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Kota Kinabalu

Practical information on Kota Kinabalu

  • Beach / Seaside Resort
  • Island
  • Viewpoint
  • Hiking / Trekking
  • Mountain
3 / 5 - 2 reviews
How to get there
2hr 30min flight from Kuala Lumpur
When to go
From March to June
Minimum stay
1 to 2 days

Reviews of Kota Kinabalu

Lorette Vinet Seasoned Traveller
59 written opinions

Kota Kinabalu is the capital of Sabah State and the departure point for climbers heading to Mount Kinabalu. As with most towns in Borneo, Kota Kinabalu looks out to sea, boasting a lovely harbour and seaside town ambience.

My suggestion:
It's worth staying a few days even if you're planning to explore other regions during your trip to Malaysia. The town is large enough to have a number of activities on offer but is still built on a human scale; you won't get lost in an urban maze.
My review

I started with a walk around the town and its markets, before carrying on a further 10km or so to reach Putatan Beach. It was a crazy idea, even if it was well worth the effort. 

As I was thinking about climbing Mount Kinabalu, I headed out the next to the park, where you'll find several trails that lead through incredible, lush surroundings. 

Kota Kinabalu is also the departure point for trips to the Tunka Adbul Rahman Park, where you need to pay an entry fee. We decided to have a laze on Manutik Island's stunning beach but we should have left earlier as, thanks to the rainy season, a storm was already gathering in the distance. Suffice to say our return journey was less enjoyable.

Star of the show - Mount Kinabalu. You'll meet lots of travellers who've come here to scale the mountain. Be warned that at 4,092m and being the highest peak in Borneo, it's no walk in the park!

Joanna Pallud Seasoned Traveller
14 written opinions

Kota Kinabalu or KK as it is generally known, is located in Sabah state.

My suggestion:
There are local buses that run between the city and the airport until 9 p.m. and which are much cheaper than a taxi or special shuttle.
My review

Whilst on a trip to Malaysia , I spent 2 days in Kota Kinabalu. Basically, what I wanted to do was trek up Mount Kota Kinabalu, but due to both the price and unfavourable weather conditions I gave up the idea. The city is pleasant enough, but there are other, more interesting towns in insular Malaysia.

During my stay, I was able to take a look round the night market where it is possible to eat really fresh sea produce. This is only natural, as Kota Kinabalu is a city on the seaside . There is plenty of choice. Do not hesitate to go round and to bargain over prices. The dishes are excellent, just like Malaysia. Close by, there is a greengroceries market. It is in Kota Kinabalu that I tried the famous durian fruit . I did not like it at all...

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