Kota Kinabalu is a beautiful and magnificent island located in the state of Sabah in the east of Malaysia. However, its tourism has not developed to match its true potential and most of the people still don’t know much about this city. To help you explore this beautiful island easier, we will suggest a list of destinations for you to visit in Kota Kinabalu.
For Nature Lover
With the area of 754 km2, Kinabalu Park at the height of 1520m above the sea level is the starting place for backpackers who want to conquer Kinabalu Mountain. The Park is the first place in Malaysia recognized by UNESCO as a world nature reserve in December 2000 thanks to its rich fauna and flora with more than 4,500 flora species, 300 bird species and 100 mammal species. In addition, Poring Hot Spring in Kinabalu Park is also a very popular destination for both natives and travelers.
Kinabalu Mountain – the highest mountain in Southeast Asia
Kinabalu Mountain, at the height of 4,095.2 m above sea level, is the central peak of Kinabalu Park and the “roof” of Southeast Asia. Among the highest mountains in the world, it’s consider as the least dangerous. Every year there is an international running competition to the top of the mountain.
Tambunan Rafflesia Center – The place to see the biggest flower in the world
Rafflesia is one of the two biggest flowers in the world with the diameter of up to 3 meters (maximum). Its smell is not comfortable and after 3 or 4 days, the flower withers. Tambunan Rafflesia Center (1 hour from Kota Kinabalu City) is the place you can see this type of flower. When the flowers are about to bloom, the management board will put the bulletin board in front of the main gate. Commonly, Rafflesia blooms in the dry season, from February to August.
For those who love the ocean
Islands in Tunku Abdul Rahman Ocean Park
Tunku Abdul Rahman consits of five islands – Gaya, Manukan, Mamutik, Sapi and Sulug. The sea water here is jade green and crystal-clear with a variety of corals and diverse marine lifes. The shallow water zones are well suited for scuba diving and eco-tourism.
– Gaya Island is the beautiful island which is considered as Maldives of Malaysia. Gaya is the biggest island with the most diverse ecosystem among the 5 islands. In addition, this island owns a beautiful 5-star resort floating on the sea and an Oceanographic Research Institute.
– Manukan Island is a famous destination you should not miss with many attractive and interesting services such as scuba-diving and grilled seafood parties.
– Sapi Island has a clear blue sea with white sand and many good services. It is noted that there is no motel in here but you can go camping overnight on the island. Sapi and Manukan are the two most popular tourist islands.
– Mamutik Island is the smallest island in Kota Kinabalu. This place is a famous spot for swimming and camping.
– Sulug Island has many beautiful beaches and corals. This is an ideal place for diving.
The night market near the sea – the place to enjoy local cuisine and shop
You can enjoy the seafoods and local cuisines by coming to the city’s biggest night market near the sea. With the price of about 20 RM/person (5$/person), you can enjoy many delicious dishes such as grilled crabs, shrimps and squids… Grab a local beer with friends surely will be an great experience in Kota Kinabalu.
Pearl jewelry is the most popular gift at very affordable prices in Kota Kinabalu. You can bargain to own the bangles, necklaces and rings … with many designs and models. If you want some souvenirs for your friends and family? The Night market and the main street Jl. Tun Razak are the places for you.
For those who want to explore the rich culture of Kota Kinabalu
Thanks to its complex historical features, Kota Kinabalu has many elements and cultural vestiges like many other places in Malaysia but at the same time is a very open city. In here, the division among the Chinese, Muslims, Indians and Indigenous Malaysians is not as clear as it in Kuala Lumpur, making it easy for visitors to integrate and explore.
One of the most popular and attractive places is the City Mosque. Although being a religious architecture, the City Mosque has the look of a contemporary design with the typical “Islamic” blue, forming an impressive whole. The Mosque is located opposite to a beautiful sea port with a beautiful road for cyclists and joggers. Therefore after visiting the mosque, you can walk along the beach, enjoy the cool air and the brilliant sunshine.
Sabah State Mosque
Sabah State Mosque is one of the architectures with distinctive religious features in Kota Kinabalu. Being built shortly after the city was officially founded; the Sabah State Mosque is massive and magnificent. In the tropical sunshine, its golden domes become sparkling, reflecting the spirit of the Muslims in this land.
Mari-Mari Cultural Village
Established in December, 2008, about 30 minutes from the center of Kota Kinabalu, Mari Mari is a museum of ethnic minorities in Borneo Island. The Museum introduces the knowledge, history, culture and traditions of the five ethnic minorities: Kadazan-Dusun, Rungus, Lundayeh, Bajau and Murut. In Mari Mari, visitors will have the opportunities to explore and experience the culture and daily life of ethnic people through the activities such as learning to create fire, cooking food, hunting and tattooing…
We hope that this article provides some useful information you need for your adventure in Kota Kinabalu. Let’s plan for your exciting experiences in this beautiful city now!