Last February 11, we did the same route. The skies were blue, nothing to worry about. In fact the weather was perfect for the opening ceremonies of the 15th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta which was taking place in Clark Freeport that day. We wanted to check it out before our flight, but then we didn't have a car and thought it might be expensive to hire a cab to drive us around. Well, there's always next year.
To get to Diosdado Macapagal International Airport, we boarded a Manila-Clark bus from Philtranco Edsa (same bus also picks up passengers from SM Megamall). And to get to Philtranco, we took a jeep from Taft to Pasay Rotonda and walked about a hundred meters from the rotonda to the terminal.
It's on the opposite side of Metro Point Mall. The complete address is posted on Philtranco's website. Your landmark is Jollibee, very easy to spot from afar. Make sure you reserve tickets (P300/P350 depending on your pick up point), it can be easily done thru phone call. Travel time is an hour and thirty minutes.
Our Air Asia 4:00 PM flight was 45 minutes delayed. We were a group of 4: me, my hubby Sherv, my sister Gabe, and her American friend Nadge. We arrived at Kota Kinabalu International Airport Terminal 2 7ish. We missed the last trip of mini bus #16 (runs from Tanjung Aru Beach to Wawasan Plaza Terminal) so we decided to take a cab. Taxis for hire are RM30 (4 passengers max) to city center.
On our previous visit in Kota Kinabalu, we stayed at a Couchsurfer's house so we were not familiar with its hostels. I asked our cab driver to just drop us off along Jalan Gaya. Our group was split into two. Gabe and Nadge looked for a more posh accommodation. Nadge felt like splurging because she doesn't get much vacations. It was also her first time in Asia.
As for my hubby and I, as usual, we looked for the cheapest option. Generally, tourist accommodations in Malaysia are more expensive than in other Asian countries - but still affordable. We first went to Rainforest Lodge which offers RM78 for a double/twin air-conditioned room, common toilet. It was too much for us. On the same alley we found Summer Lodge which charges RM65 only. Thank goodness they had vacancy.
Receptionists are welcoming, and they have a very knowledgeable tour agent, Betty. There's free wiFi (for the first time we actually cared because Sherv brought work with him) and can reach the rooms. Hot and cold showers are available in common bathrooms.
By the way, breakfast is included. Toast with different spreads, fruit, coffee and juice. There's also canned beans which we, uhm, finished most of the time. Drinking water is available 24 hours. If you have your own drinks, you can keep them in the fridge.
Pinay Travel Junkie confession: One morning I made sandwiches then stashed them in my camera bag so we can have a free snack while we're out. Sneaky, sneaky.
At the living room, you can watch DVD movies. There are also two computers with internet access which you can use without charge.
Our only problem with Summer Lodge is that there's a nightly band performance nearby where a group of restaurants and bars are huddled. The show ends at midnight. So if you prefer your evenings peaceful, you might want to check in somewhere else.
We were able to deal with it (except "Bad Romance" played in my head over and over for three days!). Besides, I kind of missed listening to cover bands. The songs "Play That Funky Music" and "September" took me down memory lane.
For more information, visit Summer Lodge's website here.
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