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Tanjung Aru got its name from its beautiful, two kilometre-long beaches fringed with aru trees. It's the perfect place to vacation with an unspoilt beach and a quaint town that backs into Kota Kinabalu International Airport’s Terminal 2.
The stunning sandy beach is the main attraction of Tanjung Aru. It is particularly magnificent at sunset. It is the most popular beach in the area and great for strolls and picnics. However, it tends to get busy over the weekends. Those that would prefer to enjoy the water should book a day trip of snorkelling or diving at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park or other nearby dive sites, like Usukan Bay and Mayne Rock.
Travellers that would prefer to stay on land can play a round of golf at the Kinabalu Golf course. They can also watch a horse race at the Royal Sabah Turf Club or take a stroll around the Prince Philip Botanical Park. For cultural sights, you might want to consider visiting the Monsopiad Cultural Village, the Kadazan-Dusun Cultural Association in Penampang, or Kota Kinabalu’s Sabah State Museum.
Outdoor lovers should head outside of the city to explore the district’s natural attractions. The Lok Kawi Wildlife Park, Klias Wetland Mangrove Forest Reserve, and Crocker Range Park are all worth visiting. Malaysia’s first World Heritage Site, Kinabalu Park, is one of the most visited attractions outside of Tanjung Aru. It is home to a variety of flora and fauna, numerous animal species, and the majestic Mount Kinabalu.
Restaurants and Bars
There are food stalls set up all along Tanjung Aru Beach that are open well into the night and seafood restaurants can be found all over the town. There are also a number of bars set up along the waterfront that are excellent for watching the sunset while enjoying a local beer or fresh sugarcane juice.
Tanjung Aru is not known for its shopping, and there are only a few stalls set up selling local souvenirs. Travellers are better off heading to Kota Kinabalu to do their shopping, particularly at the Kota Kinabalu Handicraft Market where the best selection of artisan crafts can be found.