Tanjung Aru Perdana Park

Perdana Park - Tg Aru 20140107

Perdana Park in Tanjung Aru is slowly turning into one of my favourite parks in Kota Kinabalu (not that there are many). I came here yesterday after work for a run, and after that, headed to the nearby beach to relax. Beats getting stuck in traffic anytime.

Officially called Perdana Park at Hone Place, the park was opened in 2011, and was built and donated by Timatch Sdn Bhd (the company owned by the very charitable Datuk Victor Paul), as part of the Chief Minister’s efforts to turn Kota Kinabalu into a world-class city. Most importantly, the park is well-maintained. Even after four years, the facilities are still in good condition.

Perdana Park - Tg Aru 20110228 10

Basically, there is a jogging track surrounding a lake, with two playgrounds for children, and a reflexology path. Also, there are a few restaurants, including one which sells delicious cakes. (So you can pile on the calories after your run?).

Although the jogging track is not that long (It takes me 4 minutes to go one time around the lake), it is a good track. And when they start playing the music, it will just pump you up and make your tiredness disappear. I almost raised up my hands Rocky Balboa-style as I reached my targeted time. And the bonus is that after your run, you can head to Tanjung Aru beach to catch the sea breeze or to watch the sunset. No other park give you that!

Perdana Park - Tg Aru 20110228 01

The highlight of the park is of course the musical fountain in the lake. Starting every day at 7pm-ish for about 15 minutes and repeating every half an hour until 9pm, the fountain dances to the tune of music varying from local folk tunes to classical music to the very patriotic “1-Malaysia” song (The fountain shoots straight up like the number one!). The arrangement of the music is different at different times, and I find the last performance at 9 to be the best (that’s when they stop playing the Malaysian songs, and focus on the classic sentimental tunes). Not a bad spot to take your girlfriend to for a cheap date. (The park is free 🙂 )

Perdana Park - Tg Aru 20110228 02

Perhaps one thing that has not been highlighted too much is that the park is also good for a bit of bird-watching. Not just garden birds, but because of the lake in the middle, there are also egrets and little herons. I spotted 7 species yesterday evening. Come in the morning and you’ll get to see the striated heron baits its prey using bread crumbs.


Opening Hours:

Monday – Thursday : 6.00am – 10.00pm

Friday – Sunday : 6.00am – 10.30pm

Musical fountain: daily 7:00pm – 9:00pm (9:30pm on weekends)

Entrance: free. Parking costs RM 1

Links: http://www.sabahtourism.com/destination/perdana-park


Sunset at Kota Kinabalu Waterfront

Sunset at Kota Kinabalu Waterfront 6:25 PM

Sunset at Kota Kinabalu Waterfront 6:36 PM

Borneo sunsets

Click on photos for bigger size

Sunset at KK Waterfront 11.7.2010

Sunset at Shangrila Rasa Ria Resort

Sunset at Tanjung Aru beach

Sunset from Kinabalu Park

Sunset at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort

Sunset from near Nabalu

Sunset at Pulau Tiga

Water buffalo in high heels

Outside a restaurant in KK..

Restaurant in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Roti Tisu

roti tisu at mamak stall - KK 20090907

roti tisu at mamak stall - KK 20090907

What’s this? Something that you can put on your head and eat at the same time? Definitely something to impress your foreign friends with.

Roti Tisu at the famous Salim Restaurant in Lintas, KK.
Crispy and coated with sugar. Is is sweeter at the bottom of the cone.

Definition of Roti Tisu from Wikipedia:


Top 12 things to do in Kota Kinabalu

This list only includes places that are within close proximity of Kota Kinabalu, i.e. less than 15 minutes away, and easily accessible to tourists.

1. Tunku Abdul Rahman Park

Visit any or all of the islands in this national park. The snorkelling and diving is nothing compared to the islands on the east coast, but its number one advantage is its distance from the city. Only 15 to 20 minutes away by speedboat. The clear waters are good for snorkelling, the beach for sunbathing, and marine sports are available for the more active.

Lok Kawi beach

One for the wedding album

One for the wedding album

What? Beach

Where? Kota Kinabalu

Ratings: ** Nice beach, with white sand.

Lost Ratings: *** Off the tourist route. Not even listed on Sabah Tourism’s website.

Heading south towards Papar from Kota Kinabalu is a long stretch of beach facing the South China Sea, and not frequented at all by tourists.

The sand is fine and white, covered in some areas by creepers, but the waters are not that suitable for swimming. Bird-enthusiasts sometimes come here to observe birdlife. No lifeguards are present and safety is not guaranteed as the beach is really deserted. Single, female travellers are not advised to go there alone.

There are no signboards indicating Lok Kawi beach. Driving towards Lok Kawi from Kota Kinabalu, look out for the army camp on the left. Opposite it are some stalls selling drinks by the roadside on the right. There is a car park there. The entrance to the beach is behind the bushes. Getting there without your own transportation will be a problem, unless you charter a taxi.

Getting to Lok Kawi beach

Getting to Lok Kawi beach

Kota Kinabalu night view


View from Signal Hill.

Note: The road to Signal Hill is dark and desolate at night. Walking there is not advised.

UMS Mosque


Category: Mosque, Landmark

Location: Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Ratings ** A pinkish lego-like building.

Lost Ratings *** Not visited by many tourists.

The UMS Mosque is one of 3 big mosques in Kota Kinabalu. While tourists visit the Sabah State Mosque or Kota Kinabalu City Mosque during a city tour, this mosque inside the University Malaysia Sabah compound is seldom visited by tourists, although it can be seen by those who are travelling north of the city towards Tuaran or Kinabalu Park. It is located on top of a hill just next to the 1 Borneo shopping complex.

Getting there:

Take the free shuttle bus to 1Borneo Shopping Complex and walk to UMS next door. Or take a taxi to UMS from KK (RM20 one-way). About 10 minutes drive from KK centre during non-peak hours.

Lok Kawi Wildlife Park

What? Zoo

Where? Lok Kawi (near Kota Kinabalu), Sabah

Ratings: *** Nothing should replace seeing wild animals in the wild, and I don’t encourage the caging of animals, but this is a good place to see Borneo’s wildlife if you don’t have time for a real jungle adventure. The close-up look at the proboscis monkey is reason enough to give this zoo a 3-star rating. Not many zoos around the world are able to keep the proboscis monkeys due to the unique care and special enclosure that is needed.

Lost Ratings: *** Go on a weekday and you will hardly see any visitors. Sometimes I can sit for hours on a bench just watching the animals. Botanical Garden at the back of the zoo is a forest park seldom visited by tourists.

Opened in 2007, Lok Kawi Wildlife Park (LKWP) has become another popular tourist attraction in Kota Kinabalu, especially among the locals. Although the name Wildlife Park might suggest a safari-like environment, it is just another name for a zoo. But LKWP is no ordinary zoo. Carved out of a former rubber plantation that has reverted to a secondary jungle, it is surrounded by a lot of greenery. The bird aviary and botanical garden especially has a jungle-like feel to it. For those who don’t have the time for a real trip into the jungle, the zoo is a convenient place to see the wildlife of Borneo. Even for those who have been to Danum Valley and Sukau, the zoo offers the visitor a chance to see some of the rarer animals like the Sumatran Rhinoceros and Bornean Clouded Leopard, which would otherwise be very difficult to spot in the wild. Animals that are not from Borneo include the zebras, ankoli cattle, capuchin monkeys, ring-tailed lemurs and tigers.

Highlights of Lok Kawi Wildlife Park Read the rest of this entry »

Puh Toh Sze Chinese Temple

What? Chinese Temple

Where? Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Ratings: **

Lost Ratings: **

One of the largest Chinese temples in Kota Kinabalu, the Puh Toh Sze temple is located on a small hill along Jalan Tuaran in Likas, a suburb about 10 minutes away from the city centre. Built in 1980, the construction of the temple was made possible by the generous contributions of many parties. The land on which the temple sits was donated by the government. Local Buddhists donated RM1 million, while construction material, sand and bricks were provided free by local contractors. The arch leading to the main hall was paid by a local millionaire.

The first thing that grabs your attention upon climbing the small hill, is the 10m-tall, 30000-pound Goddess of Mercy statue. The statue was brought here in small pieces all the way from Taiwan by ship and assembled by Taiwanese craftsmen locally. Cost of the statue itself is reputed to be around RM10,000.

Lining up on both sides of the stairs leading up to the temple are 10 smaller statues of deities. The main hall has 3 Buddha statues, while the newer part of the temple at the back has a big sleeping Buddha statue and statues of the 18 arhats.

A unique feature of this temple is a library with books on Buddhism in Chinese and English which is open to all. Another distinguishing feature is a massive bell weighing 3500lb and 7ft high. This bell is rung 108 times every morning at 6am. The number coincides with the beads on a Buddhist rosary and the Buddha’s name is repeated with each ring. Devotees paid RM100 to have their names inscribed on the bell.

* The information above is based on notes provided by a tourism school.

Wooden ducks at Gaya Street Fair

Today in Lok Kawi Wildlife Park: more babies

Update on Lok Kawi Wildlife Park.

Went to the zoo today and want to add that there are now more babies! Must go!

The latest additions on show now are 1 baby orang utan (only few months old) and 1(2? didn’t see clearly) baby slow lorises.

Other “babies” that are now a bit bigger are 2 baby elephants, 2 baby proboscis (one is larger than the other although born at the same period), 3 smooth otters (quite big now), tembadau, pony.

This must be the best baby-making zoo in Malaysia. Sabahans are good at making babies!:

Previous post on Lok Kawi


Trekking in Gaya Island


Ratings ***
The mangrove forest is amazing. The best part is you don’t have to travel hours by car to reach the jungle. Having said that, this should not be a substitute for a visit to Danum Valley or Kinabalu Park. City slickers should note that the trails are no stroll in the park. Some parts are uphill.
Lost Ratings **** Not many people come here despite its proximity to KK.

While the other islands get their fair share of visitors, Pulau Gaya has been overlooked despite it being the biggest island in Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. Police Beach, on the northern coast, has one of the nicest beaches and its location on the far side of the island ensures plenty of privacy. Getting here by boat though costs more because of its distance. At the moment, a new resort is under construction on this beach. Gayana Resort is also located on this side of the island and this recently renovated resort with rooms above the water is now much better than before.

However, the majority of day-trippers to the island are here more for the jungle than the sea. Unknown to even some local Sabahans is the fact that Pulau Gaya actually is the nearest place to Kota Kinabalu for jungle-trekking activities. Established as Sabah’s first forest reserve in 1923, Pulau Gaya preserves one of the few remaining areas of largely undisturbed coastal dipterocarp forest left in Sabah. (A Guide to the Parks of Sabah by Anthea Phillipps).

There are three trails marked out for visitors. Visitors can arrange to be dropped off at either Padang Point or Base Camp. Both areas are located near Sapi Island. The trail from Base Camp to Police Beach is 3.25km and will take a few hours at least. For a less strenuous hike, take the trail from Base Camp to Padang Point (1.95 km), and arrange for your boatman to pick you up from the other side so you don’t have to walk back. This trail takes about 45 minutes and can still be quite tough for those who are not that fit. The great thing about this trail is that you get to see a dipterocarp forest as well as a mangrove forest. Combine that with a swim at Pulau Sapi and you get a 3-in-1 deal.

Boardwalk through mangrove forest

Boardwalk through mangrove forest

Although a logging concession was granted way back in 1879, the forest does not appear to have been disturbed much. Hornbills, monkeys, wild boars and monitor lizards are some of the wildlife that can sometimes be seen while trekking in the jungle. The only wildlife I managed to see were bats hanging on the underside of a rock. But freshly-dug ground suggests that wild boars are common. There are also sightings of proboscis monkeys, but you would have to be very lucky to see one.

Things to bring: Insect repellent!
Entrance tickets to Pulau Gaya can be used for entry to the other islands in Tunku Abdul Rahman Park on the same day.
Foreigners – Adult: RM10; Children: RM6
Malaysians – Adult: RM3; Children: RM1
Part 1: https://lostborneo.wordpress.com/2008/07/26/pulau-gaya-1/
Lost Borneo tours:
Gaya Island Trekking and Snorkelling Tour
For enquiries, email losttravels@yahoo.com

Gaya Island – black area or overlooked gem? Part 1

Gaya Island with Mount Kinabalu in the background

Gaya Island with Mount Kinabalu in the background

What? Water Village, Island

Where? Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Ratings: *** See it before it disappears. With the massive crackdown on illegal immigrants beginning in August, most of the illegal village will probably be destroyed.

Lost Ratings **** Visit a part of the city that even the locals stay away from.

Pulau Gaya, the largest of five islands located off the coast of Kota Kinabalu, has always been an integral part of the city. Clearly visible from KK’s jetty, the nearest point of this island is only about 10 minutes away by speedboat. The name of the island is derived from Gayo, the Bajau word for big. But the island itself means different things to different people. To the tourists, it is the location of a resort with rooms above the water, and a place for jungle-trekking. To the locals, it is the source of all the city’s woes. But to the island’s inhabitants, it is their home away from home.

It can be said that Pulau Gaya was the forerunner of Kota Kinabalu. Before the British North Borneo Company even established Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu), they had already started a settlement on the island in 1881 and remained there for 15 years before it was burnt down by the rebel Mat Salleh. It was only after that that the British moved to the mainland opposite. The island was then left to the fishermen who built a small village at the eastern end of the island (the part facing the city). In 1923, Pulau Gaya was declared as a forest reserve, and in 1974, together with the other 4 smaller islands, it was established as Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Sabah’s second state park. Only a small portion of the island where a few water villages are located is excluded from the boundary of the park.

Recently, I had a chance to see up-close the water villages for myself and to do some jungle-trekking on the island. No one knows for sure how many people actually live in Pulau Gaya, but there are estimates of over 8000 people. Of these, only 2000 are registered voters. Even if you minus out the children, that would still leave a huge majority who are either unregistered voters or more likely, illegal immigrants.

Directly facing Kota Kinabalu is the notorious illegal settlement of Kampung Pondo. In July 2006, a police team went there to look for suspected drug-pushers and the resulting confrontation left three police officers seriously injured and one suspected drug-pusher dead. The locals consider this area to be off-limits. Firearms and smuggled goods have been found stashed away in some houses. Still, it is not fair to paint everyone who lives there as a criminal. Most of them make an honest living as fishermen, trading at the Filipino market or working as boatmen transferring people to the islands, even if they are legally wrong to be in this country. The entire village has actually been destroyed a few times. During Chong Kah Kiat’s tenure as the Chief Minister of Sabah, a huge operation was conducted to get rid of the illegal immigrants and all the houses were dismantled. Within a short period however, the houses have been rebuilt and the village has sprouted like a mushroom again as if nothing ever happened.

Kg Pondo mosque

Kg Pondo mosque

Speedboat to Gaya Island used by locals

Speedboat to Gaya Island used by locals

Not all the island’s inhabitants are illegals though. To the right of Kampung Pondo is a village populated by local Bajaus and Ubians. The pride and joy of the people here is its secondary school, SMK Pulau Gaya. Established in 1989, the school looks more like a floating water chalet with its brightly-coloured jetty. The school is the mark of the dedication of its teachers and students and shows that with the right attitude and character, anything is possible.

Bajau village

Bajau village

SMK Gaya

SMK Gaya

Be careful. While a look at the village from a boat is ok, travellers are advised not to set foot in the illegal settlement.

Getting there: Charter a boat from Jesselton Point Jetty. There are many tour operators. Tours to Gaya Island are available. Do not use the illegal boats.

Part 2: https://lostborneo.wordpress.com/2008/07/27/pulau-gaya-2/