Sunday, May 02, 2010


Kota Kinabalu’s laidback charm and natural wonders are just what parents need to entice their kids away from the idiot box and electronic games.

AS parents, we are often at wits’ end on weekends and school holidays with what to do with the kids. Most urban kids are kept busy with tuition, piano, ballet, computer or art classes, and whatever free time they have they use to glue themselves to the idiot box or the PC.

And so my husband and I decided that a weekend getaway to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, would be a nice break for our 11-year-old daughter.

We wanted her to appreciate the great outdoors and discover Sabah’s many natural wonders. That was how we ended up at the four-star Grand Borneo Hotel, 30 minutes away from the airport. We had a quick dinner at Soul Out Restaurant, the hotel’s all-day dining outlet, then retired for the night.

Next morning, we were whisked off by coach to Poring Hot Spring and Kinabalu Park. Our first stopover was at Nabalu, a small town where busloads of visitors stop for a break en route to Mount Kinabalu. The biggest draw here has to be the longhouse-type bazaar with its numerous souvenir shops.

My daughter found the local market nearby interesting as it was the first time she saw tampoi (a fruit with thick orange-yellow skin and tangy tender flesh), pulasan (which she mistook for rambutan), kuih cincin (a sweet, deep-fried snack shaped like intertwined rings) and keropok amplang (deep-fried fish cracker puffs).

Then it was on to Poring.

The word poring is from the name of a tall, giant bamboo that is native to this area. Local daytrippers come to soak in the park’s mineral-rich hot springs. Other attractions include a butterfly farm, a Rafflesia flower site, a tropical garden and a canopy walkway. Although my daughter was initially hesitant about the 30-minute uphill trek to the tree-top walk, she became more enthusiastic once she got on the canopy walkway suspended 41m above ground.

Continue reading at: KK’s OK

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