destination banner
Home>Malaysia>Sabah>Kota Kinabalu

Explore the most popular things to do in Kota Kinabalu


Must visit places

Bring your friend to enjoy the fun of the holidays. These are handpick places.

30 Best Places to Visit in Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu, located in Sabah, is one of the top tourist destinations for nature lovers. You can travel to exotic islands and beaches, climb mountains, interact with orangutans at an orangutan rehabilitation center, or see protected plants in botanical gardens. Kota Kinabalu also offers many fascinating religious, cultural, and historical tourism destinations.

1. Mount Kinabalu

Mount Kinabalu can be called the most famous tourist spot in Kota Kinabalu. With an altitude of 13,000 meters above sea level, this mountain is one of the main destinations for advanced climbers. Safe hiking trails and camping areas are also available. Apart from hiking and enjoying the beautiful natural scenery (including the sunrise), you can also see the fantastic collection of Malaysian flora and fauna here.

2. Kiulu River

White water rafting is one of the most popular in Kota Kinabalu, and the Kiulu River is one of the best locations. Located approximately an hour's drive from the city center, this rafting activity is suitable for both advanced and beginners alike. Pump your adrenaline together here!

3. Tanjung Aru Beach

This tourist attraction in Kota Kinabalu is one of the most popular beaches among local and foreign tourists. This beach is most suitable for leisurely walks while enjoying the fresh air and stunning views. Even though it is not ideal for swimming or watersport activities, you can relax here with your family. There are also some beachside bars you can visit to order refreshing drinks.

4. Lok Kawi Wildlife Park

Located in a town called Lok Kawi too, this wildlife park is home to a wide variety of amazing and protected animal species. Some of them are elephants, orangutans, tigers, and deer. There is also a smaller area for reptiles. If you are looking for an educational and interactive children's tourist spot, you can make this place your first choice.

5. Poring Hot Springs

This natural hot spring can be your main tourist destination if you want to relax and release fatigue and aches. There are quite some ponds available here, and all the water contains sulfur, which is good for health. So, take a dip and enjoy the view while releasing the achiness from the body.

6. Klias River Cruise

The river, which is about 1.5 hours' drive from the city center, is best explored by cruise. You and your entourage will be invited to explore the river in Klias Wetland Mangrove Forest Reserve by boat and a guide. During the cruise, you can see various kinds of flora and fauna that make this place their home.

7. Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park

This Marine Park is arguably one of the main reasons tourists choose Kota Kinabalu. The beauty of the sea and the five islands included in this marine park area are the main attractions. Tourists can also do lots of fun activities, such as snorkeling, diving, hiking, sunbathing on the beach, and many more!

8. Kota Kinabalu Waterfront

Kota Kinabalu Waterfront, or what is often called KK Waterfront, is one of the best destinations for those who want to explore this city's nightlife. There are many bars and restaurants that you can choose from. And at night, the lights turn on brightly, providing a lovely atmosphere and scenery.

9. Manukan Island

Manukan Island is one of the most beautiful islands in the Kota Kinabalu area. With shady rainforests and beaches and clean seawater, it's no wonder tourists love this place. Besides swimming at the beach, you can also try snorkeling, diving, and other watersport activities. On this island, there are also private luxury resorts with luxurious facilities and beach access.

10. Atkinson Clock Tower

The tower is one of the city's most iconic historical structures. Since it was built in 1902 by Francis George Atkinson, a former District Officer in colonial times, this watch still stands today. To get here, you need to hike leisurely first, making it suitable for outdoor walks.

11. Monsopiad Cultural Village

Located about 30 minutes' drive from the city center, Monsopiad Cultural Village is a village of the Kadazan tribe. Here, you can see first-hand the daily life and culture of the tribe. This village's name is taken from the name of a warrior who lived 300 years ago and killed 42 invaders of this village. You can even see 42 of these skulls in the Hall of Skulls.

12. Shangri-La's Orangutan Care Project

Orangutans are one of the most famous and protected animals on the island of Borneo. This place was built to preserve, protect, and rehabilitate these tame animals. Visitors will be educated about these animals in a fun and interactive way. From short films to the opportunity to feed the orangutans here.

13. Sabah Tea Garden

As the name implies, this place is an open tea garden. You can see the process of planting and making various kinds of tea here. You can also try the finished tea at the end of the tour while relaxing and enjoying the view.

14. Borneo Railway

Taking the Borneo Railway is one of the best ways to explore Kota Kinabalu. With the Tanjung Aru - Tenom route, you will be invited to tour the dense and shady forest area and the Sabah coastline area.

15. Mount Kinabalu Park Botanical Garden

This botanical garden holds various endangered and protected plant species. In total, there are approximately 5000 - 6000 species of plants here. Besides seeing these plants' beauty, you can also go for a hike or take a leisurely walk here.

16. Kota Kinabalu Handicraft Market

As the name implies, you can shop for various kinds of souvenirs and beautiful local handicrafts at affordable prices in this place. Sharpen your bargaining skills first if you want to shop here, OK! In addition, you might hear this place more often as the Filipino Market, its former name.

17. Sapi Island

Sapi Island is one of the islands included in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park and also the closest to the city center. You can reach it only by taking a ferry for 15 minutes. Even though it is smaller than the other four islands in the Marine Park, you can still do various fun watersport activities. One of them is "Scuba-Doo", a mini-submarine to explore the underwater beauty.

18. Kota Kinabalu City Mosque

This mosque is the largest in the city and is often referred to as the most beautiful. Standing on a clear lagoon, this mosque looks like it is floating on water. Apart from that, the architectural design and the dome are also one of its main attractions. If you don't come to worship, still wear modest and closed clothes, yes! You can explore the inner area as long as it is not during worship time.

19. Mari Mari Cultural Village

Mari Mari Cultural Village is a traditional village located quite far from the modern city center. Here, you can see first-hand local residents' daily lives, from their hunting culture, their fishing techniques to delicious local culinary delights. For those of you who like cultural tourism, this place is a must-visit!

20. Kokol Hill

Kokol Hill is one of the best tourist destinations for those who need a short break from the busy and noisy city center. This place offers serenity accompanied by beautiful natural scenery. You can even see Mount Kinabalu from the top of the hill. In addition, this place is also equipped with comfortable accommodation options.

21. Green Connection Aquarium

Suppose you are looking for a family vacation spot that is fun but also educational. In that case, you can go to the Green Connection Aquarium. This place is home to various species of amazing marine life. There are also some interactive areas suitable for children to learn more about sea animals in a fun way.

22. The State Mosque

The State Mosque is not the same as the Kota Kinabalu City Mosque, although it is both majestic and beautiful. Its stunning Islamic architecture is one of the main attractions of this worship place, especially its majestic minarets. If you don't come to worship, you can explore the outer area as long as you wear modest and closed clothes and obey the applicable rules.

23. Gaya Street Sunday Market

If you're looking for souvenirs with local uniqueness and affordable prices, Gaya Street Sunday Market is the place to go! Hit this market on a Sunday morning or afternoon and shop for cool local wares to the brim. From local handicrafts to delicious seafood to the best local ingredients, there's it all here!

24. Mamutik Island

Mamutik Island is one of the islands incorporated in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Even though the location is further away, the view is totally worth it! There are many water sports activities that you can try here. There are also many restaurants and beachside cafes to sample local culinary delights accompanied by beautiful sea views.

25. Signal Hill Observatory Platform

To enjoy city views from a height, you can go directly to the Signal Hill Observatory Platform. The highest spot in Kota Kinabalu provides access to amazing views. You can even see Tanjung Aru Beach on a clear day.

26. Sabah State Museum

Suppose you want to visit educational, historical attractions, especially about the city itself. In that case, you can go to the Sabah State Museum. There are many collections of valuable historical items in it. Besides that, in the same complex, you can also find the Science and Technology Museum and Sabah Art Gallery, which are no less interesting!

27. Tabin Wildlife Reserve

If you like photography, especially wildlife photography, this is the place for you! Tabin Wildlife Reserve offers a natural view that is second to none and a home for wild animals. Even if you just want to enjoy this view with your equally adventurous friends, this place will also impress you.

28. City Park

This park is a public space that you can go to if you want to take a break from the busy city without going too far. You can take a leisurely walk, enjoy the scenery with your family, and relax here.

29. Chinatown

One of the advantages of this place is the large selection of comfortable accommodation at affordable prices and places to eat delicious Chinese culinary. On Sundays, there is usually a market complete with local fashion and souvenir shops.

30. Timangoh River

Do you like fishing? If so, this one place you shouldn't miss! Timangoh River is one of the main fishing destinations for local residents. Well, you can also make this place your main destination with your family if you like fishing!