While KK might not have the variety that other parts of Asia like Singapore, Hong Kong or Manila, it has come a long way. And if shopping isn’t your thing KK is well-known for its eco-tourism and stunning biodiversity. Rocky mountains cradle the city while the palm trees shimmy like hula dancers on the beachfront.
We decide to head out one morning to Manukan Island which I’ve written about before in a previous post, and I find the trip to the island far more enjoyable than the island itself. It is exhilarating hurtling across the emerald-green waters of the South-China Sea. It feels good to be out on the ocean away from the other hotel guests who we get up close and personal with every morning. The words ‘buffet breakfast included’ sounds innocuous, doesn’t it? Well, it isn’t. It’s right up there with things like waterboarding. It is torture, the onslaught of ugly tourists you cannot escape.
Never mind the spitting, the relentless selfies at every turn, or, the emptying of noses in the hotel pool. Watching these people eat day in day out had reduced me to a quivering mess. The humble chopstick was the weapon of choice used to spear, jab, and shovel truckloads of food into gaping maws. These are Asian tourists so food is serious business, get out of their way or they’ll mow you down. I could barely look away. There was the mother still hand feeding her spoiled teenage son, the wives who clearly loathed their husbands and the husbands who lasciviously eyed the pretty young Korean girls preening as they took selfies at the breakfast table. Now, it has to be said that this selfie business is ridiculous. They were everywhere, even in the pools there were young women with fully made up faces flirting into their phones. On the beach, striking poses in various outfits as if it were a photo shoot. There was no way to avoid them.
But despite all that, KK managed to weave its magic and create a thoroughly enjoyable holiday. I was sad to leave after the week as we farewelled the views of the sea at every turn, the marvelous sunsets over cocktails and the wonderful hospitality of Sabahans.