13 December 2010

Kundasang: My Highland Vacation

Singapore trip wasn't really a vacation for me. In fact it was one of the most tiresome trips that I've ever been onto so far. Craving for a real vacation, I decided to extend my holiday and this time I knew where to spend my days to get one. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Kundasang, Sabah.

For the past few years I've been constantly driving between Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan and in most of the times I'd drive past this mountainous sub-district and I've never really stopped for anything else but a meal or probably the need for a toilet. You see, it really is common to stretch your eyes out to other parts of the world that you tend to miss what you've got in your own 'territory'. Shame on me. Uhuks. :-P
While Kundasang is without doubt one of the most beautiful highlands in the region, most of the locals still keep focusing on getting on a cheap flight to KL so that they can get to visit the far more commercialized Genting Highland and Cameroon Highland.

The Mountain Rest House

The idea of doing some vacation in Kundasang had first come to mind when I saw this signage that advertises rooms (or rather beds) at a very cheap rate. Placed so close to the main road, one can't miss seeing it.
Pulling up into the driveway, the lodge wasn't as bad as it looked when seen from the main road. I was welcome by a lady - a middle aged local Dusun whose first expressions are of those that might make you feel unwelcome.
The lady led me to a variety of rooms which to my surprise were mostly unoccupied. There are the dorms and private rooms. They are not soundproof so do not do anything noisy unless you know how to make it silently. I could even hear somebody snore from the room next door, even every detail of their conversation and the creaking sound when somebody is walking around. 
Despite the prices, the rooms had actually impressed me. RM20 per bed for the dorm but she told me I could pay RM5 extra to get the twin-bed single room. I paid RM25 and I had the room all to myself. Wee!
Oh well, I've always liked the idea of having another bed so that I can always toss my things lazily on it anytime I like :-D
So... It really was a BED room. The only other thing that I saw was this mirror hanging on the wall by the window.   
Jipp: Mirror Mirror on the wall, who's the handsomest man in the whole world? Mirror: You laa!
The comforter was quite thin to my eyes but apparently it was magically enough to keep me warm. 

All in all, I was pretty much content with anything. Problem came when there was a need to recharge my handphone and camera and I couldn’t find a plug-in socket. Solution came when I found one at an unoccupied (and cozier) room and I actually used it secretly. Shhhhh. LOL 
Quite true to its name, the Mountain Lodge is actually part of Mount Kinabalu and it is merely 500 meters away from the gate to Kinabalu National Park.
The veranda is facing down to the other side of the mountain and not towards Mount Kinabalu but the scenery was something to behold. I could see dots of houses and barns amongst vegetation farms that dominate the beautiful land of Kundasang.
The kitchen is nothing short of anything. Everything is basically there. There are enough utensils for at least a dozen people and a stove to do some cooking.
Adjoining the kitchen is what appears to be a living room and there was an Astro-less TV placed on the wall.
Ohh, while it is located in one of the coldest areas in the country, the lodge doesn't provide water heater at the bathroom.
You probably can go creative by boiling water from the kitchen or you can simply wait until the sun comes up and put enough heat on the roof so that you wouldn't freeze when you take a shower. I did neither. Shhhhhh. Don’t tell anyone. Hehe.
Imagine when you do your little business here. It was like shitting sitting on a piece of iceberg or something. The pain lingers longer that you probably want it to. LOL.
The lady sells stuffs such as Maggie noodles and coffee mix. A little bit extra on the price but of course you have the choice of driving down the road where there were small shops selling things in cheaper prices.

Alright, gotta tell you that I actually checked in at the mercy of the lady. I didn’t have enough cash on me so I 'pleaded' to her that I’d pay when I had withdrawn some $$$ from the nearest ATM. Of course the nearest bank is at the little township of Kundasang and there is only 1 (one) bank there (INGATTT!)
The Kundasang little township seemed to have aged a lot.
Most of the buildings were whitewashed and weathered.
Things seem to go unmaintained and widely ignored and only time will tell how long would it take before they all crumble down. (Mr. DO?)
So… coming back to the lodging hostel later, I only had one thing in mind.
Ohh, and if you’re curious, the thing that I’ve put together with the Maggie noodles was Sabahan very local delicacy called tuhau. If Andrew Zimmern were to come to Sabah to challenge himself with something bizzare, I’d be the first to recommend it to him. Believe me, it takes time to like it.
I happened to find out some years ago though that it comes very well with Maggie curry noodles and it is one of my biggest personal food discoveries so far. Hehe.
Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to put my hungry belly at rest. I needed something else and I drove off down to a restaurant at a resort called Kinabalu Lodge to have a bowl of hot broth.
Having it in the cold air of Kundasang – I really thought I was in heaven. Hehe.

Thanks to the free wi-fi at the Kinabalu Lodge, I was there long enough to post in a new entry. My tight schedlue for the past few weeks had left me with so little time to blog.
Coming back to the Mountain Lodge later, it was getting too cold to stay outside so I spent the next hour curling up in bed while reading a book by my favourite author Mr. Sidney Sheldon. I bought it while I was stranded in KL a couple of weeks back.
It wasn’t long before it was beginning to rain and the rhythmic sound of the rain as it was hitting on the roof was such a strong lullaby. I fell asleep in the middle of my reading.

Stay tune for the next entry. I’m gonna bring you some of the best but strangely least known attractions in Kundasang.
If you think you know everything about this beautiful mountainous sub-district, you better think again. :-P


Kelvin said...

Does that means u did not bath?

JIPP said...

haha. Errr, I did but not really 'bath'. Hey, it was so brrrrrrr. LOL!

Miin Ming said...

will there be buses going to kinabalu park from KK during midday? coz i shall only arrive kk around 11am something. cheers

JIPP said...

Hello Miin Ming. Sorry for the late reply. Didn't notice ur comment. Yupp, you look for buses to Ranau (of which Kundasang is a sub-district) and you asked to be dropped off in Kundasang. Usually there are buses til 3 or 4pm. Enjoy ur holiday in Kundasang!

mimie said...

hai jipp! nak tanya mountain lodge tu ok ke tmpt tu? nmpk mcm curam je..lg satu,ada berapa unit rumah mountain lodge? takut pula indah kabar dari rupa..hehehe

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