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Kota Kinabalu
Travel Guide

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.

Kota Kinabalu Travel Guide Video

Top hotels in Kota Kinabalu

Hilton Kota Kinabalu
Hilton Kota Kinabalu
5 out of 5
Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Asia City, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
The price is AU$68 per night from 5 Mar. to 6 Mar.

Located in Downtown Kota Kinabalu, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of All Saint's Cathedral and Centre Point. Imago Shopping Mall and Gaya Street ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (716 reviews)

"Staffs were so friendly and professional:) especially the staff at restaurants & bar & gym & pool & door man. The room was spacious s and clean. Nice Breakfast. Nice view from swimming pool and the rooftop bar."…"

Reviewed on 24 Sep. 2020

Hilton Kota Kinabalu
Borneo Aloha Sutera 2 Bedroom Units
Borneo Aloha Sutera 2 Bedroom Units
3 out of 5
Sutera Ave Residences, Coastal Highway, KK Times Square, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
The price is AU$54 per night from 1 Mar. to 2 Mar.

Located in Downtown Kota Kinabalu, this apartment building is within a 15-minute walk of Imago Shopping Mall and Sutera Harbour. Centre Point and Sapi Island ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (17 reviews)

"The apartement was clean & staff also pleasant. Very comfortable and reasonable price(Rm290 for 2 night). Somehow, pool was closing early 10pm. The most complicated things is high security. They provide you two card(1 car park access & door access). Everytime you want to leave the place. You need ..."…"

Reviewed on 20 Sep. 2020

Borneo Aloha Sutera 2 Bedroom Units
Ibis Styles Kota Kinabalu Inanam Hotel
Ibis Styles Kota Kinabalu Inanam Hotel
3 out of 5
No 1 Jalan Taipan 28 Inanam, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
The price is AU$44 per night from 1 Mar. to 2 Mar.

Situated in Kota Kinabalu, this hotel is 1.7 mi (2.7 km) from Puh Toh Si Chinese Temple and 2.8 mi (4.5 km) from Kota Kinabalu City Mosque. 1Borneo Hypermall ...

4.4/5Excellent! (48 reviews)

"nice and good"…"

Reviewed on 26 Jan. 2020

Ibis Styles Kota Kinabalu Inanam Hotel
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.

Holiday Rentals in Kota Kinabalu

Borneo Aloha Sutera 2 Bedroom Units
Borneo Aloha Sutera 2 Bedroom Units
3 out of 5
Sutera Ave Residences, Coastal Highway, KK Times Square, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
The price is AU$54 per night from 1 Mar. to 2 Mar.

Located in Downtown Kota Kinabalu, this apartment building is within a 15-minute walk of Imago Shopping Mall and Sutera Harbour. Centre Point and Sapi Island ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (17 reviews)

"The apartement was clean & staff also pleasant. Very comfortable and reasonable price(Rm290 for 2 night). Somehow, pool was closing early 10pm. The most complicated things is high security. They provide you two card(1 car park access & door access). Everytime you want to leave the place. You need ..."…"

Reviewed on 20 Sep. 2020

Borneo Aloha Sutera 2 Bedroom Units
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 AU$101 per night from 1 Mar. to 2 Mar.

Nestled on the beach, this Kota Kinabalu apartment building is within 16 mi (25 km) of 1Borneo Hypermall, University of Malaysia Sabah and Tuaran Crocodile Farm. ...

4.2/5Excellent! (175 reviews)

"The seaside location, spacious rooms, friendly staff. Although this hotel has just restarted business due to the pandemic, the unit where we stayed in is in good shape. Only thing is, 1 night stay is too short!"…"

Reviewed on 7 Jun. 2020

Sabah Beach Villas & Suites
Homestay UA 1
Homestay UA 1
2.5 out of 5
Blok P-11-0, University Apartment Phase 1, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Situated in Kota Kinabalu, this apartment building is 1.8 mi (2.8 km) from 1Borneo Hypermall and 2.4 mi (3.9 km) from University of Malaysia Sabah. Tun Mustapha ...

Homestay UA 1
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.

Popular places to visit in Kota Kinabalu

Top activities in Kota Kinabalu

Reviews of Kota Kinabalu

4.1

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
10
5 - Excellent 29.41176470588235%
4 - Good
18
4 - Good 52.94117647058823%
3 - Okay
6
3 - Okay 17.647058823529413%
2 - Disappointing
0
2 - Disappointing 0%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

10 Nov. 2019

The city surprised me, art on walls, well laid out and accessible. Could have happily stayed longer.

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

8 Nov. 2019

recommend the Tour offered by Viator for Sepilok orangutan reserve

4/5 - Good

Beverley

13 Oct. 2019

Enjoyed day trips to wildlife park a, the mountain and ferry trip the Gaia island. Enjoyed harbourside markets and dining and shopping.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

30 Sep. 2019

General maintenance of footpaths needs improvement as there are lots of broken slabs and uneven surfaces (walking hazards). Smoke haze is a major health concern and detracts from the overall vista.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

26 Sep. 2019

I love the markets and close for day trips, and the people are just lovely

5/5 - Excellent

Sandra

31 Aug. 2019

This is a really interesting place to visit with easy access to some fabulous tour locations and experiences. The local people are friendly and there is a lot to see and do.

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