Depending on what you are looking for, if you are the energetic and adventurous type then climbing Mount Kinabalu is a must. Most if not all travel agencies there can make the necessary arrangements for you. Climbing does not need ropes etc because they have a well beaten path all the way up to the top. You only need stamina and a good pair of strong legs. Secondly, if you like the sun, the sand and the sea then I suggest you go to the Tanjung Aru beach which is considered one of the finest in Asia. Last but not least, if you are in for culture and are intrigued by the natives' way of life, make an effort to visit the "Tamus" where the natives gather to sell their wares. You can find strange exotic things on sale apart from the usual fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, meat etc. There is a Sunday market in Gaya Street in Kota Kinabalu held every Sunday and you will definitely find this interesting. Cheers Mate. over 4 years ago
First let me mention that I run a tourism business in Kota Kinabalu. My suggestions are based on my experience and what seem to be most popular with visitors to KK (as it's known locally).
Stephen has already made some great suggestions. Others to consider include the following:
(1) Visiting Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park located just in front of Kota Kinabalu. You can choose between island hopping, watersport activities, snorkeling, try dives or leisure diving. Or just chilling out on a beach.
(2) Visit the less well known Bird Sanctuary (best to go very early in the morning to see the most). Or, travel 45 minutes north from Kota Kinabalu to visit a feeding session the Orang-Utan conservation centre (non-residents can go but you need to book in advance, maximum booking period is 72 hours in advance).
(3) Fancy a local dining experience? Then go to the night market on the waterfront. Starts 5 - 6pm every night.
There are other attractions you can access via Kota Kinabalu but they are between a 1.5 - 3 hour journey. Try a river cruise at Klias Wetlands, white water rafting at Padas or Kiulu, visiting Kinabalu Park independently and go trekking along some of the marked trails.
There's a good choice of activities to choose between - it just comes down to what you are interested in and budget.
Hope this helps. Have a great holiday in Sabah!
Joanne over 4 years ago
Hi, as a visual person, I suggest you take a look at the pictures from my family holiday there.
All the best. over 4 years ago
In and around KK:
Climb Mt Kinabalu (bookings essential),
Kinabalu Park, botanic gardens, poring hotsprings & canopy walk
Cultural Village (Inanam or Penampang)
Wildlife reserve/park/sanctuary/zoo (Lok Kawi or Nexus)
The islands (collectively called Tunku Abdul Rahman Park consisting of 5 islands 10mins from KK city, for all water sports)
Other islands: Mantanani, Pulau Tiga, Turtle Island, Mabul, Sipadan, Kapalai and Layang Layang
White water rafting (Kiuli or Padas)
Shopping (in order of best to worst): Wisma Merdeka, Centrepoint, 1Borneo, Warisan, Karamunsing, KK Plaza, Asia City, KK Times Square and Harbour City.
Nightlife: Main congregations (albeit small) are Shenanigans/Upperstar/Texas/Cocoon area, The Waterfront (assortment of bars and restaurants with sunset views), KK Times Square (outskirt of town with a couple of happening bars patronised mainly by the local Chinese population, Tanjung Aru Beach (8mins from town with 2.2km stretch of beach with magnificent sunsets, bar, restaurants, hawker stalls selling local delicacies and further up at the Shangri-La Bluenote club). There are a range of local hotspots in various suburbs such the Penampang area, Damai, Luyang and Inanam, probably unlikely you would visit these places without knowing a local.
Notable activities for the more conservative: Filipino market at the waterfront for an assortment of hawker stalls specialising in seafood. Night markets behind the Meridien and kampong Air for handicrafts and genuine imitations.
Food and dining: There’s a many places to eat, have a wander to find satay sticks, nasi ayam, nasi lemak, bak kut teh, laksa,mee goreng, rendang, some nonya or the ubiquitous seafood restaurant...
Clockwise, starting up north is Kudat ‘the tip of Borneo’, heading to the east coast with Mabul/Sipadan/Kapalai and Mataking islands for watersports, Sandakan War memorial and Orang Utan Sanctuary. Further south east is Semporna, and then inland is Danum Valley, Maliau Basin and the Crocker Ranges.
KK/Sabah is haven, a respite from the hectic peninsula Malaysia where cultural harmony, natural beauty and a laid-back attitude provide for lasting impression. over 4 years ago