This is a modern 21st Century city with high speed internet,
40 story buildings and a host of amenities
This may be a world away from the winter snows of Moscow and Russia and the mention of Borneo conjures up images of headhunters with blowpipes and Orang Utans but think again: This is a modern 21st Century city with high speed internet, 40 story buildings (as long as they are out of the flight path which lies over the waterfront) and a host of amenities many of which seem to centre, for now, on Le Meridien Hotel on the waterfront.
With shopping malls to the side and rear; a wonderful market right in front where you can buy fresh produce or eat it at tables beside the waterfront and pubs, restaurants and shops galore right on the spot; while when the sun sets traders set up their folding tables and display their wares in the night market.
Enjoy it while you can.
The fresh food markets and convenient hawker food stalls with their lip-smackin’ temptations of fresh barbecued fish and array of deserts such as banana and sweet potato fritters and sweet rice and coconut concoctions are due to be cleared away as are BED (Best Entertainment Destination), Aussie’s (Australian Bar) Shamrock (Irish bar) and the marvelous Borneo Trading Post souvenir shop.
Under a master plan they will be bulldozed out of the way within two years for a new waterfront esplanade under a city master plan which has already started materializing with a stretch of waterfront pavement and railings in front of a new shopping mall due to open by the end of November. Just over the bay from Le Meridien the greens of a 27-hole golf course lie in front of new homes where construction is powering ahead and the government offices at Kota Kinabalu Times Square are already up and the first employees at their desks.
All this lies within a ten minute drive of the international airport.
Six airlines ply regular flights from the capital across South East Asia to
Bangkok, Brunei, Hong Kong, Taipei, Kaoshiung, Manila, Cebu, Seoul,
Singapore and Tokyo
Le Meridien is set to be part of this burgeoning new development in Kota Kinabalu and through its doors a variety of restaurants and bars caters to locals and guests of the hotel’s 306 guestrooms and suites. John-George (JG) Vongerichten, the Michelin 3-star chef has introduced innovative breakfast signature dishes to the Circle restaurant and, as you enter this ground floor restaurant a hostess, after booking you in for the complimentary breakfast, offers you a JG eye opener with an innovative combination of flavors – mango-chili-lime, or honeydew-passion fruit-chili both of which sparked my appetite.
A sumptuous buffet that could sustain you through lunch to the evening is offered with a full array of dim sum and curries on offer as well as local porridge and western muesli.
Later, you may want to enjoy vibrant Latin cuisine, rousing music and a great atmosphere on offer at the Rumba Latin Grill& Bar fueled by price specials that make you think Moscow’s Doug Steele of Papa’s Place must have passed through here.
The Lounge, offers more sedate space for relaxation, reading the Sabah Times or engaging in meaningful conversation. The Pool Bar is a great location to sip a refreshing cocktail and nibble a light snack while watching stunning sunsets over the South China Sea. From five to eight they serve ten varieties of Sundowners at only RM 15 (about $4.00) each based on a double shot of liquor.
Sabah is well connected with six airlines plying regular flights from the capital across South East Asia to Bangkok, Brunei, Hong Kong, Taipei, Kaoshiung, Manila, Cebu, Seoul, Singapore and Tokyo as well as charters.
Outside town, which means at most a 15-minute drive in mid-morning traffic, lies the 1 Borneo project. Past the federal government offices, a hilltop university campus surrounded by parkland dominated by a splendid pink mosque you arrive at what is the largest shopping mall in Borneo with four hotels ranging from the Novotel to the Tune Hotel of Air Asia, the Kuala Lumpur based budget airline. There are also three blocks of condominiums which, with the hotels, all interconnect with the mall.
Nearby are two housing developments. The closest to town is the Kingfisher Cove development by Sabah Urban Development Corporation where Lucy Lim handles sales for a total of 52 3-storey waterfront villas and 1.5 storey duplex units. The three-storey villas with three bedrooms all with en-suite bathrooms are selling for around RM 1 million (US$ 300,000) each.
Far and away the most impressive development I saw
in Kota Kinabalu is d’Banyan Residence
Near the 1 Borneo complex in the midst of a burgeoning development area is Alamesra, billed as a “world class eco-cyber township with heart & soul” by its developer, Lintasan Mayang Development. Right in the appreciating development hot spot of the Sabah Development Corridor/Sulaman Highway the 265 acre project is a model self-contained university township. It is designed to complement the Kota Kinabalu municipality while relieving potential congestion within the city’s central business district.
The huge city comprises areas of condominiums, bungalows, semi-detached houses, townhouses and retail space with shop houses and entertainment complex.
Far and away the most impressive development I saw in Kota Kinabalu, albeit with price tags to match, is d’Banyan Residences, set in the heart of Sutera Harbour Marina, Golf and Country Club this is the epitome of Kota Kinabalu’s natural splendor. It is described by developer Camellia Tropicana, part of the WCT group, as “an enclave of elite homes for those who appreciate elite lifestyles.”
Bursting through the famed “Spine of Sabah” is Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in South East Asia and a symbol of conservation and wilderness the world over. Since Hugh Low made the first recorded climb of the mountain in 1851 botanists, zoologists and ecologists have followed in his footsteps discovering new species and confirming the mountain’s status as one of Asias’s most important biological sites.
There are still groups of indigenous Kadazandusan people living in the mountain’s flanks but today they grow chrysanthemums as much as traditional vegetables.
Most, however, have gravitated to the city and together with Malay Chinese make up the majority of the population. The 32 indigenous tribes of Sabah, the Malays, Indians and immigrants from Indonesia and the Philippines all contribute to the cultural diversity of Sabah adding to the colour and vibrancy of this exciting destination.
D’Banyan development sits at the heart of Kota Kinabalu offering a resort lifestyle integrated with Sutera Harbour Marina, Golf and Country Club. For golfers, the resort offers the only 27-hole course in Sabah and the only night golfing facilities in East Malaysia.
For sailors, the Marina, East Malaysia’s premier yacht club, offers berthing for up to 180 ft mega-yachts and a boat charter service for those who just fancy a day on the clear blue sea of the South China Sea or diving below the waves to discover diverse marine life.
The ultimate residence at d’Banyan is the 626 sq.m. three-storey villas with designer swimming pool., marble floors, timber decks and six spacious rooms with attached baths.
The designs are striking. The developers, WCT Land Sdn Bhd, have put particular emphasis on finishing touches. The soothing water features, aesthetic flowers and shrubs, roof gardens, double height ceilings in some public areas and extensive balconies give the homes an unassuming opulence.
D’Banyan is WCT Land’s first foray into East Malaysia and follows their well received inaugural projects launched at Bandar Bukkit Tinggi (BBT) in Klang, the Greater Kuala Lumpur Metropolitan area in 1996. Not content as the leading developer in Klang, WCT Land continues to provide quality mixed commercial development in Petaling Jaya, called The Paradigm. With the emergence of The Paradigm--the rising icon of Petaling Jaya, WCT Land expects to see a bold difference in the PJ skyline. A luxurious convergence of business, retail, dining & entertainment, The Paradigm is an architectural marvel with a unique fluid design. This elegant glass and steel structure offers a choice of working in spacious, modern office suites or conducting business in an architect’s dream design, created specially for office towers as well as shopping at The Paradigm Mall—boasting the finest in retail.
Richard Tokuzip of Metro Homes will guide investors
through the buying process
The initial success prompted the launch of two other townships in Bukkit Tinggi, an expansion into Petaling Jayya, a satellite town of Kuala Lumpur. The now established developer has embarked on a key project in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. Platinum Plaza- an architectural and innovative design mixed commercial developments of office towers, SOHO, Business class Hotel and the largest shopping mall in Vietnam. Platinum will herald a new beginning, bringing new ideas and excitement to Ho Chi Minh City.
D’Banyan, has three home designs. In addition to the Petrusa, three-storied villa design of which there are only 14, it offers the Aurea—two and half storey semi detached villas (48 are planned) and Citrifolia—two storey superlink villas (60 units scheduled). These are all luxury properties with stylish living, golf front homes, fresh air and security with CCTV within a gated and guarded compound.
Prices, reflecting the quality of the development and the prime location, are at the high end of the Sabah market and start at RM 1.6 million (around US $500,000) and going as high as nearly RM 4 (about US $1.2 mn). Mortgages up to 90% are available from local banks and assistance in buying property in Sabah and processing the MM2H application are available from Metro Homes in Kota Kinabalu where Richard Tokuzip, a personable native Sabahan will guide aspirants through the process.
But an added attraction, for 4-wheel drive adventure lovers, is that you can be on the start line for the Kinabalu Four Wheel Drive Club’s annual “Rumble in the Jungle” safari through the Dermakot jungle.
For more information on D'Banyon Residency at Sutera visit http://www.wct.com.my/CMS/Content/135/1.aspx
For more information on Alamesra Kota Kinabalu visit http://www.etawau.com/HTML/KotaKinabalu/Alamesra.htm