Oops, I took an unintentional blogging break again… because I guess I’ve just been having too much fun. :P Now that I’m just bumming at my grandma’s again, hopefully I’ll have more time to post. Unto August’s travel re-cap!
August 1 – 24: Kota Kinabalu, East Malaysia
I started the month with a red-eye flight to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah. I debated for a long time where to go after Chengdu. I eventually settled on KK because I’ve never been to East Malaysia and I’ve been curious to see what it’s like. And plus, I reeeeeally wanted to see the orangutans! And I believe Borneo is the only place you can see semi-wild orangutans.
I had previously met a friend in Penang who actually lives in KK. So with the promise of a local guide, I decided it was time I made my way to Borneo.
After spending 3+ weeks in KK, this is my conclusion: it is a really, really small and boring city. But if you have a local friend, you can have a lot more fun.
I’m pretty sure Chris drove me around the entire city multiple times, as well as some parts in the outskirts. It’s a really small place. There’s not much to do in the city itself. I didn’t even take a lot of pictures.
The view from my Airbnb was amazing though!
I spent a lot of time in KK’s dog cafe – my favorite place ever!
Saw a couple of nice sunsets:
And ate local food (haven’t done a monthly food collage in a while!):
Actually even though the city itself doesn’t have much to do, Sabah as a whole has a ton of activities – perfect for nature and animal lovers like myself. River cruise for wildlife spotting, whitewater rafting, waterfall hikes, rafflesia hunting – tons of really cool activities. And I wanted to them all. I really did…. in theory.
But honestly, I just felt too tired. I felt too tired to be bothered with the planning and finding tours and trying to figure out how to work my freelancing schedule around them. I know I don’t travel as fast as others, but by this point, I hadn’t been in one place for more than one month since February. And I just felt tired.
And of course – Sabah is known for the orangutans. Seeing them had been on my Malaysian list for FOREVER, but I just couldn’t muster up the energy to go fulfill this dream. Especially after I found out that the sanctuary is either a 12-hour drive or a flight away, and would require a couple of nights’ stay. I just wanted to not be constantly making plans for a little while.
But there was one place Chris was intent on taking me, and I’m so glad he did – Mount Kinabalu. This is his favorite place in Sabah and he wanted to show me. So one early day, we started the drive to Kundasang, where this famous mountain is located.
We drove through the most beautiful green scenery. As we got into Kundasang, I was enamored with the picture-perfect view of the colorful little village nestled beneath the mountain. The cooler weather was such a welcomed respite too from the heat + humidity of KK.
We also made a stop at Desa Dairy Farm to feed some baby cows and grab fresh milk products (cheese for me and chocolate milk for Chris).
That afternoon, we couldn’t see the mountain because it was completely covered by clouds. But early the next morning (and I mean EARLY!), I let myself be dragged out into the cold to a spectacular view.
There’s just something about mountains. They make you feel motivated and like you can do great stuff. I mean, I’m probably at my worst physical shape right now, but standing there looking at the mountain, I wanted to climb it. I wanted to accomplish something great like that and capture photos you can only get from doing the trek and experience the view from the top.
And so, I made another Sabah goal – to one day climb Mount Kinabalu.
I know I didn’t make the best use of my time in KK, but it’s okay. I’ll go back and do all the nature-y things and finally see the orangutans. And maybe even summit Mount Kinabalu. :)
8/25 – 9/12: Shanghai, China
After KK, I flew to Shanghai! A few weeks ago, my cousin (who lives there) asked if I wanted to go visit her. Well duh! Of course I did!
Over 2 years ago on my first trip to China as a nomadic traveler, I had written that I love Shanghai – so much that I love it more than Beijing. Well, I had forgotten why I wrote that and why Shanghai is so cool. So I was looking forward to rediscovering the city that I had once loved.
For now, I’ll say that I had such a fun time hanging out with my cousin in Shanghai! But for the full report, that’ll have to be in next month’s recap (which is probably coming up soon).
Currently in September:
I’m super late with this recap, and September is 2/3 over already. After 2.5 weeks with my cousin in Shanghai, I took the train to Beijing. I’ll remain here with my grandma until my flight back to Los Angeles in early October. It’s definitely been nice having home-cooked meals everyday and actually eating a healthy daily serving of fruits and veggies!
What are you up to this month?