Kota Kinabalu, a great place for a getaway

A serving of fresh oysters.

A WEEKEND retreat in Kota Kinabalu (KK) recently filled with a panoramic view of the South China Sea from the waterfront, fresh seafood and hard rock music with a twist of techno was both fun and rejuvenating.

The 75-minute flight from Kuching to the ‘Land Below the Wind’ was great for a short holiday to let one’s hair down.

Soon after checking into The Marina Resort Apartment, it was time to explore a popular tourism spot in KK — the Kota Kinabalu Waterfront, and its panoramic view, of course. This favourite spot of many to watch the sunset is just a short walking distance from the apartment.

Marina Resort Apartment at night.
A panoramic view of the Kota Kinabalu Waterfront at dusk.

While soaking in the sound of waves lapping the shore, it is a great idea to sip an ice-blended drink at one of the cafes nearby and snap shots of the picturesque scenes. The area is also surrounded by shopping galleries (think memorabilia) and eateries that serve a fusion of local and international cuisines.

As the Kota Kinabalu city skyline lights up after sunset, it was time to fill the tummy. Sabah has gastronomical choices of food from street stalls to fine dining. The wide variety of fresh seafood cooked to your liking is a must-try delight.

The Lobster King Restaurant at Warisan Square within the vicinity of Jalan Tun Fuad Stephen, for one, serves fresh seafood. Diners are spoilt for choice as there are selections of prawns, crabs, sea snails, lobsters, cuttlefish, clams, abalone and fish that will not put a hole in your pocket.

Lobster King Restaurant in KK serves fresh seafood.
Steamed grouper.

Once the belly is filled up, strolling the night streets is a great way to burn the extra calories. With two hours to go before midnight, BED (Best Entertainment Destination) by the waterfront is a good place for clubbing and to burn more calories. For an entrance fee of RM20 per person, patrons get a bottle of alcoholic drink in return: It can be substituted with a canned soft drink.

The BED is a hip place, complete with a disc jockey (DJ) spinning the latest techno music and a band crooning the latest hits. A regular local patron remarked, “The best hip place to hang and to loosen up.”

After letting the hearts pump faster to the beats for a while, it was time to retrace to the apartment.

The smell of toasted bread after ‘hibernating’ in an air-conditioned room for eight hours is the best alarm to start a brand new day in KK. Feeling refreshed, it was time to head to the kitchen for a cup of black coffee and a slice of toasted bread topped up with a spread of butter and marmalade jam.

Soon, it was time to head to the famous Philippines Market. Vendors there sell an assortment of new and secondhand clothes, food, beverages, electrical appliances and others. The most popular corner among visitors and locals is the dried seafood section.

The Philippines Market in KK is popular for fresh and dried seafood.
Street vendors at one of KK’s popular food-and-fruit night spots.

After grabbing some dried seafood from the market, it was time to explore the 300-store Imago Shopping Mall, which is known locally as Imago. This ultra-modern shopping arcade came into being three years and houses very well established and known tenants.

There is pride in seeing Sarawak’s very own Everrise Supermarket occupying one section of the mall.

“There are many choices available, and you can shop until you drop. It is a favourite place among foreign tourists,” said a local patron of Imago.

A live performance at KK Hard Rock Cafe

As evening approached, it was time for another round of great seafoo. The ultimate stop before the 10.40am flight back to Kuching is the Kota Kinabalu Hard Rock Cafe at the Oceanus Waterfront Mall in Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens.

It’s not just the music memorabilia deco or the good food and beverages or the ambience but the fine selection of classic hard rock music played by professional musicians with great talents that made the weekend retreat to KK really worthwhile. — DayakDaily