Category Archives: General

Kota Kinabalu photo #2

Not an unusual sight if you travel to interior of Sabah. This photo was taken on my way out from Kampung Narandang, Kanibongan, Pitas. Have to be very careful not to crash onto them. Otherwise I have to pay for it.

Kota Kinabalu photo #1

We went to The Green Connection yesterday, because my daughter wants to see Nemo. Luckily for us, when we arrived there, it was about time for them to feed the fishes in the tank. You can see Eric, the staff giving some informational talks about the underwater creatures that lives inside the tank. See if you can spot a guitar shark.

Kota Kinabalu in 365 days – a photo a day project

Last night I got this idea of a project that will need me to post a photo a day – for the next 365 days to complete the year of 2011 and a month of 2012. I notice that most of Mount Kinabalu stories and issues have been brought up since this blog exists. It may or may not help you, as most of the issues are out of our control to change it.

This time around, I am planning for a slight twist of my blog post – not anymore specific to the mountain, but more to what I see everyday of my life here in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. I am going to post a photo a day, which will be captured through my BlackBerry 9780 lens almost about anything that I see around where I live.

It may or may not interest you, but it will at least give you the idea of what am I seeing everyday (because some of us think that Sabahan still live on trees).

I hope you enjoy the photos!

A patient, happens to be my good friend took this photo. The book that I am reading (under the yellow florescent pen) was “Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Revised and Updated for the 21st Century“. Yeah, my desk is a bit messy even without my laptop.

A trip to orphan home Darul Bakti, Kota Belud

It is time for me to give back to those in need. As I wrote this post, I am in fasting month of Ramadan, the month of which fasting is compulsory for all Muslims. During this month, we are required to leave all the things that nullify fasting and multiply our good deeds to others.

Along with some friends from STAROBA Sabah, a student alumni association of Sekolah Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Ipoh, were able to spend some time, energy and fund to give to the orphans and less fortunate boys in Darul Bakti, Kota Belud (map here). Darul Bakti is an orphanage home which is located in the district of Kota Belud, about 70 kilometers north of Kota Kinabalu. Occupied by 48 boys who comes from difficult family and have no parents, it is a small institution that played a role in raising the children to be useful to the community in the future. They were all aged from 6 years to 17 years.

We went there with the intention of breaking fast with them and donate some groceries for their supplies during fasting month.

We started our journey from Kota Kinabalu at around 430pm and back to Kota Kinabalu at around 1000pm. Quite an eventful evening. Thank you very much for all the members, and hopefully we will go there same time next year.

We even managed to make detour at Tuaran just to fill our empty tank with durians…

Kiram Village revisited – New paved road and more flowers!

I was there last year, spending some time with my family. Just a weekend get away from the hectic day in the clinic. Went there again last weekend for an overnight as I had some work to do on Sunday in Ranau.

I gave Bro. Jamalul a call a couple of days before, just to check whether the chalet was still available on Saturday. Luckily for me, Cabbage unit was empty.

We started our journey to Kundasang at about 4pm. It was raining throughout the journey. We even have to make a detour in Tamparuli, because of a small landslide.

Arrived in Kundasang at about 6pm. Had our dinner near Kundasang town and head up to Kiram Village in Kampung Mesilou. It was dark by the time we arrived there. The air was cool, temperature showed 14 degree Celsius. I was shivering as my wife forgot to pack a sweater for me.

As it was World Cup fever, Bro Jamalul was kind enough to lend us his 14 inches television for few of us (yes, there were other guests) to watch Germany vs Argentina. After about 35 minutes, I decided to go back to my chalet as it was really cold at the open hut.

There was not much sunshine in the morning because of the clouds. It’s clear with gray sky. I decided to take a walk around the village to snap some shots with my model. Obviously, there were more flowers and more beautiful!

If you decided to go there and spend your weekend with your family, just reply to this blog post. Enjoy the photos!

Please check out Kiram’s Village Cabin here.

Kinabalu Blog updates – II

For the past few days, I managed to do some clean ups and updates on this blog. I have been neglecting this blog for almost 6 months, in which partly was due to my hectic schedule and some* laziness. I am really sorry for that matter.

During those 6 months hiatus, my spirit of fighting for the climbers right to get a cheaper package to climb was also slowly worn off. It seems that our cry fall on deaf ears. Thanks to one of our loyal reader and supporter, Pau Kar Liau, there is a cause in facebook that is voicing out this issue. At this moment, I can see that there are more than 5000 supporters have been registered. Thank you very much for supporting! If you still have not sign up with us, please do so here. It may be the least that you can do.

At one time when my spirit was really low, I decided to sell off this website and blog. I feel there is nothing more we can do to get SSL to help us lighten the burden of the climbers from paying sky high for a climb. Selling my website may be a simple way out, but I don’t think it’s a wise decision.

That is why I leave the website & blog in hiatus for about 6 months, while I busy compiling and editing my upcoming book. It’s harder than I think it was.

Because I love the mountain, I decided NOT to sell this website & blog. And I decided that “Kinabalu Blog” book MUST be published.

Because I have a dream.

Whatever happens, this blog and website must move on. Although we cannot do anything with the pricing structure from Sutera Sanctuary Lodge, I think I still can tell our visitors how unique Kinabalu is. How beautiful it is during sunrise. And how hard it is to climb. Using this blog and using this website.

That is why the book idea came out. Not all visitors can read all the best blog post from this blog at one visit.

By compiling the blog in a book, you can get my best publication on your hand.

With more than 3k email newsletter subscribers, I don’t think I do justice by not giving them the best out of this blog, inspired by the majestic mountain of Borneo.

For those who wants to know what happened technically at the background, this would be it:

  • Upgraded my WordPress blog engine from 2.7.1 (archaic) to 2.9.2. Some of the plugins broke the theme, but I managed to fix it. I also saw some funny scripts running around while logging in with 2.7.1. Most probably security has been breached. I am now feeling more secured with the latest engine.
  • Migrating my email newsletter subscriber from phplist to aweber. phplist has been really useful to me for the past 4 years, but when my list got bigger, the exabytes server doesn’t seems to be happy with it sending 3k email in one go. I am in a process of migrating the list to aweber, a paid and more professional email marketing manager. Hopefully it can cope with the increasing number of subscribers, and I need their service to help on promoting my book.
  • With the book on the way, I am going to let go the archaic website PDF in ebook. I may give it out as a free gift when you buy the “Kinabalu Blog” book. It felt funny reading my own writings years ago.
  • With the help from Stephanie Teo of Summerlodge Tours, I managed to also help visitors who wants to climb the mountain to contact her direct for a great pricing package. She is the most helpful person when dealing with booking, and for the past 6 months, she managed to help around 10-15 climbers get up the mountain.

You just have to wait for few more weeks. I sent my draft to Lulu publisher yesterday, and hopefully they will finished it before the end of next week.

2010 updates on Kinabalu Blog

It has been quite a long time since I last update this blog. Busy, I guess.

Thank you for those who still send me emails asking what happened. Well, hopefully this post will enlightened us a bit.

For the past several months I have been busy compiling, editing, creating, cut & pasting, organising and cracking my head, trying to put this blog pieces together to make it a book.

As up to now, I have chosen 27 timeless blog post from this blog to be included, in which, each and every post will be edited professionally by Lulu editors. At last, I have decided to use their services to publish my book. If all are according to plan, the book will be out in June/July this year.

For your information, the book is written for climbers who wants to know more than just how to go about planning to climb the mountain. While my main website, covers all the area of climbing from start to finish, this book is for those who wants to know the details of getting more fun climbing Kinabalu. As you know, all posts inside the book are taken from this blog, edited professionally by Lulu editors.

Among the post that are included are:

  1. Climbing the mountain with children.
  2. How to choose a climbing backpack.
  3. How to choose sport shoes for the climbathon.
  4. Other trails in Kinabalu Park HQ.
  5. Emergency evacuation for injured climbers.

As I wrote this post, I am in the process of selecting photos to be included. Some of the photos were contributed by our readers, and some from Mountain Torq, via ferrata operator of Kinabalu.

The Kinabalu Blog book cover

The Kinabalu Blog book cover

So please be patient. Its difficult for me to juggle my clinic work, this blog/book/website & my family at the same time. I promise that you will get a high quality book from a high quality publisher soon. Wish me luck. 😉

For the past several months, I was very lucky to get some help from one of the best tour operator around Kota Kinabalu on handling our numerous numbers of Mount Kinabalu climbing bookings. Initially we really got some challenges when one of the company’s freelance tour guide apparently involved in some fraudulent activities. We managed to solve the problems and now, we are more cautious on getting other people on board.

Stephanie is just a wonderful person. She deals with all our readers and upcoming climbers professionally, and really helping them achieved their dreams of stepping on the highest peak of Borneo. While the pricing structure is an issue that is still going on without any news of getting attention from the relevant authorities, she served all our climbers well. We know that pricing is an area where we cannot do anything as it has been fixed by Sutera Sanctuary Lodges. But for quality services, we don’t compromise.

For those who planned to get to the peak anytime in the future, just send her an email from our booking page. You are actually getting the best climbing price around the net, with a “HIGHLY RECOMMENDED” 5 star service from ME!!!

Part time porters of Kinabalu

Received an email from one of Kinabalu climbers, Mr. Mohd Redza. He sent me a photo of 2 young porters of Kinabalu with a very short story. Enjoy.

Hi Drizad

I have the opportunity to climb Mount Kinabalu on the 27/3/2010 with my friends.

It was an interesting and wonderful walk. But during my hiking up from Mesilau, I met with these two girls and one of them is a 12 year old and a 16 years old who happen to be the younger girl aunt.To my surprise they were there as a part time porter during weekends and schools holidays.It really hurt my heart to find out at so young age they have to carry heavy loads.( The 12 years old girl is carrying 6kg and the 16 yrs 15kg ).

And the saddest part is that the 12 year old is wearing her school shoes and part of her track pants torn.

I also met with the 12 year old girl grandfather who is 70 yrs old and carrying a load of 20kg.

It really hurts me especially when I met them again at Laban Rata after I came down from the summit,it was cold and a bit windy and the 12 yr old girl is in cold and I do not have extra clothing which is suitable for to wear.I went back inside the rest house to take my PDA so that I can take down their names but by the time I came out all three of them have gone.

Attached is a photograph of me and the 2 girls.Appreciate if u met them please take their names and address.


Young porters of Kinabalu

Ellie’s True Story : Our Holiday 2001, Part 5

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4
It did. Wednesday dawned bright and sunny. We were filled with new hope. Brian Wood from Travelbag, who had flown out to support us, asked if we would like to accompany him to Mount Kinabalu that morning. The SMART team (Special Malaysian Army Rescue Team) from Kuala Lumpur had arrived and the helicopters were made ready to fly. Ellie just had to be found today. We packed a bag and climbed into the car provided for us by the Deputy High Commissioner in KK.

We were just pulling out of the car park when Brian received a call on his mobile phone. He said ‘Stop the car’. My heart froze. I knew that my darling, beautiful daughter had been found dead. It was the most horrible moment of my life, but strangely, I felt an enormous sense of relief. We returned to our room and within ten minutes I had written the tribute to Ellie, which appeared in the British national press the following day. It is extraordinary how something written quickly, in a state of extreme grief and desperation, has become a cliché used by many of the people who have sent us cards and messages of condolence. ‘Ellie achieved more in seventeen and a half years than most people do in seventy five’. It is heartening that people agree with me.

Ellie had been spotted from the main trail soon after dawn. The guide who saw the pink lining of Ellie’s ski jacket through his binoculars was the younger brother of our guide, Sugarah. By the time he had confirmed that Ellie was dead and returned to the restaurant at Laban Rata to ensure that the message was relayed to us, it was 10.20. It took the best part of an hour for the guides to get from the main trail to where Ellie’s body lay which is an indication of the difficulty of the terrain. It took a further two hours to bring Ellie’s body down a ridge to the main trail on a stretcher. Ellie was finally brought back to the Park Headquarters as the sun was setting. The guides, aware of the press attention, with heads bowed formed a protective shield around the stretcher carrying her, to deny the photographers their pictures.

Very late that evening we went to the mortuary to identify Ellie. We were aware that two dozen photographers had gathered. The police did not help much by guiding us in with their lights flashing. We were unable to get into the mortuary without fighting our way through. Bruce damaged at least one camera in the process. We saw Ellie, exquisite but cold, still wearing all her clothes that were soaked through. Ellie had been found with her legs inside her rucksack but without her ski jacket.

The few things that she had taken with her were neatly lined up in the lee of the cliff: the camera, water bottle, small hand torch, head torch, money, first aid kit, tissues and contact lens case. She was well prepared. It is a pity that she had not also packed waterproof trousers and a foil blanket. It is possible that in a late stage of hypothermia and feeling warm and cosy rather than cold, she had removed her jacket together with her two pink hats. In death her face was perfect and more beautiful than we had ever known her. With neat eyebrows and heightened colour in her cheeks, she looked like the bust of Queen Nefertiti that Ellie had admired in a Berlin museum years before.

The photographers were still there, annoyed apparently that we had released a statement via the British Press Association, when we had refused to be interviewed locally. We were unaware of the extent of the coverage back in the UK. Although Ellie’s story was front page news in the Sabah press, we saw nothing on television and had not been approached by local newspapers. The management and staff of the Tanjung Aru resort discreetly screened all of our phone calls and ensured our privacy by patrolling the grounds in pairs. Bruce shouted at the photographers who were crowding around us again and chased them off. The police did little to discourage him. The incident was reported the following day as a ‘commotion at the mortuary’, not the sort of publicity we wanted.

On Friday there was a service for Ellie conducted by the local Chinese, Anglican minister. The congregation was large as Outward Bound Sabah closed for the day and all Tom’s friends and colleagues came to offer their support. The hymn chosen from the service book was ‘Amazing Grace,’ one of Ellie’s favourites. Ellie was dressed in the batik skirt and top, similar to that worn by Malaysian Airlines cabin crew, she had bought when we were first in KK.

We rode with her in the hearse to the local Chinese cemetery where Ellie was cremated in the simplest coffin available made from marine ply. Although both ceremonies were much more open and public than is usual in the West, they were very moving and we felt that Ellie would have approved. Certainly Ellie had told us that should she die, she wanted to be cremated as simply as possible and we could not bear the thought of traipsing round the world with a coffin in tow.

We had already asked our tour leader if we could return to the village where our guides lived. We were keen to thank them for their unstinting efforts, day and night, to find Ellie. Although the SMART team had been given much prominence in the press, they had not arrived in time to do any searching. They took eight hours to get up the first part of the mountain – that which Ellie had completed in a little over two and a half hours. Wednesday morning saw them eating breakfast and saying prayers when the news arrived that Ellie had been found. Earlier in the week some locally based soldiers had searched lower down the mountain lest Ellie had somehow reached the forest. Unfortunately, seven of their number became lost for a short time.