Category Archives: General

Sutera Harbour 7K Sunset Charity Run 2008

This annual charity event is here again for the 8th time! Although I have never participate it myself 9although last year I intended to), this year is a bit special, as one of the beneficiaries for this year’s event is Special Olympic Sabah! The other non-profit organization that will receive the benefit is Sabah Thalassemia Society, in which, I was also involved while I was working in Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

This is an event where you register yourself to participate in their 7 kilometers run, and try your best to make it under 77 minutes. There will be no winners in this event, but if you manages to complete the route in the allocated time, you will qualify for a lucky draw prize just after the run.

By paying RM20 for adult, and RM10 for children, you will be given a t-shirt and some of your money will be donated to the beneficiaries.

The main sponsor for this event would be Digi, one of Malaysian mobile telecommunication company and F&N 100 Plus.

So, if you happen to be around Kota Kinabalu on Saturday, 26th July 2008, spend some money for the needy, get yourself some sweat and have a jolly good time with the crowd. There will be live entertainment, food and games stalls that add to the festive carnival atmosphere.

Call their 7K hotline for registration and information: +6088-308121.
http://www.suteraharbour.com/promotions.php/type/events/item/76

I will try my best to join the event!!!

Please help Kristina & her daughter…

I actually received Kristina’s email 9 days ago. However, my life has been really occupied for the past couple of weeks. And for some other reason, I missed her important email.

When I did some cleaning of my inbox today, I found her email in my draft box. In short, she is looking for her memory card and possibly her digital camera, in which, she left the items in a taxi.

If anybody could help, please drop your comment in the comment box below. This is her email:

Hello! Me and my daughter Karin stayed and climbed in Mount Kinabalu park between 22-24 of may. We were in your reception this saturday, 24th, about 5 pm, to take a taxi to Kota Kinabalu. We used your luggage room several times.

We went with one of the taxis outside your office. We forgot a camera in the taxi and wonder if you have any possiblity to ask the driver if he have seen our camera. The camera brand is Vivitar in a black case. We just want the memorycard, the camera is not importent. We are mother and daughter from sweden, we hope you remember us.

If you find it PLEASE send the memorycard to:
Kristina Carlsson
Gladhem
61032 Vikbolandet
Sweden

Please send an email, we can pay if anyone fund it.
gladhem(at)hotmail.com
phone: 0046709561108
or 004611344166

Thanks
Best regards
Kristina and Karin

Try booking your Kinabalu climbing package through Kumuka

Hmm… Long list of disgruntled climbers jot down their comments in few of my blog post about how sucks it is to contact SSL directly to get a place to climb. It has been few months since my post about Kumuka.com, one of the international tour and travel provider whom seems to be able to pre-book Kinabalu climb for 5+ people each months.

Oh wait… They actually have 5+ availability each months for their 2d1n AND the same availability for 3d2n trip. That makes them having at least 10+ beds at Laban Rata.

I don’t know how did they manage to do that. If you can look into the screenshot below, they even have their own pre-booked dates up until JUNE 2010.

If you check from Kumuka.com website (my affiliate advertiser), they put USD315 for 2d1n and USD370 for 3d2n. If you convert it to RM, you may have to burn RM1128 for 3d2n or RM967 for 2d1n packages. That looks like overpriced, but you cannot complain when the service provider is an international company.

The 3d2n packages will include 2 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners, all activities and entrance fees as per itinerary, local guides, mountain guide, park naturalist (I have never heard about park naturalist before. But I hope they meant Sabah Park Renjers). On this trip you will stay in twin bedded cabins (read: not the ordinary Medang and Menggilan Hostel) at Kinabalu Park, and in Laban Rata Guesthouse on Mt Kinabalu.

The 2d1n packages will include 1 breakfast, 2 lunches, 1 dinner, all activities and entrance fees as per itinerary & guiding on tour with mountain guide. Accommodation on this tour is at Laban Rata Guesthouse on Mount Kinabalu.

Sigh… It looks overpriced for an average Malaysian climbers, as I spent less than RM300 (~USD95) in my last climb up the mountain couple of years back.

But, if you don’t mind forking out some money for a trip of a lifetime (or could rob a bank to get that much money), try booking your trip with them. So far, nobody emailed me anything about this international services. No feedback received for their good or bad services. No news at all.

So, I would suggest climbers, international especially, to try and book your climbing package through them. It may saves you some money making international call to SSL, in which sometimes your call will be ignored.

Help me by booking through my affiliate link here:
http://tinyurl.com/6cmb98

You will then be directed to a new window. All you have to do then is click “Asia”, and you will be shown a whole lot list of Asian tour packages. Scroll down, until you see Mount Kinabalu climbing packages, with the code of ASB7 and ASB8.

Click “More info”, and you will be directed to their description page. Read it carefully and scroll down until you see their Important Information (typed in RED):

Any references to availability or non availability of tours which include the trek to the summit of Mt Kinabalu, listed beside the departure dates on our website, should be treated as a guide only. Whilst Kumuka endeavours to keep this information as current as possible please keep in mind that the availability of beds at the Resthouses on the mountain is limited, and can change rapidly, and we cannot guarantee availability for the trek.

So, it seems that they also have minor issues on the availability of the beds in Laban Rata, heh?

Anyway, after scrolling down some more, you will then see the “Departures” start and end date. See which dates that you intended to go, and look at the “Availability”. Click “Book Tour” if you have find the dates that you planned to go.

Just get ready with your credit card. I really hope that you can book and secure a bed up in Laban Rata.

My opinion?

If you are an international climber (means non-Malaysian, or even Singaporean, Brunei or Indonesian), it is a good option to book from them. Yes, it is slightly overpriced, but for the packages and the services, we could not complain much.

If you are a Malaysian, then try to contact them by phone directly. It seems that the administration for SSL is currently held by Sutera Harbour. They claimed that their services are improving. You may want to proof that they are right. Google their link and get their phone number from there.

Again, here is the link: http://tinyurl.com/6cmb98

Good Luck!

Upgrading Kinabalu Blog from WordPress 2.1.3 to 2.5.1 completed

The upgrading process of this blog has been long delayed due to some problems. I have been running this blog using WordPress version 2.1.3 for the past 18 months.

Few attempts to upgrade this blog to version 2.2 and 2.3 few months back failed and I had to call Exabytes support to revert the installation. The attempt was done through Fantastico (an automatic web application installer) that was pre-installed into my webhosting server.

I was really tempted to upgrade earlier, but because of the few failed installation before, I did not dare to upgrade, as this blog could go wary again. I was really afraid to loose my blog.

On the other hand, not upgrading to the latest version of WordPress could leads to even nastier outcome, as you can read from around the blogosphere, security issues is the main concern on blogs that runs on old version of WordPress. I don’t want this blog to get hacked.

Luckily today, it occurred to me that all the failed upgrading attempt on this blog was made WITH ALL MY PLUGINS ACTIVATED.

So, I decided to deactivate all my plugins and just do the upgrading. I also switched the blog theme to WordPress Kubrick default, in case the theme gets in the way.

I also made a database back-up, in case anything goes wrong.

I prayed hard, and clicked the “Upgrade” button in my cPanel Fantastico Home for WordPress (from 2.1.3 to 2.5.1) and waited…

To my surprise, my blog came through the upgrading process safely. Although it is using the default theme, I was in a huge relief.

After that process, I activated my plugins – one by one. I noticed that half of the plugins that I had were incompatible with version 2.5.1. Some plugins just did not work, with some others produces gibberish php code on the blog header.

It took me the whole morning getting through the plugins and themes. Hopefully all can be settled in the next couple of days.

Have you upgrade your WordPress?

What have Kinabalu Blog tried to be?

Yes. I sometimes wonder, what have I done to the online Kinabalu community, for the past 3 years mount-kinabalu-borneo.com went online?

I started a website about climbing Kinabalu nearly 3 years ago, just out of curiosity on “making money online” in addition to my personal satisfaction on giving people the information in the internet on how to go about climbing Kinabalu.

At the time when I started the website, no relevant information on climbing Kinabalu was around, apart from the Wikipedia and scattered information on climbing packages in travel & tour websites.

Nany in hospitalIt was a huge decision back then. Going from a medical background, without any ideas on computer, internet & website creation, I joined thousands of other “newbie webmasters” creating another website. It was hard, but it was worthwhile.

Years have passed. The impact of having mount-kinabalu-borneo.com online, and Kinabalu Blog a year later, have been really tremendous to me personally. I did not expect the impact to be this big, but I was really glad that it did.

At least, climbers from all over the world will get the true pictures of Kinabalu from my own personal experiences.

What have I tried to be?

I have been trying to be an insider. Giving you the info on things that is going on here in Kota Kinabalu & Mount Kinabalu, which you would not get it from anywhere else.

I have been trying to be the guru. I have written articles and teaches climbers mountain climbing tips, specifically for Mount Kinabalu.

I have been trying to be the saviour. Telling people on how “human greed” could destroy the majestic mountain in just a very short while. Saving the mountain would take ages and a lot of effort have to be put in.

I have been trying to be a climber’s friend. Telling stories about the mountain as if you are my very close friend. I just want my friend to experience the mountain like I did. So, I am telling you everything that I know. There is nothing for me to hide.

I have been trying to be a reporter. Some of you will not know that there are people who can climb up and down the mountain in less than 3 hours, with a total distance of 21km.

I have been trying to be a promoter. I fell in love with this place not long after I arrived here, 8 years ago. And end up married one of their gorgeous girls. I surely love to promote this place to each and everyone of you, to come and see it for yourself. Gone are the days when people from the peninsular thinks that Sabah is a place to avoid.

I am just trying to be me. With bits and pieces of my personal story, in which, trying to be more “personal” with you, so that the barrier between the you and me is really, just your computer screen…

Have I tried enough?

Photo caption: My daughter, Nany was admitted to Likas Hospital last week for 5 days due to pneumonia. Praise the Lord, she is now recovering well.

Now share with us your SSL experiences…

After 3 days fighting spam bots with my phpBB version 2, I decided to upgrade it to phpBB3. Unfortunately, the configuration for administrator sucks. I don’t know why, but it took me longer time to configure it out compared to the existing Simple Machine forum engine.

Kinabalu ForumLuckily, only Kay and Meng Chwen registered, and no ‘genuine’ forum post written yet.

Now that I have improvise registration process, I am hoping that there will be no more automatic bots registration into the forum.

Now back to our serious business…

I want your feedback on SSL.

Any experiences will do, either good or bad. But I know, mostly bad experiences.

They rarely answer phone calls. Even if they do, they don’t do it professionally.

They rarely answer emails that was emailed from their official website. And most of the emailers contact me for explanation.

They will ask you to call them everyday to check whether there are any cancellation on their booking in Laban Rata. But when you call, they rarely pick up the phone.

The booking is always full.

It sucks isn’t it?

Now please don’t comment here. Please get into the forum (You have to register yourself in. It is a simple process), and write up your experiences. I am hoping to get as much as I can. I even have made a forum post specifically for you on that matter.

Share your experiences dealing with Sutera Sanctuary Lodges with us!

Saya juga menulis topik yang sama dalam Bahasa Melayu, supaya pembaca berbahasa Melayu juga dapat memberikan maklumbalas di atas topik yang sama.

Kongsi pengalaman berhubungan dengan Sutera Sanctuary Lodges bersama kami!

See you inside!

Kinabalu Forum – Where we could do something with SSL

At last…

After 2 years of struggling online with mount-kinabalu-borneo.com website and 1 year with this blog, it is about time for me to open Mount Kinabalu more to the online community.

Frankly speaking, I hate the booking system by Sutera Sanctuary Lodges (SSL). It was bearable 2 years ago, but it was getting horrible. Initially, booking with them was really easy, even a walk-in travelers/climbers could get a place to climb. You could even tailor made your trip so that you could save some money by DIY-ing (do-it-yourself) the package, and don’t have to pay hefty amount of money to tour and travel operator which sometimes unbearable for budget travelers.

However, since they started a new booking system, it is getting harder and harder to book a place to climb.

They even “upgrade” their services by packaging the climbing trip, and sell it to clients as a package. Clients don’t have a choice but to take the packages to climb, otherwise they would not sell it. But if you see the price – you might choke to death.

Tour & travel operators also feels the heat. As third party service provider, they have to sell the pre-packaged climbing trip which has been prepared by SSL to their clients, and even mark-up the price some more.

Some “BIG” travel & tour operators also plays dirty with SSL. They pre-booked the beds in Laban Rata in bulk.

Imagine this situation: There are 130+ beds in Laban Rata. Most of those BIG operators pre-book the beds, at least one operator will book 20-30 beds one shot. If 7 out of 100+ tour operators here in Kota Kinabalu take the booking, there would be no more places for climbers to book. Small / sole operators like ME don’t even have a chance. You need to be really, really BIG FISH with BIG CABLE to tie up with SSL’s “BOSSES” to get the privilege.

You know how ridiculous is their problem? Once, I got a feedback from their reservation saying that all the beds are fully booked, but the booking just opened for 2 hours! Who the hell in this world could buy all 130+ beds in Laban Rata in just 2 hours?

Hmm… Now you were asking… Why not complaint this to the authority? Well, I must say that – THE STATE GOVERNMENT KNEW ABOUT IT. But they could not do anything, as SSL has a VERY BIG cable with the Boleh Land government. I am getting sicker when I knew that also.

So, who are the losing party here?

  1. You & me – as we are only a small matter to them.
  2. Our beloved Kinabalu – as more and more commercialize climbing (that means PROFIT taking) by only ONE sole provider, without the intention to CONSERVE the mountain. Hell… If they say they are actively involve in CONSERVATION of the mountain, they are LYING. Sabah Parks is one of the government body who is responsible for the mountain’s CONSERVATION project, but NOT SSL.

I am sorry Sabahan, but the Sabah state government sucks big time on this issues. I am hoping that Masidi Manjun read this, and if he thinks that he is the better MP for Sabah, he should be doing something. It is his portfolio – tourism. (Still, I love my wife!)

Stop this “the only sole provider thingy” for climbers of Kinabalu. It’s hurting everybody from all over the world knowing that this issues are making them disappointed when asking me for a help on their climbing trip.

This is just a beginning. I am planning to get voices from climbers from all over the world who thinks that Mount Kinabalu is “raped”.

But at this moment, I have set up a forum portal for all Kinabalu climbers from around the world to share their opinion. And you are invited to join.

Shoot.
*As on 13 August 2013, the forum page no longer exist. Sorry for the inconvenience. Thank you.*

Thank you to my website voters. And you have less than 48 hours to vote!

I received a call from Nuffnang just now about my website entry to The Dotcom Youth Search. It was a surprise, as I did not expect my website to be shortlisted as the top 10 highest voters. They received more than 400 entries, and a lot of the site submitted are more “bling” and “happening” than mount-kinabalu-borneo.com.

If you could see from the screenshot that I took a few minutes ago, mount-kinabalu-borneo.com is at number 10 – out of 10, and Paul Tan’s automotive blog is the highest with more than 4000 votes! The vote that he got is twice as much as what I got! And maybe by the time you read this, the ranking has changed also!

Vote for Mount Kinabalu Borneo.com

Anyway, I am glad that the website get through this stage. Seeing other top 10 entries, I can see a mix of blogs, forums and websites, and all of them have their own uniqueness.

I am not sure whether I could raise another few thousand votes to pass Paul Tan’s, but I will still request a final vote from you, before the contest ends. If you have voted before, and you don’t mind, please vote again. Better still, tell your friends to vote for the website too!

http://www.mount-kinabalu-borneo.com
(Just click at a triangular banner on the right upper corner of the website. That’s it!)
*By the way, I did not put the banner on this blog.

Although I know that I am not going to win this, the awareness about our beloved Kinabalu on the internet will make a very huge impact on all Malaysian, South East Asian and even the world. And I am really, really proud to present you our Natural World Heritage Site online.

Thank you for your vote!

Happy New Year 2008!

We managed to go back to Kudat last Saturday for just a short break. A good getaway for my family, as it has been a while since my children saw their grandparent.

I also managed to snap some photos of the Longhouse and the surroundings, and currently still editing the photos. I may have to take some time to do it, and will upload it here as soon as possible.

I would like to wish Happy New Year 2008 to you!

Happy New Year 2008
Photo of my two kids, taken at their grandfather’s backyard 2 days ago – a paddy field – at Kampung Tinangol, Kudat…