Tuesday, March 24, 2009


KOTA KINABALU 22 Feb 2009: If you and a few friends are travelling on a budget, and looking for a cheap and fun self-drive day tour around the city of Kota Kinabalu and its surroundings, look out for the next KK City Tourism Treasure Hunt, an annual event co-organized by Tourism Malaysia and Kota Kinabalu City Hall. This tour is usually held on the last Sunday of February in conjunction with the Kota Kinabalu City Day celebrations. The itinerary is usually well designed, enticing tourists with visits to historical and cultural sites, while not forgetting the shopaholics who are guaranteed of a frenzied time-out with a visit to Gaya Street being almost a certainty every year.

How much? An unbelievable deal - only RM250 for 4 pax (land costs only, accommodation and car rental not included) with an opportunity to meet the mayor, and one high-tea cum entertainment (audience interaction involved and lots of laughter guaranteed) thrown in at Nexus-Karambunai Resort at the end of the tour. And to top it all off, the organizers even reward the best “tourists” on the day with cash and prizes. The only catch – the itinerary is only revealed on the morning of the tour! And do remember to bring along a latest map of the city or a GPS tool (did I forget to mention the tour is self-guided too!). However, if you do come unprepared, do not fret – the friendly people at the Sabah Tourism Board or Tourism Malaysia office are ever willing to help out.

Hunters R Us has not skipped this annual event since we first signed up in 2006 and would not think twice about recommending it to others (although we have never been able to send our full team each year due to one reason or another). So much so that the lovely Ms. Fauziahton has accorded us preferential treatment each year, by never failing to remind us either through phone calls or email once the tour details have been finalized. This year Vincent had to pull out due to an ailment but we were rather fortunate to have Claire on board as a replacement, responding to our eleventh-hour SOS.

Our reasons for returning year after year?

Guminavo zou tana id siibo do tongus!

Yes, we just love this naturally beautiful land, including the humble and friendly people of Sabah. Not forgetting the variety of seafood on offer and my personal favourite, the fluffy steamed Chinese buns.

This was one part of the tour itinerary distributed to us at Nexus-Karambunai Resort on the morning of the tour. The tour was split into 2 legs. Leg 1 was rather eventful, with 2 Parts to complete - that would take up most of the morning period. Part 1 required us to travel to 7 different places to complete associated tasks & one challenge, while for Part 2 we had to find our way to 3 locations - Api Api Centre, Double Six Memorial @ Grace Point Food Court and Petagas War Memorial, to walk & hunt for answers.

The tour itinerary for 2009.

There were 4 challenges in total. Challenge 1 required teams to first find their way to Likas Beach at Taman Awam. At the beach, teams were instructed to transfer water from a filled 600ml bottle (point A) to an empty 500ml bottle (point B, located about 15-20 feet away) in 90 seconds, using nothing more than bare hands and a whole lot of imagination on how best to cup the water. Points were awarded based on the level of water achieved. Our team did very well here thanks to good team coordination and a pair of long hands belonging to one team member!

We did struggle with one task at Gaya Street. This task required us to find a man wearing a special headgear and then recite "I Love the Land Beneath the Wind" in exchange for a special stamp. Easy? In the Queen's language, yes, but in Kadazan, definitely not! When googling did not get as anywhere, we resorted to Plan B to ask the (wo)man in the street which we found out was no easy task either. Although the Kadazans are the dominant ethnic group, mind you, this state has a total of 32 or more ethnic groups. So identifying a person of Kadazan ethnicity (when not in his/her ethnic dress) proved very challenging indeed. It took us a good 20 - 30 minutes before we could make our way out of this rather busy street.

The man with the special headgear.

And what do you do when you realise during the tour that one of the specified locations is neither an entry in the GPS nor found in the maps?

......... Follow that car! (while crossing your fingers). That was what we did when we hit a wall looking for Petagas War Memorial.

Our Little Angel!

Completing Leg 1, we had to find our way to KDCA (Kadazan-Dusun Cultural Association) in Jalan Penampang, where Challenge 2 laid waiting. This challenge required teams to correctly identify within ten minutes, five pictures in a sheet of paper to physical houses belonging to various ethnic groups located within the association's compound. And of course, many more pictures were added in order to distract. Again through divine help, we were able to complete this task unscathed.

Leg 2 was relatively milder with only 3 places to visit - Lok Kawi Zoo, Alam Mesra and One Borneo to hunt for answers. I thoroughly enjoyed the first stop which housed a few interesting guests like the Proboscis Monkey and the Man of the Forest, and could not resist snapping away.

Our team members monkeying around.

After an hour, and with a heavy heart, I SLOWly made my way out of the zoo to join my comrades in our journey to the remaining two destinations. There were two other challenges to complete in One Borneo. For Challenge 3 teams had to scurry around an Adidas outlet searching for answers (found on Adidas products) to five multiple choice cryptic questions. Not amusing when you consider the little space we had to manouver in an outlet crammed with more than 400 people and exhibits that suddenly grew legs and walked away from its rightful shelves!

The Final challenge (a Celcom challenge) was where we dropped our first points. Not at all familiar with the many festivals celebrated in this state proved to be our downfall. We were tasked with identifying from five rather long paragraphs, popular festivals from a long list of choices, and sms-ing the answers to the event organizers, all within 90 seconds.

The tour finally ended in Nexus-Karambunai Resort with a high-tea meal awaiting all the participants. While dining, we were also entertained by Stacy from Akademi Fantasia 6 fame, and selected members of the audience participating in two rather hilarious games coined by the event organizers.

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves during the entire tour. Being named best "tourists" was definitely the icing on the cake. And echoing what Arnie had said ...... we'll be back (in 2010)!

The best "tourists" of ZOOM! KK City Tourism Treasure Hunt 2009.

KK City Tourism Tresure Hunt Results
(Full score 140 pts)

1st: Chai Koh Khai, Margaret Sha, Claire Chin, Chong Voon Kiat (136)
2nd: Cornelius Koh, Euphemia Thien, Dennis Koh, Edward Baki (126)
3rd: Onalia Kong, Allister Kong, Victoria Kong, Benjamin Liew (124)
4th: Ellen Yee, Liaw Yun Haw, Shirley Lim, Mary M Lokupi (122)
5th: Ag Ahmad, Ag Sarpuddin, Masri Khan, Zurinah Hanafiah (122)
6th: Johan Salul, Sallehudin Yusof, Dr Ben Lau, Kheirul Nazib (122)
7th: Jessie Ligayus, Suzanne Majani, Adoree Malingang, Anna Yong (121)
8th: Benedick Bisoni, Mark Martin, Morris Besoni (121)
9th: Bernard Liew, Alvin Wong, Christine Netto, Audrey Chin (118)
10th: Donald Stephens, Nabil Hyder, Laura Lidi Basinau, Benidect Basinau (116)


zahir said...

Hey thats my car you followed! :)

2 Romans 1 Impostor said...

Thanks mate. You did us a great favour. Hope to see you again in the hunt this coming Feb 2010.