As I have mentioned in my previous post, Mayrathon is my marathon madness month, kick-starting a series of long distance race for the year. First leg, we got started with Borneo International Marathon at Kota Kinabalu, and then followed by Standard Chartered KL Marathon at Kuala Lumpur, two weeks later.
It sounded crazy, no doubt, even to me. I mean, the idea of running a half marathon (21km), and a full marathon (42km) in a span of just two weeks. How can that not be crazy?
So, the first leg took place at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
For the trip, I almost leave out all my photography gears behind. I said almost because since we would be heading to Kundasang/Ranau area, I thought of capturing some starry skies up in the higher land. So, I brought along my 5D Mark III, with EF 50mm and EF 16-35mm f/4L, and of course, my Manfrotto carbon fiber tripod.
My main shooter for the trip will be Huawei P9 Plus, for both photo and video. That would put the device to a great test. All the photos (and videos) taken during this trip would be with the mobile phone, unless stated otherwise.
The race was set on May 7th. This time round, we decided to fly in a day before race day, for race pack collection. Back in 2015, we flew in a few days early before race day, and explored the city before race day. This time round, we race first, then explore.
May 6th, we took super early flight out from Kuching, departing at 6:05am. The flight duration is about 1 hour 25 minutes, so by 7:30am, and we arrived at Kota Kinabalu. Upon arrival, and settling our car rental, we headed to one of our favourite Dim Sum restaurant for a hearty breakfast.
Since we still have plenty of time to kill, we headed to Suria Sabah for our race pack collection, before we headed to check in to our accommodation at Riverson SOHO.
Riverson SOHO is convenient for us for this trip, as it isn’t too far for us to travel to the race location – Likas Stadium. It’s pretty much very accessible anywhere, even to the airport. Best part of the deal was, they have swimming pool here! A great asset for post-run recovery!
Fast forward to the Race Day, they have a few changes to the race compared to 2015 edition. One, they’ve changed the route for Full Marathon category, and two, they pulled back the starting point for all categories. According to the report, there were 10,000 runners in total registered for this run. It was noticeable increase of numbers this year. We even had hard time getting a space to park our car.
The race was good, I definitely bettered my time in 2015 but a whole lot, and I even beat my best time in Half Marathon race. I’d say it’s a good run. Not a bad start for the year.
After the race, we headed to Gaya Street for a walk and brunch. Gaya Street is always a good place for you to see plenty of faces, tourists and locals alike. If you plan to shoot the street here, maybe you would like to come earlier, before the sun gets hot, giving you that scorching treatment.
After brunch, we head back to our suite for rest, and recovery swim. I have never appreciated swimming pool this much in my life. For the record, I don’t know how to swim.
We went on to check out the Art Bazaar at The Walk, Riverson. And after that, dinner.
DRIVING UP TO KUNDASANG
Kundasang is a town in the district of Ranau, and it is about 2,000 meters above sea level.
We started the next day early, made a stop at Kedai Kopi Kim Hing Lee for Sabah’s Sang Yuk Mian (Pork Noodle). This shop is located at Lorong Sinsuran 9. I still think the one at Lintas tastes better.
We set off to Kundasang around 9am, and made a pit stop at Tuaran, before continuing our drive up.
We stopped by Tuaran, with intention to try out the renowned Tuaran Mee. Unfortunately, the shop that we wanted to go wasn’t open, which is the most famous one in town. So we had to settle for second best instead.
After the meal, we went on with our adventure to Kundasang.
The drive up to Kundasang was quite tricky for us, some part of the journey tends to be foggy. The fog just clouds and dampens your visibility out of nowhere. On top of that, we had to deal with heavy vehicles, especially when we were behind them. It takes a great deal of patience to wait for the right time before we could overtake them.
Then, we noticed some stalls by the roadside. We pulled over, and to find out that they are selling roasted wild boar! That is something we don’t get to see or eat every day. So, we bought about half a kilo of cut, and went on with our drive.
The weather forecast had rain in the forecast, and it rained. That is also something we had to deal with. By the time we arrived at our hotel, it was about 1:00pm on the clock.
We checked in. But, we couldn’t do much other thatn that. The rain just wouldn’t stop. All we could do, was to stay indoor. The rain wasn’t as heavy around 3pm, so we drove out to check out the town, and see where we could have our dinner. The rain continued on, even during dinner time.
It was just a wet, wet day at Kundasang. And apparently, that’s the norm here.
Since it’s been cloudy and rainy for most of the day, the chances for me to have a starry sky at night, just became slimmer and slimmer. Even though the rain stopped at night, I went out to check for spots for shooting, but the sky remained cloudy. I waited and waited, and there was no star to be seen. So, I ended up with shots like these.
It was still fun to explore a place I have never visited before.
While shooting, I chatted with a chap, who was getting ready to sleep in his truck. He is one of many transporters there. He came from Tawau, and what he needed to do is to wait till morning, and load his truck with vegetables, and drive back to Tawau after that. I cannot imagine how far the distance is, and how he drives through the long windy road on a regular basis. It surely is tiring.
Thankfully the weather took a turn for the better the next morning. The sky was clear, and you can see blue sky. I missed the sunrise moment though. But the morning breeze and sunlight was still good. No sunrise magic moment here.
After breakfast, we checked out from our hotel, and went on with our agenda for the day. We visited Desa Dairy Farm, and checked out few of the places of interests, and had our lunch at H Benjamin Residence.
After lunch, it was time for us to drive back to the city.
That’s pretty much the end of our adventure in Kota Kinabalu, we had dinner at Little Italy, one of the best Italian restaurants in town. We then called it a day early, as our flight back to Kuching would be an early one.
Well actually, we took a detour to check out this one hidden gem. We looked up for interesting, beautiful spot for photo shoot on the Internet, and this place came up. I shall share about this in other post.
Now, my after thoughts on having to rely on your mobile phone only for holiday or vacation. That’s no the ideal setup. Mobile phone is still mobile phone, no matter how great the camera feature it may be offering. I think it’s still best to get a dedicated camera to document your vacation, and adventures. I constantly squeezed my phone to the max in this trip, using it to navigate through the cities, and places we were headed to, and also switching between photo and video mode to document this journey.
And, most of the time, I found myself needing to charge my phone couple of times in a day, at least twice in a day. I don’t have a portable charger/power bank, so it makes things worse. Even if I bring along a charging battery, I would think it defeats the idea of traveling light. I find it quite a hassle to have so many things dangling around. I would rather have a light camera with me, instead of two or more power banks in the bag. It’s just my preference.
On the other hand, I love the performance of the camera on my phone. At this point of time, I still haven’t discovered the joy of shooting RAW on the phone. I only discovered that on a later time. Thus, most of my shots here are direct JPEGs.
The next stop of Mayrathon took place in Kuala Lumpur.