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Kota Kinabalu
Travel Guide

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

Hilton Kota Kinabalu
Hilton Kota Kinabalu
5 out of 5
Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Asia City, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
The price is RM211 per night from 6 Mar to 7 Mar

Located in Downtown Kota Kinabalu, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of All Saint's Cathedral and Centre Point. Imago Shopping Mall and Gaya Street ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (716 reviews)

"Staffs were so friendly and professional:) especially the staff at restaurants & bar & gym & pool & door man. The room was spacious s and clean. Nice Breakfast. Nice view from swimming pool and the rooftop bar."…"

Reviewed on 24 Sep 2020

Hilton Kota Kinabalu
Borneo Aloha Sutera 2 Bedroom Units
Borneo Aloha Sutera 2 Bedroom Units
3 out of 5
Sutera Ave Residences, Coastal Highway, KK Times Square, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
The price is RM117 per night from 4 Mar to 5 Mar

Located in Downtown Kota Kinabalu, this apartment building is within a 15-minute walk of Imago Shopping Mall and Sutera Harbour. Centre Point and Sapi Island ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (17 reviews)

"The apartement was clean & staff also pleasant. Very comfortable and reasonable price(Rm290 for 2 night). Somehow, pool was closing early 10pm. The most complicated things is high security. They provide you two card(1 car park access & door access). Everytime you want to leave the place. You need ..."…"

Reviewed on 20 Sep 2020

Borneo Aloha Sutera 2 Bedroom Units
Ibis Styles Kota Kinabalu Inanam Hotel
Ibis Styles Kota Kinabalu Inanam Hotel
3 out of 5
No 1 Jalan Taipan 28 Inanam, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
The price is RM138 per night from 4 Mar to 5 Mar

Situated in Kota Kinabalu, this hotel is 1.7 mi (2.7 km) from Puh Toh Si Chinese Temple and 2.8 mi (4.5 km) from Kota Kinabalu City Mosque. 1Borneo Hypermall ...

4.4/5Excellent! (48 reviews)

"nice and good"…"

Reviewed on 26 Jan 2020

Ibis Styles Kota Kinabalu Inanam Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Vacation Rentals in Kota Kinabalu

Borneo Aloha Sutera 2 Bedroom Units
Borneo Aloha Sutera 2 Bedroom Units
3 out of 5
Sutera Ave Residences, Coastal Highway, KK Times Square, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
The price is RM117 per night from 4 Mar to 5 Mar

Located in Downtown Kota Kinabalu, this apartment building is within a 15-minute walk of Imago Shopping Mall and Sutera Harbour. Centre Point and Sapi Island ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (17 reviews)

"The apartement was clean & staff also pleasant. Very comfortable and reasonable price(Rm290 for 2 night). Somehow, pool was closing early 10pm. The most complicated things is high security. They provide you two card(1 car park access & door access). Everytime you want to leave the place. You need ..."…"

Reviewed on 20 Sep 2020

Borneo Aloha Sutera 2 Bedroom Units
Sabah Beach Villas & Suites
Sabah Beach Villas & Suites
3.5 out of 5
PV 139, Pecinct Dillenia, Nexus Residence, Karambunai, Kota Kinabalu
The price is RM286 per night from 10 Mar to 11 Mar

Nestled on the beach, this Kota Kinabalu apartment building is within 16 mi (25 km) of 1Borneo Hypermall, University of Malaysia Sabah and Tuaran Crocodile Farm. ...

4.2/5Excellent! (176 reviews)

"The seaside location, spacious rooms, friendly staff. Although this hotel has just restarted business due to the pandemic, the unit where we stayed in is in good shape. Only thing is, 1 night stay is too short!"…"

Reviewed on 7 Jun 2020

Sabah Beach Villas & Suites
ITCC Manhattan Suites
ITCC Manhattan Suites
3 out of 5
Jalan Pintas Penampang, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
The price is RM198 per night from 10 Mar to 11 Mar

Located in Penampang, this apartment building is within 6 mi (10 km) of Sabah State Museum, Sabah State Mosque and Lok Kawi Wildlife Park. Sutera Harbour and ...

ITCC Manhattan Suites
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Kota Kinabalu

Top things to do in Kota Kinabalu

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