Kota Kinabalu has a surprisingly high mall-count considering its modest size. Although it’s not ready to compete with cities like Kuala Lumpur, there are enough bargains and surprises in the shops for you to not totally shun the Sabah shopping experience.
1 Borneo, Centrepoint, Wisma Merdeka, Warisan Square, KK Plaza, Asia City and Suria Sabah Shopping Centre are some of Kota Kinabalu’s prominent shopping centres with yet more being built.
The Sabahbah.com shopping guide shows you a list of the interesting and popular destinations for your shopping safari in Kota Kinabalu and Sabah.
Even though its status is now something like completed, it seems to be perpetually unfinished and parking and traffic is still sometimes a problem at 1Borneo.
There are several public transport options to and from the hyper mall, including 1Borneo’s own shuttle bus, KK’s City Bus and of course, taxis.
1. 1 Borneo Leisure & Lifestyle Hyper Market
1Borneo Leisure & Lifestyle Hyper Mall is Sabah’s largest shopping mall and is located about 10km away from the city centre.
The mall is home to restaurants, label clothing, department stores, entertainment outlets, appliance stores and supermarkets.
1Borneo also houses 3 hotels, 3 apartment block towers, a cinema multiplex, night spots, a gym and a rumored aquarium that looks like it will never materialise.
Thanks to the large exhibition areas around the mall, 1Borneo Hyper Mall often hosts exhibitions, events and other high profile events which attract a lot of visitors. Even though its status is now something like completed, it seems to be perpetually unfinished and parking and traffic is still sometimes a problem at 1Borneo. There are several public transport options to and from the hyper mall, including 1Borneo’s own shuttle bus, KK’s City Bus and of course, taxis.
2. Asia City Complex
The Asia City Complex is a combination of shop lots, offices, a mall and yet another nearly-completed-shopping centre.
The mall part of the complex is not yet fully occupied and with rate at which new malls are springing to life, it never may be, and of the shops that are occupied, few would catch the fancy of your average tourist.
There are a few popular restaurants of which Fook Yuen is hands down the most popular, during the day, and the seafood restaurant facing the school on the other side in the evenings.Korean, Japanese, Indian and other local eateries are tucked away in quiet corners in the rest of the mall.A selection of unbranded clothing and accessory shops, slimming and beauty salons, tuck shops, a hotel or two (plus the Cititel Express next door), lots of offices and a 3-story car park makes up the rest of Asia City.
Of interest to tourists might be the permanent strip of a Borneo arts & crafts stalls that line the walkway between Asia City’s newer and older parts. Asia City is across the road from Centre Point.
3. Karamunsing Shopping Centre
Karamunsing Shopping Centre is one of Kota Kinabalu’s oldest shopping centres, but ongoing renovations over the last few years have kept it relevant.
The unfortunate irony of these upgrades and renovations was that while they are increasing floor space, tenants and visitors to the centre, parking is reduced every time they build a new extension over what was previously parking space.
Shoppers therefore park pretty much anywhere, blocking lanes and causing what sometimes is Kota Kinabalu’s most annoying traffic crawl around the permitter of the main building.
Inside the shopping centre this situation is mirrored by cramming every possible inch of floorspace on the 1st floor with a stall, kiosk or display of some kind, forcing visitors into a single file in most places. The upper 3 floors of shopping are slightly less packed.
Once you’ve fought your way through the traffic crawl and found a parking space (likely on 6th floor rooftop), you will discover Kota Kinabalu’s best IT and computer hub inside.
Spread out over the 4th, 3rd and, to a lesser extent, the 2nd floor, is a thorough collection of IT related stores selling everything for netbooks to notebooks, tablets to transmitters and every IT peripheral in-between. Eateries, hair and beauty salons, appliance and furniture stores and clothing shops make up the rest of tenant’s list.
4. KK Times Square
KK Times Square is an office development located on the fringe of Kota Kinabalu’s central business district, a brisk 20-minute walk form Centre Point Shopping Center. Office complex by day, with eateries dotted around the ground floor, it morphs into a notable nightlife destination at night, offering a handful of dinner restaurants and bars for a decent night out clubbing.
KK Times Square makes a living off its tenanted office space though, occupied by businesses as diverse as hotels, travel agents, financial institutions, lawyers, government bodies, oil palm and property developers. Parking is currently reaching capacity and with occupancy reaching ever higher, it’s evident that even an entire basement floor, plus plenty of parking topside, will not be enough.
The 1 exit, with only 2 manned ticket booths, often struggles with backed-up traffic that can be very frustrating when trying to exit during lunch hours and at the end of the day. KK Times Square Phase II is currently under construction on the neighboring plot of land and will complement the existing offices with shopping and retail space.
5. Suria Sabah
Suria Sabah Shopping Mall, or Suria KK as it’s sometimes referred to, is easily identified by its salad-bowl design. Suria Sabah is a new’ish shopping mall in the middle of Kota Kinabalu, which, after a slow start, has finally picked up some momentum and is now teeming with life.
Let’s start at the bottom, where the fastfood is all together, with a few other choice eateries spread across the higher floors. Metro Jaya is one of the anchor tenants and spans several floors, while numerous other shops sell either beauty products or clothing and are randomly dotted throughout the mall. The Times bookstore is not to be forgotten, nor is GSC Cinemas, which significantly boosted the visitor rate at the mall. GSC Suria brought 8 new screens to Kota Kinabalu and now feature 2 3D ready cinemas at this complex alone. The mall has plenty of parking, which can sometimes be its downfall, as with only 1 exit and 3 ticket booths, the hundreds of cars the parking garage can accommodate, will sometimes end up queue for a long time.
6. Warisan Square
Warisan Square was quite revolutionary when it was new, known for upmarket brands, wide open spaces and a quality feel. It successfully incorporated an air-conditioned mall experience with an open-air ambiance. Today the mall is not new anymore, and the neglect is showing. It has succumb to that nasty habit of KK malls to drop their standards and rent out every inch of their floorspace to pretty much anybody who will take it, making the walkways cluttered and lowering the overall quality feel of the mall.
Nevertheless, Warisan Square is said to have 114 shop lots, not all of which are occupied even after all these years. The perimeter of the mall is packed with restaurants and coffee shops, whilst the inner atrium and floors higher up hosts the majority of the retail outlets.
Above the atrium of the main block, as well as in 2 additional blocks on either side, floors are dedicated to office space and 3 separate hotels and reflexology centres.
Warisan Square is still a great starting point for your shopping safari in Kota Kinabalu as it’s central, cool and has sufficient variety to deliver a satisfying shopping experience.
7. City Mall
City Mall Kota Kinabalu is located on Jalan Kolombong, about a 15 minute taxi ride from the center of town.
As a suburban shopping center it services the sizable communities closest to it and manages to offer a variety of shops, although not so many of which are of famous brands. Giant Supermarket is one of the anchor tenants, with a department store being the other. The rest of the shops comprise restaurants, clothing, accessories, optometrists, a food court, a bookstore, some electronic and computer shop and the mandatory collection of fast food joints, which you can offset with the sizable fitness center.
City Mall’s only downside is that over weekends and public holidays it turns into a bit of a traffic nightmare, with lots of double parking and limited spaces around the building. A Starbucks Coffee facing the main road is a good place to hide out until traffic clears enough to make a clean getaway.
8. Centre Point Sabah
Centre Point Sabah might not be Kota Kinabalu’s newest or most beautiful shopping centre, but it’s undoubtedly the busiest and most convenient in town. Literally KK’s centre point, Centre Point Sabah is 4 floors of shopping convenience. Entertainment galore is spread across the 5th and 8th floors with a games arcade, cinema, pool hall and bowling alley. If you’re looking for anything in Kota Kinabalu, Centre Point Sabah is the best starting point. Being in the centre of the city it’s easily accessible, it has a good amount of parking and enough escalators and lifts to make getting around easy. In Kota Kinabalu’s Centre Point you can find all sorts of clothing, shoes and other apparel, beauty products and perfume, massages, beauty and slimming salons, book shops, stationary shops, hair dressers, several different types of restaurants to cater to any taste, tailors and fabric shops, computer shops, a supermarket and list goes on. Centre Point Sabah enjoys one of the highest occupancy rates of any mall in Kota Kinabalu and is a solid shopping destination. The mall proper is open from 10:00 till 21:00, whilst some of the shops on the 4th floor stay open till 22:00. The cinema ticket-booth is open until the start of the last movie screening, sometimes at midnight, and the pool hall and bowling alley stays open until the small hours of the morning.
9. KK Plaza Sabah
KK Plaza shopping center is located in the center of Kota Kinabalu, right opposite the fish and central markets and behind the city’s main post office.
As this shopping center is severely unexplored by SabahBah, there might undoubtedly be treasures by the bucket-load to be discovered at KK Plaza, but nothing really stands out. A relatively small complex, KK Plaza has 3 floors of independent clothing, trinket, beauty and cellphone-reload-voucher shops.
The anchor tenant is Servay Hypermarket, located in the basement of KK Plaza. There is also a food-court on the 3rd floor, which attracts tenants of the shops and nearby offices. What is KK Plaza good for from a tourist perspective? Well, although it only has limited parking, there always seems to be a slot available, which makes the parking great for visitors to the post office or nearby fish and fruit market.
10. Wisma Merdeka
Wisma Merdeka is one of Kota Kinabalu’s more established and successful shopping centers, within spitting distance from most hotels.
3 active floors of shops, restaurants, tailors and boutiques are sustained by steady flow of visitors and the tenants in the 2 towers of around 13 floors of offices above it. A shoppers’ paradise, Wisma Merdeka appeals more to female shoppers, as technology, gadgets, sports and computer stores, for male amusement, are in short supply.
Beauty, health and fashion, on the other hand, abound in a maze-like layout that seems to appeal to the bargain-hunter and shopoholic who likes her next purchase hidden around the corner. Of universal appeal are the food outlets, of which the recently renovated and themed food court on the 4th floor is the crown in Wisma Merdeka’s culinary jewel. In the food court Halaal, vegetarian and pork vendors all co-exist, like they do in Sabah, in gastronomic harmony for the greater good of punters’ full stomachs. There are a few choice eateries outside of the main food court as well. Off particular attraction to tourists are the many money changers, souvenir and photo shops dotted around the facility, as well as the cluster of tour and travel agents located in the adjacent building, Wisma Sabah. Wisma Merdeka lays claim to having the largest golf shop in Kota Kinabalu.
Hope you all can enjoy the Shopping Time in Kota Kinabalu ( KK ). ^.^ YEAH!!!
Source : http://sabahbah.com/shopping/
By : Kuan Sheue Jiun ( Kuan )