15 Places to Visit in Kota Kinabalu: Tourist Places & Attractions
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Places to Visit in Kota Kinabalu

 Mount Kinabalu, Manukan Island Resort, Mamutik Island, Kokol Hill, Poring Hot Springs, Sabah State Museum, Mari Mari Cultural Village tour, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Observation Tower, Gaya Street Sunday Market, Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Kota Kinabalu City Mosque and many more.

Kota Kinabalu, the major part of Malaysia, is truly divine and exotic tourist spot. Kota Kinabalu not only overwhelms you with its beauty, but it also makes you fall in love with its friendly locals, rich culinary spectrums and breath-taking fiery sunsets. These are the places to visit in Kota Kinabalu.

One won’t consider cultural villages as a tourist destination, but Mari Mari Cultural Village can change your perception. Home of many Sabahan ethnic communities, it will give you the chance to see blowpipe making, fire starting & tattooing. Friendly locals will surely make you fall in love with this village.

Do you want to challenge your determination, will power and physical strength? Then you should go for breath-taking adventure of Mt Kinabalu. The feeling of accomplishment which you get after conquering one of the highest peaks in South East Asia will surely elevate your spirits and make you feel on top of the world. 

Here are some of the Best places to visit in Kota Kinabalu:

Located on the west coast of Sabah, Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain peak in Malaysia, standing at a whopping height of 4101 meters. This humongous mountain is abundant in the different species of flora and fauna at various altitudes. It is renowned for its biodiversity of plants that serve as a vast array of natural habitats for animals to thrive. The fantastic views and the thrill urges visitors to go trekking on this mountain. 

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02

Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Kota Kinabalu

The Tunku Abdul Rahman Park is a group of five different islands, which include Pulau Gaya, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamutik and Pulau Sulug. There are various beach activities that the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park organizes. However, all these beach activities require a prior booking and it is one of the best places to visit in Kota Kinabalu.

You can also indulge in various water sports like snorkeling, scuba diving, and witness the beautiful coral and marine life of the island. The island tours can be booked on the spot from where you will take your ferries.

Location: The Tunku Abdul Rahman Park is just 20 minutes boat ride from the Kota Kinabalu.

How To Reach: The Jesselton Jetty ferry terminal consistently operates the boats to the Island, which takes around 20 minutes to reach there.

Price: The approximate cost for the complete tour starts from 53 MYR per adult.

Timings: 8.30 AM to 5 PM

Here is the List of 
Best 
Things to Do in Langkawi

Suggested Read: Things to Do in Malaysia

03

Manukan Island Resort

The Manukan Island Resort is a luxury private island resort. This serene retreat offers exquisite accommodation, sophisticated cuisine and unparalleled water sport activities in one of the most pristine corner of the world. Manukan Island is surrounded by a protected coral reef, and the island boasts a pristine rainforest and beautiful white sand beaches and it is one of the popular places to visit in Kota Kinabalu.

Location: Manukan Island, 88100 Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Highlights: This resort features an outdoor pool, a restaurant and spacious villas with private terraces and dining areas. The resort offers a wide range of activities such as diving, snorkeling and trekking. For views of marine life, glass-bottomed boat rides are available.

Price: Approximate price for a room starts at 700 MYR.

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04

Mamutik Island

Image Credit : neo saed

In the group of five islands among the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, the Mamutik Island is the second furthest. Though the waters of Mamutik Island is not as clear as the Sapi Island, but you do get to indulge in some amazing water sports activity and some world-class beach side cafes and restaurants serving the lip-smacking Malay and continental cuisines. There are also some beautiful souvenir shops from where you can take some to your family or friends and it is one of the famous places to visit in Kota Kinabalu.

Location: The island is located in the downtown area of Kota Kinabalu and is off the coast. From the hotel Hyatt Regency Kinabalu, you can reach to the Jesselton Jetty point with 2 minute drive or by taking a 10-minute walk from where there are boats available regularly to reach the island.

Price: You have to pay an entree fees of 10 MYR per person once to get inside the island.

05

Lok Kawi Wildlife Park

If the wild animals and wildlife fascinates you then Lok Kawi Wildlife Park in Kinabalu, Malaysia is a must visit place for you. Started in 2007 and developed by the Sabah Wildlife Department, the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park primarily consists of two sections: Botanical & Zoological. It is, especially, promoted with the objective to make it a family-oriented park and lot of emphasis is given to the Children’s Zoo and it is one of the very popular places to visit in Kota Kinabalu.

The wildlife park is a home of Borneo Pygmy Elephants, Proboscis monkeys, Malayan tiger, and a few different species of deer. On the other hand, the park also offers the opportunity to its visitors to go for jungle trekking in the botanical trail, which is about 1.4 KM long.

 Location: The Lok Kawi Wildlife Park is located on the West Coast Division of Penampang.

 How to Reach: The wildlife park is just 30-45 minutes drive from the Kota Kinabalu, estimated distance is 20 KM. Visitors can take the local taxis, which will cost you around 25-30 MYR per way.

 Timings: 9.30 AM to 5.30 PM

 Price: The entry fees costs approximately 20 MYR per adult.

06

Mari Mari Cultural Village tour

Image Credit : oldandsolo

What is the point of visiting a place when you don’t understand its local culture and traditions? Explore the Mari Mari village give the travelers a unique chance to learn about the skeptic lifestyle of the local tribes. Grab the wonderful opportunity and gather knowledge about the regional cuisines and the ethnic lifestyle of the people and it is one of the famous places to see in Kota Kinabalu. Witness their hunting skills and their precise fishing techniques.

Highlights:  The settlement inhabits five different kinds of pagans. Learn their hunting skills. Get a chance to relax in the huts during the hot and humid days. Satisfy your taste-buds with mouth watering tribal food.

Location: The cultural village is isolated modern civilization and deep into the country side of Inanam in Kota Kinabalu.

Price: Approximately 200 MYR per person.

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07

Poring Hot Springs

You can never say you have visited the Kota Kinabalu until you have swung over the Poring Hot Springs. It is one of the most liked places by the locals as it has perfect spots where you can de-stress, soak the sores and aches of your muscles inside the hot sulphuric minerals springs, which are said to have the healing properties and it is one of the best places to visit in Kota Kinabalu.

Apart from the Poring Hot Springs, there are various other interesting places, which include the butterfly farm, tropical gardens, the Poring canopy walkway, Poring Orchid Conservation Center and the Rafflesia flower site.

Location: The Poring Hot Springs is around 136 KM from the Kota Kinabalu city.

How to reach: You can either take a direct bus, which will cost you around 16 MYR per person or a taxi, which will cost you around 160 MYR, from the Kota Kinabalu. 

Price: The entry fees to Poring Hot Springs is approximately 15 MYR.

Timings: 7 AM to 6 PM

08

Shangri-La's Orangutan Care Project, Kota Kinabalu

If you are a wildlife enthusiast and love exploring new places, which promote wildlife and its conservation, Shangri-La’s Orangutan Care Project is one that you cannot miss. The project is dedicated to the rehabilitation and care of Orangutans and it is one of the best tourist places to visit in Kota Kinabalu.

It allows the common people to get the deeper insights into the lives of these amazing creatures. You can spend quality time with the Orangutans, get very close to them and even take memorable snapshots.

During your tour, you will be acquainted about the lives of Orangutan through the short videos, both before and after the tour. After the video, you are escorted to the feeding platform, where you are allowed to feed these lovely Orangutans.

The complete duration of the tour is around 1-2 hours. The excitement of the tour burgeons especially when your children accompany with you. Apart from the Orangutans, you also get to see a few more varieties of monkeys inside the care project.

 Location: The Orangutan Care Project is located at Pantai Dalit Tuaran in Kota Kinabalu. 

09

Sapi Island

Sapi Island is one of the most beautiful Island in the whole Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Though the island is smaller as compared to the Manukan Island, but you can still find a good crowd here. If ever visiting these islands, Sapi Island is one of the best tourist attractions in Kota Kinabalu and you cannot afford to miss it. One, must try activity on the island is the “Scuba-Doo” mini submarine experience, which is a little motorbike style submarine to do a sea walk.

Location: Sapi Island is one of the five Islands that make up the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine park and is just at a distance of 15 minutes from the Kota Kinabalu.

How to reach: The Sapi Island can easily be reached from Kota Kinabalu via two ways: Either you can take the hourly ferry from the Jesselton Pier or you can reach Sapi Island from the Sutera Harbor.

Price: You have to pay an entry fees of 10 MYR per adult on the island. 

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10

Kota Kinabalu City Mosque

Kota Kinabalu City Mosque is the second most important mosque in the whole Kota Kinabalu after the State Mosque, located in Sembulan. It is a perfect blend of modern and Islamic architecture and can hold more than 12,000 people in a single time. The architecture of the mosque highly resembles the Nabawi Mosque in Medina and is one of the best places to see in Kota Kinabalu.

The man-made lagoons surrounding the mosque gives its visitors an elegant and dramatic look, especially on a full moon night and is the largest mosque in Kota Kinabalu.

 Location: The mosque is just 3 KM from the main Kota Kinabalu City and is easily accessible.

 How to reach: Either you can take a local taxi, which will cost you around 15 MYR per way or you can take Bus No. 5A from the front of Hotel Shangri-La, which will cost you around 1.50 MYR per  person per way.

 Timings: 8 AM to 5 PM (Fridays closed)

11

Tabin Wildlife Reserve

Image Credit : Mike Prince

If you are an adventure seeker, have a passion for wildlife photography, and you love to live close to mother nature, Tabin Wildlife Reserve welcomes you, as this place can give you a right and perfect taste of nature. Visiting the Tabin Wildlife Reserve can really be a priceless experience and it is one of the best places to see in Kota Kinabalu.

Especially, if you are a birdwatching and wildlife photography enthusiast, there can no better place than the Tabin Wildlife Reserve. Not only for the photographers and animal activists, but also for the normal regular visitors, this place can be a paradise

How To Reach: The Tabin Wildlife Reserve is a 7 hour drive from the main Kota Kinabalu city. Or the other option is to take the direct flight from the Kota Kinabalu to Lahad Datu, which takes around 1 hour and from Lahad Datu, you can reach the Tabin wildlife reserve in one and half hours.

Price: The day trip to Tabin Wildlife Reserve costs around 570 MYR.

12

Kokol Hill

If you are done visiting the islands and beaches and are looking for some scenic beauty in the Kota Kinabalu, Kokol Hill is a place you must go. It is a place, which can give you a perfect view of Mount Kinabalu and you can also enjoy a serene and elegant sunset with your someone special.

The place is a must-visit, especially if you are looking some quiet time, away from the hustle and bustle of the city amidst hills and close to the nature. You can even spend some great nights over the Kokol Hill as there are various home stays and resorts allowing you to enjoy the weather and scenic beauty of the place.

How to reach: The Kokol Hill is just a 1-hour drive from the main Kota Kinabalu city

13

Sabah State Museum

The Sabah State Museum is located in the same place where, once, the British North Borneo Governor’s Istana was situated. Built in the year 1985, the museum consists of the Main Building, Science and Education Center, Heritage Village, Sabah Art Gallery and the Museum of Islamic Civilization and it is one of the famous places to visit in Kota Kinabalu.

The inside of the museum is loaded with many galleries, which include the Natural history, Ceramics, Ethnography and the exhibits of Archaeology. If you love experiencing traditional things, there is a heritage village on the grounds of Museum, which allows you to enter and behold the different vintage and traditional houses of various unique groups from Sabah. The place also organizes the timely cultural activities

How to reach: You can take the Bus No. 13 from the main City Hall and the ticket will cost you around 1 MYR per person only.

Price: The entry fees to the museum is approximately 15 MYR per person.

Timings: 9 AM to 5 PM

14

Observation Tower

Along the roads to the Atkinson Clock Tower, the Signal Hill Observatory Platform has a great view of the East side of downtown KK. The view has a mix of old and modern buildings of KK and out to the ocean with islands. It is the main financial and shopping district of KK where the major banks and the attractions were located and it is one of the best places to visit in Kota Kinabalu.

Location: Located in the west coast division of Kota Kinabalu.

How to Reach: Just a couple of minutes’ drive from Padang Merdeka will bring you to the airy deck where you can get amazing views that extend to the outlying islands.

Timings: Open daily from 8 AM to 12 PM.

15

Gaya Street Sunday Market

Image Credit : yumievriwan

Also known as the Sunday market, Gaya Street should be in every traveller’s bucket list. The place has been of importance to the traders for over a hundred years. It’s the perfect place for those who want to tour the local markets. Tourists can buy a variety of things like, authentic Malaya ingredients, a large variety of sea food, Malayan art and craft etc and it is one of the best places to visit in Kota Kinabalu.

Highlights: If you are looking to buy some souvenirs to take back home, then this is the correct place to do so. People can also find traditional Malaysian artifacts. If you are a food lover, then you can explore the various ingredients for authentic Malaysian cuisines.

Location: It is located in the center of the city; hence people can stroll down to this place. The market is well connected with the public transport as well, so reaching there is not a problem.

Timing: The best time to visit the market is during the daytime on Sundays.

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16

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre is yet another place, which is focussed towards the conservation of Orangutans while keeping them in their natural habitat. If you love wildlife and wildlife photography, this is a must visit place as it allows you to get very close to this amazing creature and you are allowed to feed them from the feeding platforms with the help of rangers and it is one of the best places to see in Kota Kinabalu.

Location: The Rehabilitation Center is located in the Sandakan town, which is approximately 23 KM from the Kota Kinabalu City center.

How to reach: You can take the public transport from the Sandakan town, which will cost you around 2.10 MYR per way. You also can hire a taxi, which will cost you around 100 MYR.

Price: The entry fees starts from around 30 MYR per adult.

Timings: 8 AM to 5 PM

Kota Kinabalu Top Attractions

Places To Visit In Kota Kinabalu
It was a very well planned tour. The meals were delightful. Had a very time witnessing the Gomantong Cave.
This is an offbeat but one of the most wonderful destinations in Malaysia. Enjoyed here a lot!
It was truly amazing to go for snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters of Pulau Tiga...bathe in the shallow craters of volcanic mud...wonderful experience!
guide was good, helpful and professional highlight of the trip is the fireflies.
This was the best so far from my other water rafting experiences and our guide is very cheerful, easy going and friendly.
Excellent
We booked this scooter for my day tour because I wanted to visit the city by my own. There we choose Thrillophilia because we got discounted price. Thanks Thrillophilia.
I booked this from Thrillophilia it was a unique experience as we have not done any of the activities earlier but the guide helped us very much. We enjoyed the lunch specially as it was so yummy and delicious. It was my favourite part.
The beach was beautiful and completely covered with white sand which makes it perfect for beautiful pictures. The water was clear and we had an amazing time relaxing and swimming at the beach.
Breathtaking views with the calmness of the water making it perfect for us. We had an amazing time on the cruise.
Snokerling is one of the best experience of my life till now. Superb day out with amazing experience

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