Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Anjung Teduh - KK : 8 Mad Hours & Pics!!!


Places i've been in the short 2 weeks i was in Sabah

Think i'm a sucker for adventure, though i know better not to risk it.

I was told that a journey from KK to Sandakan will take a good 6 hours for a good driver and 8 for an average joe like me.

I did KK-Sandakan in 8 Hours.

Then, i was told that for KK-Lahad Datu, expect nothing less than 10 hours, again, for average joe like me.

And as luck would have it, i refuse to be average, let alone a Joe's Joe.

So, yesterday, after completing my work in Anjung Teduh, a good 110km away from Lahad Datu, i drove back. (see map above, Anjung Teduh is near Destination 7)

Journey started from 1830hours.

Reached Lahad Datu in 1 hour. Bought some hotdog bread, pumped petrol and got some drink and drove off at 2000hours.

Lahad Datu - KK is 404Km.

Reached Checkpoint 32 by 2130hours.

3 Hours of driving already.

Checkpoint 32 - KK should be about 7 hours, as it takes an hour from Checkpoint to Sandakan.

It started to drizzle half way between Beluran turn off to Telupid, I was extra careful as there is a stretch of gravel road, which was pretty bad.

Bonus of driving at that hour in Sabah is that the road is so clear. So clear that you could see as far as the car's high beam could let you see. The road is so dark that Big Dipper and the other constellation was highly visible.

At that moment, i did not think it was funny.

What if i had a punture?

What if some animal cross the road?

What if something which isn't animal crossed the road?

The drizzle soon became heavy rain. Words from the police officer at the road block right after Beluran turn off rings in my ears.

"Mana hendak pergi?", Men In Blue asked me.

"KK bah", me, trying really hard to sound local.

"Dari mana?", he asked again.

"KL, eh, KK!", I tried to recover.

"Pandu cermat, depan hujan lebat", He waved me on.

The heavy rain soon comes with fog.

Fog which is thick enough to make me drive at 20km/h. No Joke.

Using the high beam makes the visibility worse.

Using low beam seems to help.

I then came to a stop.

A cow was crossing the road.

What adventure.

I crossed Kinabatangan again, this time, not being able to see her.

I reached Telupid at 2230hours. At this rate, i should be able reach KK by 1.30am. Rule of thumb is that i'll drive at a maximum of 120km/h when the road and visibility is clear and will go as slow as i could if condition turns bad. Infact, i almost halt to a stop whenever a truck or express bus comes from the front, in case in their bid to take the corner, they strike me.

The fog doesn't seems to go off. From Telupid, i am about 80km to Ranau, that should be an hour's drive. Then I will pass through Kundasang, which means i will have 65km to go to reach Tamparuli, and from there, anohter 35 to KK.

At that point, i was actually regretting the decision to drive back that evening.

Too late to regret, there is no motel, or hotel, or anywhere i can stop to sleep. And it won't be safe, as the roads has tonnes of highway men, mostly Indonesian Bugis. Not gonna take any chances with them men with hands rougher than a 00 grade sandpaper.

I reached KK, safely at 0230Hours. Managed to check into the Hotel by 0330hours and slept until 0800 hours this morning before going off to finish the administrative stuff for my work.

Thinking back, the average speed over the 404km+110km=514km over 8hours bring me to only 40km/h max. That speak volume of the road condition!

After 2 weeks, i must say i've pretty much seen much of Sabah, along the road, that is. Like i tell some of my friends, the trunk road in Peninsular is like Highway compared to the road in Sabah. My record so far is overtaking 12 trucks in one single pedal to pedal overtaking manourve.

Definately felt like i'm in an F1 car. Well, a 1.5 Auto one, that is.

I will be back in Good Ol' KL tomorrow evening. Looked like i will get a 2 week reprieve before being send off to Sarawak...

Here are some pics, over the past 3 days which i have totally no internet connection.

Where i was again for the past 3 days?

I was in this place called Felda Sahabat Anjung Teduh. It is 25km away from the nearest town called Tungku and 110km away from Lahad Datu. The place is at the tip of the Dog's Nose (refering to Sabah's geological shape).

From the work site, i have to drive anohter 35km to the ONLY hotel within the next 150km of civilisation. Felda Sahabat Resort.

Enjoy the pics.


Bridge over Kinabatangan


Mighty Kinabatangan


Felda Sahabat - 113360 ha of nothing but oil palms


I wasn't BS-ing about the 113360 ha of oil palms


Celebes Sea


Sulu Sea

Since maybe non of us will ever go to Anjung Teduh, here is 2 more pics of the place...


Panaromic view with Sulu Sea


Panaromic view with Celebes Sea


Road to Beluran


View from the Police Station in Beluran


rare sight of the Sun Polaris...it was there for 5 minutes only"/


Sandakan from Signal Hill


Crocodile Roundabout in Sandakan

There is also Orang Utan, Proboscis Monkey and Turtle roundabouts in Sandakan... :)


instead of bak kut teh, there is PRAWN Teh! Sorry, BIG PRAWN Teh!


And Fish Teh

3 words to describe the seafood above. Damn.Kaw.Fresh.


Fish market in KK, Yellow fin Tuna being cut


Mahder Freaking Big Prawns


Squids, RM6/kg


Half a fish for RM5, Tenggiri i think


Chicken backside, sate style RM1/stick

And of course, finally....


Kota Kinabalu!"







Thursday, October 25, 2007

Slow Day



Heavy Rain. Bad road. Trucks. Blocked Nose. Road blocks.

The pic above says it all.

Dark at 6.23? Sorry, not dark, but PITCH dark.

It's a really slow day today, i had to wait for 18.03 minutes to fax 10pieces of documents to my client...


Fast as a snail

Yeah, bored.to.death.


Murder by Fax Machine

Don't believe it's that slow??? See the video below.



It gets dark faster in Sandakan area, by up to 15 minutes. And what different those 15 minutes makes to the night drving over 88km of unlit road!!!




Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Tribute To Mt. Kinabalu

Thank you Sir Hugh Low and Gunting ak Lagadan.

Without you both scaling the heights of this mountain, we wouldn't had Malaysia's first World Heritage Site.

She is simply stunning.


View from afar


View from the local clinic

And this is for Dr.Azman.


:)


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

KK - Sandakan : 8 Hours

Started the day at 5.30am and left KK by 6.30am.

Found my way to the road towards Tuaran to move Eastward to Sandakan.

Passed through Tuaran, Tamparuli, Kinabalu Park, Kundasang, Ranau, Checkpoint 32 and finally Sandakan.


only map i have - Ranau to Sandakan is +/-225km

The road to Kinabalu Park passing through Tamparuli was a pleasant one as the road was much easier to negotiate compared to the road from KK to Keningau.

In fact, it was more dangerous to drive to Keningau than to Sandakan!

Only thing i really need to be careful off is the landslides (which i counted up to 4 along the 335km).


Landslide which occured on 18th October - KM32 Tamparuli-Ranau route

It was really interesting as today's journey brought me across Mountain, River and Forest.


Mountain


River


Forest

Only other hazards are the trucks, be it container trucks, palm oil tankers, movers or anything with more than 6 wheels (Express Bus included) which either go uber slow, or ultra fast.


2 trucks carrying portable office container plus generator and even a toilet set in front of my car


Fast express bus behind


Told ya!!!

There are portions of road which is under construction and consist of crusher run/gravel road, which ultimately slowed down the journey.


Not fun when you need to pee

I had 2 pee stop, one in Ranau and one at Checkpoint 32, at which i almost burst my bladder on both occasions.


Finalllllyyyy!!!

Anyhow, i reached Sandakan safely, not feeling too well, caught a cold i guess, eye watery, nose blocked and throat sore.

I will be travelling on a daily basis from Sandakan to Beluran, a good 88km away, which will take me a minimum of 90minutes one way.

Days will start early at 6.30am.

Concreter put me up in this new swanky hotel called Mark's Lodge. Internet connection in room! WooHoo!


Nice!

Will update with more pics later!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sabah Update

As expected, this trip turned out to be an adventure. The first time i actually came to Sabah was when i was 16. That was with RMC when me and batchmates hiked up Kinabalu.

Fast forward 15 years, Kota Kinabalu is not what it seems.

I reached KK on Thursday night.

Day 2
The very next day, i drove down to Papar, about 50km from KK (from herewith, distance is from KK, unless stated otherwise). That took me almost an hour. That is a slow 50km/h average.


Road to Papar

On the way there, the scenery were not much difference, it's sea on my right and mountains on my left.


Crocker's Range


South China Sea

My work in Papar took a long 5hours, usually, i could complete it in max of 3 hours. It took longer that day because of site and traffic condition at work site.

Upon completion, i drove to Kuala Penyu, which was about 60km away from Papar.

To avoid driving all the way down to Beaufort and then move up back to Kuala Penyu, i took the Kuala Penyu Ferry Terminal route, which brought me into some kampung area and the 60km took a painful 90minutes to complete.


Yea dude…it’s 29.6km of Kampung road to go to the terminal

But i was pleasantly surprised to see what i had to cross right before i could reach Kuala Penyu with your car on the barge!


cool!

A short ferry ride across the river mouth! Think of the Ferry ride across Sungai Perak from Teluk Intan to Sitiawan many many many moons ago.


Then, I saw a rainbow

I managed to complete the work within 3 hours and by then, it was already dark, Sabah gets dark earlier than usual, we all know that, and I was sort of worried about my journey back to KK that evening, it started to rain by the time I got onto the last ferry for the evening (the next one will start at 9pm) and it felt surreal as I listened to the radio about traffic updates on radio at 7pm (which was telling how jammed, as usual, KL is) and it is almost pitch black where I am.


Eerie-ly dark

Scary? You bet.

Reached back in KK at 9.30pm, treated myself to a hearty Korean dinner and called it a day.

Day 3


excited

I need to find my way to Keningau, I was excited as I know I will be driving across the Crocker’s Range. I expected some long winding steep road, but I guess I was really surprised with what I had to drive through.

It was simply.beatutiful.to.say.the.least.

Here is a few pics to share. Don’t hold your breath, The climb is like Genting, only higher, longer and more scenic!


Morning journey there, sunny and clear


Journey back in evening, foggy and cool!


or was it slippery and scary?

I will upload more pic once I get faster internet connection. So do come back to see them!

All I know about yesterday’s trip to Keningau is that I’m glad I managed to finish the work there in 4 hours, or else I would be driving in dense fog and seriously it’s not gonna be fun, or funny.

In fact the return journey was way more scenic as the view from the highest peak looked like this…at 4.30pm.


simply aweswome

Come Tuesday, I know I will be going through similar landscape again, this time with Mount Kinabalu as the backdrop. I will be going to Sandakan. A good 353km away and will possibly take more than 5 hours of driving.

Day 4
Rest day, it’s Sunday! I managed to browse through Gaya Street Market, the Central Market and the Fish Market. Seafood are dirt cheap, comparatively. Fancy abalone for RM50/kg? Or scallops for RM48/kg? Both come with options to pack back, frozen in ice.


Market by the sea

Today I managed to get internet connection too, which explains this update. Somehow the hotel I’m staying in (Radius International Waterfront) has internet connection in room and lobby but I can’t seems to be able to log on, maybe this company’s laptop too old???

And thank you Tengster, for linking me up with Mr. Concreter, which has given loads of insight for my coming journey to Sandakan.

To quote Mr. Concreter :
"From KK... The hazard are mostly mist after rain since the road from KK to Ranau is very twisty and when it rains the fog and rain will be very thick. DO be careful as there are many lorries plying this route since this is the only route from KK to SDK, LD and TWU. When you reached Ranau, the road are very straight. You will pass by Telupid and you will see Sg. Kinabatangan on your right. Do be careful as it is the rainy season and there are chances landslides may happen. Do not go above 100KMH even on bright sunny day. Suggest you start your journey at 630AM since it is already bright here and reach SDK around 1PM.

BTW, from KK to SDK, whatever line you use is useless since you won't get any signals unless you happened to pass by Pekan Nabalu -> Kundasang a rest stop before reaching Ranau, then you will pass by Telupid, you will have receptions, and all the way to SDK, very rare till you reach Checkpoint, which is Mile 32. It takes an hour from Mile 32 to SDK town. I am at Mile 5. Give me a buzz. At Checkpoint, there will be a road block and they are quite particular if you happened to bring along tools but if you are in a Ninja King with your shades, then forget it la.

Also lots of goodies there. Durians, fried peanuts..."


I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to the Durians.

I’ve been calling back home every other hour. Missing Ryan and wifey. It’s hard especially when I’m not used to be away from them for a long period of time. I hope to be able to get back by month’s end.

Ryan now can walk (yes, he can walk at 11 months, in fact, it was more like stumbling run initially) and has learnt how to say papa. As just as I finish writing the sentence before this, Wifey called and say he pointed to my pic and say papa-papa-papa. I could only imagine how that is like and not see it.


I miss Papa


Papa and Mummy took me to a lot of Uncles and Aunties House for Raya, my second raya, technically!





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