Around Kota Kinabalu

Around Kota Kinabalu2015-08-21T12:37:42+08:00

Things to do, Shopping, Day trips, Accommodation and City Map of Kota Kinabalu

Orange Sunset over Likas Bay in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Holiday Resort Town Feel

Kota Kinabalu is a busy city with a small town atmosphere. Affectionately known as simply KK, the longer you spend here the more the place grows on you.

Kota Kinabalu's State Mosque, a.k.a the Floating Mosque with Mt. Kinabalu in the background

Overlooking the South China Sea and the beautiful tropical islands and virgin rainforest of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, the Crocker Range and Mount Kinabalu as its backdrop, one could not wish for more superior visual variety.

Previously named Jesselton, it was razed to the ground in WWII by the Allied Forces abandoning it during the invasion of the Japanese.

In 1963, the rebuilt city was renamed Kota Kinabalu.

Kota Kinabalu is a very safe city, but the usual travel streetsmart applies.

Food is excellent and very affordable as you will discover on our Eating Out in KK page where we recommend our favourite restaurants.

KK is compact, easy to orientate (once you see the map) and you can walk to pretty much everywhere.

Taxis though are relatively cheap and form 1 January 2011 will start using meters again after years of fixed rates.

Full moon over Gaya Island

Getting in to Kota Kinabalu

The International airport is conveniently located just 7km south west of the city centre.

A taxi ride to the city costs RM35 with a prepaid taxi coupon purchased from the taxi counter outside the arrival hall.

Between midnight and 6am there is a 50% surcharge.

Buses run frequently between the city and airport, although at Terminal 1 the buses only service the main road and do not turn into the airport property.


With the exception of Licorice Allsorts and Tetley tea bags you can buy or find everything you need here.

All the usual fake wares are available if you’re looking, although nowadays less so, but genuine named brands can be purchased at very affordable prices.

Browse around the 4th floor of Centerpoint Shopping Centre, the adjacent Warisan Square or, if you fancy a little drive, the 1Borneo Shopping Centre.

Delectable Durian named the King of Fruits. Most western palates need a couple of tries before acquiring the delicious taste

Diesel, QuickSilver, Roxy, Esprit, BUM Equipment, NIKE, MNG and other genuine name brands all have outlets in these malls.

For the girls KK is shoe and jewellery heaven!

Things To Do In Kota Kinabalu

If you are passing by Kota Kinabalu, Downbelow have a very unique PADI 5 Star IDC Dive & Adventure Centre, a slice of paradise based on Gaya Island in the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park.

We conduct daily snorkeling, Scuba diving & trekking excursions, all located around our beautiful dive station.

With so much to offer so near the city, visitors our island-based dive centre whole heartedly agree when we say no visit to Kota Kinabalu is completed without at least 1 visit to our Downbelow Beach House.

A view of Kota Kinabalu's skyline with Gaya Island in the background

Our fully licensed Adventure Travel Center based in KK Times Square in the city, offers a range of activities of which we list some below:

A group of divers enjoying the underwater beauty of fan corals

Day Trips:

If you want to take part in an excursion that will be more than just a day trip, then options for that also abound. Below are a few suggestions that requires at least one overnight stay.

Sweeping beaches on some of the island in the TAR Park

Overnight Packages:

Colourful Market in Kota Kinabalu

Other “Things to do that don’t require guides/agents”:


A very wide range of accommodation is available to suit all budgets.

Visit our Travel Centre to book accommodation for your holiday in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

About Kota Kinabalu - A city map for an idea of the general layout of Kota Kinabalu.

Hungry? What & where to eat in Kota Kinabalu >>>