Kota Kinabalu Travel Guide

Kota Kinabalu, or KK as it’s affectionately known, is the Gateway to Sabah – the ultimate destination for nature lovers. The state capital, Kota Kinabalu, is a surprisingly charming city with seaside views, friendly locals and colourful markets. 

Brimming with culture and history, the city is overlooked by Mount Kinabalu on one side and surrounded by the azure South China Sea coastline on the other.  Relax at modern shopping malls, hotels, resorts and restaurants, whilst enjoying epic excursions with island hopping adventures, scenic train journeys, bubbling hot springs, rainforest jungle treks, mangrove and swamp cruises, and unique wildlife encounters… all possible as day trips from the city.

Kota Kinabalu

Animal lovers will love learning about orangutans and other Borneo wildlife at the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park, spotting proboscis monkeys from Kawa Kawa river cruises, or spending a day at Kinabalu National Park, Malaysia’s first UNESCO World Heritage site.  Here you’ll find fabulous botanical gardens, a butterfly farm and jungle nature treks.  

A visit to Poring Hot Springs National Park is both relaxing and thrilling, with their sulphur pools and the highest canopy walk in Sabah.  While for those wanting a little more action there is the zip line between islands – the Coral Flyer Zipline – at Gaya Island, and a plethora of water sports on offer including parasailing, banana boat rides, wakeboarding and waterskiing.  And for true adrenaline junkies, dare them to ride the rapids with white water rafting at the scenic Kiulu River.

Of course, for an insight to the local culture, you can’t go past a visit to the Mari Mari Cultural Village where you can explore traditional houses and learn about the tribes, as well as make rice wine and help start fires using bamboo.  

And of course, you can’t visit Kota Kinabalu without a trip to the beach at Tanjung Aru where you can capture awesome selfies for those essential social media updates, ending the day with the magic of a Borneo sunset!

In terms of accommodation, there is accommodation to suit all kinds of travellers from backpacker-hostels to five-star resorts, with older more established hotels undergoing renovations.

Excited?  Good!  Below we have all our best Kota Kinabalu guides so you can plan your own trip to this awesome destination.

Kota Kinabalu Attractions

Kota Kinabalu has some great places to visit from the beaches to animal attractions to cruising through the swamps and mangroves and more. Read about them below.

Kota Kinabalu Travel

Kota Kinabalu is the gateway to Sabah and so easy to reach by flight from the rest of Malaysia. Below are full guides to getting here from other popular destinations.

You can find more information on other destinations in Malaysia across this site here.

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