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10 Top Reasons to Visit Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Borneo

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Kota Kinabalu is the capital of the Sabah state of Borneo, Malaysia, and the gateway to this enchanting jungle paradise.

It’s recognized for its seashores, its rainforests, its shut proximity to Mount Kinabalu, and guarded coral reefs.

woman holding cocktail at the private beach bar Shangrila Tanjung Kota Kinabalu Malaysia
A mojito cheers to Sabah!

Most individuals typically land in Kota Kinabalu, or KK because it’s typically referred to, after which instantly go away to discover the jungles or Kinabalu Park.

However we urge you to remain within the metropolis for just a few days earlier than speeding off to be enchanted by Sabah. Why? Listed here are 10 causes to go to Kota Kinabalu as a vacation spot in itself, and never as a gateway…

10 Causes to Go to Kota Kinabalu

When you’re interested by jetting off to the mysterious land of Borneo however are on the fence about visiting Kota Kinabalu for just a few days first, listed below are all the explanations so as to add it to your itinerary.

1. To see the Mari Mari Cultural Village

people preparing food on table

The Mari Mari Village is probably one of the best purpose to go to Kota Kinabalu as a result of it gives guests the possibility to see how the land’s ancestors used to dwell.

The Mari Mari Village showcases how 5 tribes used to dwell, exhibiting vacationers conventional looking methods utilizing the Murut blowpipe, in addition to exhibiting their conventional costume, fire-making abilities, and methods of cooking.

You get a extremely immersive expertise and an genuine perception into the jungle tribes of Borneo. The village is all about preserving its tradition and heritage – because it was, is as it’s.

Be taught in regards to the tribe’s myths and legends, hear tales, and participate within the expertise. That is one journey into the jungle you’ll always remember.

2. It’s the Gateway to Kinabalu Park and Mount Kinabalu

Nature landscape at the top of Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia
Nature panorama on the prime of Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia

Kinabalu Park is most well-known for being the house to the best mountain in Borneo and even Southeast Asia, Mount Kinabalu. 

Standing tall at 4095 meters excessive, many guests come to Kota Kinabulu to hike this monumental landmark. 

Mountain climbing to the highest of the mountain shouldn’t be thought-about tough however it does require you to have an excellent degree of health due to the altitude. 

From the summit, the views are unbelievable. You possibly can see so far as Kota Kinabalu on a transparent day (regardless of it being 86 km away) and the rocky peaks are a marvel to witness in themselves.

If you wish to hike Mount Kinabalu, we suggest you ebook a tour as there are some areas the place rocks are liable to fall, so a information can inform you the place these treacherous locations are.

Even in the event you don’t hike the mountain, visiting the park is a should. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Website and a protected space and is residence to some uncommon styles of vegetation and wildlife.

You possibly can take a treetop stroll by way of the canopies, bathe in sizzling springs, or go to the Mount Kinabalu Botanical Backyard to study in regards to the species of vegetation and fauna within the area.

3. There are some nice snorkelling spots

Fushia colored fish eating coral.

You don’t need to journey removed from Kota Kinabalu to seek out some thriving marine life. Take a ship tour over to Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, a protected reef off the coast of Kota Kinabalu, the place you’ll discover tons of vibrant fish and corals.

The Marine Park is residence to 5 islands, Sapi, Gaya, Mamutik, Manukan and Sulug, that are every accessible by boat. 

Some islands, corresponding to Gaya Island and the smaller Mamutik Island, even have good seashores the place you possibly can sunbathe on the white sand, and a small part of the seashore is allotted for snorkelling, however one of the best snorkelling is from off the boats.

You will discover boat excursions leaving from Jesselton Level Ferry Terminal day by day to the highest snorkelling spots, or you possibly can ebook a tour upfront from right here.

4. For the gorgeous Sundown at Tanjung Aru Seaside

silhouettes of people by the shore enjoying a beach sunset

When you’re coming to Malaysia for the gorgeous seashores, then you may be happy to know that there are some lovely pure white sand seashores in Kota Kinabalu, however you’ll want to get a ship to them! 

Nonetheless, you don’t need to journey far to achieve a pleasant seashore with essentially the most superb sundown you’ll ever see in Southeast Asia.

Tanjung Aru Seaside is a small seashore close to to Kota Kinabalu Airport, which faces immediately west, so it gives essentially the most surreal sundown.

As a result of the seashore is form of protected in a bay, the waves listed below are light, giving the water a form of mirror-like impact. Paired with a shiny orange sundown, and also you’ve obtained a surreal sight.

Photographers will notably get pleasure from visiting right here at sundown.

5. For the mountaineering trails

rocky trail through the jungle in mount kinabalu

You may be pondering the one mountaineering in Kota Kinabalu is Mount Kinabalu, however there are in truth a plethora of nice mountaineering trails nearer to the town.

Only a brief drive out of the town centre and you will see that the Bukit Padang Hiking Trail, which takes you as much as a lake on prime of the mountain. This loop path is about 4 km lengthy and has an elevation of 244 meters. It’s fairly simple and gives unbelievable views of the town beneath.

One other common hike in Kota Kinabalu is the reasonably difficult Bukit Botak Trail, which gives unbelievable ocean vistas. It’s solely 2.9km out and again, however there are some steep sections so watch out. This can be a common dawn or sundown hike.

6. To see Orangutans at The Orangutan Sanctuary Borneo (Rasa Ria Reserve by Shangri-La)

keeper cudding an Orangutans in Borneo
Cuddle time

For these visiting Borneo looking for orangutans, it’s possible you’ll be pondering that the Orangutan Sanctuary in Sandakan is the one place to seek out them. 

Whereas there aren’t many left within the wild, it’s nonetheless doable to see them in wildlife sanctuaries and guarded areas. The closest place to Kota Kinabalu to see these elusive jungle primates is the Orangutan Sanctuary Borneo, which is definitely a part of the Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort.

This sanctuary is the place orphaned orangutans are rehabilitated earlier than they’re launched again into the wild in Sepilok, Southern Borneo. Right here guests can find out about conservation efforts and see orangutans being sorted earlier than they’re able to be launched.

There are different locations the place you possibly can see orangutans, however these are often zoos and unethical locations so we don’t suggest them. 

7. To see the enduring floating mosque, Masjid Bandaraya Kota Kinabalu

mosque floating on water at sunset

You’ll have seen this iconic landmark in Kota Kinabalu on all of the postcards, and now it’s time to see it for your self.

I say it is a floating mosque due to the way it sits on the water’s fringe of a man-made lagoon, showing to drift, however it isn’t really floating.

The mosque is the second largest mosque in Kota Kinabalu and was inbuilt 1989. The mosque is gorgeous, with an architectural design impressed by the Nabawi Mosque, the second holiest web site in Islam in Saudi Arabia.

The blue and gold dome shimmers within the daylight, and the entire constructing displays within the waters round it.

It’s a piece of architectural triumph and an essential spiritual web site. When you’re into pictures, photographing this landmark must be one in every of your prime causes to go to Kota Kinabalu.

8. For its price ticket

View of silhouette landscape with Kota Kinabalu city against islands at golden sunset.  Sabah state, Malaysia.
Kota Kinabalu metropolis in opposition to islands at golden sundown.

Kota Kinabalu remains to be a really inexpensive vacation spot to go to, even right now. Malaysia is among the most cost-effective international locations in Southeast Asia for its meals, lodging choices, and the value of points of interest.

You can find lodging starting from $10 USD to $30 USD per night time, relying on the time of 12 months you go to. 

And that’s for the great accommodations. Normally, you’d anticipate to have essentially the most rundown hostel with a mattress tucked behind the bathrooms for that value.

In addition to lodging costs being low, you could find meals on common price round $2 USD per meal, and taxis price $0.46 per 1km. 

You possibly can dwell like a King and Queen in Kota Kinabalu at these costs.

9. For its handy location

map of sabah in malaysia

Kota Kinabalu is usually visited because the gateway to the remainder of Borneo, and there’s no arguing that its location is ideal for exploring the Sabah area.

Its location places it inside just a few hours’ drive to the jungles, the nationwide parks, and sizzling springs. 

These desirous to see the distant jungles of Borneo can attain the wildlife hall at Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary inside 6.5 hours of driving, with loads of superb spots alongside the way in which to see.

However greater than that, Kota Kinabalu Airport simply connects you to different components of Malaysia and Borneo too. 

You possibly can take a brief direct flight to Langkawi, Penang, Tawau, Labuan, Kuala Lumpur or Sandakan in Malaysia.

Or when you’re achieved exploring Kota Kinabalu, you possibly can even discover direct flights to South Korea, Japan, Thailand, The Philippines, Taipei, Brunei, and Hong Kong.

It’s the proper base level to leap from place to position.

10. For its luxurious accommodations

table on beach with wine and food
Shangri-La personal seashore

You won’t be pondering Kota Kinabalu, or Borneo generally, can be the vacation spot for a luxurious vacation, however you’ll be flawed to exclude it.

Kota Kinabalu has some world-renowned luxurious resort chains such because the Shangri La – which as we talked about earlier has its personal wildlife sanctuary – The Marriott, Le Meridien, and The Hilton.

When you love luxurious and luxuriate in staying in 5* accommodations, then you’ll benefit from the variety of choices obtainable to you in Kota Kinabalu!

Earlier than You Go to Kota Kinabalu

So there you’ve gotten it, these are the highest causes to go to Kota Kinabalu, and I believe you’ll agree there are numerous nice causes to go to this enchanting Sabah metropolis.

Earlier than you go, we now have only a few phrases of recommendation. When you may be pondering of packing your sizzling pants and strappy tops to organize for the new and humid Borneo local weather, please reserve these objects for the seashore and pack modest clothing. 

Malaysia has a excessive Muslim inhabitants and even the non-muslims are conservative – this isn’t Bali. 

Put on insect repellent always and convey waterproof clothes.

You must also be sure to have at the very least three full days to discover Kota Kinabalu. 

You might simply spend every week there and never run out of issues to do, however the optimum period of time to spend there may be three days, in my view.

We hope this information helped you study extra about Kota Kinabalu and why it’s an important vacation spot to go to. 

Different Southeast Asia Locations it’s possible you’ll like:

Remark: Have you ever been to Kota Kinabalu? Are you able to share any recommendations on the place to go and why you adore it?

Supply: www.ytravelblog.com

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