Kota Kinabalu Vacations

This Air Asia secondary hub is the gateway to Sabah state on the island of Malaysian Borneo. Travelers enjoy the city's food stalls, night market, and more relaxed (compared to Peninsular Malaysia) attitude towards alcohol, before moving on to climb Mt Kinabalu, see wildlife on the Kinabatangan, or go diving off Semporna. Kota Kinabalu's diverse ... Read more
ethnic makeup of indigenous, Chinese, Indian, and Malay make it a interesting mix of cultures and religions. Just off the coast of KK, as it's known locally, are the tropical islands of Mamutik and Manukan, where soft sand, sunshine, and good diving can be had. A wide variety of accommodation options make the city a fine place to linger and catch your breath before onward travel.
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Kota Kinabalu reviews & trip reports

  • 9.8
    Adventure Travelers
  • 9.5
    Foodies
  • 7.8
    Backpackers
  • 7.8
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
  • 7.4
    Family Travelers

Member Reviews(76)

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Klang, Malaysia

Kota Kinabalu is situated in East Malaysia. Sabah' capital perfectly positioned on a bay protected by islands, and backed by forested ranges. Beautiful islands and white sands baeaches.

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Anchorage, Alaska, USA

Waterfront of Kota Kinabalu is beautiful. Don't forget to stay near the water front near the time of sunset. Borneo offers one of the best sunsets in the world. Kota Kinabalu is the center of tourism in Borneo island. Easy place to catch local flights to other parts of the island as well. If you are looking for some day trips near the town, there are multiple choices to the nearby islands. Excellent places to snorkel and enjoy the sun.

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Seattle, Washington, USA

You can walk the full length of the downtown area in about 30 minutes, but the city and Sabah have a lot to offer. From boardwalk bars overlooking the water/fisherman's boats, to local fish markets with tons of grilled seafood, to shopping malls, to tourist sites such as signal hill...there's a lot to experience in the city. However we stayed for three days and felt that we were able to experience a lot of what the city had to offer. Highly recommend for a unique experience, but not sure if I'd go back a second time

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Nairobi, Kenya

A tropical coastal city, developing at the pace of a East Asian city. It has some wonderful seafood, great Asian spices, and tropical fruit flavors. To find great places to eat definitely check out this foodie blog: http://www.sabaheats.com/

There is a hip district on the waterfront next to the new Oceanus Mall to get drinks at night, or head to Tanjung Aru Beach for sundowners and a dip in the ocean. The Jalan Gaya street has a concentration of backpacker hotels and is centrally located. It also has a great mix of new trendy restaurants, and cheap local eats. Pretty much everything is walkable in KK if you can bear the hear, and/or the rain.

Unfortunately the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park consisting of four main islands just off-shore is not much of a marine reserve at all. Think of it more as a marine Disneyland for people who have never done much of anything "marine" before. There are speed boats crossing it constantly, you cannot swim anywhere outside of some restrictive floating buoys, three of the islands, offer all you can eat stale buffets, and most visitors fail around in the water in life jackets because they cannot swim. Watch out for glass on the beach, and jellyfish in the water. Most of the coral is also dead out here. Anyways, if you know what to expect, the beach at Manukan Island is nice. Just do not expect a national park, or the serenity of the pictures used to book it.

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Anchorage, Alaska, USA

KK is a nice, modern coastal city in Sabah with excellent dining options, a great night/fish market, and an ideal jumping off point before exploring the rest of Sabah, Borneo. Also base for exploring the nearby islands, which have some good beaches and snorkeling. Also has some good budget accommodations.

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KK makes an easy and pleasant base from which to explore Sabah. It's small, convenient and friendly and offers everything you need to arrange/recover from your trip to the surrounding area. Food is good and cheap, travel agents helpful and massage places decent. Nothing stunning but functional and pleasant.

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Good starting point to see borneo's natural attractions, orangutang , hike, diving. Nice street food, also

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First to Review

People usually go to KK for nature adventures, I went to KK to attend the wedding of the year!

Dj Cowboy & Tyajayze's wedding Dec 11, 2011

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Jakarta, Indonesia

Not my favorite destination, simply because I am not a mountain person (I'd rather spend my holiday on the beach). Perhaps, I didn't spent enough time to explore the area - My search for the Iban people who live in the long house was fruitless (yes, I did see them outskirt of Miri, but they live in a modern long house).

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Mt Kinabalu is one of the seven wonders of the world and is the highest peak in southeast asia. Climbing Mt Kinabalu is quite an adventure and an achievement. You can do it over the weekend. I recommend you book a massage upon your return from your trek because you are going to need it. There are so many things to do in Sabah, especially if you are the adventurous nature-loving type.

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