Dear Travelling, I Miss You So Much



I miss hunting for cheap airfares. 


I miss planning and drafting itineraries as well doing budgeting. 

I miss packing my bags, being luggage or backpack type. 

I miss going to the airport counter and getting the boarding pass. 

I miss walking down the aisle and sitting to my favourite seat - the window where I can get the awesome aerial view. 

I miss landing on new places for new adventures and journey. 

I miss savouring the local food. 

I miss reading the map, hop on and off the buses and trains. 

I miss taking thousands of photos. 

I miss getting magnets, writing postcards and buying stamps in every places I go. 

TRAVELLING, I miss you so much. Wondering when will I see you again? 
I know I'm lucky that I able to explore many parts of Sabah but I want something more. Something far far away, before my passport is going to expire next year. Oh no!


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First Flight in 2021

 Initially I thought that I'm not going to fly anywhere for the year 2021,

#1: Oh well! I guess no one knows what future holds

It's been more than a year since my last flight to Kuala Lumpur end of July last year and you know what, there were few nights I kept dreaming of packing my luggage bags and catching flights. Obviously, I miss the feeling of flying and travelling until it kept appearing in my dreams. But when comes to travel abroad, although our government allows those who have been fully vaccinated to travel overseas now, somehow for me I'm still pretty skeptical about it. What if I fall ill abroad? How it might affect my subsequent travel plan and so. Lots of these uncertainties keep appearing in my head. Travel has somehow become so foreign to me and frankly speaking, I'm not ready yet to travel abroad at this moment. How about you? Would you dare to take the risk to travel abroad now? 

As for now, I choose to travel domestically first and last week, both of my husband and I went to Tawau. Trying to recall when was my last trip there cause previously, I kept focusing to travel out of Malaysia. Feeling good to be back again and our journey don't end here as we continue to Semporna

#2: One of the sights I miss the most - The airport board 

#3: Time to dig out my backpack from the store room 

Sometimes, flight cancellation is not a bad thing afterall. Originally, our trip to Tawau and Semporna was supposed to be 4 days 3 nights but due to the flight cancellation by AirAsia, both of us decided to extend for another day for our trip. And because of that, we splurged a bit by staying overnight on Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort which dubbed as Maldives of Malaysia. 

#4: Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort (will blog more about this)

#5: Checked-in to paradise 

Besides snorkelling for me and diving for the husband, one of the most popular activities that shouldn't miss out by any visitors when comes to Semporna is hike up to Bohey Dulang

#6: Not an easy hike up to Bohey Dulang but once you get to the top, it's worth all the sweat. 

#7: Thank goodness for the perfect weather cause once it's raining, visitors are not allowed to hike

That's a quick sneak peak of my trip to Semporna and Sipadan - short and brief. I will try to spend some time to blog in more details soon.
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All About Seaview in Kota Kinabalu Marriott Hotel

Barely more than 3 years, Kota Kinabalu Marriott Hotel is the latest addition of 5-star luxury hotel at Sabah's state capital of Kota Kinabalu. Sits on the bustling waterfront which is famed for dining and entertainment options, this hotel consists of more than 300 guest rooms and suites, four dining outlets including a picturesque rooftop bar, a grand ballroom, meeting venues, a spa, gym and an outdoor infinity pool overlooking of South China Sea. 

#1: Kota Kinabalu Marriott Hotel, the latest addition of 5-star luxury hotel in the city

Last year, my husband and I take turns to treat each other for a short but cozy retreat since we unable to go and travel abroad. My husband happened to stumble upon promo offered by this hotel, and so he decided to book for 2D1N staycation during the Merdaka Day's holiday.

Date Stayed: 31 August - 1 September 2020 (1 Night)
Type of Room: Executive Premier Corner Room with Balcony and Ocean View 
Room Rate: RM370 per night (Booked via Agoda)
Breakfast: Included

If you are driving a car during your stay, you can park on the 6th floor of Oceanus Mall or a public space which both of them located just side by side to the hotel. At that time during our stay, it's free but not sure with now. 

#2: Grand and dramatic looking lobby area

During our check-in process, we didn't have to wait any longer to reach our time as most of the front desks were readily to be served by the friendly staff. The check-in process was pretty fast and smooth and the next thing we know is time to get ready to check out the awesome room assigned to us.

#3

THE ROOM
To my surprise, my husband booked the executive premier corner room with balcony that offer gorgeous seaview instead when initially I thought he just booked a deluxe seaview without a balcony. I was indeed impressed and fascinated with the view looking out from the room. Room wise, I felt it's relatively compact space with a king bed sized, a medium size couch, tea and coffee making facilities with mini fridge and a small round shape desk.  

#4: Executive Premier Corner Room with Balcony and Ocean View 

#5: A happy wife, a happy life

#6: Coffee and tea making facilities 

Apart from the balcony, my favourite area would be the bathroom. Not just that it has bathtub but the way that both shower area and bathtub are being placed which again, facing the seaview. But of course, you need to press a button to let the curtain down before showering, or else you will be doing a free show. 

#6: Bathtub and shower area placed towards the seaview 

#7: Fancy this kind of bathroom 

#8: How I wish I could wake up to this gorgeous panoramic view every morning? 

FACILITIES 
One of the main highlights of Kota Kinabalu Marriott Hotel would be the outdoor infinity pool. Not just that it offers idyllic view of South China Sea, one can even enjoy the breathtaking golden sunset view from here. By the way, do you know that Kota Kinabalu is listed as one of the Top 10 Cities for Best Sunset View?  
 
#9: Outdoor infinity pool overlooking the gorgeous South China Sea and breathtaking sunset

#10: Gymnasium. It used to open 24 hours but due to government restrictions, I think it only opens for certain hour.  

THE BREAKFAST
As my husband booked the room rate which included along with the breakfast, I have been anticipating for it since the day we checked in. Immediately on the next morning, we woke up early to fill up our empty tummy. The breakfast was served at Kitchen@8 which located on the 8th floor. While some other hotels chosen to serve breakfast in ala carte, luckily this hotel continues to serve their breakfast in buffet style as usual. As that's mean wide selection of food to choose from and their breakfast ain't disappointed at all cause the breakfast spread is significantly extensive. Aside from the typical breakfast such as nasi lemak, roti canai, American breakfast, they even served chicken rice. 

#11: Again, breakfast with a view. 

#12: Wide selection of buffet spread to choose from  

Among all the 5-star international hotel chains I have stayed in Kota Kinabalu city, I can conclude that this is the best one and my most favourite to stay with, particularly for its unrivalled view of South China Sea. Right from the moment we check-in into the room, our eyes were non-stop feasting with this gorgeous view not just from the room, but from the bathroom to swimming pool and even during the breakfast time. Therefore, if you are looking for a hotel in Kota Kinabalu with a stunning sea and sunset view, I would highly recommend this. And if you are planning to stay in this hotel, please go and book the one with a seaview and you will never regret for doing so. The only thing I noticed about this hotel is that it might not suitable for the business traveller as it doesn't have proper working place. Other than that, I can say it's worth every penny you pay for. 

#13: Looking for a hotel with Instagrammable spot? Kota Kinabalu Marriott Hotel is the one

Distance From Kota Kinabalu Marriott Hotel
  • Oceanus Waterfront Mall - Just besides the hotel but this mall is pretty empty with almost 90% of them closed. 
  • Centre Point Shopping Mall / KFC / Pizza Hut - 6 minutes of walking
  • Filipino Market - 8 minutes of walking
  • Imago Shopping Mall - 3 minutes of drive / 9 minutes of walking
  • Gaya Street - 4 minutes of drive / 15 minutes of walking
  • Suria Sabah Shopping Mall - 4-5 minutes of drive
  • Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal - 5 minutes of drive
  • Tanjung Aru Beach - 10 minutes of drive
  • Kota Kinabalu International Airport - 12 minutes of drive
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2D1N Staycation in Hilton Kota Kinabalu

Last year, my husband and I did few staycations in the city center of Kota Kinabalu when the number of cases were relatively low. You know after stuck at home for an extended of long period, we need a short escape but with little sprinkle of sweet getaway. In addition, there were quite number of local hotels are doing promotions, particularly the international hotel chains which immediately caught our attention. 

As for this post, I will share about our staycation at Hilton Kota Kinabalu.    


Date Stayed: 12 August - 13 August 2020 (1 Night)
Type of Room: King Accessible Room
Room Rate: RM186.73 per night (Booked via Agoda)
Breakfast: Included

Tucked right in the heart of the city center, Hilton Kota Kinabalu is the one and only property of Hilton situated in Sabah. This 5-star luxury hotel consists of 305 different rooms and suites, 4 dining options, functional event ballrooms and also an outdoor pool to cater both of the leisure and business travellers. 

#2

Rest assured when staying with any Hilton's properties during this period cause they will disinfect and sanitize all the rooms and suites before allowing any of their guest to do the check-in. You can spot the blue sticker stick outside the door with the word "Clean Stay".

#3

THE ROOM
Our room was located on the 11th floor, which is the same floor as the outdoor swimming pool as well as the rooftop poolside bar and grill. Decorated in natural tone colour, the room is appointed with a wall-mounted TV, a mini fridge with tea and coffee making facilities, a long working table and stylish couch. As for the size of the room, it's not that spacious but it's sufficient enough for us to place our luggage at one spot and easily for us to move around. And look, they even folded a lovely couple of towel swam on the bed for our anniversary celebration. That so sweet! 

#4

#5

#6

Bathroom wise, this room features a see through window from the bathroom but fret not, cause there's a curtain which you can pull down so that you won't feel shy when taking your bath. I don't know about you but I'm still feeling shy eventhough we're officially married now. There's no bathtub provided for this type of room, but I enjoyed the powerful rain shower on the top. 

#7

#8: Toiletries from Crabtree & Evelyn 


ROOFTOP POOL 

Since the outdoor pool is located at the same floor as our room, my husband and I casually went to have a look, though we ain't planning to go for a swim. The pool might not seems large and long, but there are plenty of chairs and sun loungers for the in-house guests to relax or even sunbathing. 

#9: Turquoise colour umbrellas and sun loungers

#10

#11: You can even get awesome view overlooking Kota Kinabalu city from the top floor


ROOFTOP POOLSIDE BAR & GRILL
Before the pandemic time, the breakfast was initially served in Urban Kitchen which was located on the ground floor but then, they moved to the Rooftop Poolside Bar & Grill. And because of that, the breakfast is no longer served in buffet spread and they shifted to ala carte option instead.  

#12: Rooftop Poolside Bar & Grill - This is where they served breakfast, lunch and even dinner during the pandemic time.

#13: Complimentary breakfast served in ala carte during this pandemic crisis

Apart from the breakfast, we even had our dinner there in order to celebrate our anniversary. They do serve lunch too, and from their menu, majority are Western cuisines such as burgers, pastas and pizzas. My husband and I decided to order a bowl of soup and two main dishes. 


#14: Pan Fried Salmon with Soba Noodle - This is dish is just so-so for us 

#15: Chicken Tikka Masala - Not on their menu but turned out to be this is our favourite and we finished everything. 

#16: Always adhere to SOP by wearing the mask all the time, especially when in public area

Overall, my husband and I were indeed enjoyed our staycation eventhough there are few facilities and dining options were closed due to the restriction imposed by the government. We enjoyed sleeping on the comfy bed, the remarkbly clean room and attentive services by the hotel staff. 

However, the one and only downside of this hotel is the view, where all the guests will getting the same city view due the location of the hotel is built exactly in the middle of business district area. If you are someone who is looking for a room with spectacular seaview, then this hotel might not suit your requirement.

[Photo credit to Agoda]


Distance From Hilton Kota Kinabalu: 
  • Welcome Seafood Restaurant (one of the best local seafood in town) - Just behind the hotel
  • Borenos Fried Chicken (our local love this more than KFC) - Also just behind the hotel
  • Centre Point Shopping Mall - 10 minutes of walking
  • Gaya Street - 4 minutes of drive / 13 minutes of walking
  • Imago Shopping Mall - 5 minutes of drive
  • Suria Sabah Shopping Mall - 7 minutes of drive
  • Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal - 8 minutes of drive
  • Tanjung Aru Beach - 11 minutes of drive
  • Kota Kinabalu International Airport - 12 minutes of drive
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Stranded in Narvik Because We Missed Our Bus

Sometimes, things don't go as we planned. And this happened during our journey from Sweden to Norway. 


Initially, we're planning to travel to Tromso, Norway by taking train from Abisko to Narvik and from there, continue by bus. Everything has been planned and booked prior to our trip. But what caused us to miss our bus? Not because we're late or overslept but because the train from Abisko to Narvik was delayed for hours. And the worst part, that's the one and only train runs per day. Therefore once we miss the train, directly we will miss the bus to Tromso too. 
 
Oh dear train! Where are you? 

Somehow, my friend and I were expecting this incident to occur cause it's pretty common, especially for those trains in outskirt area. After few hours of waiting, finally the train arrived but we felt pointless, cause by the time we reach Narvik, even the last bus has left and departed to Tromso. And that's mean we have no choice but to book a night stay in Narvik at the very last minute. Luckily for both of us, we do always standby with our debit/credit cards - you know in case of any unforeseen circumstances happened. 

Narvik, a city in northern Norway with a small population of about 14,000 

Overall, Narvik is proportionally small in size. There's nothing much for us to roaming around, except a shopping mall, Amfi Narvik which located right in the middle of the town. We're quite lucky that there are few accommodations available for booking on the spot cause Narvik is not well-known for tourism purposes. In case you have extra budget, you can consider staying at Scandic Narvik but my friend and I opt for the affordable one. 


OUR LAST MINUTE BOOKING OF ACCOMMODATION IN NARVIK
Frankly speaking, this is not my first time of experiencing last minute booking an accommodation in certain city. That's why my friend was kinda surprised to see why I wasn't nervous at all and yet, I was pretty steady when we missed both the train and bus. For me, no point of feeling down and we need to immediately come out with a solution if anything happened. So once we missed our bus, instantly I browsed those booking apps like Agoda, Booking.com and Airbnb. Time waits for no one, you know. 

The one we booked in Narvik was fairly good, especially in terms of location where it's quite close to the bus station. The host was quite accommodate with our last minute booking but at the same time, she was shocked why we did so until we told her what happened to our unfortunate incidents. The property was spacious and consider big for just two of us. I think this place is perfectly fit up to 4 guests. The area I adore much is the kitchen as it's well-equipped with all sorts of appliances. Should grab this opportunity to do homecook but both of us were kinda exhausted. 






Queenstreet Apartment (Unfortunately they're permanently closed due to the pandemic)
Date Stayed: 14 September - 15 September 2016 (1 nights) 

The apartment was utterly cozy and homey while the weather at outside was gloomy and cold due to the rain poured down earlier making both of us lazy to go out. We spent most of our times staying inside the apartment - browsing Facebook and Instagram, transferring photos and planning what to do on the next day. 

Our lunch before departing to Tromso on the following day


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