Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu

Sabah's capital of Kota Kinabalu showcases the region's seafood and jungles!

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Malaysians love their acronyms. Nobody would refer to KL as Kuala Lumpur and the same is the case for Kota Kinabalu, which the locals just abbreviate as KK. The city, located in the north-west of Borneo, is Sabah's capital and home to 580,000 people.

Seafood lovers will love KK. Its proximity to the South China Sea guarantees an endless stream of fresh seafood flowing into the city. Visiting the Filipino market at night is a must for every seafood fan. The market is located at the waterfront where you can watch the fishing boats unload fresh fish next to the food stall where it will be barbecued a few minutes later.

Filipino MarketThe Filipino Market at the city's waterfront offers a variety of Kota Kinabalu's local delicacies

As great as the fish might be, the market is probably not the best spot for a romantic dinner for two. For that, head a little bit south of the market to Anjung Samudra, a new waterfront development which offers several coffee shops, bars, and restaurants located right at the water's edge.

If you happen to be in KK on a weekend, the Sunday market along Jalan Pantai is the place to go for some craft shopping. In general KK's malls offer a wide range of shopping opportunities and almost match KL's standards. Close to Jalan Pantai you will find the Atkinson Clock Tower, which used to be a navigation landmark for boats but is now surrounded by higher buildings now and not visible from sea.

Sunset over GayaThe nearby Gaya Island is a favourite weekend getaway for locals in the city

For a quick trip out of the city, the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park is highly recommended. The park consists of five islands (Gaya, Sapi, Manukan, Sulug and Mamutik) and can be reached by a short boat ride from the ferry terminal next to the Fillipino market. At the islands you can rent snorkel equipment and explore the rich marine life right from the coast. Some of the islands also offer barbeque facilities and simple shelters for day trips. Luxury resort rooms, simple cabins and camping spots are available on several of the islands for those who want to stay overnight.

For challenge seekers, KK has something to offer as well: Mt. Kinabalu, Malaysia's highest mountain and Sabah's number one tourist attraction is located 90km northeast of town in the Kinabalu National Park. Hiking the mountain is a must for every nature and hiking fan who visits Sabah.