Kota KinabaluMalaysia

Image for Kota Kinabalu featuring tropical scenes and a park

Sabah’s capital is a laid-back, oceanfront city not far from towering Mount Kinabalu, traditional villages and a spectacular marine park.

Kota Kinabalu, or “KK” as it is affectionately known throughout Asia, is the dynamic gateway to Borneo. The city offers a wealth of cultural sights, from museums and art galleries, to mosques and botanical gardens. The year-round tropical weather is ideal for exploring the nearby beaches, rain forest trails and tropical islands. KK is also a foodie’s paradise, offering a huge range of regional Asian cuisines, including some of the largest barbecued banana prawns you will ever hope to see!

It’s easy to get around KK’s downtown sights on foot or by bus. Spend a day exploring local culture at the Sabah Museum and the nearby Ethnobotanical Gardens, where you’ll find pitcher plants, medicinal flora, rice and herbs.

At the Sabah Art Gallery, within the Sabah Museum complex, enjoy work by local artists both established and upcoming. Visit the Monsopiad Cultural Village for insight into the Kadazandusun indigenous tribes of Sabah. These tribes share their craftwork, architectural practices, cooking and dance with visitors.

Just beyond Kota Kinabalu’s downtown attractions, a world of wilderness and island possibilities await. Pack your snorkeling and fishing gear and island hop around the five islands of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park.

Discover Borneo's incredible fauna at the Kota Kinabalu Wetland Center, the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park, Green Connection, an aquarium, and the Tuaran Crocodile Farm.

Pull on your hiking boots and experience wild Borneo at the Kinabulu Park, where you’ll find carnivorous pitcher plants, the huge rafflesia flower and four species of primate. Climb to the peak of Mount Kinabalu for an unforgettable sunrise view over northern Borneo and the South China Sea.

Kota Kinabalu is home to Malaysia’s second busiest airport, making it an easily accessible destination.

Kota Kinabalu Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu featuring tropical scenes and a park

Downtown Kota Kinabalu

4.5/5Wonderful!(89 area reviews)

Downtown Kota Kinabalu is known for its popular shops, and you can see some sights in the area like Imago Shopping Mall and Anjung Samudera.

Downtown Kota Kinabalu
Lovely few days r&r in April after a fantastic Sabah roadtrip
trover photo by Alison Inglis

Tanjung Aru

3.5/5Good!(10 area reviews)

Pristine beaches and ample dining options are well-reviewed features of Tanjung Aru. Make a stop by top sights like Tanjung Aru Perdana Park while you're exploring the area.

Tanjung Aru
Kota Kinabalu showing a coastal town, tropical scenes and island images

Kampung Air

Some popular features of Kampung Air include its shopping and restaurants. If you're in the mood to explore farther, Imago Shopping Mall or Centre Point are worth checking out in the surrounding nearby area.

Kampung Air
Gorgeous caterpillar
trover photo by Sarah Hallett

Gana-Gana

If you're looking for some top things to see and do in Gana-Gana and surrounding area, you can visit Arnab Village and Last POW Camp Memorial.

Gana-Gana

Top Hotels in Kota Kinabalu

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Shangri La's Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa
Shangri La's Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa
5 out of 5
No. 20, Jalan Aru, Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
$151
per night
Mar 19 - Mar 20

This Tanjung Aru resort is on the beach, 2.3 mi (3.7 km) from Sabah State Mosque, and within 6 mi (10 km) of Imago Shopping Mall and Anjung Samudera. Gaya Street ...

4.4/5Excellent! (1,631 reviews)

"This is my third time at this property. I stayed at the Tanjum wing (which I like more), and this time I stayed at the Kinabalu wing for the second time. The rooms in this wing have not gotten any changes for the last 10 years. USB charging outlets and a Nespresso machine are reserved for the executive ..."…"

Reviewed on Feb 18, 2020

Shangri La's Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa
Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa
Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa
5 out of 5
Pantai Dalit, Kota Kinabalu, Tuaran, Sabah
$150
per night
Mar 19 - Mar 20

Nestled on the beach, this Tuaran resort is within 3 mi (5 km) of Dalit Beach, Karambunai Peninsula, and Tuaran Crocodile Farm. 1Borneo Hypermall and Upside ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (1,113 reviews)

"Beautiful, spacious and wonderful facilities, restaurants and food. I think this has now become my favourite ever hotel and we will return, hopefully soon. Fantastic hospitality, and my wife shed a tear when the staff sang to us as they bid us farewell."…"

Reviewed on Feb 26, 2020

Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa
Hilton Kota Kinabalu
Hilton Kota Kinabalu
5 out of 5
Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Asia City, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
$84
per night
Mar 13 - Mar 14

Located in Downtown Kota Kinabalu, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of All Saint's Cathedral and Centre Point. Anjung Samudera and Gaya Street Sunday ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (604 reviews)

"Perfect location for my visit, beautiful, clean hotel and friendly staffs"…"

Reviewed on Feb 19, 2020

Hilton Kota Kinabalu

Popular things to do in Kota Kinabalu

Mount Kinabalu National Park
Image for Mount Kinabalu National Park

Mount Kinabalu National Park

4.5/5(26 reviews)

Tackle the two-day climb to Borneo’s highest peak or enjoy the lower rainforest trails in this park, home to some of the world’s rarest plants.

Mt Kinabalu
Image for Mt Kinabalu

Mt Kinabalu

5/5(2 reviews)

Explore the great outdoors at Mt Kinabalu, a popular spot to commune with nature in Kota Belud. Discover the mountain views while you're in the area.

Desa Cattle Dairy Farm
Image for Desa Cattle Dairy Farm

Desa Cattle Dairy Farm

4/5(1 review)

Desa Cattle Dairy Farm is one of the more well-known attractions to visit during your trip to Kundasang. Wander the parks or discover the area's mountain views.

Top activities in Kota Kinabalu

KOTA KINABALU CITY TOUR
Image for KOTA KINABALU CITY TOUR

KOTA KINABALU CITY TOUR

$42
Per adult
Tunku Abdul Rahman Park Island-Hopping Tour
Image for Tunku Abdul Rahman Park Island-Hopping Tour

Tunku Abdul Rahman Park Island-Hopping Tour

$77
Per adult
Full-Day Weston River Proboscis Monkey & Firefly Cruise with Buffet Dinner
Image for Full-Day Weston River Proboscis Monkey & Firefly Cruise with Buffet Dinner

Full-Day Weston River Proboscis Monkey & Firefly Cruise with Buffet Dinner

84% of travellers recommend
$39
Per adult
Colonial Steam Train Excursion
Image for Colonial Steam Train Excursion

Colonial Steam Train Excursion

78% of travellers recommend
$145
Per adult
Private Klias Wetland Safari & Fireflies Tour
Image for Private Klias Wetland Safari & Fireflies Tour

Private Klias Wetland Safari & Fireflies Tour

88% of travellers recommend
$92
Per adult
Padas River Rafting Grade 3-4 from Kota Kinabalu
Image for Padas River Rafting Grade 3-4 from Kota Kinabalu

Padas River Rafting Grade 3-4 from Kota Kinabalu

$107
Per adult

Reviews of Kota Kinabalu

4.4

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
43
5 - Excellent 51.80722891566265%
4 - Good
34
4 - Good 40.963855421686745%
3 - Okay
6
3 - Okay 7.228915662650603%
2 - Disappointing
0
2 - Disappointing 0%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Dec 31, 2019

Food heaven.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Nov 19, 2019

KK was a nice place to visit. We would go back.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Nov 17, 2019

Lovely city. Food heaven. Very inexpensive to eat here if you eat like the locals do!!

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Nov 11, 2019

Interesting little city with great seafood.

4/5 - Good

Jerlyn

Oct 13, 2019

a must part of your tour

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Aug 24, 2019

Great city with abundance of eating and shopping options at reasonable prices.

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