Hidden away at a little corner of Sandakan, and perched on top of a small hill that is surrounded by tropical forests, Panganakan Dii Tropical Retreat is a place where guests will find peace and tranquility. Since its opening on 1st July, 2008, many of its guests have found that this is a wonderful place to spend a night or two. This is where guests can wake up to the nature's habitat. In the morning, it is common for one to hear the birds chirping away, or listen to the constant humming of the insects, or be surprised by the mysterious noise from the forests which isoften caused by the naughty monkeys chasing one another up in the trees. Although the squirrels don't really mixed with humans, these cute little animals are often sighted on the tree branches while they go searching for food after day break.
Kinabalu Park and Kundasang would be in most people radar when thinking of spending a cold and relaxing time away from the low land city and towns in Sabah. Although less well known, an alternative destination for a cold weather get away is located at the Crocker Range. Geologically the Kinabalu Park area is still part of the Crocker Range which extends all the way down south to the border of Sarawak. Situated at 1,662 metres (5,453 feet) above sea level, Gunung Alab Resort is the only accommodation one will find at this altitude in the Crocker Range. Even though it is called a resort, Gunung Alab facilities look more like a motel. The rental here is also leaning towards the budget side. The rooms are basic and clean, but are sufficient to provide guests a comfortable over-night stay. When night falls the temperature can drop to 18C or 20C. At times this place feels colder than Kundasang, may be it is because there are more trees in this area, where most of the forests are still intact. In the late afternoon it is not uncommon for the area to be shrouded by a thick layer of mist.
Dim Sum is originally a Cantonese dish. This wonderful food is linked to the traditional Chinese tea house in Canton, where many of the Chinese people come to drink tea or “yam cha”. Today around the world where one finds a large population of Chinese, it is a sure sign that one will find a dim sum restaurant. Kota Kinabalu has a sizable Chinese population and this city has not just one but a few dim sum restaurants to boast about. These restaurants range from the budget type to the more classy type. In Kota Kinabalu dim sum is mainly a breakfast menu where restaurants serve this delicacy from the early morning until noon. It is very hard to find a good dim sum at night time here.
Kunang-Kunang simply means fireflies in the local language, and a good place to see fireflies in northern Borneo is at the Klias Peninsular. Lies at the heart of the Klias Peninsular is the mocha colour Klias River, which flows south and eventually reaches the sea at a small town, called Menumbok. At the Klias River, the term Kunang-Kunang is also the name of an eighty feet long house boat, which brings guests on a deluxe cruise to discover the beauty and wonders of the Borneo Mangrove Wetland. Kunang-Kunang is one of the largest boats on the Klias river, and it can accommodate up to fifty persons. Types of animals and primates that one will be able to see along the river include the Proboscis Monkey, Silver Leaf Monkey, Long Tailed Macaque, Monitor Lizard and the Borneo Water Buffalo. Birds are also commonly spotted on the trip.
Surrounded by temperate forests and situated at an altitude around 6,000 feet (1,829 meter) above sea level, the accommodation facilities inside the Kinabalu Park are some of the best that one can find at this holiday resort. These accommodations consist of chalets, cabins, as well as dormitories. Guests who stay at the park also have easy access to the other park facilities like restaurants, exhibition centre, nature trails and the botanic garden. Lately bird watching is also a popular activity at the park.
The Balsam Buffet Restaurant was built in the early 1970s. This beautiful rock structure building and restaurant has been visited by many travellers to the Kinabalu Park, as for many years it is the only eatery in the Kinabalu Park Headquarters. Located about 40 feet below the administration office, the restaurant lies at a forest area which has a perfect view of the mountain under a clear sky. Many of the older folks will remember this restaurant with a kopitiam setting and had a very cozy fire place surrounded by sofas. Visitors often hanged around at the fire place for comfort at night, when temperature was much colder in the 70s, when there were plenty of trees around. After the taking over by Sutera Harbour Management group, around 2000, this place has been transformed into a high class restaurant. Today the interior of the building receives a much better detail in design and setting.
Fatt Kee Kopitiam is one of the best places in downtown Kota Kinabalu to enjoy a good tasty budget Chinese cuisine. Since the kopitiam is located at the ground floor of Ang’s Hotel at Beach street, many of the locals like to called this eatery Ang’s hotel too. Fatt Kee Kopitiam has been cooking their wonderful Chinese cuisine for the last three decades. This eatery is a family run business, from the parents to the siblings everyone is involved. During lunch time many people, especially office workers, are seen lining up for the take away economy rice. For as little as RM 5 customers can choose three dishes in small portion from a wide variety of dishes. These dishes vary from day to day and the chicken drum stick with honey is very much sought after. Customers can dine at the shop too.
Equatorial Restaurant first opened its door for business in September, 2007. Since then this fine dining Chinese cuisine restaurant has attracted many customers especially the local inhabitants of Kota Kinabalu. The restaurant is made up of three shop units which covered about an area of three thousand square feet. Once inside the restaurant, guests will be greeted with a spacious, bright and cold atmosphere. The table setting and interior design are typical of the many Chinese restaurants found in Malaysia. For cleanliness this restaurant received an “A” grade from the Kota Kinabalu Municipal council, which speaks volume for its housekeeping.
Hotel City Star is a mid-size accommodation with a total of 40 rooms. Providing a comfortable and convenient stay are the main aims of this hotel. All the rooms are fully furnished with modern facilities. Spilt-units air-conditioner, attached bathroom, television set with Astro channels, coffee and tea making facilities are provided for the ease and comfort of the guests. Being centrally situated at the heart of Sandakan town, guests will find that many commercial establishments, government offices, banks and shopping centres are with in walking distance.
This hotel is a five storey building, and it is serviced by a lift. Only two categories of rooms are available, namely standard and deluxe. Standard rooms are available in single or double, while the deluxe rooms have single, double and triple occupancy. These rooms are moderately spacious. Decoration is kept simple. Quality mattress are used. The main different for the two room types is the deluxe room comes with a mini bar. Compare to other nearby hotels, the room rates here is very affordable too.
The Hakka Clan is a resilient and hard working group. Many of them were invited by the missionary during the late 19th century to come and open plantations in North Borneo, present day Sabah. Today the Hakka forms one of the largest clans in Sabah Chinese community. Like the rest of the Chinese community wherever they go, they will bring along their culinary skills. The Hakka is well known for some of their dishes like yam pork, stuffed tofu, and fried rice, to name but a few. Located at mile four and a half North Road Sandakan, Taste is a restaurant that specialises in Hakka Clan style of preparing mouth watering Chinese dishes.
The Taste Chinese Restaurant is a well planned and well organised restaurant. Let’s start with the ordering system. Self-ordering is preferred here and it can be done on a simple piece of paper where all the dishes and drinks served here are listed. The main dishes are also divided into large and small portions. Just tick on the items that you want and pass it on to the waiters. Highly recommended dishes are the dark vinegar pork leg, steamed pork with salted fish, duck with sour plum sauce, pineapple with chicken and yam pork. Many vegetables dishes are also available.