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Kota Kinabalu is the capital city of the state of Sabah in Malaysia. Sabah is located northwest of Borneo Island. Kota Kinabalu has a population of over 450,000. Kota Kinabalu is the main gateway to the island of Borneo. What are the things to do in Kota Kinabalu?

Kota Kinabalu in the last few years jas experienced a boom in tourism Without a doubt, Kota Kinabalu attractions range from visiting the tropical islands, rainforests, scuba diving, Mount Kinabalu, and more to do that will keep you busy for a few days. And there is amazing local food to enjoy.

In this post, we will go through things to do in Kota Kinabalu Malaysia. Let’s get started!

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Where Is Kota Kinabalu Malaysia?

Kota Kinabalu is located on the island of Borneo, in particular on the west coast of Sabah. Kota Kinabalu is often referred to as KK.

Kota Kinabalu Malaysia Location on the Map

Things To Do In Kota Kinabalu Malaysia

Kota Kinabalu is the capital of the state of Sabah on the island of Borneo. Kota Kinabalu is grown as a tourist location as an entry point for visiting Sabah and Borneo. There are fun things to do in Kota Kinabalu that will keep you busy for a few days.

Here is our list of things to do in Kota Kinabalu Malaysia.

Visit Kota Kinabalu City Mosque

Kota Kinabalu City Mosque is the second most important mosque in Kota Kinabalu after the State Mosque, which is located in Sembulan. The mosque is on a 14.83-acre site and on the shores of Likas Bay, on the South China Sea.

Kota Kinabalu City Mosque

It was a blend of modern and Islamic architecture which has a maximum capacity of 12,000 people. The mosque has an ATM, a palliative care clinic, a fish farm, and much more.

The mosque is surrounded by man-made lagoons that give the mosque an elegant look, especially on a full moon night. The opening times of the Kota Kinabalu City Mosque are generally between 8 am to 5 pm. It is closed on Fridays. There are tours available at the mosque.

Explore Tunku Abdul Rahman Park

The Tunku Abdul Rahman Park is a group of five different islands, which are.

  • Pulau Gaya.
  • Pulau Sapi.
  • Manukan.
  • Pulau Mamutik.
  • Pulau Sulug.

There are plenty of beach activities that can be organized at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. These beach activities require prior booking.

You can do various water sports like snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming, and seeing the coral and marine life on the islands. The island tours can be booked on the spot from where you will take the ferry.

Visit Manukan Island

Manukan Island is the second-largest island in the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park and Malaysia’s first marine national park.

The island is surrounded by a protected coral reef and the island has beautiful white-sand beaches. The island offers accommodation, coral reefs, beaches, snorkeling, scuba diving, and swimming.

Manukan Island Kota Kinabalu

Visit Sapi Island

Sapi Island is another island in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. It’s smaller than Manukan Island but you can still find a good crowd there.

The island offers accommodation, coral reefs, sand beaches, snorkeling, diving, and swimming.

See The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre is focused on the rescue of orphaned orangutans who have been left to fend for themselves due to illegal poaching and logging. While keeping them in their natural habitat.


You can feed them from the feeding platforms with the help of rangers and take photos. The opening times of the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre are generally between 8 am to 5 pm.

The entrance fee is RM 30 for adults and RM 15 for children.

Visit Tanjung Aru Food Court

Tanjung Aru food court opens from 12 pm onwards until late. Here you will find a lot of local food under one roof. It offers a wide range of local foods such as local desserts, banana shakes, baby coconuts, and delicious juice.

Asam Laksa

It is a great option with numerous stalls selling Nasi (rice) variety dishes with fish (Ikan), chicken (Ayam), egg (Goreng), and chili for about 4 to 7 RM per dish.

Enjoy The Views From The Observation Tower

This gives you a panoramic view of KK city. It has a little cafe for you to hang around. Admission is free and it opens from 8 am to 12 am. You have the option of doing uphill trekking where you can walk up there or you can just take a cab.

Observatory Tower Kota Kinabalu

Visit Gaya Street Sunday Morning Market

There is the Sunday market that’s worth a look at. The Sunday morning market is a great way to pass an hour or two. It starts as early as 5.30 am in the morning until 1 pm.

A wide variety of stuff is available including fruits, vegetables, kittens, puppies, bags, clothes, etc.

See The Mari Mari Cultural Village

The Mari Mari Cultural Village is an interesting place to visit. Its located deep in the countryside away from the modern and developing Kota Kinabalu city. The village is set up as a living museum, with its aim to share the knowledge, history, culture, and tradition of Borneo.

Mari Mari Cultural Village Sign

It’s reconstitution and home to 5 tribes. The guided tours show the day-to-day lives of the village people. It goes through their lives in the forest at each stop, their cultural and culinary habits, their tools, and their costumes.

The visit is concluded with a dance and music show, then a light lunch. The entrance fee starts at RM 180 for adults and RM 160 for children.

Visit Tanjung Aru Beach

Kota Kinabalu’s Tanjung Aru beach is located near the airport just four miles south of the city center. The sunset can be beautiful if you are lucky.

The sea looks beautiful and the scenery but isn’t the best for swimming. There is a good court right on the beach that offers fresh, low-cost seafood as well as fruit and drinks nightly until midnight.

Visit Lok Kawi Wildlife Park

The Lok Kawi Wildlife Park is 280 acres in size and is made up of two parts. The first part is zoological and the second is the botanical side. Located 30 minutes south of Kota Kinabalu by bus, Lok Kawi is a wildlife rehabilitation center.

Lok Kawi Wildlife Park

Among the many residents of the zoo are the Borneo Pygmy elephants, Sumatran rhinoceros, Orang Utan, Proboscis monkey, Malayan tigers as well as a few species of deer and other endangered species can be viewed.

There is an animal show at 11.00 am, which is entertaining. You can experience the animal feeding which ends by 2.30 pm.

Need to take note that the animal show or animal feeding will not be carried out if raining. Carry with you some water, and light food.

Try The Colonial Steam Train Excursion

This involves taking a journey back into the colonial days of the British. The North Borneo railway. The British Vulcan steam engine train, fueled by wood, runs gently from Tanjung Aru through the towns of Kinarut, and Papar, and returns on the same route.

Tanjung Aru Station dates back to the 1900s. It departs from the Tanjung Aru Station and makes its way to Kinarut town inside the British Vulcan steam locomotive, making stops at Tien Shi Temple and a few traditional shops. And returns on the same route.

Visit Kokol Hill

If you are looking for some scenic views of Kota Kinabalu then 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 the sunset.

However, be very careful being alone walking up the hill as it is dangerous. Don’t even think about walking down because you might encounter dangerous wild dogs who may easily attack you.

Wrapping Up

Finally, as you see there is a good range of things to do in Kota Kinabalu Malaysia. You can visit the Orangutan center to explore local tropical islands and rainforests Don’t forget to enjoy the local food. All you have to do is to choose the stuff you prefer and start enjoying what Kota Kinabalu has to offer.

And that’s it for now! I’d love to know if this guide on things to do in Kota Kinabalu Malaysia has helped you. Let me know if you have any questions and let me know if there is more to add.

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