The Crystal Serenity is at sea from Ko Samui, Thailand to Singapore. The MS Amsterdam is in Singapore.
With our approach to Kota Kinabalu harbor we had diminished winds and clear skies this morning, but I walked only a mile on the promenade deck in anticipation of a busy day ashore. The Island of Borneo is divided into sections of Malaysia and Indonesia along with the Sultanate of Brunei. Kota Kinabalu is toward the northwest corner of the island and the dock is very close to the harbor entrance.
My tour today was “Mount Kinabalu Trail Trek”. We left the Starlite Club just after 8 and boarded 2 quite nice coaches for about a 2-hour drive each way. Like islands of this area in general Borneo is volcanic and mountainous, and the tallest in the region is the 13,435 foot Mount Kinabalu. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is worshipped by the locals, and it is our destination.
An ascent to the summit of Mt. Kinabalu is about a 3-day affair (except for an annual race which runs just a few hours), and of course that was not our plan. We made a scenic and toilet stop at about the 3,300-foot level and then continued to the parks visitor center about a mile up. Our walk came in two parts.
Our first walk was around the botanical garden where we saw a number of plant specimens in a controlled environment from a paved walkway. The most prominent specimens were a number of variety of orchids, some with a value of about 3,000 pounds UK. The second stage of our walk was a path in a natural rain forest setting, with probably about a 200-foot climb on a fairly rough path. The wild life was really not showing itself with the exception of one cicada. We saw a number of varieties of trees, including a number of styles of rattan and bamboo and a large gum tree. The park is prime habitat for orangutans, but they were not in evidence today. An advantage to our elevation was cool temperatures in the 70F range, nearly 20 degrees cooler than at sea level.
The walk was a bit challenging especially in the thin air at a mile of elevation. When I capped my half empty water bottle it had substantially collapsed from the higher pressure when we returned to sea level. The walk also gave us an appetite for a nice lunch at a local resort. I especially enjoyed a lemon chicken dish.
In addition to it’s natural wonders the park has a number of memorials , a World War II memorial, a prison camp memorial, and a memorial to Japanese sex slaves. We did not visit these but our guide pointed them out on our travels.
After a rest stop at a pottery outlet we returned to the ship just after 4. Preparations for sailaway started about 5:45, and Louis Sang at 5:55. It seemed a bit unusual for this port that the line handling crews made their way around the port on bicycles.
We had the usual 5 at table 73; our newcomer was not with us. 3 of us were on the Mt. Kinabalu hike while the other 2 had a pleasant day in town.
The evening entertainment was Imagine. Crystal’s newest show has the cast in LED costumes dancing in a very dark room with special effects. Photography is strictly forbidden to maintain the darkness, but the cast posed for pictures in the lobby after the performance.
Today’s parting shot will be a reminder for most readers to set their clocks forward. As close as I am to the equator my time will not change but without doing anything I’ll go from exactly 12 hours out of sync with home to an 11 hour difference.