The last time we were here was in Kundasang last year to deliver a talk. It was cold and raining at night with the blowing wind giving an eerie sound.
After the talk and dinner, we wasted time with poker into the early morning. The weather was fine the next morning but we could only savour the clear sight of Mount Kinabalu for a short while before leaving home.
This time we have more time to enjoy and appreciate the awesome scenery and visit the attractions albeit at leisurely pace without any targeted schedule.
The fresh cool mountain air is like homecoming. Given a choice between winter cold and summer heat, we pick winter.
By the time we reached our budget motel but called resort, it was getting dark at around 4-5 o'clock in the evening.
Although we left in mid-morning, we had many stops.
Just outside Kudat, we stopped over at the gong cottage industry centre and that is where we meet up the other car in our two car convoy.
Upon reaching the junction for the left turn towards Ranau, we stopped over for fruit stall. Its already a couple of days of travelling. Too much protein and rich food, and not enough roughage for digestion.
The Mrs must have bought wholesale every jagung bakar onsight. The corn is golden in colour and god! it is naturally sweet and tasty.
The brothers bought more buah terap and rambutan. Usually we are not that crazy about rambutan, but the fresh rambutan was nice, not too sweet and lekang (flesh not sticking to the seed).
Mother bought two huge mango they called mangga kelapa. It looks like mangga epal but it is still hard despite already yellowish in color.
As we drove back towards Kuala Belud and Tuaran, we were looking for a masjid to do Friday prayers. We finally did Jumaat in Kuala Belud.
At Kota Belud, we got to solve our Maxis handphone reception problem. All it takes was an eraser to gently rub out the oxide building on the chip.
We begin our ascending uphill towards Kundasang.
The view was getting misty and it was mystical. We came across a roadside cafe with a nice view and stopped.
With the cafe perched by the hillslope, it created a spectacular view of the hills.
The proprietor told to us that the mountain we were looking is the gunong betina (female mountain) to the gunong jantan of Mount Kinabalu.
Whatever it means.
Everyone, especially the kid, build up quite an appetite for the lady's soto ayam and mee goreng maggi.
In no time, we had to leave to reach the motel before dark.
Celyn Resort is a bugget motel built amidst a kampong. We had to travel further in a kilometre or two and go through gravel road uphill.
It was worthy to drive up fairly deep till the end of the kampong.
The view around the budget resort is spectacular and in the morning, one can see Mount Kinabalu in the morning and a beautiful kampong set against the valley.
This is the thing about travelling accomodation. It is great and convenience to stay in full facilities resort but why pay so much just to sleep?
For RM100 a room per nite, it is a good deal.
Perhaps some of the kids were not amused to the idea of an accomodation without a swimming pool. But these urban kids need to be exposed to different experiences and not be lost to the artificiality and crass commercialism of holiday resorts.
Having ate before reaching the resort, we didn't have dinner that evening. We just ate whatever fruits and snacks available.
The cool weather was making everyone snuggling up comfortably in sweaters and blankets, except one 'polar bear' wearing a rugby jersey. Before it was isya, everyone was asleep. Obviously, the travelling facility to combine prayers was utilised to the fullest.
We were up early by 4:30 AM.
Taking pictures of the morning and sunrise. Just surreal. With the mist all around, we must be up in heaven.
Mount Kinabalu can seen from the motel appearing in the morning.
The view of the valley.
Great place for retirement, isn't it?
Unlike our last trip of leisure to Mount Kinabalu many years ago, there have been many facilities and activities created.
And there are even unique experiences to savour.