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Kota Kinabalu

Sabah’s capital is a laid-back, oceanfront city not far from towering Mount Kinabalu, traditional villages and a spectacular marine park.

Kota Kinabalu, or “KK” as it is affectionately known throughout Asia, is the dynamic gateway to Borneo. The city offers a wealth of cultural sights, from museums and art galleries, to mosques and botanical gardens. The year-round tropical weather is ideal for exploring the nearby beaches, rain forest trails and tropical islands. KK is also a foodie’s paradise, offering a huge range of regional Asian cuisines, including some of the largest barbecued banana prawns you will ever hope to see!

It’s easy to get around KK’s downtown sights on foot or by bus. Spend a day exploring local culture at the Sabah Museum and the nearby Ethnobotanical Gardens, where you’ll find pitcher plants, medicinal flora, rice and herbs.

At the Sabah Art Gallery, within the Sabah Museum complex, enjoy work by local artists both established and upcoming. Visit the Monsopiad Cultural Village for insight into the Kadazandusun indigenous tribes of Sabah. These tribes share their craftwork, architectural practices, cooking and dance with visitors.

Just beyond Kota Kinabalu’s downtown attractions, a world of wilderness and island possibilities await. Pack your snorkeling and fishing gear and island hop around the five islands of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park.

Discover Borneo's incredible fauna at the Kota Kinabalu Wetland Center, the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park, Green Connection, an aquarium, and the Tuaran Crocodile Farm.

Pull on your hiking boots and experience wild Borneo at the Kinabulu Park, where you’ll find carnivorous pitcher plants, the huge rafflesia flower and four species of primate. Climb to the peak of Mount Kinabalu for an unforgettable sunrise view over northern Borneo and the South China Sea.

Kota Kinabalu is home to Malaysia’s second busiest airport, making it an easily accessible destination.

Top hotels in Kota Kinabalu

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Hyatt Regency Kinabalu
Hyatt Regency Kinabalu
5 out of 5
Jalan Datuk Salleh Sulong, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Free cancellation
RM380
per night
15 Apr-16 Apr

This family-friendly Kota Kinabalu hotel is located on the waterfront, just steps away from KK Esplanade and Wisma Merdeka. Suria Sabah Shopping Mall and Gaya ...

4.1/5Very Good! (1,223 reviews)

"This hotel have beautiful ocean view,is close to shopping center and eateries...Staff are friendly and helpful..."…"

Reviewed on 13 Feb 2020

Hyatt Regency Kinabalu
Hilton Kota Kinabalu
Hilton Kota Kinabalu
5 out of 5
Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Asia City, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
RM380
per night
4 Apr-5 Apr

Located in Downtown Kota Kinabalu, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of All Saint's Cathedral and Centre Point. Anjung Samudera and Gaya Street Sunday Market ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (639 reviews)

"All was good but would like to suggest to include basic amenities like shaver kit."…"

Reviewed on 5 Mar 2020

Hilton Kota Kinabalu
Shangri La's Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa
Shangri La's Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa
5 out of 5
No. 20, Jalan Aru, Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
RM800
per night
18 Apr-19 Apr

This Tanjung Aru resort is on the beach, 2.3 mi (3.7 km) from Sabah State Mosque, and within 6 mi (10 km) of Imago Shopping Mall and Anjung Samudera. Gaya Street ...

4.4/5Excellent! (1,667 reviews)

"Great location for the beach and sunset, extremely friendly and helpful staff. Great amenities. Would definitely recommend."…"

Reviewed on 2 Mar 2020

Shangri La's Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa

Popular things to do in Kota Kinabalu

Mount Kinabalu National Park
Image for Mount Kinabalu National Park

Mount Kinabalu National Park

4.5/5(3 reviews)

Tackle the two-day climb to Borneo’s highest peak or enjoy the lower rainforest trails in this park, home to some of the world’s rarest plants.

Top activities in Kota Kinabalu

KOTA KINABALU CITY TOUR
Image for KOTA KINABALU CITY TOUR

KOTA KINABALU CITY TOUR

RM175
Per adult
Full-Day Weston River Proboscis Monkey & Firefly Cruise with Buffet Dinner
Image for Full-Day Weston River Proboscis Monkey & Firefly Cruise with Buffet Dinner

Full-Day Weston River Proboscis Monkey & Firefly Cruise with Buffet Dinner

84% of travellers recommend
RM160
Per adult
Tunku Abdul Rahman Park Island-Hopping Tour
Image for Tunku Abdul Rahman Park Island-Hopping Tour

Tunku Abdul Rahman Park Island-Hopping Tour

RM320
Per adult
SAPI AND MANUKAN ISLAND
Image for SAPI AND MANUKAN ISLAND

SAPI AND MANUKAN ISLAND

80% of travellers recommend
RM260
Per adult
Colonial Steam Train Excursion
Image for Colonial Steam Train Excursion

Colonial Steam Train Excursion

78% of travellers recommend
RM600
Per adult
Kudat Rungus Long House & Tip of Borneo Tour from Kota Kinabalu
Image for Kudat Rungus Long House & Tip of Borneo Tour from Kota Kinabalu

Kudat Rungus Long House & Tip of Borneo Tour from Kota Kinabalu

RM670
Per adult

Reviews of Kota Kinabalu

4.1

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
11
5 - Excellent 33.333333333333336%
4 - Good
14
4 - Good 42.42424242424242%
3 - Okay
8
3 - Okay 24.242424242424242%
2 - Disappointing
0
2 - Disappointing 0%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

9 Dec 2019

great loved it

4/5 - Good

Haji

11 Sep 2019

Nice place to visit full of culture nice and friendly people around

3/5 - Okay

lucy

1 Sep 2019

There is a big overhead walk way built 2 years ago connecting the Oceanus, Center Points and Sky Star Mall, BUT, it is closed and never being used as I was told by locals - CROSS THE ROAD AT YOUR OWN RISK. :-(

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

26 Aug 2019

Very commercial and hectic, not at all beautiful but good place to start your Sabah adventure. The islands are easily accessible and the beaches are clean but often full of tourists during the middle of the day. Free WiFi in city centre!

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

4 Jul 2019

Recommend going to Filipino and Waterfront markets for food.

4/5 - Good

Kevin

3 Jul 2019

Great city,great food and night life. Lots of trips and island hopping tours departing from there. Just get used to seeing rats because KK is over-run with them

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