The rest of the team flew in today. We booked six 12-seater vans for 45 of us. We could have saved cost by booking 5 vans but we had enough experiences to be smart enough to book 1 extra for contingency purposes. And hey, with the extra space in the van, we don't need to cram in like sardines right?
Today, I woke up at 6.45AM. A bit too early but I'd something to do that I had never done alone before. The plan was for me to get to Kinabalu Park in the morning to register the team for the climb so tha they need not rush to get to Kundasang (where Kinabalu Park is) by 5pm. There were 3 climbers who took the 11.10AM flight from KL. They would only arrive KK at 1.40PM. So getting to Kinabalu Park by 5pm would be an added stress to everyone.
So at 9.30AM, I took 8 others with me and we headed off to Kundasang. We stopped at a small town called Nabalu just before Kundasang It was about 1.5 hours drive to Nabalu.
12.20PM - We reached Kinabalu Park. I went to register the team, get the name tags, paid up the guide, insurance and permit, and entrance fees. We were there for an hour.
After that, we checked into the hotel at Kundasang. The first 2 times I was here, we booked the dorms at the Park. I find it too expensive to stay there, so what we did was to scout round Kundasang for a cheaper place. Last year we stayed at Golden Kundasang Highlands Resort. It was much cheaper but the place was kind of run down and not clean. There were bed bugs resulting to a sleepless night. This year, someone recommended this hotel to me - Cottage Hotel. The price was very reasonable for a twin sharing room with bathroom attached as compared to the Park hostels (dorm style) and Golden Kundasang (5 or 6 in a room).
The 9 of us had lunch at the hotel. We wanted to eat fast and go explore Kundasang. Someone suggested going to Poring hot springs for a dip. Jyrki preferred to have a nap at the hotel rather than to join us for an adventure. I wasn't that keen on Poring, having been there before in 2006. But still, the majority wins.
On the way to the hot springs, Danny asked if we could spot for any Rafflesia sightings signboard. Rafflesia is the largest individual flower in the world and is only found in the jungles of Souteast Asia. Since we are in Sabah, where the State flower is the Rafflesia, naturally we wanted to have a close up look at the flower.
We spotted a signboard. There were a few boys "manning" the "shop". They wanted us to pay RM10 per person but we negotiated with them - RM60 for the 8 of us. I guess this is considered cheap as compared to what I paid last time - RM20 and a 10 minute walk into the farm to look at the flower for 3 minutes!!
I remembered the last time I was here, it took like forever to fill up the tub. What most people did was to use the existing tubs that were already filled. Goodness knows who and what disease the previous occupants had. I think that everyone should drain out the water after they have used the tub. Also, each tub has 2 taps.. 1 cold and 1 hot. Hmmm... I wonder.... nevermind, I better not say it here. Further behind the compound there are 2 pools (I think) with a no entry sign. The steam rising up from the pools indicated that the water was hot.
We spent about an hour at the Hot Spring then we head back to the hotel. The balance of our team members had already checked in.
Dinner was at 7pm. We had steamboat, something unusual for Jyrki, Amy and Kelly. (Amy and Kelly are originally from Scotland).
The Cottage Hotel Manager, Mr Michael brought a band in to entertain us with local music while we eat. After that we had a short briefing, collected our climb T-shirts and luggage tags.
Rach and I planned to sleep at 11pm, but I had to sort out the name tags for all the climbers. I was so stressed up that it took me a while to fall alseep. :(