Friday, February 27, 2009

Are You Men's Health Enough?

What does this title fully mean?

Is it about men who are super fit? The ones who go for the biathlons/ endurance runs - an Olympic star?

Or is it those men who eat healthily? That means no fatty stuffs, watching what they eat all the time, with lots of greens?

Well, if it's just these 2 (or just either these 2), I don't think I'll 100% qualify.

Cos though I gym (and sometimes swim), however I've not taken part in any endurance runs since high school.

Or if it's just bout watching the diet, well, I must say, that with the constant travels, there are times I just couldn't resist the food temptations!

But I'm lucky, it's not just based on that but instead "to give regular guys who lead inspiring lives the experience of a lifetime".

And that's the main reason for me joining this Are You Men's Health Enough Competition - to get an experience of being healthy in all sense, and like always, enjoying the experience.

So far, I have - this photoshoot being one of them, having to wear some branded clothes and with the make up artiste prepping us up... though I've modeled before, but not for a feature. This does feel a bit like a star attention!

And of course it feels nice to get your photo published by others. haha! Plus how the photoshopped me as if in the rain!

are you mens health enoughAnyway, yes, I'm one of the 10 finalists in this year's Are You Men's Health Enough... which I'm grateful to meet the requirements and to be selected amongst the top 10 finalists.

So back to the question: "Yes, I'm Men's Health Enough!" :)

*There's some events lined up for us - some sporty/ endurance events and other grooming ones... all for a healthy man.

*Love the way the writer quoted me... "If you're going to start something, make it GREAT!" (full write up + video of me in the photoshoot: here).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Kota Kinabalu City

kota kinabalu wisma merdekaAs I only had a few days in Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah, my stay focused mainly in the heart of the city... navigating around the big parallel streets of Jalan Tun Razak, Jalan Tun Fuad Stephen (which is by the sea) and the smaller street of Jalan Gaya and its surroundings.

View Larger Map

kota kinabalu gaya streetThis is the popular Gaya Street, with lots of good food. The weekday view is quite different from the Sunday Gaya Market.

kota kinabalu tourism buildingOne of the buildings not to be missed at Gaya Street is this heritage building, which is now the State Tourism Office (apparently, there's only a handful of old buildings left in KK, and this is one of them).

kota kinabalu marketAlso around the area is this Sunday market. I'm not sure if this market is linked to the Gaya Market for I only saw it on Sunday.

kota kinabalu shophouseOne of the streets near my hotel. This area is called Kampung Air, but don't mistake this with the water village on stilts at other parts of KK.

kota kinabalu shophouseApparently according to one Sabahan acquaintance, he mentions that the place I stay is not so 'central'. This despite the location is just about 5 minutes walk to Gaya Street.

He must be quite right, as I tend to pass by this area daily heading to Gaya Street and beyond. But I didn't mind the walk, passing by quite a unique view.

kota kinabalu shophouseTalking bout shophouses, there are many more on the other side at the streets of Lorong Sinsuran. Thought this tree looked quite nice here - growing healthily, well shaped and with flowers!

kota kinabalu shopping mallNot far off is the Warisan Square and Centerpoint. This is very near the sea already.

kota kinabalu ferryActually what I like bout KK is that it has this whole coastal view of the sea, giving it a very resort like city feel.

One just need to walk along Jalan Tun Fuad Stephen to enjoy the blue waters. Btw, this is a jetty point.

kota kinabalu gaya islandAnd it is from here that one can see the islands beyond - one of them is the Gaya Island, which has a water village which these residents are heading back to.

kota kinabalu sea sunsetThe boats here as part of the daily life makes this place quite 'authentic' in many ways - which city in Malaysia has this as part of their daily life?

kota kinabalu sea sunsetOne of the best times to come here is in the evenings where one can see the sunset - just like one egg yolk setting down! What a view...!

This is not all of KK city as I was informed that the KK town is much bigger than just this area... like at the 1 Borneo Shopping Mall area which is about 20-30 minutes drive from here.

I'll visit those another time, as even this area by the sea already has so much to see.... and that's coming up next!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Gaya Market

gaya market"If you go Sabah, you must visit the Gaya Market" friends have been telling me.

So, on my final day in Kota Kinabalu, I made the early morning trip to the well known & must visit Gaya Market.

gaya marketThis is actually one of the busier streets in the heart of KK - Gaya Street. But on Sundays, it its closed to vehicles and turned into the Gaya market.

Despite only being 7 plus, the crowd was already out to this unique market, which sells nearly anything and everything (yes, you'll be surprised!).

gaya market cakeThere were lots of snacks, and one of them is this cake, nicknamed the Doraemon cake!

gaya market kuih lapisThe other cakes I saw is the many colours kuih lapis (layered cake).

gaya market coffeeAnd the local Sabah coffee, with machine and all.

gaya market durianFrom food, there's also fruits like the kampung durians (which was really tempting to buy!)

gaya market pink guavaAnd the pink guavas.

gaya market soursopOne of the fruits that caught my attention - the 'love shaped' soursop (btw, this was taken the day after Valentine's - what coincidence.... haha!)

gaya market orchidAnd from fruits, the other common sell were the uncommon plants like these beautiful orchirds. There were also hibiscus and other types of orchirds, plus some other uncommon plants for sale.

gaya market vaseTourists are not left out here.... and would also be able to buy souvenirs - from t-shirsts, keychains and vases.

gaya market painting sea shellSome stalls were also selling Sabah's local art and the seashells (btw, the prices here for the shells seems reasonable compared to some other places I've seen).

gaya market spongeThis wouldn't really be a souvenir, but then again.... (btw, this is a natural sponge).

gaya market antiqueThere are also some unique antiques sold here. The uncle gets a fair bit of attention by playing his musical instruments.

gaya market pan lesungI thought this pan looks interesting (can be used to make apom or roti canai?). The pastel and mortar (lesung) are behind.

gaya market fishThe food, fruits and even souvenirs may seem common, but what makes the market interesting is also the vast varieties of pets being sold here, starting with fishes.

gaya market pet hamsterOne of the hits with kids - the hamsters.

gaya market rabbitIt really is a pet lovers' paradise - so many rabbits!

gaya market catEven cats were for sale! Of course, this is a fluffy (and playful) one - plus not to mention, a pricier one.

gaya market dog But of all pets, nothing beats the many cute puppies, all waiting for its rightful owners.

gaya market pet dogWill that puppy get a new owner?

gaya market tortoiseThere were so many pets around, and one may just mistaken all live animals here are for pets. But apparently, this tortoise is not to be bought as pets, but for consumption (though one could of course).

gaya market seahorseThat's not the only unique find - there's also this seahorse, which is apparently good for health.

In all, I'm glad to have visited this colourful Gaya Market... which was quite an eye opener, seeing so many different items from what we would usually see in the markets in Peninsula Malaysia.

In fact, it's not just this market that was an eye opener. The whole KK trip was a big different experience... seeing a very different yet unique Malaysia, and that's coming up next!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Proboscis Monkey Tour Sabah

Proboscis Monkey Tour Sabah
During one of the days when I had a free afternoon/ evening, I thought I'll explore Sabah further. So, I signed up for the only package tour that goes out in the afternoon which is this Proboscis Monkey Tour.

At 1pm, the pick up arrived at the doorstep of the hotel. We then headed off to Beufort (south of Sabah).

proboscis monkey tour sabah journeyThe 2 hour ride took us around the kampungs, and the journey didn't really seemed long. Soon, we arrived in our destination.

proboscis monkey tour sabah rest areaThe place does seem to have quite an atmosphere, with stilts and all. We walked towards the open air restaurant, as it was tea time.

proboscis monkey tour sabah restaurantThe place was simple, yet it gave a close to nature feel.

proboscis monkey tour sabah restaurantIt was really a nice place to have tea....

proboscis monkey tour sabah natureEspecially with such a beautiful view!

proboscis monkey tour sabah touristsAfter tea, it was time to head to the boats. By then, it's already late afternoon/ early evening. It does seem weird that the tour starts kinda late - but that's because the Proboscis monkeys only come out in the evening, when the sun is down.

proboscis monkey tour sabah river cruiseSoon we were on the boat along the Gramas/ Kilas river... on our boat journey. This is my first time on such a river boat ride in the forest, and it felt good!

proboscis monkey tour sabah forestAnd before long, we arrived to a few proboscis monkey sites. There goes the click, click, click!

proboscis monkey tour sabahGlad I managed to capture some shots too of this unique looking monkey, known for its long shaped nose. Locally, it's also called the Monyet Belanda (Dutchman Monkey) for 'both are hairy, have big nose, and pot bellies').

proboscis monkey tour sabah river cruise boatWe spent a fair time on the river enjoying its surroundings, and trying to see for any other wildlife (we were told we might get to see other monkeys like the buffaloes, crocodiles, monitor lizards, etc.... but what we saw was the Silver Leaf Monkeys).

proboscis monkey tour sabah kampungI guess the best part of the river cruise apart from seeing the monkeys is to enjoy the sunset... as like most parts of Borneo, the sunset is always astounding.

proboscis monkey tour sabah river cruise sunsetFinally, it was time to head back to the restaurant for dinner and end of Part 1 of the river cruise.

After dinner, we went to part 2, where we once again got on the boat to see the fireflies. Was not advised to take any photos, as apparently the flash will 'scare' them away.

We didn't see that many fireflies that night as it was about to rain, but that very little was quite worth it (again, my first time seeing the fireflies!).

That then concluded the travel tour, and was time to head back to Kota Kinabalu once again.

*There are a few similar Proboscis Monkey Tours - some going to the different rivers (if not wrong, one goes to Kinabatangan river too).

The prices are roughly about the range of RM180 - RM200... and one can book this most likely at your hotel or any tour agencies in KK.

Oh btw, if you are wondering, you don't need to be an adventuruous of sorts to take part in this tour! :)

*The estimated time/ schedule for the tour is 1-930pm.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Manukan Island

Manukan Island/ Pulau Manukan

manukan island, jettyUpon arriving on Manukan, I can hear myself saying "wow, this is paradise!"

manukan island, sea boatI knew this was going to be one good island experience just seeing the blue waters!

manukan island, jetty fishAnd the fishes in the sea - so, so clear! This really starts getting the tourists all excited (me included! haha).

manukan island jettyIt was such a wonderful welcome - of nature & blue skies!

manukan island seaviewWalking into the island, the first beautiful thing to greet us tourists - the beach with such a beautiful view.

manukan island beach kayakI just couldn't help admiring the view... simply breathtaking!

manukan island beach longAnyway, my task - to find a good spot to relax haha! At first I passed by this long stretch of beach.

manukan island beach rocksDespite being so awed, I didn't rushed to the beach just yet. Instead, I walked further to the other part of the beach.

manukan island beach rocksThe view here is just as great too, but I wanted to explore more first.

manukan island seaviewI continued walking to the back of the island, which is rockier but have the view of Kota Kinabalu.

manukan island restaurantAnd then, I was back to near where I started - which is in this open air restaurant under the shady trees.

manukan island bbqThere were some tour groups enjoying the grilled bbq food! (to which I later found out is a package of RM100).

manukan island coconut drinkWell, I didn't came with that package, but I thought I'll also 'live the island life' - yes, one fresh coconut drink for the road!

manukan island seaviewHaving the coconut drink with such a beautiful view... this is pure bliss!

manukan island traditional live musicOh, and I had the traditional music being played at the background too... to add more to this beautiful island life!

manukan island beach quietDone with the drink, it was time to head to the beach to 'claim my spot'!

manukan island beachI decided to head to the other part of the beach, which was less crowded.

manukan island beach chairThe beach was like 'nearly all mine', except for a few others (btw, they are most likely either the hotel guests or have paid RM50 for the beach chairs).

manukan island snorkeling fishWith the beach spot claimed, next, it was time to head into the sea and swim with the fishes (plus seeing the corals). Wow!

manukan island coconut treeIn between snorkeling, I took some breaks resting on the soft sands, under the big coconut trees. What more can I ask for.... ahhh :)

manukan island beach sunsetBefore long, the sun started to set (time always seem short when one is having fun!).

manukan island jettyAnd it was back to the jetty once again... which even seems to give such a wonderful goodbye (and the 'please come again'!)

manukan island ferryAs it was 5pm, a lot of tourists were waiting to go up to their respective boats (one is to go up the same boat he/she came from).

manukan island jetty sunsetSome had to wait a while... However, I find the wait ok, as I got to see such a beautiful sunset.

manukan island boatOne by one the boats came, and off we were leaving the beautiful Manukan Island and its memories. Manukan Island may not be the best island in Sabah for snorkeling or diving, but I think for it's near distance to Kota Kinabalu (KK), it's well worth it... a mini summer paradise!

manukan island boat kota kinabalu viewAlthough there was a lil part saying that I'll miss the Manukan Island... however, there was an exciting feeling going back on the boat... with Kota Kinabalu in sight, I knew there were just more to experience back in Sabah!

And that's coming up next! :)

Related: Coming to Manukan Island from Jesselton Point.