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