Author Archives: drizad

About drizad

A self employed General Practitioner who lives with his lovely family in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. He dedicates his spare time serving people with precious information on climbing the Majestic Mountain of the Borneo, Mt Kinabalu. Reachable at drizad(at)gmail.com

Mount Kinabalu Exclusive Travel E-Guidebook

I was moved by one of our fellow adventure travelers who asked me to be more ‘physical’ on the information that I give on my website. So, after struggling for about 2 weeks studying how to create a PDF, I manage to make my website physical. A PDF for those who want to have something to print out and bring it with you on the journey.

Unfortunately, I could not give the PDF free, as there are cost incurred during the making of the PDF and to maintain a free Mount Kinabalu Borneo.com website. So, despite selling the ebook (I don’t feel it is appropriate), I will give you the ebook with only a small donations. Your donations will make the website alive and freely available for other new mountain climbers and adventure travelers like you.

You can get the instruction of the ebook here.

Mount Kinabalu Ebook

Eyesore views at Mount Kinabalu

See it for yourself. Thank you Ganesh from Singapore with all these pics. I really appreciate your effort. The photos was taken just less than a week ago.

Mount Kinabalu The abandoned projects just above Layang-layang Hut.

Mount Kinabalu
See all the damage? Looks like a rubbish dump to me.
Mount Kinabalu
Caused by one of the seven human deadly sins – GREED.

Mount Kinabalu This is the Mesilau Route -Summit Trail junction. I was really sad when I saw this.

Mount Kinabalu

Hopefully you will not be the one who do this.

Mount Kinabalu Mesilau-Summit Trail junction, where you can see all those mess.

If you are planning to climb Mount Kinabalu soon, try to take some photos of this place. Email me the photos and I will put on this blog so that we can share with adventure lovers and travelers around the world. Spread out the message of how greedy people can do to our Mother Earth. Hopefully, if our voices is loud enough, THEY can hear us and repair all the damages that has been done.

Thanks Ganesh for your photos! I put a watermark of your email on every pics!

Airasia, MAS and flyasianxpress (FAX)

Not a very good news for us – I think.

Do you know that MAS has scrapped their flight from Kota Kinabalu to Johor Baharu? Only Airasia fly that route currently. I don’t think that is a good move by MAS as a national carier. I won’t have a choice to take the flight back to Muar (my home town) but to take Airasia. I like Airasia because of the price, but I like MAS for the services.

For your information, the Kota Kinabalu airport (Terminal 2) is currently under heavy renovations. The condition is also worsen as flyasianxpress also functioning from that airport. The last time I went to the airport, it was very very crowded, noisy with the construction work and dust from the surrounding piling places. You will agree with me when you arrive in Kota Kinabalu Terminal 2.

For flyasianxpress, congratulations for your new services for the people of Borneo. I heard that the pilot for FAX were ‘loaned’ from previous MAS services. Well, at least the MAS pilot still have a choice. But pity for the lower category of staff and the ground staff for MAS. With their company resructuring, a lot of them lost their job.

I am really not agreeable with their move and scrapping flights from KK to JB is the most that I DISAGREE!!!!!!

What is RSS and how do I use it?

RSS video presentation in Simple English

If you’re still unsure about RSS, watch this video. It explains RSS in really simple English that anyone can understand. Even if you do know how to use RSS by now, I still recommend watching it. It’s pretty interesting and fun to watch 🙂

So, now you know what it’s all about, subscribe to my feed!
You can choose one of the reader below:

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The World’s Top Dive Sites in Sabah – Siadan, Mabul, Kapalai & Lankayan

Sabah is blessed with some of the most beautiful islands, coral reefs and atolls. The clear waters and exotic treasures of marine life found here have captivated visitors and divers from all over the world.

Sipadan Island
Rated as the world’s top dive sites. For the true diving enthusiast, the island needs no introduction. Praised by the internationally renowned oceanographer and filmaker Jacques Cousteau as one of the best diving spots in the world, it is unique as the only oceanic island in Malaysia.

Sipadan IslandIts geographic position puts Sipadan in the centre of the richest marine habitat in the world, the heart of the Indo-Pacific basin. Sipadan rises 600 meters from the seabed to provide spectacular wall dives and underwater garden. More than 3,000 species of fish and hundreds of coral species have been classified in this richest of ecosystem. Sipadan is also renowned for its unusually large numbers of green and hawksbill turtles, which gather there to mate and nest. It is not unsual to see more than 20 turtles on each dive.

Another unique feature to divers is the turtle tomb that contains many skeletal remains of turtles. The residential schooling barracuda and big-eye trevally are one of the highlights on every diver’s Wish-list, which often gather in thousands forming spectacular tornado-like formations. Mantas, eagle-rays, scalloped hammerhead sharks and whale sharks may also be seen, as well as as abundance of macro life.

For sustainable and conservation purpose, there will be no onsite dive resorts operating on SIpadan Island. Diving activity will continue for divers to be ferried in by operators operating from the mainland or nearby islands other than the islands of Sipadan and Ligitan.

Mabul Island
Situated only about 15 minutes by speedboat from Sipadan, Mabul is recognised as one of the world’s best “muck-diving” sites, one of the richest single destinations for exotic small marine life in the world. Flamboyant cuttlefish, blue-ringed octopus, mimic octopus, gobies and frogfishes are everywhere, as are moray, snake eels and practically the whole scorpionfish family. There is no doubt about it, mabul is a magical macro site! The beauty af Mabul and Kapalai will also appeal greatly to non-divers as well. There are two resorts on Mabul Island, with the third resort ad off-shore refurbished oil-rig.

Kapalai Reef
Kapalai Reef Actually a sandbar, Kapalai sits on top of the Ligitan Reefs. The sole resort is built water-village-style. Together with Mabul and Lankayan, Kapalai offers some of the best “muck-diving” in the world. Flamboyant cuttlefish, blue-ringed octopus, sea moths and mating mandarinfish, giant frogfish, ribbon eels, harlequin ghost pipefish and crab-eye gobies are found right by the jetty! While the abundance of other marine life like the various gobies, ambonian shrimps, mantis shrimps, crocodilefish, lionfis and scorpionfish, are unusually almost ignored as being too common here!

Lankayan Island
Lankayan Island Located in the Sulu Sea, the northeast coast of Sandakan. This is a small island paradise with only one dive resort, surrounded by stretches of white sandy beaches, swaying casuarinas and beautiful sunsets.

Described as a true macro-world paradise, there are also larger marine creatures such as leopard sharks, marbled stingray and giant grouper as well as schools of bumphead parrotfish, yellowtail barracude and scads. Nearby is the Turtle Islands Park, so the hawksbill and green turtles are also ‘visitors’ in its dive sites.

New airline service the Borneo Island – FlyAsianXpress

I read the local newspaper today, The Borneo Post and found out that there is a new airline coming up to service the public, especially for people in the Island of Borneo. FlyAsianXpress is appointed by AirAsia Bhd as a sub-contractor to handle turboprop operations, which previously handled the rural air services in Sabah and Sarawak. Just like AirAsia’s tagline ‘Now everyone can fly’, those living in remote areas in Sabah and Sarawak can start ‘flying’ from 1 Aug 2006.

They will be using lower capacity propeller aircraft such as the Fokker 50 (50 seats) and Twin Otters (19 seats).

So, for those who like to fly around the smaller cities that they service like Kudat (The Tip of Borneo), Lahad Datu, Sandakan (Sukau and orang utan) and Tawau, you can try their services. www.flyasianxpress.com. Oh yes, they fly most of Sarawak interior village also!

My advice is: Do not confused with the fare that they wrote on the website. The fare does not include the airport tax and fuel surcharge. So, if it says RM9.99, it is just the tickets. And, as it is similar to AirAsia, its free seating!

Simple step-by-step guide to the summit of Borneo

I always received emails from my fellow mountaineers about how to plan and budget their trip to the summit of Borneo. After few months collecting informations, I can summarized the guide for you to follow. First, do some homework. Decide on few of these things:

  1. How many people are going for the climb? How many adults and children? Children may have a different rate and fee for the climb.
  2. How many days are you going for the climb? You can choose either a 3D2N or 2D1N climbing package. This is important for you to decide, because for both of the packages will involve different places to stay and totally differrent transport arrangement.
  3. What is your budget range for the trip? I mean, what type of place would you like to stay in? Hostel or hotel? If you are going to climb Mount Kinabalu as a family, it might be wise for you to choose backpackers or travelers lodge.

Second, proceed to the booking of the place to stay during the climb with Sutera Sanctuary Lodges (Kinabalu Park HQ and Laban Rata).

  1. If you choose to spend 3D2N for the climb, then book a place to stay in Kinabalu Park HQ on the first night and Laban Rata on the second night.
  2. If you choose to spend only 2D1N, you just have to book a place in Laban Rata for the second night. You have to choose wether to stay in Kota Kinabalu or Kundasang on the first night.

Third, find a place to stay in Kota Kinabalu for your convenience before and after the climb, regardless of which climbing package that you planned for.

Fourth, buy your airline tickets for the trip. If you are an international traveler, make sure you come to Kota Kinabalu via Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Then you will have to choose between AirAsia or Malaysia Airline System (MAS) to get to Kota Kinabalu.

Fifth, prepare your body for the vigorous activity. Do some exercise, at least 20 minutes of jogging, swimming or any cardio activity daily, 3 times a week. Be fit at least a month before the climb.

Sixth, prepare your climbing equipment. There are no specialize equipment to climb Mount Kinabalu, but by preparing early, it will make your climbing smooth.

Seventh, for transport to Kinabalu Park from Kota Kinabalu. This particular steps is a bit difficult to pre-planned, as it is a bit difficult to book a public transport before you go. It is either book it with a travel operator, or let it be until you come to Kota Kinabalu.

There are a lot of climbing options provided by the travel operator for you on the net However, none of them provide you with this kind of information. They might loose a lot of their clients if they tell you this D-I-Y climbing package.

Oh, please remember that there are differences between Malaysian and non-Malaysian for the rate and fees for the climb. Just clarify with Sutera Sanctuary Lodges and Sabah Park.

Which one do you choose? html or cms?

I am going to write this post based on my experience on creating website using static html page compared to few open source cms software that are available from my webhosting provider, Exabytes. So, we might have a different opinion, but I appreciate any feedback.

  1. With N|vu, it was really comfortable generating a website without knowing any HTML. Although I still used good old tables for the website, while other webmasters prefer to use CSS, I still can get the look that I wanted for my website. Yes, it will be an advantage if I know CSS. I just want my website to look simple with easy navigation and not bloated with scripts that will delay my page views in the web browser. Compared to CMS software that I have tried (XOOPS, Joomla, Mambo, Drupal, php-nuke, Siteframe and Geeklog), it seems more complicated. Although the installation was a breeze from the web server, but as I entered the adminstrator page – I get lost. It seems easy, but it takes me more time to learn to get use to CMS compared to HTML. But, after getting used to the available CMS, I think I like Drupal.
  2. The other plus point about plain HTML and tables in N|vu is the ability for it to be configured with Google Adsense. I just dedicate a table for the ads, cut and paste the scripts and it is done! I can actually blend the ads into my content without ay difficulties. As you know, ads that are blended properly with the content will have more clicks! It was not the same for CMS. Because it is build with php backend, I have to download different plugins and modules for each and every cms that I tried. And, to get things worse, I have to do some tweaking of the scripts and templates. Even if I manage to put the things inside, most of the time it only broke tthe settings and I could only see error message!
  3. Designs. You can design your website as you like. There are a lot of free and open source html templates available in the net. However, with CMS, most of the time you have to choose the templates that is available. To make our own design? You have to know how to write code and programming. I do not like most of the templates available. I looks cluttered.

That is my opinion. What’s yours?

Want a FREE WYSIWYG HTML Generator?

I am not a Linux geek. I am not a programmer. I am not even a person who have a background in computer. When I got my laptop 3 years ago, I could not help but learning a lot of new things from the internet. It was not until 6 months back when I decided to go online. And, to go online, you have to have your own website.

I started to look for a suitable piece of software that could generate a professional looking website with only a fraction of a cost. As I live in Malaysia, pirated copies of Macromedia Dreamweaver, Adobe GoLive and Microsoft Frontpage is easily available from any ‘pasar malam’ (night market) around KK. I bought it for only RM5 per cd. I installed in my Acer laptop without any problem. However, when I tried to use it – I felt it was very, very difficult. I don’t know about you, but it only make me quite dissappointed. I went to bookshops around KK, with the intention to get some books on ‘howto for idiot like me’, but I notice that the book is more expensive than the pirated cd!

I did some Googling again, and found few pieces of ‘website generator’, ‘website maker’, ‘HTML Generator’, ‘website creator’ and ‘webpage maker’. I found that most of the software have limitations – its either shareware (that means you have to pay for the licence, and you are in a trial period for few days) or the software is not as ‘what you expected’.

During my search, I notice a word WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) HTML generator. It was showed on few of the software – including Nvu. I search more. I was delighted to know that it is an open source software (OSS), multi-OS compatible – it can run in Windows, Linux and Mac, it’s FREE and will not draining my laptop source because of the size. I downloaded it. For Windows it comes with binary .exe package and for my Xandros I installed it from Xandros network. I never look back since then.Oh, I realize that I have a pirated copy of Dreamweaver in my HD. As I am going to be a good Malaysian, I uninstalled it. It’s illegal. Don’t do like me. Find open source software for your software solution. You might like it.

It was not a rosy walk with Nvu initially. The installation is easy, but when I run it, I could only see a blank page. Tried with the help – but it did not help me much. I did some googling again. I finally found Chris’s website on howto for Nvu beginners. What a relieve. I followed his five days course on creating my first website. It was really easy. My initail website did not look like a website at all. I did not have a theme for it. I tried to create a website for Sabah Clinic (my clinic), but it looks really ugly. I did found some templates for Nvu, but it’s full with red dotted line (I realize that it’s only a guideline for tables on my site – later). I was happy, but still not satisfied.

I found SBI! shortly after that. With some determination in my heart, I downloaded it. After reading it for two weeks, and some ideas on what should be put in a monetizing website, I turn back to Nvu and implemented what I’ve learn from SBI!. It is a lot easier. It took me another two weeks for me to be nearly satisfied with the result. I google again. I found out another help website for Nvu from WebBriefcase. And suddenly my website is nearly complete.

[eminimall]

CSS! I realize that I need CSS. CSS is a short form for cascading stylesheet. It means that the design of the site and the content of the site is written separately. It was then read by the web browser, and you can see the result of the website with css. When I made the website, I only use the good old tables. By using tables, the design and the content of the site is written together.

I did tried to learn CSS, but the resources and information about CSS was not as good as Nvu itself. Very difficult to understand. It took my precious time concentrating on my website content. Sadly, I have to withold CSS and continue with tables. It might be primitive for some web designer, but as long as it works and it works fine, I am quite happy with it.Back to Nvu. 1 month after I create my first ever website with Nvu and SBI!, I choose Exabytes for my webhost. Why not I choose SBI! to host it? Simply because it was expensive and my Malaysian credit card could not do the transaction to Canada (where SBI! is). I nearly spend RM1250 for my website if I choose SBI!. But, with Exabytes, I only pay RM300 per year. I did save money, but I need to work hard on building my website alone as Exabytes did not give support for building a website, compared to SBI!, where they have a good support and help on building a website.

Two months after having the site, I applied for Google Adsense. The application was approved in exactly 3 days. Knowing that I use table in Nvu for my website, it was very easy for me to blend the ads inside the content. The final result – a website dedicated for Mount Kinabalu climbers, full with info that you will not get anywhere from the internet. And the rest was history…