14 Best Things To Do in Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu is situated in the Sabah district of Malaysia. It is commonly designated as KK. Located on the seaside of South China Sea; Kota Kinabalu is one of the popular points of interest of Malaysia. There are tropical mangrove forests enclosing the city as a fence and these forests are some of the best places to visit in Kota Kinabalu. The city is a tropical country with highly humid and rainy climate. The city experiences heavy rains during the monsoon season.

The sixth biggest city of Malaysia, Kota Kinabalu offers its visitors with multiple tourist attractions ecological spots, adventurous activities and shopping streets with cheap goods and mouth-watering street foods. Geographically, Kota Kinabalu is just five meters above the sea level. The area can be very hot during summers. So, plan your trip with loose summer clothes to enjoy Kota Kinabalu.

Here's the list of 15 best things to do in Kota Kinabalu:

1. Kinabalu Park

Kinabalu Park is a UNESCO heritage site and a biodiversity-rich spot with thick tropical rain forests. The canopy of Malaysia Mount Kinabalu is situated within the Kinabalu Park. If you are wildlife freak, Kinabalu Park will please your eyes as it has a variety of wild variety of parasite plants. There are a lot of mountain climbing and trekking activities in Mount Kinabalu which makes the place a must go destination.

2. Tunku Abdul Rahman Park

Tunku Abdul Rahman Park is a cluster of small islands which promotes marine activities. These islands are connected with water transport. The inhabited islands offer an opportunity for adventurous marine activities like scuba diving, underwater swimming, etc

3. Manukan Island

Within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Manukan is the most inhabited island with several tourism activities. This is the island where food and accommodation activities are arranged among the five islands. The beautiful island has less explored beaches and reefs to look for.

4. Kota Kinabalu Wetlands

Kota Kinabalu Wetlands are a sanctuary for a wide variety of inland and migratory birds and is situated along the mangrove forests of the region. Every glance into the greenery may give a sight of exotic birds and animals. If you love wildlife photography, the bird sanctuary will be a feast to explore for your camera.

5. Sabah Museum

Sabah Museum is an enclave consisting of a heritage village, museum, art gallery and a botanical conservatory. The heritage village recreates the traditional architecture of the Sabahs, and the museum focuses on Islamic culture. The art gallery consists of archeological findings from the region and ceramic creations.

6. The Petagas War Memorial

The Petagas War Memorial was constructed in commemoration of the people who sacrificed their lives in the Second World War. The memorial has a tomb and an inscription in which the names of the deceased are engraved. There is an annual prayer meet for the heroes conducted in the memorial. This is a never to miss place to understand the history of Kota Kinabalu

7. Kota Kinabalu City Mosque

The Kota Kinabalu City mosque is a religious center in the city of Kota Kinabalu. It is known for its Persian architecture and is an expanse of area. The mosque is constructed in a lagoon, and it is a floating building on the water bay.

8. Merdeka Square

This is the square where the Malaysian State was officially declared independent by its President. Decorated with the lush of green lawns this is now popular tourists spot to trace Malaysia’s history.

9. Metro Town Weekend Market

The Metro Town Weekend Market is a street food destination that will definitely please your taste buds. The pork burger, fried squid, all can be devoured from food trucks placed on the street. If you’re in Kota Kinabalu, coming to metro town market is a must to do.

10. Night Market

The night market in KK is a center bustling with activity. The street lights up under the tents and stalls of local vendors selling amazing street food as soon as the evening sets in. The night market will offer you delicious and affordable food items with a place to sit and enjoy. Being in the market amidst the fragrance of freshly cooked seafood and sweets is an incomparable experience. So be there in the market if you’re in KK.

11. Filipino Market

The Filipino Market is the main shopping hub of the city which is spread over wide expanse of are in the seaside of South China Sea. The market has separate areas for seafood, stationary and groceries. The seafood area offers all kinds of fish in fresh and dried form. The stationery area offers you ornaments and souvenirs to be collected from Malaysia. The market is active from the morning and will give you the opportunity for a shopping spree.

12. Grilled fish

The Filipino Market fish area serves the best-grilled fish menu in Kota Kinabalu. One can taste and continue tasting different variety of fish grilled and roasted.

13. Laksa Melaka

This traditional Malaysian food is a must-have when you are in Kota Kinabalu. Fried bread soaked in the curry is a devouring experience to your taste buds. There are cheap destinations on the streets where you can have authentic Laksa Melaka.

14. San Nyuk Miyan

You will get the best of the Malaysian variety of Chinese dish San Nyuk Miyan in KK. The pork additions in the soupy noodles make the dish tastier. Never forget to have san Nyuk Miyan from the streets of KK.

Try to travel mostly through the public transport systems and cabs from one tourist spot to the other. Try the most to visit island areas through boat or access these areas through waterways as this will give you the real experience of visiting an island. Never try to travel on vehicles in crowded areas of the Filipino and Night Markets and always walking on foot will ensure that you never miss an eatery or a shop with interesting stuff. Enjoying the balmy beaches and unleashing adventure in the green eco spots are the contrasting experiences in Kota Kinabalu. All famous hotel groups like Le Meridian and Holiday Inn have accommodation facilities in KK city to arrange for your memorable stay.

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Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Must see places in Kota Kinabalu ranked on popularity. Here is the complete list of best attractions in Kota Kinabalu and point of interests to visit.

  1. Mount Kinabalu

    #1 of 154 Things To Do in Kota Kinabalu
    Mount Kinabalu

    Tags: Mountain, View Point, Hill

    Address: Kinabalu National Park, Malaysia

    Timings: 09:00 am - 10:00 pm Details

    Climb up to this highest mountain between the Himalayas and the island of New Guinea. In the Malaysian language, this mountain is called as Gunung Kinabalu and is quite unlike any other on earth as it...Read more

  2. Sapi Island

    #2 of 154 Things To Do in Kota Kinabalu
    Sapi Island

    Tags: Outdoors, Beach, Island, Tourist Center

    Address: Kota Kinabalu 88000, Malaysia

    Timings: 08:30 am - 05:00 pm Details

    Among all the islands that surround Kota Kinabalu City, Sapi Island (Pulau Sapi) is the most favorite amongst tourists. Not only does it offer abundant nature’s experience, it also offers activi...Read more

  3. Manukan Island

    #3 of 154 Things To Do in Kota Kinabalu
    Manukan Island

    Tags: Island

    Address: Malaysia

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Located near Kota Kinabalu, Manukan Island is one of the most famous and most frequented islands by domestic and international tourists. To reach here, you just need to take a 15-minutes boat ride fro...Read more

  4. Shangri La's Orangutan Care Project

    #4 of 154 Things To Do in Kota Kinabalu
    Shangri La's Orangutan Care Project

    Tags: Outdoors, Wildlife Park, Tourist Center, Nature

    Address: Pantai Dalit Beach | Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort, Kota Kinabalu 89208, Malaysia

    Your stay in Kota Kinabalu can become exciting with experiencing the wildlife at the Orang-utan Care Project, Shangri la. The project offers people with a chance to view these amazing creatures up-clo...Read more

  5. Poring Hot Springs

    #5 of 154 Things To Do in Kota Kinabalu
    Poring Hot Springs

    Tags: Hot Spring, Nature

    Address: Poring, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

    Timings: 07:00 am - 06:00 pm Details

    Poring Hot Springs is about 40 kilometers from the Kinabalu National Park Headquarters in Kundasang. The hot springs is actually part of the huge Kinabalu National Park. The Poring Hot Springs wa...Read more

  6. Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park

    #6 of 154 Things To Do in Kota Kinabalu
    Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park

    Tags: National Park, Park, Nature

    Address: Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

    Timings: 08:30 am - 05:00 pm Details

    Tunku Abdul Rahman is not just one island. It is a cluster of islands: Pulau Gaya, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamutik, and Pulau Sulug. As the islands are only a short boat ride away from Kota K...Read more

  7. Lok Kawi Wildlife Park

    #7 of 154 Things To Do in Kota Kinabalu
    Lok Kawi Wildlife Park

    Tags: Wildlife Park, Zoo, Botanical Garden

    Address: Jalan Pintas Penampang | Penampang, Kota Kinabalu 89500, Malaysia

    Timings: 09:30 am - 05:30 pm Details

    This is a huge wildlife park that is made up of two parts: the zoological and the botanical side. Among the many residents of the zoo are the Borneo Pygmy elephants, Sumatran rhinoceros, Orang Utan, P...Read more

  8. Kinabalu Park

    #8 of 154 Things To Do in Kota Kinabalu
    Kinabalu Park

    Tags: Park, Nature

    Address: Ranau, Sabah, Malaysia

    Timings: 09:00 am - 10:00 pm Details

    Kinabalu Park is located at the entrance to Mount Kinabalu and thus acts as the main starting point for the summit trail that leads to the top of Mount Kinabalu. If you don’t wish to climb the m...Read more

  9. Mamutik Island

    #9 of 154 Things To Do in Kota Kinabalu
    Mamutik Island

    Tags: Outdoors, Island, Picnic Spot

    Address: Sabah, Malaysia

    Timings: 08:30 am - 05:00 pm Details

    A visit to the Mamutik Island can let you enjoy the beauty of sun and sand to the fullest. The place is an ideal spot for holidaying where you can indulge in various recreational activities. First of ...Read more

  10. North Borneo Railway

    #10 of 154 Things To Do in Kota Kinabalu
    North Borneo Railway

    Tags: Outdoors, Train Ride

    Address: Tanjung Aru Railway Station, Mail Bag 2047, 88999, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, 88999, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

    Timings: 10:00 am - 06:00 pm Details

    One of the attractions of Kota Kinabalu is to take a ride on the North Borneo Railway that recreates the era of British North Borneo. As you take a ride in this steam train, you shall come across the ...Read more

  11. Kota Kinabalu City Mosque

    #11 of 154 Things To Do in Kota Kinabalu
    Kota Kinabalu City Mosque

    Tags: Mosque, Religious Site, Tourist Center

    Address: Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

    Timings: 08:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    Kota Kinabalu is populated by predominantly Muslim population. Therefore, the city is scattered with emblems of Islamic faith and culture. Visit the largest mosque of Kota Kinabalu city that displays ...Read more

  12. Sabah Museum

    #12 of 154 Things To Do in Kota Kinabalu
    Sabah Museum

    Tags: Museum, Specialty Museum

    Address: Jalan Muzium, 88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

    Timings: 09:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    You and your companions can visit the Sabah Museum that started its journey in the year 1965. Since its journey, the museum has made people surprised with its large collection of historical artefacts....Read more

  13. Gaya Street Sunday Market

    #13 of 154 Things To Do in Kota Kinabalu
    Gaya Street Sunday Market

    Tags: Outdoors, Tourist Center, Street Market

    Address: Gaya Street, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

    Timings: 06:30 am - 01:00 pm Details

    This street was originally named as Bond Street and has been present in the central business district for past 100 years. The market here looks exotic with the wooden shops with nipah roofs. Here, you...Read more

  14. Night Market

    #14 of 154 Things To Do in Kota Kinabalu
    Night Market

    Tags: Outdoors, Tourist Center, Street Market, Street Food

    Address: Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens,Kota Kinabalu,Sabah,Malaysia

    Timings: 05:30 pm - 11:59 pm Details

    The culture of Malaysia comes alive at the Night Market in Kota Kinabalu which also serves as one of the most famous food courts in all South East Asia. This market is located off Jalan Kampung Air ne...Read more

  15. Filipino Market

    #15 of 154 Things To Do in Kota Kinabalu
    Filipino Market

    Tags: Food And Drinks, Market, Specialty Shop

    Address: Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, Kota Kinabalu 88000, Malaysia

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Filipino market is the best haunt to purchase a diverse range of products such as handicrafts, toiletries to traditional food and medicine. One of the things that you ought to buy in the Filipino mark...Read more

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