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Kota Kinabalu

Things to see and do

  • Kota Kinabalu night market
    3.5 stars

    Southeast Asia is famous for its night markets. In just about every town across the region as the sun dips the stalls start setting up and by the time night has fallen a bevy of food vendors are busy over hot woks and steaming tureens, cooking up spicy de ... read more

  • Mantanani Island
    4 stars

    Thankfully, Borneo has more to offer than just jungle; in fact, some of the finest beaches I’ve seen are in Borneo and none more fine than those on Mantanani Island. ... read more

  • Forget time at Lupa Masa
    3.5 stars

    Just 15 metres from the Poring National Park boundary in Sabah, East Malaysia, the forest is alive with birds making their early morning ablutions. ... read more

  • Sabah State Museum
    3.5 stars

    This multi-part museum offers a crash course in Sabah's culture and history, and is a lifesaver on a rainy day. The main building houses a diverse, if a little dry, collection of archaeological artifacts, tribal items and zoological specimens. If you're more of a hands-on learner, cross the river ... read more

  • Gaya Street
    4 stars

    This street has been the best place in KK to shop and eat for more than 100 years, and is still going strong. The red gate at the start of Gaya Street is a nod to the Chinese traders who originally settled here, but today it's the tourist heart of the city with cafes, bars, backpackers hostels ... read more

  • KK Heritage Walk
    4 stars

    From a fishing village called Api-Api to a colonial capital named Jesselton, Kota Kinabalu has seen rapid change. This two and a half hour walking tour offers a crash course in local history and visits notable sites like Independence Field, Atkinson Clock Tower, the North Borneo War Memorial and ... read more

  • Central Market & Handicraft Market
    3.5 stars

    Though they are located side by side on Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, these two markets cater to very different needs. The sprawling Central Market is where locals come to shop for dried fish, spices, fruit and other household essentials. It's very photogenic and the vendors are happy to pose with the ... read more

  • Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park
    4.5 stars

    Escape the city to this marine park just a 15-minute speedboat ride away. Sulug, Mamutik, Manukan, Sapi and Gaya islands all offer clean beaches, shallow water and coral reefs teeming with tropical fish. Manukan and Sapi have basic facilities including a cafe and store, but for other islands ... read more

  • Lok Kawi Wildlife Park
    3.5 stars

    If you won't be going on a jungle safari, this state-run wildlife park 25 kilometres outside of Kota Kinabalu is a good place to see Borneo's amazing wildlife. Lok Kawi's menagerie includes pygmy elephants, Malayan tigers, sun bears, crocodiles, hornbills, mouse deer, gibbons, big-nosed proboscis ... read more

  • Monsopiad Cultural Village
    3 stars

    Cheesy but fun, this living museum gives visitors a chance to try their hand at the Borneo blow pipe, play tribal games and see how rice wine is made. Unlike the Mari Mari Cultural Village, guests are free to wander at their own pace around the replica longhouses, though a guided tour and dance ... read more

  • Mari Mari Cultural Village
    3 stars

    Get a taste of tribal life at this replica village 30 minutes outside of Kota Kinabalu. A fact-filled guide will lead you through longhouses where Sabah tribespeople will share their fire-starting, blow-dart shooting and tattooing techniques and even let you jump on the traditional wooden ... read more

  • North Borneo Railway
    3.5 stars

    Train enthusiasts with money to blow might be interested in taking this colonial steam train on a scenic ride past paddy fields and lush mountains. The North Borneo Railway is an attraction – not a practical form of transportation – and makes a 3.5 hour loop from Tanjung Aru Station, ... read more

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