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Kota Kinabalu

Known for Swimming, Islands and Snorkeling

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

How do you get to Kota Kinabalu?

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.

Things to do in Kota Kinabalu

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.

Enjoy a stop at Kota Kinabalu City Mosque, a landmark worth seeing in Likas. Wander the marina and beautiful beaches in the area.

Tickets & Tours

Come face-to-face with Sabah's incredible wildlife on a river cruise in the lush Weston Wetland Park. Float past proboscis monkeys and fishing villages in the afternoon light, and after sunset fades into darkness, indulge in a dinner buffet and watch the landscape twinkle with glowing fireflies.

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The town of Kota Belud awaits you on your trip north from Kota Kinabalu in a private vehicle. This area also hosts the Kota Belud Tamu, the brightly-adorned Bajau horsemen, and the longhouses of the Rungus people, who create woven cloth and pieces with traditional beadwork as their ancestors did.

Tickets & Tours

Move a step back from the concrete jungle of Kota Kinabalu and see the wild side of Sabah at Beaufort district, along the Klias Forest Reserve. Discover a variety of unique wildlife, including the Proboscis monkey, Macaque monkey, pygmy elephants, and thousands of fireflies.

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Spend a day of family fun venturing between the islands of Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, just a short distance from Kota Kinabalu in the South China Sea. Immerse yourself in the splendors of these charming islands as you dive into the water and swim with the abundant marine life of Sabah.

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Take a journey to Sabah’s Kinabalu Park and Crocker Range on this mountainous and scenic tour. With the assistance of an expert private guide, you learn interesting facts while viewing majestic mountains, the calming warmth at Poring Hot Springs, and the leafy canopy of a tropical rainforest.

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Take a private promenade through Kota Kinabalu and see what goes on after sunset in this wondrous city. Haggle with locals at the bustling night market, admire gorgeous city vistas from Signal Hill, and enjoy freshly prepared seafood while watching authentic performances of native music and dance.

Best neighborhoods to visit in Kota Kinabalu

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