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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
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
The price is RM375 per night

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! (1,155 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
Borneo Beach Villas
Borneo Beach Villas
4 out of 5
The price is RM280 per night

This Kota Kinabalu resort is on the beach, 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Karambunai Peninsula, and within 12 mi (20 km) of 1Borneo Hypermall and University of Malaysia ...

4/5Very Good! (304 reviews)

"Nice location, next to the beach with water sport equipment for rent"…"

Reviewed on 24 Feb 2020

Borneo Beach Villas
Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa
Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa
5 out of 5
The price is RM396 per night

Nestled on the beach, this Tuaran resort is within 3 mi (5 km) of Dalit Beach, Karambunai Peninsula and Tuaran Crocodile Farm. 1Borneo Hypermall and Upside Down ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (999 reviews)

"Beautiful, spacious and wonderful facilities, restaurants and food. I think this has now become my favourite ever hotel and we will return, hopefully soon. Fantastic hospitality, and my wife shed a tear when the staff sang to us as they bid us farewell."…"

Reviewed on 26 Feb 2020

Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa

Popular places to visit 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 things to do in Kota Kinabalu

Private Sandakan Tour & Orangutan Sanctuary with Lunch
Image for Private Sandakan Tour & Orangutan Sanctuary with Lunch

Private Sandakan Tour & Orangutan Sanctuary with Lunch

RM1,296
Per adult
92% of travellers recommend
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
Colonial Steam Train Excursion
Image for Colonial Steam Train Excursion

Colonial Steam Train Excursion

RM600
Per adult
78% of travellers recommend
City Highlights Half-Day Tour
Image for City Highlights Half-Day Tour

City Highlights Half-Day Tour

RM320
Per adult
86% of travellers recommend
Klias Wetland Safari & Fireflies Tour
Image for Klias Wetland Safari & Fireflies Tour

Klias Wetland Safari & Fireflies Tour

RM300
Per adult
Kinabalu Park & Poring Hot Springs Venture
Image for Kinabalu Park & Poring Hot Springs Venture

Kinabalu Park & Poring Hot Springs Venture

RM300
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

Other places like Kota Kinabalu

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