Welcome to Sabah, Malaysia on the stunning tropical island of Borneo. Sabah is a land of inspiring natural scenery, lush ancient rainforests, vibrant coral reefs and mysterious indigenous cultures!
Borneo is the third largest island in the world. Sabah is located in the North of Borneo and is surrounded by the South China Sea to the North, the Sulu Sea to the north east, the Celebes Sea. It is a mountainous country with tropical rainforests and coastal swamp plains intersected by many rivers resulting in diverse ecosystems supporting many unique flora and fauna.
Welcome to Kota Kinabalu City
This is one of the most fantastic cities you ever have been to. A modern capital with a warm hospitality that you hardly find in many places around the world. Just around a corner you have long sandy beaches, paradise islands, virgin coral reefs, tropical rain forests; and the mighty Mount Kinabalu is only 90 minutes away.
Kota Kinabalu is situated on the tropical island of Borneo, and is the state capital of the Malaysian state Sabah, which is one of the two states of East Malysia. The location of the city is absolutely amazing; and from the airport it is just a short ride to mostly any hotel. You find a world class sailing marina and championship golf courses as well as both first class holiday resorts and good hotels for the budget traveler.
City Excitment in Kota Kinabalu
The 10 Places You must Go:
1. Aquarium & Marine Museum
The state-of-the-art marine museum is yet another addition to the Universiti Malaysia Sabah campus. Established in 1995, the Borneo Marine Research Institute (BMRI) is aimed to promote education, research and training in conservation and sustainable development of marine resources, and a rational deployment of biotechnology. Situated within the Borneo Marine Research Institute (BMRI) Complex adjunction to the Sepanggar Bay area, this aquarium and marine museum boasts one of the best aquarium facilities on the Borneo Island. Among its facilities are the free standing exhibition tanks, live open water reef exhibition centre, live shallow reef exhibition centre, mangrove walk, contemporary Marine and Maritime Museum, Multimedia Interactive Information Kiosk, and Sipadan deep dive diorama.
The UMS Aquarium and Marine Museum is open every day except on Wednesdays and public holidays. Visiting hours are from 9.30am – 12.30pm and 2.00pm – 4.30pm.
Built on a 2.47 acres site at the Likas bay, the Kota Kinabalu City Mosque is exemplary of the Islamic contemporary architecture. Situated near the sea, this majestic white mosque boasts similar features to the Nabawi Mosque in Medina. This floating mosque has a prayer hall which houses three madrasahs and accommodates from 9, 000 to 12, 000 people at a time. By far the largest mosque in Kota Kinabalu, the Kota Kinabalu City Mosque is even possibly the most beautiful one in Malaysia – the man-made lagoon which surrounds it gives a serenely gorgeous and dramatic look to the mosque on a full moon night. The Kota Kinabalu City Mosque is open for public visits daily except Fridays from 8am to 5pm. There are no fees charged on visitors.
3. Gaya Street (Sunday Market)
Originally named Bond Street, Gaya Street located in the Kota Kinabalu Central Business District has been the centre of business for over a hundred years. The wooden shops with nipah roofs are long gone but here is where generations-old family businesses are still thriving passed down from father to son. Every Sunday morning, the length of Gaya Street is closed off to traffic to make way for the Fair. Shop for anything under shady trees and over-sized umbrellas, like batik sarongs, fruits and flowers, arts and craft, footwear, antiques and souvenirs, cakes, even pets and herbs!. This is the best place to experience the cross-section of the local population when entire families enjoy a Sunday outing. The Gaya Street Fair is on every Sunday from 6.30 am to 1.00 pm.
4. Jesselton Point Waterfront
Formerly known as the Kota Kinabalu Ferry Terminal, Jesselton Point Waterfront has become one of the main city attractions in Kota Kinabalu ever since its privatization in February 2006.
Situated north of downtown Kota Kinabalu, this quaintly scenic place has an unmistakable historical feel to it—complete with olden days snapshots of Kota Kinabalu city (Jesselton) and vintage red English phone booths. Jesselton Point Waterfront serves as the only ferry terminal for Labuan-bound passengers as well as the main (and cheapest) boat terminal for the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park and Gayana Island. Jesselton Point Waterfront also offers casual dining, leisure and retail experiences with its array of alfresco F&B outlets, handicraft stalls, and a four-court futsal centre. In addition, fishing aficionados are now welcome to spend the evening fishing at the jetty from 6pm to 6am for only RM10 per entry (payable at the Suria Futsal Centre). However, fishing gears are not provided so visitors need to bring their own.
In the near future, the Jesselton Point Waterfront is going to be expanded to cater more recreational, commercial, residential, and retail facilities. Having been the venue for the KK Jazz Festival 2007, the Jesselton Point Waterfront jetty is also bookable for social functions—be it dinner parties, fundraising concerts or even weddings.
After a long hard day at work, the Jesselton Point Waterfront is an excellent place to wind down and catch the breathtaking sunset! In the evening, bask in the cool Sabahan breeze while chilling out with family and friends. It makes a perfect spot for a romantic outing too.
5. Tanjung Aru Beach
Located at the end of Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman and about 6 kilometres from KK City, this place is closest to the hearts of the locals, and just one visit to the beach will tell you why. Taking its name from the casuarinas or aru trees that fringe the fine sands, this is where one might get a ringside seat to the greatest sunset on earth every evening when the crimson sun dips slowly into the horizon, leaving the vast skies a brilliant red. Food stalls serving local food and drinks are open till late at night. Enjoy coconut and sugarcane juice, chicken or beef satay and steamed peanuts and corn, or indulge in a full-course dinner at the seafood restaurant located there. The Tanjung Aru beach is also home to Shangri-la's Tanjung Aru Resort, the Kinabalu Golf Club and the Kinabalu Yacht Club.
6. North Borneo Railway
The 1880 s, British North Borneo Company sold acres and acres of interior lands to planters for the cultivation of crops.In 1896, a railway from the interior reached Weston, the new port on Brunei Bay.The locomotives used were steam-powered.Today the train can take 180 passengers with highest international service standards operated by North Borneo Railway。
7. The Waterfront
Kota Kinabalu's one-stop dining and entertainment centre is found right here along the famous Waterfront. Located along Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, the Waterfront is a popular hangout for both locals and visitors alike. As you stroll along the esplanade, be spoilt for choice when it comes to dining.
Go exotic at the Kohinoor North Indian Restaurant, enjoy Japanese fare at Kawana, fusion food at Toscani's or indulge in a great seafood selection at the Grand Portview Seafood Restaurant. In the evening, the Waterfront comes to life at various watering holes such as the popular after-hours hangout, The Loft, Cock & Bull and Shamrock - all great places to enjoy happy hours as you watch the sun set over the South China Sea.
At night, paint the town red at BED (Best Entertainment Destination), one of the biggest dance clubs in Sabah. The Waterfront is also home to a myriad of shops, including the Borneo Trading Post, ideal for Sabah souvenir hunters. Dazzling lights, pulsating rhythms and a fantastic blend of energy makes The Waterfront a must-visit during your time in Kota Kinabalu.
8. Handicraft Market
Located along Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, the Handicraft Market is a favoured shopping haunt for locals and tourists alike. Souvenirs galore await you and rest assured there is something for everyone.
Start with the cheap trinkets, which make excellent gifts for friends and family. These include keychains, beaded bracelets and necklaces and bookmarks. You will be spoilt for choice with miles and miles of beautiful sarongs and pareos, an ideal reminder of your tropical holiday in Sabah! Be sure to check out the glistening and gorgeous pearl jewellery and handicrafts. You can purchase loose pearls or stunning brooches, necklaces and earrings, available at almost every stall you visit in this vast market. For those with an eye for ornate wooden carvings, you have come to the right place. The market has an endless variety of carved crafts, including exotic wooden masks, picture frames and even stunning wall panels. Not be missed are the assortment of rattan baskets in all shapes and sizes. The best thing about the Handicraft Market is that you never know what piece of treasure you might unravel during your visit. Some have returned home with an authentic sompoton (a traditional wind instrument), a Murut headhunter's blowpipe, a coconut-shaped handbag and a wooden-frog that ‘sings' when you stroke its back with a wooden stick.
9. Sabah State Museum & Heritage Village
Built in 1985, the Museum complex is sited where then British North Borneo Governor's Istana was once located. The Museum consists of the Main Building, Science and Education Centre, Heritage Village, Sabah Art Gallery and Museum of Islamic Civilization.
Inside are various Galleries housing Natural History, Ceramics, Ethnography and Archaeology exhibits, among others.
Ceramics, traditional weapons and costumes reflect the diversity of the State's culture and traces Sabah's early trade links with the neighbouring countries of Southeast Asia and China. The museum also houses musical instruments, tools and ritual paraphernalia.There is a Heritage Village on the Museum grounds where you can enter and experience different types of traditional houses of the various indigenous groups of Sabah. Cultural activities are held here from time to time.
The Sabah State Museum is located on Jalan Bukit Istana Lama, Kota Kinabalu, 4 km or about 15 minutes from the KK City Centre.
10. Puh Toh Tze Temple
Sabah is proud of its multiculturalism and this is often reflected in its diverse architecture. The Puh Toh Tze temple is a Buddhist temple located off Tuaran Road.
Built in 1980, the temple stands out with its traditional Chinese roofing and structure. Ten large statues of deities adorn the temple with the Goddess of Mercy, Kwan Yin, standing tall at the main entrance of the temple.
By Kuan Sheue Jiun (Kuan)