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The Top 10 Things to Do in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

By Nigilesh - May 22, 2020
The Top 10 Things to Do in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Kota Kinabalu is the beautiful capital city of Sabah, Eastern Malaysia. People who are looking for more countryside of Malaysia, shouldn’t miss this treasure trove of adventure and wonder. Few of the highlights include delicious seafood markets to museums, crystal clear waters, stunning mountain peaks, to the contemporary landscape of the city’s architecture and heritage. Here we take a dive into Top 10 Attractions in Kota Kinabalu.

Top 10 Attractions in Kota Kinabalu

Mount Kinabalu

Malaysia trekking, Mount Kinabalu - Top 10 Things to Do in Kota Kinabalu
Source: Pixabay
The Mount Kinabalu

Mount Kinabalu houses one of the highest trekkable peaks in the world, promising the adventure seekers a stunning climb. 

Peaks slightly over 4,000 meters, the slopes are humble enough for anyone to approach, and the path is frequently used by travellers. A day or two will be sufficient for experienced hikers but the general recommendation is to take up to three days to fully accustom yourself to the landscape.

The climb costs RM $300, excluding food and equipment. This is probably the most popular attraction in Kota Kinabalu. 

Klias River Cruise – Things to Do in Kota Kinabalu

This an amazing way for you to enjoy Kota Kinabalu. This is a day trip to the Kilas wetlands reserve. You can take a late-evening cruise, that takes you through the mangrove areas. You will be treated with gorgeous views of the river meeting the sea with a stunning view of Mount Kinabalu. 

This place has rich wildlife of monkeys, birds and to catch some incredible displays of fireflies! The Proboscis monkey is a rare species that you can see while on the cruise. This is an attraction that has gained popularity through social platforms, so catch it right away as it’s still quiet and pristine. 

Gaya Street Sunday Market – Things to Do in Kota Kinabalu

Kinabalu market, Gaya market- Top 10 Things to Do in Kota Kinabalu
Source: Google Images
Gaya Street Market

These are for people who would love to start their day early on a vacation, as this market opens at 6 am in the morning and that too on a Sunday. The reason to recommend this to visit in the morning is to beat both beat and crowd. 

This is a typical market that you can see in every capital city. But what makes it special is the variety f stalls it there. You have everything from souvenir shopping to crafts, clothes to antiques. Prices might seem a little expensive at times, but a slight negotiating might land you in a great deal. 

Muzium Sabah – Things to Do in Kota Kinabalu

For all those culture lovers out there, this is for you. This is a seriously informative museum packed with information on the diverse aspects of Sabahan culture. Travellers can browse through sections such as the ceramics and pottery, natural history, ethnography, all peppered with colourful displays and even animal exhibits

The museum is located in a heritage village where visitors are allowed to enter and experience different types of traditional houses of the native people. There is an entrance fee of RM$15 and operates in every day of the week from 9 am to 5 pm.

Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park

Marine park, Malaysia marine park - Top 10 Things to Do in Kota Kinabalu
Source: Google Images
Underwater Scene in the Marine Park

Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park is located on the southern part of Gaya Island. This can be reached b a speedboat and takes a short ride of 20 mins from Kota Kinabalu. Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park is a paradise for the adventurous. As a part of the visit to this Marine Park, you can cover the nearby Islands as well. Namely, the Pulau group of Islands Gaya, Sapi, Manukan, Mamutik and Sulug.

Each of these islands offers a vast number of activities; Out of the Islands, Gaya and Manukan are the most tourist-friendly. You can enjoy a relaxed evening along the beachside and also can take a swim if you want to. This can also be done as an Island getaway from the city, in which you get to stay at a resort.  

Diving and Snorkeling: Top 10 Things to Do in Kota Kinabalu

Diving and snorkelling are the first things that come to our minds when we speak about an island getaway and the same is applicable for Kota Kinabalu as well. This is an ideal place for people to dive, due to it’s pristine and crystal clear water. The above mentioned Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park offers a variety of dive spots but all of them aren’t licensed. 

Licensed divers, you get to choose from the plethora of dive spots that suit your diving style. For those who want to start dive, you can sign up for PADI, which is a certified diving course and lasts for about 3 days. On successful completion, you’ll be provided with a diver’s certification which can be used worldwide!

Atkinson Clock Tower

clock tower, malaysia tower
Source: Google Images
Atkinson clock tower

Francis George Atkinson, who played a vital role in the founding of Kota Kinabalu. The former district officer in Jesselton. Built-in 1902, after Atkinson’s death, this is one of the main landmarks in the modern Kotu Kinabalu. He died at the age of 28 years due to heart attack and Malaria. It will take you to walk to reach the scenic hill, which affords you views over the rest of the city. 

People of Kota Kinabalu still remember his contribution to the founding of Kota Kinabalu. Signal Hill Observatory is just a little walk from the tower, where you can snack shop and get a panoramic view.

Green Connection Aquarium

This is a must-visit place for anyone who loves nature who wants to see a collection of most colourful aquatic life in Sabah. You get a chance to get up close and interact with creatures like snakes and sharks.

If you are not a person who would want the adventurous way of enjoying the water, Ie. scuba diving, you sure can consider this alternative to witness the best of marine lives that Kota Kinabalu has to offer.

Go white water rafting: Top 10 Attractions in Kota Kinabalu

white water rafting
Source: Pixabay
White water rafting

Kota Kinabalu has so many places for you to try out White water rafting. The notable ones are the Kiulu River in Tamparuli and River Padas outside the Tenom. The Kiulu is a picturesque spot about an hour away from the city centre. 

And the reason why people come to Padas is theta the Grade 3 and Grade 4 rapids are found which gives you a much intense experience if you don’t mind pushing your adrenaline to the absolute limit. 

The State Mosque 

The State Mosque is often found to be confused with Kota Kinabalu City Mosque which is a completely separate building. Situated in the suburbs of Kota Kinabalu and peaks at a height of 215 feet. Few architectural elements of this mosque resemble the Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. 

People come to this place to witness the Islamic architecture and design elements. Non-Muslims are allowed to visit the Mosque outside the main prayer time and there are strict dressing restrictions. 

I’m sure you have an idea of what to expect while you are in Kota Kinabalu on your next trip to Malaysia, As you would have gone through the list. Need help understanding the destination check out our guides page. Clear about the destination, ready to craft an itinerary with your picks from the list? Head right into pickyourtrail.com.

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