Kota Kinabalu

Travel Guide
Kota Kinabalu featuring boating and landscape views

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.

Kota Kinabalu Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in Kota Kinabalu

Mercure Kota Kinabalu City Centre
Mercure Kota Kinabalu City Centre
4 out of 5
41, Jalan Gaya, Pusat Bandar, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
The price is £27 per night from 14 Feb to 15 Feb
Located in Downtown Kota Kinabalu, this eco-friendly hotel is 0.3 mi (0.5 km) from Suria Sabah Shopping Mall and within 3 miles (5 km) of Imago Shopping Mall ...
3.9/5 Good! (560 reviews)
Not for me.
"Staff is nice. No inside parking. Choice for Breakfast limited and not enough. Unable to sleep due to mattress . Noise from air conditioning quite loud. Overall is disappointing for me."

Reviewed on 1 Aug 2020

Mercure Kota Kinabalu City Centre
Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu
Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu
5 out of 5
No. 20, Jalan Aru, Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
The price is £77 per night from 25 Jan to 26 Jan
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 ...
4.4/5 Excellent! (992 reviews)
"Nice view. Amazing food. Friendly staff. Awesome."

Reviewed on 6 Apr 2021

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu
Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu
Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu
5 out of 5
Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, Sinsuran, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
The price is £51 per night from 30 Jan to 31 Jan
Located in Downtown Kota Kinabalu, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Anjung Samudera and Centre Point. Imago Shopping Mall and Jesselton Point Ferry ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (997 reviews)
"I love this hotel. The staff is very nice. They were welcoming, polite and offered great service. The room was clean. The bed and pillow is very comfortable too. Breakfast was very nice too. Other time, you can just walk around the hotel because Philippine Market is just across the street. Just love ..."

Reviewed on 20 Jan 2022

Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu
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.
Aloha Airpad Downtown KK
Aloha Airpad Downtown KK
3 out of 5
Near Imago Mall, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
The price is £42 per night from 25 Jan to 26 Jan
Situated in Kota Kinabalu, this apartment building is within a 15-minute walk of Imago Shopping Mall and Sutera Harbour. Sabah State Mosque and Centre Point ...
4.7/5 Exceptional! (3 reviews)
Our wonderful stay in aloha! Grazie!
"It was our 2nd time in KotaKinabalu and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Aloha! The host had gone out of their ways to check in on us during our stay to ensure everything was well. We appreciate the hospitality and even though the host is managing more than a handful of units in the same building, ..."

Reviewed on 14 Nov 2018

Aloha Airpad Downtown KK
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 £62 per night from 20 Feb to 21 Feb
Nestled on the beach, this Kota Kinabalu aparthotel is within 16 mi (25 km) of 1Borneo Hypermall, University of Malaysia Sabah and Tuaran Crocodile Farm. Kota ...
4.2/5 Excellent! (175 reviews)
"😊Nice beach and spacious room 😑If the furnitures got newer the feeling is better. The building not well maintained."

Reviewed on 27 Feb 2021

Sabah Beach Villas & Suites
Pelagos Oceanus
Pelagos Oceanus
3.5 out of 5
Jalan Tun Fuad Stephen, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Located in Downtown Kota Kinabalu, this apartment building is within 2 miles (3 km) of Warisan Square, Imago Shopping Mall and Sutera Harbour. Oceanus Waterfront ...
3.8/5 Good! (18 reviews)
"Check in issues"

Reviewed on 18 Mar 2020

Pelagos Oceanus
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.

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