Photo: Eat and eat some more.

Things to see and do

Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park

A short boat ride from KK, the five islands of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park offer squeaky white sands, azure waters and hiking trails though areas of old growth forest and mangroves, with an abundance of wildlife both below and above the waters. It’s a highly recommend day trip, but you won’ t be alone. Unfortunately, much of the more accessible coral has been damaged by the ... Read more about Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park .

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Proboscis monkeys and fireflies tour

While you are in Sabah, you will probably plan to visit some of wildlife areas where proboscis monkeys spend their days, such as the popular Kinabatangan region near Sandakan. However, if you are just on a quick visit to Kota Kinabalu, it’s still possible to see them on a day tour, just a couple of hours outside of ... Read more about Proboscis monkeys and fireflies tour .

Mari Mari Cultural Village
Kionsom, Inanam, Kota Kinabalu (30 minutes outside downtown Kota Kinabalu)
T: (016) 821 5689

Mari Mari Cultural Village is a little bit amusement park, a little bit museum and completely manufactured tourist attraction. Yes, it’s every bit as cheesy as it sounds, but despite ourselves, we found it interesting and ... Read more about Mari Mari Cultural Village .

North Borneo Railway
The Magellan Sutera Resort, Level 2, 1 Sutera Harbour Boulevard, Sutera Harbour, Kota Kinabalu
T: (088) 308 500

Confession time: we like trains. We have to admit we were a little bit excited to travel on the historical North Borneo Railway, but you don’t have to be a trainspotter kind of person to enjoy the romance of a steam train. The North Borneo Railway isn’t a regular train service, although a regular service does follow the same route, but rather a manufactured tourist attraction recreating the ... Read more about North Borneo Railway .

Taste of Borneo cooking class
Lot 1 Jalan Lembaga Air, Kasigui
T: (088) 251 254

One of the very few disappointing things about a visit to Sabah is the lack of opportunity to eat genuine Sabahan cuisine. It includes many delicious dishes and one way to ignite your tastebuds is to get into the kitchen at a Taste of Borneo” cooking class. ... Read more about Taste of Borneo cooking class .


West-facing Kota Kinabalu is famous for its stunning sunsets over the South China Sea, punctuated by the islands of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Here you can truly appreciate how spectacular this seemingly ordinary daily occurrence can be — particularly during electrical storms. Being equatorial, the event religiously begins around 17:30-18:00 and it’s all over in about half an hour once the ... Read more about Sunsets .

KK  Heritage Walk
Central Kota Kinabalu
T: (012) 802 8823

You can read about the history of Kota Kinabalu in most guidebooks or do a bit a googling, but nothing beats walking down the street with a well-informed guide pointing out things and telling you its hidden story. A boring looking plaque comes alive and a fading building has more layers than the peeling paint ... Read more about KK Heritage Walk .

Kota Kinabalu Wetlands
Off Jalan Bukit Bendera Upper, Likas
T: (088) 246 955

The easiest way to experience a dose of nature in the heart of Kota Kinabalu city is to hop over the hill to Kota Kinabalu Wetlands. The 24-hectare mangrove forest is but a scant vestige of the extensive wetlands that once covered the entire coastline. As well as being an important ecosystem and lungs of the city, this crucial sanctuary for local and migratory birds gives visitors a moment to ... Read more about Kota Kinabalu Wetlands .

Sabah Museum
Jalan Muzium, Kota Kinabalu
T: (088) 225 033

This multi-part museum offers a crash course in Sabah’s culture and history, and is a lifesaver on a rainy day. The unusual fish-bone-like architecture of the Sabah Museum was inspired by traditional tribal dwellings and houses a diverse, yet slightly dry, collection of ethnographical and historical artefacts and zoological specimens labelled in English. It’s dusty and old-fashioned, but ... Read more about Sabah Museum .

Masjid Bandaraya Kota Kinabalu

Masjid Bandaraya Kota Kinabalu, Kota Kinabalu’s city mosque, is often referred to as the floating mosque. It doesn’t float, but is surrounded by a moat and looks very picturesque — a fine example of contemporary Islamic architecture. Overlooking the South China Sea on Likas Bay and flagged by waving palm trees, it’s particularly lovely to photograph at sunset. The mosque welcomes ... Read more about Masjid Bandaraya Kota Kinabalu .

Gaya Street
Gaya Street

Gaya Street, the oldest street in Kota Kinabalu, has been the best place to shop and eat since the early 1900s. In its early life, known as Bond and Dunlop Streets, the area was filled with Chinese traders, and it’s still buzzing ... Read more about Gaya Street .

Central & Handicraft Markets
Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu’s Central and Handicraft markets are both worth checking out for a taste of local life and to see how many mass-produced souvenirs can be stuffed into a single ... Read more about Central & Handicraft Markets .

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Kota Kinabalu? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Malaysia.

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