Kota Kinabalu (KK) in Sabah, Malaysia is a short two-hour flight via budget airline Air Asia from the Diosdado Macapagal Airport in Clark Airbase, Pampanga. Short flight, but not quite easy. Air Asia only flies out from Clark, so that in itself is kinda out of the way if you're from Manila. Second, the taxes from that airport amount to something around Php 2,500 per person. Ghastly. Third, the airline only allows for free-seating, which can only translate to a messy elbow-bumping, face-smacking scenario for us harried Filipinos. Also, meals or snacks don't come complimentary so either you stuff yourself silly prior the flight, or shell out bucks to buy what food is offered in the airline carts. Fifth, you can't really expect much from a budget airline's fly-in fly-out route, so there's hardly enough time to clean up the garbage and tidy up the seats from the previous flight, and this is evident in the not-so clean leather seats with remnants of candy wrappers tucked in the creases. So if you're that particular, bring out the wet wipes and smother on some much-needed cleanliness in that leather seat you elbow-bumped for.
Upon arrival, a nice, clean and modern airport welcomes travelers and tourists. A delightful change from that of Clark's. Cabs are easy to come by once you step out of the terminal, that's if you don't already have your hotel's pick-up service waiting on you, signboard in hand. KK Airport isn't too far away from the city center, give it 15 minutes and you're bound to be in your hotel already, given of course that your hotel of choice is just in the main city.
Hamin Lodge is the perfect place to stay for the budget traveler who seeks sanctuary in accommodations. Newly opened, this boutique lodge offers room options, like queen-size beds for couples, to bunk beds for friends to dormitory type rooms for backpackers. Some rooms have their own toilet and bath while a common T&B is located in each floor.
With a wonderful sense of style and close attention to detail, Hamin has turned itself into a welcoming oasis from the busy local life surrounding it. And just like its character, the people from Hamin Lodge are simply the best. They will accommodate questions, requests and even give favor to their guests. Prior to departure, exchange of emails and initial deposits went by like a breeze. One rule of thumb we have come to understand based from past travels is that, speedy and accommodating responses are a great sign of service. Hamin easily passed with flying colors.
triptayo KK was done last April 27 - May 1, 2007
more photos here and here