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Holidays in Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu Holidays

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Holidays in Kota Kinabalu

Whether you're visiting Kota Kinabalu for work or for pleasure, ebookers is here to give you peace of mind so you can have the holiday you deserve.

Get ready to meet some new friends! Approximately 460,000 people call this place home.

Kota Kinabalu isn't too far from Kampong Gaya, which is situated 2 miles to the northwest. Kuala Lumpur, the nation's capital, is to be found 1,000 mile to the west.

It can sometimes be hard to find activities that the entire family will enjoy. Luckily, sights such as the Kipandi Butterfly Farm, Water World Theme Park and the Tuaran Crocodile Farm mean this isn't an issue in Kota Kinabalu.

Go for a journey underneath the sea and meet the captivating creatures that reside there at Green Connection. The best bit? You won't even need to take your clothes off!

Your kids will be filled with awe during a day out at the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park. They'll experience a firsthand look at how its animals behave as well as learn about what it takes to care for them.

How does an alfresco lunch sound? Pick up some cheese and other nibbles and set out to Tunku Abdul Rahman Park or the Kota Kinabalu Wetlands Centre for a leisurely picnic. You can also get outside and get some exercise at KK Esplanade or Signal Hill Observatory Platform.

Maybe you're looking for somewhere to hush the endless hum of your mind. If so, the swirling waters of Kiansom Waterfall might just be what you need.

Kota Kinabalu is home to a multitude of natural reserves, such as Sutera Harbour and Crocker Range National Park. For some extra quiet time, head over to Poring Hot Spring and Mountain Garden.

The Sabah State Museum and Museum of Islamic Civilisation are tranquil places to escape a rainy day. Peruse the engaging exhibits and ask the staff about tours and other one-off happenings! Want more? Also pencil in visits to the Monsopiad Cultural Village and the Mari Mari Cultural Village.

The Atkinson Clock Tower and the Petagas War Memorial should be on your radar if you're eager to discover sites filled with interesting history. The Kundasang War Memorial is also well worth a stop if you're up for more.

Looking to add a spiritual side to your holiday? Swing by the Sabah State Mosque and All Saint's Cathedral. The City Mosque and St. Michael Church Penampang are some other historically significant sites.

Regardless of how chock-full your sightseeing itinerary is, you should always make time for lingering in a city's public square. Catch your breath and enjoy the atmosphere at Sedco Square.

Upside Down House and Rumah Terbalik are two of the must-see local landmarks. There will be loads of photo opportunities at these spots, so be sure to charge up that camera!

While the majority of city structures are purely functional, others serve more symbolic purposes. Erected in the memory of the people that helped shape this area into what lies here today, the Tun Mustapha Tower and Keningau Oath Stone are a couple of these special places.

One of the area's most well-known learning institutions, the University of Malaysia Sabah is worth a visit. Ask about group tours, admire the contemporary architecture and talk to a few students about the campus life.

This destination is a dream for shoppers. You can find all that you need and more at 1 Borneo Hypermall and Centre Point. If you lucked out and weren't able to get what you need there, perhaps you'll have more success at City Mall or Kota Kinabalu Central Market?

If you're up for a day of golf, grab your clubs and tee off at the Dalit Bay Golf & Country Club and the Borneo Golf and Country Club.

Kota Kinabalu also offers some less well-known tourist sights, such as Tamparuli Suspension Bridge. Zip Borneo is also worth the trip.

Hotels in Kota Kinabalu

With such a nice range, you won't have too many problems securing your Kota Kinabalu hotel. Currently, ebookers' travel guide lists 144 properties.

Whether you're hoping for a basic room to rest your head or one with the whole kit and caboodle, this city has got your back. For good service at a decent cost, check out the Borneo Global Backpackers (Ground & 1st Floor, Lot No. 29) or the Tang Dynasty Bay Hotel (Block D Bandar Sepangar, Kg Guidan). Alternatively, let the professional staff at the Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa attend to you like royalty. After all, that's what holidays are for!

Top Kota Kinabalu attractions

Tunku Abdul Rahman Park

This national marine park comprises five islands just off the coast of Sabah, each a mini tropical paradise where mellow turquoise waters lap up against white palm-strewn beaches. There is a range of scuba-diving options off the islands, including around some small coral reefs that teem with colourful fish.

The larger isles, like Gaya Island, also have interesting hiking options through lush rainforest. Or, you can just as well take a book and settle under a palm tree for a day of peaceful bliss.

Sabah State Museum and Heritage Village

This sprawling complex actually contains several museums, as well as a traditional village and small zoo. The main building mimics traditional Sabah architecture, and its principal galleries cover art, Islamic culture, and local history.

Keep an eye out for the human skulls kept from the times when headhunting was common in Sabah. The heritage village is a collection of simple, wooden houses with styles that represent the various ethnic groups indigenous to the region.

Tun Mustapha Tower

At the other extreme is this futuristic tower, the second tallest in Borneo. Built in the 1970s, this cylindrical tower soars over 120 metres and is one of only a handful of buildings in the world designed so that each floor is supported by steel rods fanning out from a central core.

The best feature is the revolving restaurant on the 18th floor: it takes about an hour to go all the way around, meaning you can look out over every corner of Kota Kinabalu before dessert.

City Mosque

Though the Sabah State Mosque is the most important in religious terms, the Kota Kinabalu City Mosque is arguably the more impressive structure, capable of welcoming up to 12,000 worshippers. The white walls gleam in the sunlight, while the man-made lagoon surrounding the building makes it especially attractive when reflected at sunset.

Tip * Booking your Tours, Transfers & Airport Parking before you go will save your money & time and ensure a stress free start to your holiday

 

Kota Kinabalu highlights

Climb Mount Kinabalu

It’s impossible not to see this towering massif from town—the summit reaches above 4,000 metres, making it one of the tallest peaks in Southeast Asia. Getting to the top is easier than you’d expect, with no specialist mountaineering gear required for someone in good physical condition.

Aside from the tremendous views across Sabah, the whole mountain area is renowned for its remarkably diverse vegetation and birdlife, with many species unique to these slopes.

Monkey around at Lok Kawi Wildlife Park

This 280-acre reserve, just a half hour drive from KK centre, is one of the largest in the country. There are two main sections—animal and botanical—with the Orang-utan enclosure the highlight for most guests.

These intelligent animals are our closest cousins, and Borneo is one of the only places where they still live in the wild. Lok Kawi is involved in a conservation programme for Orang-utans and other endangered species.

Sample Local Delicacies at the Night Market

Kota Kinabalu’s seething night market, which runs from 5 p.m. every day, is a mesmerising mesh of sights and smells that is sure to get your stomach juices flowing. You can find some of the finest seafood in the city roasting on the open-flame barbecues here, as well as an endless supply of exotic fruits and vegetables.

Go fishing in the South China Sea

Go one step further and try and catch your own seafood dinner. The impossibly clear waters off the coast of Kota Kinabalu are great for a spot of fishing, and licensed boats will take you out from the capital in search of barracudas, marlin, and tuna, among others.

If you’re short of luck, the local experts will be happy to sell you one of their catches right off the boat when you get back to shore. There is also an annual fishing tournament held here, with the ironic-sounding theme “Save our Seas” actually part of a major drive to cut down on illegal fishing in the coastal waters.

Where to stay in Kota Kinabalu

Your hotel in Kota Kinabalu can range from a luxurious international resort to a simple, good-value lodging.

It’s not going to be cheap, but if you want the full works, stay in the Sutera Harbour Resort Hotel, a 380-room mega-complex sitting right on the shores of the South China Sea. On the vast grounds there are two luxury hotels—the Pacific and Magellan—a golf course, spas, pools, and a marina. As you’d expect, rooms are large and exquisitely decked out, and there are several excellent restaurants and bars to choose from. Thankfully, there are vehicles to ship you from one area of the resort to another, and—should you ever decide to leave this wonderland—a free hourly shuttle running to the town centre throughout the day.

Towering above the famous night market, Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu Hotel is in the perfect position to watch the crowds as they wander around the tightly packed stalls below. For an altogether more soothing vista, save a spot around the outdoor swimming pool, order a cocktail from the bar, and gaze out into the eternity of the turquoise sea.

Tucked inside the largest shopping centre in Sabah, the Novotel Kota Kinabalu 1Borneo Hotel is a comfortable place to stay away from the noise and heat of the city centre. Rooms are spotless and come with everything you’d expect from this reputable international brand. Heading into the city will require transport, but if it’s shopping you’re after, you won’t find a more convenient spot.

How to move around in Kota Kinabalu

When to Visit

East Malaysia has a tropical climate, with hot and humid days most of the year round. It’s not advisable to visit Malaysia during rainy season, which lasts from November to February.

Airport Arrival

Your flight will arrive at the KK international airport, which is just to the southwest of the city itself. A taxi from the airport to the city centre will cost around 25 ringgit (£5). Your hotel might also be able to arrange a transfer service, so make sure you enquire when you make a reservation.

Getting Around

The city centre is relatively small and mostly accessible on foot. The local bus network is adequate and cheap, with single journeys costing as little as RM1 (20p). Taxis are easy to encounter on the streets, make sure the driver initiates the meter or that you agree on a fixed fare before the journey starts. There are several ferries that can take you to the islands just off the shore of KK.

One way to explore the breathtaking scenery of Sabah is by car hire in Kota Kinabalu. Be warned, however, that roads are not always in great condition, and other drivers can be aggressive.

MORE Kota Kinabalu Hotels

See all 343 Hotels in Kota Kinabalu
Shangri La's Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa

Shangri La's Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa

No. 20, Jalan Aru, Kota Kinabalu
    5.0 out of 5.0
     
     

    Nestled on the beach, this Tanjung Aru resort is 0.7 mi (1.2 km) from Tanjung Aru Perdana Park and 2.2 mi (3.5 km) from Sabah State Mosque. Sutera Harbour and ...

    Shangri La's Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa£145

    Shangri La's Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa£145
    The Klagan Hotel

    The Klagan Hotel

    Unit 25-28, Ground Floor, Block D, Kota Kinabalu
      3.0 out of 5.0
       
       

      Located in Downtown Kota Kinabalu, this hotel is 0 mi (0.1 km) from Warisan Square and within 3 miles (5 km) of Sabah State Mosque and Likas Stadium. Filipino ...

      The Klagan Hotel£32

      The Klagan Hotel£32
      Promenade Hotel Kota Kinabalu

      Promenade Hotel Kota Kinabalu

      No 4, Lorong Api-Api 3, Kota Kinabalu
        4.0 out of 5.0
         
         
        2.0 out of 5 (2 reviews)

        Located in Downtown Kota Kinabalu, this hotel is 0.3 mi (0.4 km) from Warisan Square and 1.5 mi (2.5 km) from Sabah State Mosque. Filipino Market and Imago Shopping ...

        Promenade Hotel Kota Kinabalu£50

        Promenade Hotel Kota Kinabalu£50
        The Pacific Sutera Hotel

        The Pacific Sutera Hotel

        1 Sutera Harbour Boulevard, Kota Kinabalu
          5.0 out of 5.0
           
           
          4.3 out of 5 (3 reviews)

          Nestled on the beach, this Downtown Kota Kinabalu hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Sutera Harbour and Sabah State Mosque. Plaza Wawasan and Imago Shopping Mall ...

          The Pacific Sutera Hotel£88

          The Pacific Sutera Hotel£88
          Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa

          Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa

          Pantai Dalit Beach, Tuaran
            5.0 out of 5.0
             
             
            5.0 out of 5 (2 reviews)

            This Tuaran resort is on the beach, 0 mi (0 km) from Dalit Beach, and within 12 mi (20 km) of Tuaran Crocodile Farm and Upside Down House. Tamparuli Suspension ...

            Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa£129

            Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa£129
            Dreamtel Kota Kinabalu

            Dreamtel Kota Kinabalu

            5, Jalan Padang, Kota Kinabalu
              3.5 out of 5.0
               
               
              5.0 out of 5 (1 reviews)

              Located in Downtown Kota Kinabalu, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Atkinson Clock Tower and Gaya Street Sunday Market. Sedco Square and Wisma Merdeka ...

              Dreamtel Kota Kinabalu£31

              Dreamtel Kota Kinabalu£31
              The Magellan Sutera Resort

              The Magellan Sutera Resort

              1 Sutera Harbour Boulevard, Kota Kinabalu
                5.0 out of 5.0
                 
                 
                5.0 out of 5 (1 reviews)

                Nestled on the beach, this Downtown Kota Kinabalu hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Sutera Harbour and Sabah State Mosque. Plaza Wawasan and Imago Shopping Mall ...

                The Magellan Sutera Resort£123

                The Magellan Sutera Resort£123
                Hyatt Regency Kinabalu

                Hyatt Regency Kinabalu

                Jalan Datuk Salleh Sulong, Kota Kinabalu
                  5.0 out of 5.0
                   
                   

                  Located in Downtown Kota Kinabalu, this luxury hotel is steps away from KK Esplanade and Wisma Merdeka. Suria Sabah Shopping Mall and Gaya Street Sunday Market ...

                  Hyatt Regency Kinabalu£69

                  Hyatt Regency Kinabalu£69
                  Nexus Resort & Spa Karambunai

                  Nexus Resort & Spa Karambunai

                  Off Jalan Sepangar Bay, Kota Kinabalu
                    4.5 out of 5.0
                     
                     
                    4.0 out of 5 (1 reviews)

                    This Karambunai resort is on the beach, 1.3 mi (2 km) from Karambunai Peninsula, and within 12 mi (20 km) of Dalit Beach and 1 Borneo Hypermall. University of ...

                    Nexus Resort & Spa Karambunai£71

                    Nexus Resort & Spa Karambunai£71
                    Ming Garden Hotel and Residences

                    Ming Garden Hotel and Residences

                    Lorong Ming Garden, Jalan Coastal, Kota Kinabalu
                      4.0 out of 5.0
                       
                       

                      Located in Downtown Kota Kinabalu, this spa hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Plaza Wawasan and Sabah State Mosque. Likas Stadium is 3 mi (4.8 km) away.

                      Ming Garden Hotel and Residences£40

                      Ming Garden Hotel and Residences£40
                      Map

                      Prices reflect the lowest "base rate" found over the next 30 days. Rates are subject to change and may not include taxes and fees, hotel service charges, extra person charges, or incidentals, such as room service. Converted rates are provided for your convenience. They are based on today's exchange rate, but the hotel will charge you in the local currency. Local charges may apply