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Kota KinabaluMalaysia

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

Kota Kinabalu showing island images, tropical scenes and a coastal town

Downtown Kota Kinabalu

4/5Very Good!(38 area reviews)

A noteworthy feature of Downtown Kota Kinabalu is its popular shops. While you're in town, be sure to stop and check out Imago Shopping Mall and Anjung Samudera.

Downtown Kota Kinabalu
Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

Tanjung Aru

3.5/5Good!(5 area reviews)

Beaches and abundant dining options are well-reviewed features of Tanjung Aru. Make a stop by top sights like Tanjung Aru Perdana Park while you're exploring the area.

Tanjung Aru
Kota Kinabalu showing island images, tropical scenes and a coastal town

Kampung Air

If you're spending time in Kampung Air, you might enjoy its shopping and restaurants. If you've got time to venture a little farther, you can make a stop by Imago Shopping Mall or Centre Point.

Kampung Air

Top hotels in Kota Kinabalu

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Gayana Marine Resort
Gayana Marine Resort
5 out of 5
Malohom Bay, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Kota Kinabalu, Gaya Island, Sabah
The price is £171 per night

This family-friendly Gaya Island resort is located on the boardwalk, within a 10-minute walk of Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and Sapi Island. Imago Shopping Mall ...

4.1/5Very Good! (392 reviews)

"We loved our stay here! Great view from the room. Having a free nightly cocktail at the latitude bar was a pleasant surprise. The food was delicious. One thing to note is that there was no Wifi in our room - this was actually a blessing as we spent more time interacting or out doin other things."…"

Reviewed on 31 Jan 2020

Gayana Marine Resort
Promenade Service Apartments
Promenade Service Apartments
2 out of 5
3-G-17, Lorong Api-Api 2, Api-Api Centre, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Free cancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is £17 per night

Located in Downtown Kota Kinabalu, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Warisan Square and Anjung Samudera. Imago Shopping Mall and Centre Point are also ...

3.1/5 (416 reviews)

"Nice room, so clean, they provide all needed facilities for me. Sortly, i'm satisfied with their service..."…"

Reviewed on 8 Jan 2020

Promenade Service Apartments
Hyatt Regency Kinabalu
Hyatt Regency Kinabalu
5 out of 5
Jalan Datuk Salleh Sulong, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
The price is £66 per night

This family-friendly Kota Kinabalu hotel is located on the waterfront, just steps away from KK Esplanade and Wisma Merdeka. Suria Sabah Shopping Mall and Gaya ...

4.1/5Very Good! (1,263 reviews)

"This hotel have beautiful ocean view,is close to shopping center and eateries...Staff are friendly and helpful..."…"

Reviewed on 13 Feb 2020

Hyatt Regency Kinabalu

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.

Mt Kinabalu
Image for Mt Kinabalu

Mt Kinabalu

5/5(1 review)

Explore the great outdoors at Mt Kinabalu, a popular spot to commune with nature in Kota Belud. Discover the mountain views while you're in the area.

Kota Kinabalu City Mosque
Image for Kota Kinabalu City Mosque

Kota Kinabalu City Mosque

4/5(4 reviews)

You can find out about the history of Likas with a trip to Kota Kinabalu City Mosque. Wander the marina and beautiful beaches in the area.

Top things to do in Kota Kinabalu

Colonial Steam Train Excursion
Image for Colonial Steam Train Excursion

Colonial Steam Train Excursion

78% of travellers recommend
£114
Per adult
Private Sandakan Tour & Orangutan Sanctuary with Lunch
Image for Private Sandakan Tour & Orangutan Sanctuary with Lunch

Private Sandakan Tour & Orangutan Sanctuary with Lunch

92% of travellers recommend
£250
Per adult
Kinabalu Park & Poring Hot Springs Venture
Image for Kinabalu Park & Poring Hot Springs Venture

Kinabalu Park & Poring Hot Springs Venture

£57
Per adult
Tunku Abdul Rahman Park Island-Hopping Tour
Image for Tunku Abdul Rahman Park Island-Hopping Tour

Tunku Abdul Rahman Park Island-Hopping Tour

£59
Per adult
Private Kinabalu Park & Poring Hot Springs Tour
Image for Private Kinabalu Park & Poring Hot Springs Tour

Private Kinabalu Park & Poring Hot Springs Tour

£214
Per adult
City Highlights Half-Day Tour
Image for City Highlights Half-Day Tour

City Highlights Half-Day Tour

86% of travellers recommend
£61
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

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