Kota KinabaluMalaysia

Image for Kota Kinabalu featuring tropical scenes and a park

Visit Kota Kinabalu

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.

Where to stay in Kota Kinabalu

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

Downtown Kota Kinabalu

Known for Shopping, Family-Friendly, Romantic

4.5/5(78 reviews)

Travelers to Downtown Kota Kinabalu praise its popular shops. If you've got some more time to explore, be sure to make a stop by Imago Shopping Mall and Anjung Samudera.

Tanjung Aru
Lovely few days r&r in April after a fantastic Sabah roadtrip
trover photo by Alison Inglis

Tanjung Aru

Known for Beaches, Romantic, Family-Friendly

3.5/5(9 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.

Kampung Air
Kota Kinabalu showing a coastal town, tropical scenes and island images

Kampung Air

Known for Walking, Budget, Friendly People

Uncover some of the top draws of Kampung Air like its shopping and restaurants. If you're hoping to see more of the larger area, make a stop by Imago Shopping Mall or Centre Point.

Gana-Gana
Gorgeous caterpillar
trover photo by Sarah Hallett

Gana-Gana

When in Gana-Gana, you can plan a visit to Arnab Village and Last POW Camp Memorial, some noteworthy sights in the nearby area.

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
NT$5,043
per night
Jan 7 - Jan 8

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! (1,645 reviews)

"I really like this property. Rooms are comfortable and spacious. Love the balcony! Breakfast is great with lots of options. My daughter spends a lot of time at the kids club. Like the variety of restaurants but missed the Italian this time (closed recently). Staff is very helpful. Some places could ..."…"

Reviewed on 2019/10/30

Shangri La's Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa
Hyatt Regency Kinabalu
Hyatt Regency Kinabalu
5 out of 5
Jalan Datuk Salleh Sulong, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
NT$2,759
per night
Jan 5 - Jan 6

This family-friendly Kota Kinabalu hotel is located on the waterfront, just steps from KK Esplanade and Wisma Merdeka. Suria Sabah Shopping Mall and Gaya Street ...

4.1/5Very Good! (1,151 reviews)

"The brekfast not much selection. Just like 3 star hotel breakfast."…"

Reviewed on 2019/11/26

Hyatt Regency Kinabalu
Kota Kinabalu Marriott Hotel
Kota Kinabalu Marriott Hotel
5 out of 5
Lot G-23A, Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
NT$3,108
per night
Jan 8 - Jan 9

Located in Downtown Kota Kinabalu, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Anjung Samudera and Imago Shopping Mall. KK Esplanade and Atkinson Clock Tower ...

4.2/5Excellent! (271 reviews)

"Clean and friendly staff. Enjoying my stay with the sea view"…"

Reviewed on 2019/11/23

Kota Kinabalu Marriott Hotel

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
trover photo by Sue Ritchie

Mt Kinabalu

5/5(2 reviews)

Explore the great outdoors at Mt Kinabalu, a popular spot to commune with nature in Kota Belud. While you're in the area, wander around the natural setting.

Desa Cattle Dairy Farm
Image for Desa Cattle Dairy Farm
trover photo by Rachel Chew

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.

Reviews of Kota Kinabalu

4.4

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
37
5 - Excellent 52.857142857142854%
4 - Good
27
4 - Good 38.57142857142857%
3 - Okay
6
3 - Okay 8.571428571428571%
2 - Disappointing
0
2 - Disappointing 0%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

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.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Aug 8, 2019

The best gateway to the biggest playground in South East Asia; Sabah. Diving, hiking, rafting, trekking, biking, climbing, caving, eco-tourism +++.... And the food is awesome as well

Other places like Kota Kinabalu

Kuching
Image for Kuching
Kuching
Kuantan
Image for Kuantan
Kuantan
Nha Trang
Image for Nha Trang
Nha Trang
Okinawa
Image for Okinawa
Okinawa