Kota Kinabalu

Travel Guide
Kota Kinabalu showing landscape views and boating

Located near the base of the looming Mount Kinabalu, Sabah’s oceanfront capital has a relaxed atmosphere and is close to traditional villages and a marine park.

Nicknamed “KK” by locals, Kota Kinabalu is the ideal place to begin your journey across the island. This Bornean urban center is home to diverse cultural attractions, including museums and art galleries, alongside ornate mosques and botanical gardens. The beaches, rain forests and tropical islands that surround KK are central to its charm as is year-round tropical climate. Visit the city to sample the dynamic range of provincial cuisines from across Asia.

Kota Kinabalu’s downtown precinct is a breeze to get around as most attractions are within walking distance of each other. A cheap and frequent bus line will take you farther afield. Take some time to learn about the local culture and people at the Sabah Museum and the Ethnobotanical Gardens, which is home to pitcher plants, medicinal flowers and a wide range of rice and herbs.

Don’t miss the Sabah Art Gallery while you’re exploring the Sabah Museum complex. Here you can discover local emerging artists exhibited alongside the city’s most renowned names. Make your way to the Monsopiad Cultural Village, a fascinating ethnographic museum, to learn about the indigenous tribes of Sabah. See handmade tools and buildings, learn traditional dances and sample local dishes.

Leave the city limits to find yourself surrounded by wilderness and natural beauty. Pack a snorkel and your swimsuit and explore below the surface of the South China Sea. Fishing charters and boats to the neighbouring islands can be caught from KK’s bustling harbor precinct. While you’re out exploring, visit the Kota Kinabalu Wetland Centre, the Lok Kawi Wildlife Center and the Tuaran Crocodile Farm to see the diverse range of animals that live on Borneo.

If you like your wilderness less tamed, lace up your boots and head for Kinabalu Park. The park is home to carnivorous pitcher plants, monkeys, apes and the endangered rafflesia flower. Climb to the peak of Mount Kinabalu for a sunrise you’ll never forget.

Kota Kinabalu has an international airport with connections to many cities in Asia.

Where to stay in Kota Kinabalu

Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu
Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu
5 out of 5
Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, Sinsuran, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, 88000
The price is AU$97 per night from 24 Jun. to 25 Jun.
Stay at this 5-star luxury hotel in Kota Kinabalu. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking and 4 restaurants. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the comfy beds in ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (995 reviews)
"Friendly staff, clean and quiet room, modern design"

Reviewed on 19 Mar. 2022

Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu
Kota Kinabalu Marriott Hotel
Kota Kinabalu Marriott Hotel
5 out of 5
Lot G-23A, Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, 88000
The price is AU$109 per night from 17 Jun. to 18 Jun.
Stay at this 5-star luxury hotel in Kota Kinabalu. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking and 3 restaurants. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the spacious rooms ...
4.2/5 Very Good! (432 reviews)
"Service is good but Rooftop bar serving cocktails with “not so good quality “ , sunset @ Stylo was so beautiful but finger food was not so good quality not matching 5-star standard"

Reviewed on 4 May 2022

Kota Kinabalu Marriott Hotel
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, 88100
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is AU$193 per night from 22 Jun. to 23 Jun.
Stay at this 5-star luxury resort in Kota Kinabalu. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking and 3 restaurants. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the family amenities ...
4.4/5 Excellent! (997 reviews)
"Food is bad but the stay is okay"

Reviewed on 25 Feb. 2022

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, 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.
Sunset & Seaview Vacation Condos @ IMAGO Shopping Mall
Sunset & Seaview Vacation Condos @ IMAGO Shopping Mall
3 out of 5
The Loft, IMAGO Shopping Mall, Central Business District, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, 88100
The price is AU$65 per night from 23 Jun. to 24 Jun.
Stay at this 3-star family-friendly aparthotel in Kota Kinabalu. Enjoy free WiFi, 2 outdoor pools and a free kids' club. Our guests praise the pool and the restaurant ...
3.6/5 Good! (102 reviews)
Dirty. Avoid.
"If you want a big room, S&S is a good start. For a fairly small amount of money, the room is spacious. The shopping mall downstairs is ok for lunch and dinner but even Starbucks doesn’t open until 10am. So no breakfast near. That’s all that’s good. Check in: unless you have internet connection, you’re ..."

Reviewed on 3 Nov. 2019

Sunset & Seaview Vacation Condos @ IMAGO Shopping Mall
Sabah Beach Villas & Suites
Sabah Beach Villas & Suites
3.5 out of 5
PV 139, Pecinct Dillenia, Nexus Residence, Karambunai, Kota Kinabalu, 88993
The price is AU$122 per night from 2 Jun. to 3 Jun.
Stay at this 3.5-star beach aparthotel in Kota Kinabalu. Enjoy free parking, 2 outdoor pools and a beach locale. Our guests praise the pool and the WiFi in their ...
4.2/5 Excellent! (176 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
Amazing Sunset Downtown  B36
Amazing Sunset Downtown B36
3 out of 5
Kota Kinabalu, Kota Kinabalu, 88000
The price is AU$74 per night from 9 Jun. to 10 Jun.
Stay at this 3-star apartment in Kota Kinabalu. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking and a rooftop terrace. Popular attractions Imago Shopping Mall and Plaza Wawasan ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (2 reviews)
快適で立地がよい。
"モスクが近いので、祈りの時間の放送の音を気にしていましたが全く気にならいほどでした。部屋も掃除がいきとどいて綺麗でしたし、1階には24時間営業のスーパーもあります。向かい側には大型ショッピングモール。空港も近く非常に便利で、快適に過ごせました。また、KKにくるときには利用したいと思います。"

Reviewed on 8 Mar. 2020

Amazing Sunset Downtown B36
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.

Top activities in Kota Kinabalu

Cities near Kota Kinabalu