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Kota Kinabalu

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Asia : Southeast Asia : Malaysia : Sabah : Kota Kinabalu
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Downtown Kota Kinabalu

The capital of Sabah, Borneo, this Malaysian city is a growing resort destination due to is proximity to tropical islands, lush rain forest and Mount Kinabalu.

Get in

By plane

Kota Kinabalu International Airport (IATA code BKI, but also abbreviated KKIA) is the main gateway to Sabah.

  • Peninsular Malaysia: Malaysia Airlines [1] and budget carrier AirAsia [2] between KK and Kuala Lumpur operate numerous flights daily between KK and Kuala Lumpur. Some flights stop over in Labuan or Sarawak airports. There are also several flights daily by AirAsia to and from Johor Bahru. Many fly between KK and Johor Bahru en route to Singapore as fares are considerably cheaper.
  • Within Sabah: Malaysia Airlines [3] and AirAsia [4] several flights daily KK and Sandakan as well as Tawau. Malaysia Airlines subsidiary MASWings [5], which operates the rural air service, links KK with Lahad Datu (four daily), Sandakan (twice daily) and Tawau (twice daily) by using Fokker planes, and Kudat (on Monday, Thursday and Saturday, flights continue to Sandakan) with Twin Otters.

There are ATMs and a currency exchange in Terminal 1 & 2 of the airport but if you're arriving late it'll almost certainly be closed and the ATMs are not always working, so make sure you've got some Malaysian ringgit before you arrive as you'll need it for the taxi or the bus. If you find yourself having just arrived and without any ringgit, you can have a taxi take you to an ATM on the way to wherever you're staying. Getting there/away: The airport is 7km away from the city. A shuttle bus leaves approximately every hour and drops passengers off at the Wawasan Center south of downtown KK. You can also catch minibuses along the main road away from the airport. Minibus No. 17 (KK-Putatan buses) will bring you to the city. Taxis (you have to buy a coupon) are also available. The standard rate from the airport to the city is RM20 (as of July 2007).

By road

All main roads in Sabah radiate out from Kota Kinabalu. The main road to the Sarawak border at Sindumin heads south from the city through the suburbs of Kepayan and Tanjung Aru and goes past Papar, Kimanis, Beaufort and Sipitang. From Sindumin, the road continues to Lawas and on to Brunei and it is possible to travel from Kota Kinabalu to Brunei in a day. Another main road goes north to Kudat via Kota Belud. The main road to the East Coast (Sandakan and Lahad Datu) branches off from this road at Tamparuli. Another main road heading southeast leaves the suburbs of Penampang and Donggongon towards Tambunan, Keningau and Tenom.

By bus

There are two long-distance bus terminals, one in the city centre on Jalan Padang parallel to Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman near the City Padang (field) serving destinations south of Kota Kinabalu (eg Beaufort, Sipitang and Lawas), and the other called the Kota Kinabalu North Bus Terminal in Inanam, 10km to the northeast of the city centre. This terminal serves buses going north and east of KK, including Mount Kinabalu, Sandakan, Semporna and Tawau. Minivans run to neighbouring towns like Papar, Beaufort and Tuaran, and exclusively serve the towns of the West Coast interior like Tambunan, Keningau and Tenom. To get there/away from the KK North Bus Terminal, regular shuttle buses run between the terminal and the city centre near the state library.

The main minibus and minivan station is opposite Wawasan Plaza at the southern end of the city.

Heading east

  • To/from Sandakan: 5-6 hrs, 33 MYR. Several express bus companies operate buses between the Kota Kinbalu North Bus Terminal and Sandakan. Tung Ma Express (Tel: +60-(0)19-8827334 Mr Shim)-(buses from KK at 7:00, 8:00, 10:00, 12:30, 14:00, 20:00pm. Sida Express (Tel: +60-(0)12-816 5524 Ms. Sanita Binte Sapena) has departures from KK at 7:30, 9:30, 11:30, 14:00, 20:00. Bunga Raya Express (Tel: +60-(0)19-8999142 Ms. Suraidah Mohd) has departures from KK at 7:30, 9:30, 13:30 and 20:00.
  • To/from Semporna: 9-10 hrs, 58 MYR. Dyana Bus, leaves twice daily from Inanam station around 7:30AM & 7:30PM. Shuttle from KK city to Inanam is 1.50 MYR, 20 minutes, departs from bus station on Jalan Padang.
  • To/from Tawau: ~9 hrs, 55 MYR. Several express bus companies operate bus between the Kota Kinabalu North Bus Terminal and Kota Kinabalu-Tawau. Tung Ma Express (Tel: +60-(0)19-8827334 Mr Shim)-Andisba Express-(013-8797779)-Alitopan Express-013-8862348/0198634797/089767858-(bus from KK at 7:00, 8:00, 10:00, 12:30, 14:00.
  • To/from Mount Kinabalu and Ranau: 1.5-2 hrs, 25-35 MYR. All the above buses pass by the entrance of the Mount Kinabalu National Park, Kundasang and Ranau (for Poring Hot Spring). You can get off or board at these locations. You can also catch buses/minibuses doing the shorter run to Ranau. The journey from KK to Mount Kinabalu should take about two hours.

Heading north

  • To/from Kudat:
  • To/from Kota Belud:

Heading south

  • To/from Lawas: The Sipitang Express Bus Sdn Bhd [6] (Tel: +60-88-213722 or +60-(0)16-8149332) runs one bus at 07:30 daily from the City Centre bus terminal to Lawas in Sarawak. From Lawas, buses depart at 12:30. The journey takes about four hours and cost RM20 one way. The Lawas Bus Company also operates an express bus daily to Lawas, departing Lawas at about 8am and returning from KK's City Centre terminal at 1pm. Both buses go through Beaufort and Sipitang. You can also make the journey by minivans but you may have to change at Beaufort or even at Papar and Sipitang. Catch them from the minivan station opposite Wawasan Plaza. If you are continuing to Brunei, see Kota Kinabalu to Brunei in a day.
  • To/from Beaufort and Sipitang: The Sipitang Express Bus express.com/index.php departs the City Centre Terminal for Beaufort (one and three quarter hours, RM9) and Sipitang (two and three quarter hours, RM14) at 8:30, 12:00 and 16:30. The 07:30 bus to Lawas also goes through Beaufort and Sipitang. From Sipitang, buses depart at 08:00, 12:00, 13:30 (bus comes through from Lawas) and 16:30 and an hour later from Beaufort. You can also catch the Lawas Bus Company's express bus between KK and Lawas. Again, you can do this do this by minivans throughout the day, although they are more frequent in the morning. You may also have to change at Papar if you cannot get a direct minivan.
  • To/from Menumbok: The Sipitang Express Bus [7] runs two buses from the City Centre terminal to Menumbok where there are ferries to Labuan. They depart at 07:00 and 13:00. From Menumbok, buses depart at 10:15 and 15:15. One way tickets cost RM14. Minivans also do the journey although you may have to change at Papar and Beaufort.
  • To/from Papar: Regular minivans run to this coastal town 38km south of Kota Kinabalu.

Heading to the south-west interior

  • To/from Tambunan, Keningau and Tenom: Most public transport to this part of Sabah is by minibuses and vans which leave from the minibus station opposite Wawasan Plaza. Again, it's best to get started early. You should be able to catch a direct minibus from KK to Keningau. Change there for Tenom.

By boat

Ferries use the Jesselton point Ferry Terminal, a 20 minute walk from the center of town. The most popular service is to Labuan where there are frequent ferries daily. The journey takes about 3 hours. From Labuan, you can continue all the way to Bandar Seri Begawan in one day if you get an early start. A package ticket to Brunei costs RM56. See the Kota Kinabalu to Brunei in a day page for details.

Boats also leave for the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park just off the coast of Kota Kinabalu from the ferry terminal. Regular departures to Manukan, Gaya and other islands. Cost per person is between RM15 and RM40 depending on island. See the park's page for details.

By train

Due to repair work and an accident, the North Borneo Railway has temporarily halted operations until November 2008.


The North Borneo Railway [8] operates a 134km network from Tanjung Aru south of the city centre to Tenom in the interior via Papar, Kimanis and Beaufort. Four trains daily except for Sunday, when there are only two trains, run between Tanjung Aru station (Tel: +60-88-254611) and Beaufort, where you change trains if you want to continue your journey to Tenom. Journey time between Kota Kinabalu and Beaufort is about 2 hours, making it more attractive for travellers to take the bus for part of the journey. You can then change to a train at Beaufort for the more interesting stretch to Tenom.

Get around

Taxi - Short fares around RM10, longer trips around RM20. A whole day shouldn't cost more then RM300. It should be STRESSED that haggling is vital in order to get a fair price. Many taxi drivers in Malaysia are infamous for raising their fare prices, ESPECIALLY upon unknowing tourists.

Bus - RM1.50 from Kota Kinabalu International Airport (Petagas) to the city centre, while RM1.00 from Terminal 2 International Airport (Tg.Aru) to City Centre.

Hire Car - cars can easily be hired on the spot from the hire car counters in the arrivals hall. Rates can be negotiated so compare the offers.

See

Atkinson Clock Tower
Sabah State Mosque
Entrance to Lok Kawi Wildlife Park
Hall of Skulls at Monsopiad Cultural Village
  • Atkinson Clock Tower - built in 1902 in memory of Francis George Atkinson, the first district officer of Jesselton, as KK was then called. He died of a tropical disease in the same year at the young age of only 28. The tower is on a hill beside Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, just a few minutes away from the city centre.
  • Sabah State Mosque - located on Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman.
  • State Museum - A quick guide to KK's history.

Do

  • Lok Kawi Wildlife Park

Located near the small town of Lok Kawi a short distance south of Kota Kinabalu. It features Orang-Utans, Proboscis Monkeys, Gibbons, a Sumatran Rhinoceros, some tigers, local deer, various birds in a large aviary, elephants, and other animals. A reptile section will be opened soon. A good alternative to visiting the nature reserves around Sabah for those on a tight schedule, as well as giving you the chance to see the animals much more up close than you would in the jungle. Entrance fee: RM20 for adults, RM10 for children, half-price for Malaysians. It is a little difficult to get to as there is no public transportation that goes right to the park, and it is about 10 minutes drive outside of Lok Kawi (and about half an hour outside of Kota Kinabalu). Take a 17B or 17C bus to Lok Kawi town at RM3 a head, then a local taxi for around RM12-15 to the park. It is advisable to get the phone number of the taxi driver or arrange pickup from the park at a set time to go back to Lok Kawi as there are no taxis or buses at the park. Alternatively pay some RM80-100 to have a taxi take you there from Kota Kinabalu and back.

  • Monsopiad Cultural Village [9]

Located about half an hour south-east of town, this small park shows the traditional way of life of the Kadazan ethnic group and tells the story of Monsopiad, a Kadazan warrior who lived some 300 years ago and who killed 42 men who attacked his village. The 42 skulls can be viewed in the Hall of Skulls. Entrance fee is RM50 for adults, RM10 for children (prices for non-Malaysians). To get there you can hire a taxi from Kota Kinabalu and arrange to be picked up some hours later. The rate should be around RM80, or RM20 one-way.

  • bike, blade, and board - [10] - extreme sports community group in Kota Kinabalu.
  • Trinity Self-Defence - Learn some self-defence skills at Kota Kinabalu first Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Gym! Classes include Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, CMB, Judo and Shootfighting. Instructors Stephen, Fresh and Genn are very friendly and experienced. Contact Fresh at trinityselfdef@gmail.com. Address: Lot 12 1st Floor Likas Plaza Phase 1 Mile 4 1/2 Jalan Tuaran 88400 Kota Kinabalu Sabah.
  • Shop Shop Shop - Lots of Shopping Centres great for picking up bargains.
  • Eat Eat Eat - Kota Kinablu is a cultural melting pot. Here Chinese meet Malays and Bruneis, Javanese, Filipinos and even a couple of Europeans, all of whom have brought along their own cuisine. Try out the many specialties offered at the various kedai kopi (often in buffet form making it easy to order) and shun fast food chains!

Buy

  • Exchange Rate: US$ 1.00 = RM 3.48
  • Kota Kinabalu Handicraft Market[11] is next to the waterfront. Formerly known as "Pasar Filipino", it is always synonym with pearls, local handicrafts, home decorations and even crystals lately. Don't forget to bargain for good prices, the attendants here are very friendly and they will always greet you with warm smile. You can also find souvenirs such as keychains, t-shirts with Sabah themes, carved wooden statues, batiks and sarongs, rattan handicraft and floor mats, Islamic caligraphies, brooches etc. Some of the items are imported from Austria and others from neighbouring Asian countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Korea, and there is little actual Sabah handicraft available, but it is a very colourful place that will stay in your memory as a 'souvenir' from Sabah.


  • Gaya Street Tamu: KK's Sunday Market - everything from Malaysian delicacies, ground coffee, t-shirts, handicrafts, hardware and anything in between at bargain prices. Held every Sunday morning, 6am - 1pm, along Jalan Gaya right in the heart of town.


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Eat

For meals, head to the outdoor food stalls fronting the sea or coffee shops along the streets. The less adventurous could make a beeline for fast food outlets in the Centrepoint shopping center while those with deeper pockets could try the pier-side restaurants just after the open air fish market.

  • @mosphere, Menara Tun Mustapha, tel. 088-425-100, [12]. Revolving restaurant in Borneo's tallest building serving predictably generic "Pacific Rim" cuisine. Open throughout the day and for drinks at night.
  • Anjappar, Asia City Complex (facing Api Api centre, diagonally across the street from CentrePoint) tel. 088-227969, [13]. Chettinad (North and South Indian) cuisine. Serves authentic Indian food such as banana leaf meals, biriyani, naan & roti, tandoori dishes, and dosai. Prices range from RM3.50 to RM10.00. Working hours: 10.30am to 3.30pm and 5.30pm to 10.00pm. Anjappar is an Indian franchise with branches in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sri Lanka and Canada.
  • Bella Italia, 69 Jalan Gaya – right under the Jesselton Hotel in KK's business area. Phone 088 313 366. Fabulous

Italian restaurant that pops up unexpectedly. Chefs Maurizio and Michele produce some of the finest pizzas and pastas anywhere – not just in Malaysia – and if you get there early there are big discounts. If you like Italian, don't miss it!

  • Grazie Ristorante Pizzeria & Cafe -Italian Restaurant' - at Wawasan Plaza Complex, next to Tang Dynasty Hotel, tel: +6019 531 5246 [14]. Serves no pork. *Cozy,Affordable, Dining at the Terrace, great ambiance, nice music & Clean*
  • Hyatt Hotel Restaurant (Ox-tail Asam Padas) - The restaurant is located in the prestigious Hyatt Hotel near to the lobby. The restaurant serves basic local mamak dishes with a bit more spark than local presentation and on certain days, a wonderful buffet is served with foods ranging from Italian to local delights which attract many of the hungry Sabahans. The specialty of this restaurant however rests with the mighty Ox-tail Asam Padas in which Ox-tail chunks are cooked in a secret gravy recipe and has remained a local favorite for the past decade, hands down. The Hyatt restaurant caters for the slightly higher-up market, with a price range of about RM25+.
  • Jeff De Corner - If you want to have Quality West Dishes with low cost here is the place. Situated in Luyang (Lot 1, Grd Flr, Luyang Ph 6, Shophouse), approximately 15 minutes from the city, Jeff De Corner provides vast range of dishes incl Lamb & Beef Steak, Oxtail soup, lamb shank, BBQ Lamb and the exclusive Wagyu Beef Steak. Please call for reservation. Tel:6019-881-8427
  • Jothy's Fish Head Curry and Banana Leaf Restaurant - Api Api Center. An eat-with-your-hands restaurant. A chicken dish RM8, a mango lassie RM4. Also, try the fish head curry, fish cutlets, fried fish pieces, chicken nasi biryani, assam soup and dried bitter gourd. Not the best Banana Leaf restaurant in Malaysia, but not bad. They'll bring you a spoon and fork, which you should politely decline. Ask for a banana leaf (for additional 50 cents) and eat with your hands. English menu.
  • Kohinoor, tel. 088-235160, [15]. North Indian food by the waterfront. Claims to have invented the "Chicken Cheese Tandoori Tikka". Indoor and alfresco seating.
  • Little Italy Restaurant - Authentic and very popular Italian restaurant located within the city center, a hit with both locals and visitors alike.
  • Man Tai Restaurant - Located in Likas, Dah Yeh Villa. They are famous for their Beaufort-style Fried Noodles. They serve Chinese style a-la carte dishes as well.
  • Mario's Pizza, 1 Borneo Hypermall, Jalan UMS, Kota Kinabalu - Mario's Pizza at 1 Borneo C-702 Lower Ground serves authentic Roman pizza slice or "Pizza al Taglio" so good and yummy at an unbeatable price.


  • Pete's Corner - Located in Asia City in the heart of Kota Kinabalu, Pete's Corner is the one and only Western breakfast place which specializes in "Cheap but good" Western style dishes. The shop mainly caters for steaks and other western dishes at reasonable prices (RM10-18). The meal in itself isn't huge, but it gets the job done. If your lucky, you might see theo owner himself.
  • Salim - Situated in Lintas Square, approximately 20 minutes drive from the city, Salim has proved to be a highly popular supper spot for many local Sabahans both young and old. Specialising in many local "mamak" foods and delicacies, the most popular meals would be the Malaysian roti styled bread which is cooked over an open flat iron skillet which is bathed in oil. The meal along with a nice cup of Teh Tarik Madras would range at around RM 5-8.
  • Yu Kee's Bak Kut Teh - Located along the famous Gaya Street, its a Chinese operated restaurant that serves pork dishes. A small single dish cost about RM4, soup top up is free. All types of pork meat & organs served with special Chinese herb soup. A MUST TRY!

Seafood in Kota Kinabalu is very popular, so getting a dose of it is a must. Here are some places to try:

  • New Gaya Seafood Restaurant, Tel: 088-385020. One of the most visited seafood restaurant by locals. Price are fixed and 20% - 30% cheaper than city's seafood restaurants. Captains are helpful. Must try their deep fried crabs with egg yolk & butter prawn. Its located next to Gaya Sports Recreation Centre (Tel: 088-426075), Inanam. 20 minutes by Taxi, highly recommended for visitors who have spare time.
  • Ocean Seafood Restaurant - Right next to the Promenade Hotel and Parkson Grand. The restaurant faces the coastline. You can take a pick on your seafood orders by the fishtanks, or if you prefer, you can let the waiters recommend at your table.
  • Portview Seafood Restaurant- There are 2 branches of this in K.K. One of them is right opposite Centrepoint Shopping Centre, called The Waterfront. This one is quite new, a very popular place for tourists and orders can be taken either way similar to Ocean Restaurant. This restaurant is nestled amongst other popular nightlife hangouts, mostly bars and clubs, but also cafes like CoffeeBean. The other older one is nicely set in front of a pier, within walking distance to banks such as HSBC and Standard Chartered, and some supermarkets stocking imported goods.
  • Salut Seafood Restaurant- It takes about 20 minutes car journey from the city center to Salut where the restaurant is located near the Sepanggar Bay and Telipok. It is a famous place for cheaper seafood dishes as the prawns are bred by the restaurant owner.
  • Sutera Rimba - 7PM to midnight.

Drink

  • The Cottage Pub [16] - Taman Luyang 10 minutes from City Centre,The Original British Pub Established 1981. The Place Where Friends Meet. Best Music in town with live band (Jazz and Rock), cozy atmosphere and beer from RM21 a bucket(4 bottles) inclusive of tax.
  • Shenanigan Fun Pub - Located at ground floor of the Kinabalu Hyatt Regency.
  • Shamrock Irish Bar - The Waterfront Lot 6. Pint of Tiger or Guinness RM20+. The usual Irish fare, with outdoor seating. Add 16% tax.
  • Cocoon - One of KK's most notable nightspots. It is a relaxed bar in the day and a lively bar/club by night, with the action carrying on into the small hours.
  • Bee Kim KTV - Located at Sadong Jaya around Karamunsing area.
  • Strawberry KTV - Located near segama and central market.
  • Razz-Ma-Tazz - Located just outside the central business district along Jalan Tuaran, it is one of the largest and most popular nightclubs in the city. Features two rooms, the larger one, Z'Razz, features a live band rotated with DJ spinning mainly hip-hop tracks. The smaller room, Zuave, plays mainly house, trance, and other dance tracks.
  • Bed - located on the Promenade near the night markets. One room with a cover band, Pool table and DJ.
  • Beach Road Pub and cafe, live band, pool.

Sleep

Budget

  • Akinabalu Youth Hostel, [17]. Best place for Backpacker & Budget and conveniently located on Jalan Gaya where the famous Sunday Market takes place. Two computers with free internet access, TV and DVD, and free breakfast. RM50 for a room for two with shared bathroom. Safe and clean with friendly staff. Details visit website
  • Asia Adventure Lodge, tel. +60 138929995, [18], [19]. Smaller hostel with a friendly family feel located right in the heart of town next to Internet cafe, banks, travel agents, supermarkets and nightlife, plus the colourful and deliciously diversified Sunday Market. Dorms RM 17 (fan) or RM 22 (aircon); Aircon Singles/Doubles RM 40/RM 58. Free Wi-Fi too!
  • Borneo Backpackers, tel. +6(088) 234 009, [20],Email : info@borneobackpackers.com .Centrally located in the heart of Kota Kinabalu, Borneo Backpackers has already attracted the attention of discerning travellers from around the world. Some guests have already made return visits, and many more have vowed to return. While guests originally come for the facilities on offer, such as clean bathroom, toilets, pantry area, internet facility, laundry, cosy lounge area, roof garden deck, 24 hours security, and a tour information counter. They return for the service from our friendly, helpful and knowledgeable local staff. Rooms available include airconditioned or fan Large Dormitory (10 Beds), Medium Dormitory (4 - 6 Beds) and Private Rooms. Each room has small storage compartment for personal items and has a fan or is air-conditioned. Rates from US$7 per person per night.
  • Borneo BeacHouse Backpackers, tel. +6(088) 218 331, [21], [22]. Enjoy the only BeacHouse (friendly, relaxed atmosphere) which offers the ideal vacation home to the leisure seekers and busy executives with abundant eco and nature sites. Details visit website
  • Borneo Gaya Lodge, tel: +6088 242 477, website: [23], Email : info@borneogayalodge.com. New Lodge at Gaya Street (the famous street-sunday market in the central of K.K)is just started in the end of year 2008. New bed sheet & linen, towel, and hot & cold drinking water are free here. A spacious living (carpeting floor) with LCD (Astro Channel), wireless internet access, books, a small kitchen with refrigerator, tour information and our friendly staff will make you feel warm here. No Curfew and 24 hours Security with CCTV and computerized lock door. Rates for fan & air-con room start from RM23 per bed. Private Dorm, Twin/Double Bedroom and Family Room with common toilet are available. Soon Twin/Double & Family Bedroom with private toilet will set up in the coming of Feb 2009. Booking online at website http://www.borneogayalodge.com


  • Globetrotters Lodge (formerly New Horizon), tel. +6088 272796, [24], [25]. Small, opposite British Council, just off Gaya Street, street market every Sunday morning, lots of cheap restaurants and banks nearby. Details visit website
  • Hamin Lodge, tel. +6(088)272008 [26], [27]. Hamin Lodge in Kota Kinabalu is a unique boutique budget Hotel in the heart of Kota Kinabalu City. Services include Borneo Deco Hotel rooms in Kota Kinabalu, Exciting Borneo Tour packages, a Traditional Massage Spa, Restaurant and Bar. Fully air conditioned for comfort, rooms range from budget Hostel types of rooms suitable for backpackers to deluxe rooms with ensuite. Discover Borneo with us and experience your Best Value Holiday in Sabah, Malaysia. Definitely we have the Best location for a Hotel in Kota Kinabalu City.
  • Hotel Holiday, tel. +6(088)-213116, [28]. One of the best budget hotels in the city center. Offer 1mb wireless internet /hotspot, laundry, friendly staff, closed to tourist attractions. Rates start from RM83 for air-con double room with private bathroom. SMS reservation mobile phone number +6012-6909-888
  • Lavender Lodge, tel. +6088 - 217119 , fax +6088 - 218077, [29]. This newly opened hotel is located in the central business district of the city,within short walking distance to shopping malls, restaurants and entertainment outlets. The exceptionally clean and comfortable rooms, friendly staffs and affordable prices make the lodge favourites among international travellers. Details visit website
  • Step-in Lodge, tel. +6088 - 233519, [30]. Painted in a zany combination of purple and bright green, this is a cozy little hostel in the middle of the city, with very friendly staff. Toilets and shower stalls are immaculate. Rates start from RM25 per person for a dorm, air-con double RM80, including a simple continental breakfast. Details visit website
  • Summer Lodge, [31]. Convenient central location with a nice lobby, free internet/wifi, free breakfast, and very helpful staff. Clean, decent bathrooms, however dorm rooms leave a bit to be desired (cramped, bed frames falling apart). As of July 2008: All rooms have aircon; 22 MYR/night mixed dorm; 28 MYR/night male or female only, plus private rooms.
  • Tropicana Lodge,. Not recommended.
  • Velvet Lodge & Lounge, tel. +6088 212196, [32], [33]. Located in the heart of the city this clean new hostel offers Internet/wi-fi, laundry, friendly staff, simple breakfast and a funky patio lounge serving great meals and cold beer. Details visit website (Velvet Lodge closed down in mid 2008)
  • Kinabalu Backpackers, tel. +6088 - 253 385, [34], [35]. Centrally located in Australian Place, Kinabalu Backpackers offers Dorms for RM 20, Doubles (Sleeps 2) and Twins (Sleeps 2) for RM 60 a night -- all rooms have AC. Free Breakfast, Free Airport pickup, Free Coffee or Tea all day and Free Internet+Wifi.
  • X-plorer Backpackers, 1st Floor, 106/108, Jalan Gaya, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, +60-88-538780 (, fax: +60-88-538781), [36]. checkin: 1400; checkout: 1300. Centrally located in the heart of town along the popular Gaya Sunday morning street market. Walking distance to eateries such as Yu Kee Bak Kut Teh, Yee Fung and Kwan Tung Chai Chinese restaurants. Also nearby to banks and to the jetties (for trips to islands). Rates start from RM20.00. Reservations can be made by phone, online or by SMS text message to mobile phone:+6012-8399328.Complimentary breakfast, free wifi, all rooms are air-conditioned. Dormitories, private rooms, family rooms available. Some ensuite rooms with attached bathrooms were recently upgraded.
  • Hotel Kotajaya and Back Packers Contact No. +6088 222715, [37]. Located near Sinsuran Complex, short distance to Centre Point, Api-Api Centre, Kompleks Asia City, and Waterfront bars. Budget rooms with private bathroom are available. Friendly host.
  • Impiana Mutiara Hotel Sadong Jaya, Kota Kinabalu., Ground Floor, No.3, Block BC, Lot 13, Lorong Ikan Juara 3, 88100 Sadong Jaya, Kota Kinabalu (in the heart of Kota Kinabalu City Center), +6088 268 823 / 268 824 (), [38]. A hotel that is within the budget without forsaking the comfort and cleanliness that every guests needs. Comprises 39 rooms: each with an attached bathroom with hot and cold shower. Situated within walking distance to shopping malls (Warisan Square, Centerpoint, Asia City), seafood restaurants (Ocean Seafood, the Waterfront), and others. Promotion rates starts from RM 78 nett. Reservations can be made online or by calling +6088 268 823. Visit website at: www.impianamutiarahotel.com

Mid-range

  • King Park Hotel Kota Kinabalu, Jalan Masjid Lama, Bandaran Berjaya 88000 (in the heart of Kota Kinabalu City Center), +6088 270 500 (), [39]. checkin: 2.00p.m.; checkout: 12.00noon. One of the newest 3 star hotel located in the heart of Kota Kinabalu (Bandaran Berjaya) that provides friendly service, convenient facilities and clean and affordable accommodation for leisure travelers or business people. This 14-storey Hotel features panoramic views of Kota Kinabalu city and Tunku Abdul Rahman Park from the upper floors. Within walking distance to shopping malls (Warisan Square, Centerpoint, Asia City), entertainment centers (Cathay Cineplex and Golden Screen Cinemas), cafes, seafood restaurants (Sedco Square), Gaya Street Sunday Market and others. Offers complimentary internet access in all rooms, outlets and public area and also buffet breakfast. Reservations can be made online or by calling +6088 270 500. RM128-RM198.

Splurge

  • Sutera Harbour Resort (formerly Pan Pacific), Sutera Harbour Blvd, Kota Kinabalu, tel. +60 88 318 888, [40], [41]. The resort property of Sutera Harbour Resort, features a city-style hotel in The Pacific Sutera and a resort-style hotel The Magellan Sutera. The property also features a 27-hole golf course, a fully equipped marina, 2 spas, sports facilities like squash, badminton and tennis courts and various other sport and leisure activities. About a RM10 taxi ride to town, or a 20 minute walk (if you're in good shape). The rooms are top notch with either a sea view or golf course/ Mount Kinabalu view in The Pacific Suteraor a garden / sea-view from The Magellan Sutera. You can easily book trips to the islands, starting at RM 35. The Resort has a free shuttle bus going to town every hour until 21:00, as well as an internal shuttle that ferries guests between facilities. Cross-signing facilities mean that if you stay in one hotel, you have access to the entire resort. An internal shuttle takes guests between the properties, the marina and the golf club.


  • Berjaya Palace Hotel, 1 Jalan Tangki Karamunsing, tel. +60-88-211911. The hotel blends old architecture with modern facilities. Hilltop location, 15 minutes drive from the airport.
  • Jesselton Hotel, www.jesseltonhotel.com 69, Gaya Street, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. Tel:(6088)223333.Fax:(6088)240401 Jesselton was the initial name for Kota Kinabalu during the British colony. And this boutique hotel should not be missed. Built in the early 1920s, it has been one of the longest remaining quality hotels in Kota Kinabalu. Set right in the middle of Gaya Street, a street thriving with local shops and cafes, and walking distance to the local cinemas - sets off the charms of the local atmosphere. The Pasar Malam ('night market') and Sundays on Gaya Streets are a must-see. Many hawkers will set up shops along Gaya Street to sell their wares - food, toys or pets. Lots of vibrant colors and scrumptious smells along the strip. This hotel is within the city center district. Hotel has their own limousine, which is a British cab imported from the UK. Email: jesshtl@po.jaring.my
  • Hyatt Regency Kinabalu, Jalan Datuk Salleh Sulong, 88991 (in the city centre), +60 8 822 1234 (), [42]. A 3 - 4 star International hotel but still has that exclusive feeling once you walk through the doors. Right in the heart of the city centre, a perfect choice for business men who just want to eat, sleep and work. This hotel boasts an impressive choice of restaurants, from their coffee shop serving Malaysian food, a Chinese restaurant with 'dimsum' or 'yum cha', a Japanese restaurant with Teppanyaki and a fresh bakery. Close to shopping centers, fast food outlets, and cafes.
  • Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort, tel. +60-88-225800, [43]. This is one of the oldest, grandest but possibly the most comfortable hotels in Kota Kinabalu. A 5 star hotel, the rooms in the old wing are confined inside the building and looks out to the pitch-and-put golf course. A tiny jungle is built in the middle of the corridor leading towards the hotel rooms of the old wing. Although as old as it may sound, the rooms are impressively larger than the new wing. The new wing, on the other hand, overlooks the sea or the swimming pool and is a bit more secluded for those who enjoy lazing out in the sun. A taxi ride from the Terminal 2 is about RM10, but to the city center is RM15. Shuttle from the airport to the hotel is available upon request.
  • Le Méridien Kota Kinabalu, Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, tel. (60) 8832 2222. 306 rooms. Gym, seaside pool.
  • Nexus Resort Karambunai, 30 km northeast of Kota Kinabalu. 485 rooms, eight restaurants, golf course, spa.
  • Promenade Hotel, Sdn Bhd 88000, tel. 60-88-265 555, fax 60-88-246 666. Features 451 rooms, swimming pool, gym, beauty salon and health spa. Also features two restaurants (specializing in local and Asian cuisine), two cafes, a lobby lounge, promenade floor lounge and a karaoke bar. Close to shopping centers, fast food outlets, hawker stalls, nightlife and cafes.
  • Magellan Sutera Resort, tel. 60 88 318 888, [44]. The natural beauty that envelopes this 5-star resort is rivalled only by the luxury it offers. The 456 opulent suites and guestrooms and the superior facilities befit the demands of the high life and provide comfort that is unmatched.
  • Alpinehomstay [45], tel. 60 88 237727. They are located 5 minutes from the airport and city centre.Fully furnished.Modernly decorated. Free pickup from and to the airport.Free shuttle to the city centre.

Get out

  • Visit the islands of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park just off the coast of KK.Catch a water taxi to the five islands - Pulau Gaya, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamuti, Pulau Sapi and Pulau Sulug.
  • Head to the Mount Kinabalu National Park 80km east of KK and hike the 8.9km to the summit.
  • Head to the cities of Sandakan, Tawau, Lahad Datu and Semporna in the East Coast either by plane or by bus for wildlife and world-class diving.
  • Fly to Layang Layang Island in the disputed Spratly Islands for diving.



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