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10 Things You MUST DO in Kota Kinabalu – Part 1

Introducing Kota Kinabalu – the capital city of Sabah Malaysia, the main gateway to Borneo, home to some of the world’s most beautiful islands, wildlife, nature and adventure. Kota Kinabalu welcomes more than ten international flights in a week, between Shanghai, Perth, Seoul, Beijing, Busan, Jakarta, Manila, Tokyo and more, and was recently awarded the second busiest airport in Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur.

But what makes this quaint coastal city such a famous destination? From good food to exciting day trips – find out what are the things you MUST DO in Kota Kinabalu right here!

1. One Day Island Day Trip – Manukan, Sapi, Mamutik

Islands of Kota Kinabalu - Mamutik,   Manukan, Sapi

Sabah is famous for its islands and Kota Kinabalu is home to many! Visit the beautiful cluster of islands that make up the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Their close proximity to the city with fun activities like snorkelling, hiking and even diving make the islands a MUST DO. Located only 15 minutes boat ride from the main pier The Jesselton Point, pick any of the island between Manukan, Sapi or Mamutik. Indulge in leisure or if you feel like visiting all, you can now do so with an option to ‘island hop’! Pristine clear water, white sandy beach, with hidden spots and sometimes with surprise visitors – my personal favourite is Mamutik Island! Other island day trip excursions that are slightly further are Mantanani and Pulau Tiga the Survivor Island – the actual island that was filmed for the first series of the Survivor.

2. Visit the Handicraft Market

Located in one of the most vibrant waterfront strip of Kota Kinabalu, the handicraft market is truly a colorful experience. Get lost in the maze and amidst rows and rows of stalls and shops selling local bead works, pearls, souvenirs, paintings, knick knacks and musical instruments to name a few! There is truly something for everyone.

3. See Kota Kinabalu in panorama Observatory Deck – The Signal Hill Point

Source: Jason Thien

Kota Kinabalu is a coastal town with sea views stretching as the eyes can see. Climb up the Signal Hill Observatory Deck through a flight of stairs from the Australia Lane or enjoy a drive up to see the breath- taking Kota Kinabalu city in panorama.

4. Eat Seafood

One of the most rewarding meals after a day out is a feast of the freshest seafood with your family and friends. Known to be among the best as well as the most affordable in Malaysia – treat in delicious steamed prawns and light soy sauce steamed fish, crab marinated in salted egg, with sautéed Sabah vegetables on the side – the Sabah seafood experience is a must do! Some favourite places include the Welcome Seafood Asia City and the Grand Port View. If you are feeling adventurous, check out the night market right next to the Handicraft Market!

5. Experience the Sunsets

Voted by the Huffington Post as one of the world’s best, Kota Kinabalu’s sunset must be one of the most photographed views in Sabah.

Each day is better than yesterday, with orange hues today and purple hues over spectacled clouds the next, every day is a new sunset experience. Some of the popular spots to catch the sunset are at Tanjung Aru Free Beach, The Sunset Bar Shangrila Tanjung Aru Resort, The Waterfront Kota Kinabalu and Tanjung Lipat Free Beach.

Read on to find out the other 5 best things to do while you are in Kota Kinabalu Sabah!

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