Aug 28, 2015

The adventure is worthwhile.

I embarked my first under-budget travel experience last week to Sabah! This trip was very different compared to my previous trips. For this time, I really went to travel (on my own). No proposals attached, no compulsory university visits, and absolutely, no sponsors given to us! Haha. It all started when Sya did a to-go-short-list & finally booked a two-way flight for three to Sabah (The tix costs MYR250/person), direct from KBR. 

Sabah's trip was really under budget. But, still.. it can't be called as backpacking. Em, perhaps should I say.. I have no plan to backpack ? *I couldn't left my luggage behind* haha. Since this was my first under-budget-travelling-experience, I could say that it was a very wild-ride. But so fun!! Sya did everything from the start (I went there with my two friends from diploma years). Thank God. I was too busy with my family matters weeks before (I even burnt my reunion trip to Jkt-Bandung) T__T Besides of settling the accommodations, she even checked the beautiful spots, and what poses should be taken there! I know, cray craaaay, right? Well, she is. 

We thought long and hard about this trip before sticking up to our plans. We planned this trip since May. & the unexpected earthquake happened in June. The issue of decreasing value of our currency and GST were another thing. The first thing that acrossed our mind was this trip must not be over-budget (In anything we did, it must not exceed the cost that we drafted). Earlier, we were pretty nervous too. We kept on eye on the news almost everyday in order to ensure the real situation in Sabah. We calculated & talked about how much does everything costs million timeess, just to ensure the trip run smoothly.

Guess what ?! We survived with only MYR300/person (6 days 5 nights). The total was  MYR550/person. wow. Of course, a lot of things can be cut off, still. Some people who have been there told us tips to Sabah (We even google-d some reviews about this state too), but we didn't really know what to expect and what not. After all, this was our first time. We were very happy to challenge ourselves to go out of our comfort zone (The international trips that we handled before were hundred times easier than this trip). The most important, throwing ourselves outside of the normal circumstances made us discovered more about ourselves. I am picky! Very picky! And really have no patience when I am hungry!! Haha

As I looked back on my trip last week, these are some things that (my friends) and I thought would be useful for everyone who have plan to try travelling (under budget) tooo!

1) Plan & organize your trip

We did pretty good at this. Personally speaking, planning and organizing take a huge chunk of time before we even arrive. Our aim is to go visit as many places as possible and take a lot of photos since we never know when will we come here again. Thus, we listed all the places that we would like to visit earlier, divided them into several sections: wajib (compulsory), sunat (it is better to go), tak pergi pun tak apa (nvm, we don't have to go), so that we knew what was the best route we should take in order to get to see all the attractions. Guys, don't forget to take the travel guide book or at least, the map as soon as you arrived at the airport. Trust me, it will help you a lot!!

Basically, I am really good acting as a co-pilot. Hehe
2) Try couch-surfing

I rarely prefer this thing (due to lack of privacy), but I cannot deny that it is a great way to travel on a tight budget. As far as I know, there is one website consists of community of travelers who share their space rooms with strangers for free. But of course, our family won't let us to join it for some safety reasons (It is understandable).

We stayed at Kak T's (Sya's cousin) house in Kota Belud for two nights before moving to stay at Yana's house in Kota Kinabalu for another three nights. Our first plan was to book cheap hotel in KK and went to all the places from there. But, as Kak T offered her place, and as we re-checked the map, Kundasang & Kudat were nearer from Kota Belud (not as far as we traveled from KK), we accepted her offer. Lucky us to accept Kak T's offer to stay at her house. We saved a lot of money here. Kak T even packed us food, and borrowed us her car for free in KBelud (We rented Myvi in KK, costed only RM 80/day! The owner was sooo kind!) Lesson learned: Make friends!! Everyone has potential to help you :)

A picture with Kak T (We stayed upstairs). 
3)  Food

This part is the hardest. The thing that made we regretted the most during the trip was regarding food. We forgot to survey what and where to eat (especially during our stay in Kota Kinabalu) & ended up to eat at pizza (For the first night) and the following days at hm, not-recommended restaurants (The taste & the price were unreasonable). But, the seafood at the stall that we visited the last night (near to Pasar Philippine was quite good). I brought some snacks & maggi, but finished everything in the first three days. Our finance manager (Akmal) calculated our budget and realized that we wasted our money on food the most. Argh we should find 7E earlier!!

4) Get lost on purpose (But always take precautions)

I am a person who dislike big risk. Sya is braver than me. She always comes out with a lot of plans.. "Let's go there..and there. There! And... there too..." that sometimes, Akmal & I have to whoa.. whooa, can we please slow down a little. Let's do one thing after another slower. Haha. But, can't deny that breaking away from the norm is good too (sometimes). On the other note, always be prepared and take extra precautions, especially when you are all girls. As in the case of us, we traveled by car on our own to Kota Belud, Ranau, Kudat, Kota Kinabalu, and some other places too. It was very fun. We were told not to go to Sandakan and the areas nearby there as they were not really safe. Not sure whether the stories told by our host were true or not, but we decided not to go.

As we did not go to the Poring (The first day we arrived, it was raining heavily in the evening), we decided to try to find waterfall in the Kota Kinabalu area. We eventually followed the signboard of Jeram ..I-forgot-the-name.. after visiting the Tamparuli Town (Managed to see the view of Tamu there) and ended up with the scenic view (The last picture). Very beautiful! We were the only three Malays from Semenanjung that were there. The local that I asked told me that we can swim there. Too bad we didn't bring any spared clothes :( (It was quite risky to seek the unusual places that didn't see much tourism, but most of the views were totally worthwhile). Keep your eyes on everything. Use common sense (Make sure your waze works well too!!) and insya Allah, you 'll be ok.

Rumah Panjang Rungus. This place didn't appear in the Waze. Lucky us to find this place manually. Phew!

The sun set view in Rang Bulan Beach, near to Pulau Mantanani. Kak T brought us here! It feels like we are in Semporna!

The view on the way to the Jeram ..I-forgot-the-name.. My most favourite!
5) Keep good notes

I am so frustrated and regretted for not jotting down every single details of the places that I have traveled before this. That's why, one of the reasons I force myself to write this entry and post it as soon as possible (I have a lot of entries that haven't been posted yet). I may only see these places and meet these people once in a lifetime. So, I took a lot of photos during this visit (There were about 2k++ photos) just to ensure that I won't forget any single moments there. After all, they don't cost anything. Except your phone battery kept drained just like water (We charged three powerbanks full every night). haha

6) Enjoy it

Be excited with your trip, guys. Don't sweat yourself with the stuffs that you can't control. We too, did argue on some small matters along the 6 days journey, but ended up with laughing to each other. Haha. Akmal hit a mirror in the 3D Museum at Rumah Terbalik (She thought it was a door), I was once carelessly to open and sit in other's car, and many other silly things that actually embarrassing. hehe


I really have to thank these two friends for this trip. Till the next (educational) trip, perhaps ? :)

Aug 6, 2015

Rest well, Che.

Post-poned entry.

My Che had returned to Allah last week (20th March 2015). Her passing was totally a shock, at least to me. I did not expect to receive a phone call from my sister to tell me that.. "Che takdok dah..."... It was surreal. I couldn't brain this. I just talked to her a week before.. I just talked to my mother about Che much-less six hours before her death.. I just liked her photo on instagram (uploaded by my cousin) three hours before she left for good.. I just.. I just.. lost for words.

This entry has been written since last two months.., but never finish..

I am lost in time machine now. There is so much I want to say about her that I can't even start. My siblings and I are the closest to Che. We used to call Che's house as our nursery. Well, since my parents are both working, all of us will stay at her place until noon.. sometimes, dragged until late in the evening or night, went to our home for sleep and changed clothes.. & the routine continued....... until we start schooling, literally at six/seven. She even the one who walked us to the kindergarten in the morning, and never forget to pick us up. We used to say, "Che tak payah lah ambik, kita kenal lah jalan balik rumah Che.." You know what was her reply ? "Tak boleh, orang jahat ramai!" (I was soooo jealous to see others walked home by themselveees, and sometimes with other frieeends, back at that time) -__-

Che was with us in almost all special occasions. Abah's birthday party, Umi's mother's day, small family's gathering, and even to our trips to masjid for kuliyah and tarawih, she will always included in our list. Every small things that we did, she will shout it from the rooftops. Well, it annoyed some people. huhu. Obviously, she was our biggest supporters. Since her house is more spacious (Read: No wifi), I used to study at her house for my big examinations. She will never fail to sleep before me. If only she slept before me, it was only because she accidentally slept. Anyone that knew my Che liked her very much. She was very easy to mingle with. One of my best friend's wedding shower was done at Che's house, and you know, she was the one who was more excited about that event! 

Tok Ayah's death affected her very much. She insisted to stay at her house although it was only for day-stay. She changed a lot. She became very secretive. And always talked about the same things everyday and we kept listening to the same stories all the time. Perhaps, she missed Tok Ayah a lot. Even if she rarely cooked after that, she never miss to ask us to buy groceries every month, and the most important; if only she cooked, she never forget to cook for us tooo (Ikan singgang is compulsory. Sometimes, there were up to three un-touched packed of them in the freezer). Haha


I have always imagined Che on my wedding day (We always had a little fight when talking about marriage thing. Pfffft). I am at the saddest level that I have ever been now. But, realizing that she was in the better place, I could not be much happier. By this time, perhaps she has been re-united back with her long lost boy friend in the jannah. Insya Allah. According to Umi and Chu, Che went away in a very beautiful way. She even had her house clean and tidy before she asked them to bring her to the hospital. She was so calm.. her heartbeat was slowed gradually, and after one heavy breath, she closed her eyes. Forever.

Rest well Che. 

We shall meet again, soon.


I would like to thank everyone who were there for me, since from the start I received the news. Friends who helped to send me off to the airport at 1 a.m., willing to wait for me at the airport until I safely went into the plane (My flight was at 7 a.m. It was the first flight), and to those who take time to deliver the message of condolences to my family and I, I would like to thank each one of you. May Allah bless! 



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