This morning we got up early for sunrise and a beautiful walk along the beach before getting ready to leave for Ranau. This would be our stop gap in between traveling from KK to Sepilok and we were planning it to only be a place to sleep. However, it turned out to be such an amazing day!
The drive here was perfect. It took around 3 hours as we went the long way around down the side of Mount Kinabalu so we could check out largest peak in South East Asia as well as the picturesque mountain towns along the way. (kinda wishing, we had chosen to spend an extra few days here and climb the mount now but after Kilimanjaro just last week, my legs and rest of my body are still praying I don’t put them through anything like that for a long time).
We stopped in Nabalu for lunch and we are so happy we did. It’s known as the rest stop for those driving to Mount Kinabalu but for us it was the perfect spot to stop. It allowed us time to walk around the tourist town, taking in all the different stalls filled with fruit, veg, gifts, souvenirs and traditional musical instruments. We ended up stopping at a small café and Leo had a beaut lunch costing him just over $2NZD whereas I downed an incredibly strong coffee and grabbed some local fruit from the market to munch in the car.
This town is also the BEST photo stop if you are looking to get unobstructed views of the beautiful mountains and a glimpse of the huge Kinabalu. As the mountain is so big, it generally runs it’s own weather system so 9am or 4pm are the best time to visit when the clouds haven’t yet descended upon the mountain and the views are clear.
From there it was another 30 mins to get to Ranau. Ranau is a small town in the highlands of Sabah. Since the air is usually cool there, it provides a nice respite from the Tropical heat – apparently. We arrived and it was still roasting so don’t count on it! We checked into our accomo for the night ‘Ranau Backpackers’ and I have to say, ‘well done to me’ – it’s ace! We are paying $19NZD for a double room with private bathroom, A/C, wifi and free breakfast. I love it here, and if my bottle of water hadn’t burst in my bag the second we arrived I could have considered this the perfect day, but hey ho – not to worry. It’s so hot here things dry very quickly so there is always a silver lining to every cloud. The amazing art work on the walls of this hostel also were fantastic mood boosters and very inspirational…god I love it here!
From there we headed for a quick explore, a beer (albeit a very expensive beer) and then some dinner. We found the perfect Muslim mamak restaurant and I very sheepishly ordered us dinner in my best Malay…and guess what? I ordered perfectly and everything that came was delicious, mind you I am not too sure what the last thing was exactly but it looked like chicken, rice and had a delicious sauce so I count it as a win!
Off to Sepilok tomorrow but I have to say, I just love Malaysia. I love the people, the food and how friendly everyone is. I feel so safe here, it’s cheap, welcoming and has the best vibe! We are just so happy to be here and Borneo is so far everything I had hoped for.