Jesselton City: Under Sunny Skies

Had my alarm set at 6:15am. It's beach day!

Wilson picked us up at 7:30am and we set off for the Gaya Street Sunday market. Gaya is derived from the Bajau word, Gayo, meaning big. The market consists of the locals selling a wide range of traditional ethnic cultural items (much ideal for souvenirs ;)).

Again, many photos courtesy of TY. This overexposed photo also from him and I am a bit clueless as how to edit it. Last skali looks like this. Passable in my blog.

Before the actual shopping begins, we headed for a shop recommended by Wilson for its laksa and beef innards noodle.

We also ordered an extra plate of Sabah's version kolo mee. There isn't much difference to the peninsular wantan mee, IMHO.
There are so many things sold in Gaya Market! Ranging from souvenirs - fridge magnets, bracelets, necklaces, key chains - to potted plants, livestock, to pets - fishes, cats and pups! Got a load of key chains for my friends and colleagues, beaded bracelets, some magnetic sort of necklaces for Mom, Tua Yi and Sar Yi. Wilson gave us time till 10:30 before we head off for the islands. Even with over an hour to walk around the market, I barely had enough time to cover all the stalls.

The ride from the market to the jetty is pretty short, about 10-15 minutes max. Surprisingly even for a large city, the sea is still so blue. Well, I guess whatever rubbish the city outputs just flow out into the vast South China Sea whereas we off the West coast of Peninsular have to make do with the small gutter Straits of Malacca.

Made a quick visit to the loo, got our registrations signed at the Sea Quest Watersports Centre and collected our snorkelling gears - snorkel mask, flippers and also our lifejackets. A quick hop into a boat and we are off to our first island of the day - Manukan.

There are 5 islands opposite the city (Manukan, Mamutik, Sapi, Sulug and Gaya) supposedly preserved under the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park. We shall see how 'preserved' these islands are.

Slapping tanning lotion and sunblocks all over.

I think it has been a very long time since I last visited a beach (not counting the polluted Penang island) and I can barely contain my excitement. The whole journey I was like, the water is so clear! Can see fish! So pretty! Hahahahha so jakun :p

Plenty of reasons to be excited. Look at the postcard perfect beach!

Alas! Snorkeling in the Manukan waters is a complete let down. As Manukan is the largest tourist attraction in the group of islands, the corals are mostly dead and there isn't much to see.

After about an hour or so swimming out and snorkeling, we got back to the beach where a BBQ buffet awaits ;) Anyways, we paid a total of RM1600 each for the whole trip and it is a bit pricey but this is where our extra fees paid off, services are 5 star (because our guide, Wilson, from IntraBuana which is a subsidiary of Sutera Harbour. The buffet line is filled with tempuras, calamari rings, tiny lobsters, crabs, grilled meats of all sorts, all-you-can-eat!

Yummy yummy yummy.

Once we were well fed, we started fishing out complaints to Wilson about the lack of beautiful corals and Wilson sportingly gathered us to our next destination - Sapi Island.

Most people would claim that spending a day at the beach really makes you tired and all but surprisingly I was full of energy for the whole day, without coffee! (ok on second thought I think I did have a cuppa at the Gaya Market...)

On the boat towards Sapi. Tengok ini orang. Apa pose pun ada.

Sapi island is 20 times more best than Manukan!Waters are clearer, corals are fascinating! Saw my very first Nemo (Clownfish) lol. Pictures are mostly in Wei Inn's camera. Maybe I will create a post just on the corals and sealife we saw there...

It's my blog and I shall post as many vain pictures as I damn please Thank you very much.


Lost count the number of times we grabbed our snorkeling gears and skip into the sea. I still can't get the hang of snorkeling especially when I start tasting the salty water and I will panic and sputter lol. And to think that I have signed up for scuba diving lessons this June...

Obviously another shot that I loot from TY.

While TY and the older Joshua ran off to get some sunset shots, the rest of us got back to our apartments and have a thorough shower (me lar, the rest probably just mandi kerbau lol) and put our swimwear to dry on the balcony. Soon after, TY got back and after he showered we walked out to a seafood restaurant called Twin Sky. Also recommended by Wilson.

Now when one think of Penang, one will think also of the mouth watering food like char koay teow, asam laksa etc one can get from there.

Even Ipoh, we think of ngar choi kai (pek zham ke), dim sum and whatnot.

But Sabah, erm, is not exactly well known for its food and after asking around the answer that I get is mostly, seafood. Not entirely because of their cooking style but due to its abundance. So I guess that is why we are here.

The restaurant is situated somewhere behind the Asia City Mall. The interior looks like it's some posh cu-char place.

Rows and rows of underwater creatures waiting to be consumed. TY, ZX and Evan proceeded to get our orders taken. And this is one of the dishes they decide to get.

Priced at RM300+, I have no idea why it's so expensive! Apparently the high price is because it's fish that tastes like chicken, literally its name means chicken of the sea (again, don't quote me).

Ok, drumroll please for the vast dishes we have after a hard day out tanning!

Grilled sotong with sambal. A squeeze of lime and this plate is one heavenly dish.

Hmm... a sort of tangy prawns with curry leaves. Not bad also.

Deep fried prawns. Love these too.

Kam heong see hum. Lol. Not a big see hum fan and those damn cockles so huge. Urgh.

The basic omelette.

Stir fry vege for that extra fibre. ;)

We were cheated by SJ who introduced this dish, translated as dragon's whiskers or something lol. Both bananas Evan and I macam very impressed thinking it's some exotic plant only available in Sabah. We later found out that it's actually young cucumber leaves. lol.

Chili crab. Not similar to the Singaporean type. Has no egg in it but it's spicy la so I call it the chili crab lol. So so la. But beats the one in Tambun.

Then the super VVIP fish!

Lens cover to give you a rough idea the size of the fish. What can I say? I'm not a fish person so I can't tear up eating these. What I do love is the fish roe...

See those gorgeous dark red roes? Sinking my teeth into these give the same blissful satisfaction that only happens when I have a particularly fat juicy slice of salmon belly. Ahh...

Bill came to about RM60 per pax, which is not bad at all. I was expecting each person to fork out some RM100+ for this. Whew.... I guess those sea creatures are really abundant here.

We later bought a few more bottles of European beer Stella Artois (practically sold in every shop, 7-11) and proceeded back to our apartments to kick back and crap....

At the back of the mind, a nagging feeling constantly reminds me of the grueling hike that is coming up!

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