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Kota Kinabalu

3.8 / 5 23 votes

Country rank: 4 out of 7 Places To Visit In Malaysia

Sub-Region: Island of Borneo


Ideal duration: 2 days

Best time: December-April (Read More)

Nearest Airport: Kota Kinabalu (Check Flights)


"The city of beautiful rainforests and calming islands"

Kota Kinabalu Tourism

Kota Kinabalu, commonly referred to as KK, is the capital of Sabah. The city lies on the fringes of the South China Sea and also hosts Mount Kinabalu. KK also forms the gateway to the Borneo Island.

KK is a coastal city, looking out on sparkling waters. Tourists throng this place each year and visit the many markets and beaches. Another popular landmark of this city, apart from Mount Kinabalu of course, is the Kota Kinabalu City Mosque, located on the waterfront. The city also claims to have some of the best sunsets on the continent!

Kota Kinabalu Packages

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  • Fascinating Kuala Lumpur, Sandakan, Koa Kinabalu Package

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More on Kota Kinabalu

There are tons of shopping opportunities for tourists visiting KK. Centre Point Sabah is a big mall, fitted out with all your needs. Also make sure to visit the Kota Kinabalu Handicraft Market for the beautifully designed local handicrafts as well as souvenirs. 1 Borneo Hypermall is the biggest mall in all of Sabah. You can get there free of cost by taking the free shuttle from Warisan Square.

The currency of KK is the Malaysian ringgit (RM). There also several banks here with ATMs at your service.

Currency can be exchanged at the airport primarily. There are also several stalls in shopping malls that deal in currency exchange. However, better exchange rates are offered at the airport.

Travelling on a budget in KK will cost you approximately RM 20. A mid-range option would come up to RM 50. A luxurious stay in Luxor will cost you RM 85 to 100, depending on what you spend on.

A major chunk of the population here are Chinese, followed by Kadazandusun, Brunei Malays and Bajau.

It is important to dress according to their etiquette. Always remove your footwear before entering a mosque. Women should keep their head, arms and knees covered when in places of worship. Tipping is not really expected, but it is always alright to tip for good service.

Basic English is understood and spoken by a lot of the locals. Chinese, Mandarin, Malay, Hakka and Cantonese are also spoken here.

Kota Kinabalu was initially called Jesselton. This was during the British rule. But in 1963, when the British left the country, Sabah was made a part of Malaysia. World War II brought about the destruction of various towns due to bombs. Later on, it was all restored to form the coastal city that it is today.

KK Waterfront and Times Square are the two prime spots for great nightlife. Visit AruBa, which faces the sea. Other options are Shenanigan Fun Pub, Chocolate Factory (which is actually a club), Shamrock Irish Bar and Sunset Bar, to take in a lovely Kota Kinabalu sunset.

KK is popular for its authentic Chinese fare, followed by wonderful seafood dishes. Claypot Rice, Laksa, etc are some dishes that you must try. Kampung Nelayan Floating Seafood Market Restaurant is a must-visit for seafood lovers and Nagisa, located inside the Hyatt Regency, is famous for its Japanese food.

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Hotels in Kota Kinabalu

Top Hotels in Kota Kinabalu

  • The Mama’s SOHO @ Cozy KK Oceanus

    MYR 331 /night onwards

  • Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa

    MYR 595 /night onwards

  • Hilton Kota Kinabalu

    MYR 368 /night onwards

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How to Reach Kota Kinabalu

You can get in to Kota Kinabalu by train, plane, bus and boat services. (Read More)

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