Kota Kinabalu is the capital city of Sabah located on the west coast of Sabah. Kota Kinabalu, better known as KK by locals, is the perfect jumping-off point to explore the stunning nature that surrounds the city. Tunku Abdul Rahman national park which is made up of 5 islands is less than 20 minutes by speed boat ride from KK city. Most of the city center lies on reclaimed land due to a shortage of land in the area as it is blocked by Signal Hill (Bukit Bendera). Areas which lie within the city center include Kampung Air, Api-Api, Segama, Sinsuran, Bandaran Berjaya, Gaya Street, KK Port and towards the south are the areas of Karamunsing, Sembulan, Tanjung Aru and Sutera Harbour. The city center is compact and one can easily explore the city on foot.
Below are the places and things to do when in Kota Kinabalu:
Explore 40 foods in Kota Kinabalu City
You have limited time at Kota Kinabalu but still, want to try some of the local foods? check out our list of 40 foods you can try within Kota Kinabalu City center. More information at https://www.sabaheats.com/kkcityfood/
1Sunday Market (Gaya Street)
Every Sunday morning, the whole stretch of Gaya Street turns into a pedestrian street market. You can get almost everything there from fresh tropical fruits to local handicrafts, and even pets!
2Filipino Market/Handicraft Market
This is the best place for local handicrafts, souvenirs, and many other interesting items. Explore over hundreds of stalls offering a variety of goods. You can find virtually anything you can think of under the sun from this Sabah market.
Located at the heart of Kota Kinabalu City and nearby Hyatt Regency Hotel. Watch the fishing boats drift lazily by as they return from a day out at sea or speedboat whiz by carrying day-trippers from the islands back to the city. One of the best spot to enjoy sunset view in Kota Kinabalu
4Sabah Tourism Board
Sabah Tourism Board’s building is located along the part of Gaya Street that dates back to 1916. It was only one of three buildings that survived the Allied bombings during World War 2. If you need any tourism related information you can find it at the Tourism Information Centre inside the Sabah Tourism Building
This is the place where locals shop for fresh produce every day. It’s best to visit in the early morning and observe the daily life of the locals.
6Atkinson Clock Tower
The oldest remaining structure in Kota Kinabalu which survived the destruction of Jesselton town during WWII. It is named after Francis George Atkinson, Jesselton’s first district officer who died of Malaria.
7Island Hopping at Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park
Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park is located just off the coast of Kota Kinabalu city and consists of 5 Islands, namely Gaya Island, Sapi Island, Manukan Island, Sulug Island and Mamutik Island. Simply take the boat services at the Jesselton Point Terminal and choose which island you would like to visit. There are a wide range of water activities such as banana boat, sea-walking, parasailing, and jet skiing to choose from. What is better than being able to show off your new suntan to your friends back home?
8Signal Hill Observatory Platform
Offers stunning views of Kota Kinabalu city. For the more adventurous type, take the trail leading to the observatory platform from the edge of Kota Kinabalu city. Visit Signal Hill Observatory Platform in the morning as the observatory is facing the west or visit during the late evening for its sunset view over Kota Kinabalu city. You will surely get beautiful photos of your visit here.