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Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu
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About Location


Places to Visit
How to Reach


The internal roads linking different parts of the city are generally state roads constructed and maintained by the state Public Works Department. Most major internal roads are dual-carriageways. One of the major road here is Jalan Lintas-Jalan Tuaran Bypass, which together serves almost as a ring road, circling the city and connecting the districts and suburbs surrounding the city, namely, Putatan, Penampang, Luyang, Likas, Inanam, Menggatal, Sepanggar, and Tuaran. There is currently no freeway in the city nor in any part of Sabah. The city is linked by highways to distant towns around Sabah and these are mainly federal roads maintained by the national Public Works Department. Highway routes from Kota Kinabalu include:

    Kota Kinabalu - Tamparuli - Kudat
    Kota Kinabalu - Tamparuli - Ranau - Sandakan - Tawau - Serudong (part of the Pan Borneo Highway)
    Kota Kinabalu - Keningau - Lawas - Brunei - Miri - Kuching - Sematan (part of the Pan Borneo Highway)
    Kota Kinabalu - Keningau - Kalabakan - Tawau


Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) (ICAO Code : WBKK) provides flights linking the city with other domestic and international destinations. It is a secondary hub for Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia and it consists of two terminals. It is the second busiest airport in Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur International Airport and it on of the main gateways into Sabah and East Malaysia.[37] Some destinations include : Bandar Seri Begawan, Shenzhen, Seoul, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau, Manila, Cebu, Singapore, Taipei, Kaohsiung, and other cities, both within and outside of Malaysia. It is also a secondary hub for MASWings, which serves flights to smaller towns and rural areas in East Malaysia.


Kota Kinabalu has two ports Kota Kinabalu Port and Sepanggar Bay Container Port (SBCP). Kota Kinabalu Port mainly loose/bulk cargo, while SBCP operates as a naval base for the Royal Malaysian Navy, oil depot and all containerised cargo. In 2004, Kota Kinabalu Port handled about 3.6 million tonnes of freight cargo, the third highest in the state after Sandakan Port, and Tawau Port. It however handles the most number of containers in the state, with 153,793 Twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) of containers handled in 2006. Sepanggar Bay Port will have the capacity to handle 200,000 TEU annually when its container terminal is completed. All ports in Sabah are managed and operated by Sabah Ports Sdn Bhd.
Kota Kinabalu Ferry Service is a passenger ferry terminal located at Jesselton Point near the K.K. port. It provides ferry and motorboat services to the nearby islands for tourists as well as for commuters living on the islands. There are also regular scheduled ferry services to Labuan.

Key places to visit
The Sabah Museum, Tanjung Aru, Atkinson Clock Tower, Poring Hot Springs, The Green Connection Aquarium


Places to Visit

The Sabah Museum

 The Sabah Museum, situated near the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, is the main museum of Sabah. Around the vicinity of the museum is the Science and Technology Centre, Sabah Art Gallery, and the Ethno Botanic Garden. Wisma Budaya Art Gallery in the city centre hosts some national as well as regional art exhibitions. The Hongkod Koisaan building in Penampang is home to the Kadazan-Dusun Cultural Association (KDCA). It hosts the annual Kaamatan or Harvest Festival, and the concurrently held Unduk Ngadau beauty contest in March. Monsopiad Cultural Village (Kampung Monsopiad) features cultural shows relating to the Kadazan-Dusun culture. It is named after the legendary Kadazan-Dusun headhunting warrior, Monsopiad.

Tanjung Aru

Tanjung Aru, located about 6 kilometres from the city centre, is one of the beaches in the West Coast. It derived its name from casuarina trees (locally called Aru trees) that grows on the shoreline. The beach is over 2 kilometres in length and is complemented with a number food and drink stalls, restaurants, and night entertainment clubs. Within the Tanjung Aru vicinity lies the Kinabalu Golf Club, Prince Philip Botanical Park, K.K. Yacht Club, and Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Beach Resort. This beach is famous for its sunset.

Located within the Likas Bay area is the Kota Kinabalu City Bird Sanctuary. With an area of 24 acres (97,000 m2), it is the only remaining patch of mangrove forest that once existed extensively along the coastal region of Kota Kinabalu. It was designated in September 1996 by the State Government to assist and foster a better understanding and awareness of the value of wetlands area. The Sabah Zoological and Botanical Park (Lok Kawi Wildlife Park) in Lok Kawi, about 20 kilometres south of the city, is the first zoo in Sabah. Set on a 280-acre (1.1 km2) piece of land, it is arguably the largest zoo in Malaysia.The Green Connection aquarium just outside the centre of KK showcases the fish, coral and reptile biodiversity of Sabah, with exhibits on many of the aquatic ecosystems of Sabah. At The Green Connection you can see 5 of the top ten wildlife Icons of Borneo: Sharks, Rays, Coral, Fish and Snakes.

Tun Fuad Stephens Park, located in Bukit Padang, is a popular jogging and hiking spot among locals. It is surrounded by forests and also features a man-made lake. It has a few food stalls and restaurants. Tunku Abdul Rahman Park is a National Park consisting of the islands of Sapi, Mamutik, Manukan, Sulug and Gaya. It is a popular spot for snorkelling. The park is about 15 to 30 minutes boat ride away from the city ferry terminal. Babagon River, in Penampang, and Kiansom Falls near Inanam are also popular places for picnics and leisure bathing.

Outside the city, Crocker Range National Park, located about 70 kilometres away from the city near Keningau, is a popular spot for jungle trekking and camping. Kota Kinabalu is also the gateway to one of the most popular national parks in Malaysia, Kinabalu National Park. The park is a two hour drive away from the city and it contains Mount Kinabalu which is the 10th highest peak in South-East Asia, and the highest in Malaysia. The Rafflesia Forest Reserve near Tambunan, 30 kilometres away from Kota Kinabalu, is also within the Crocker Range National Park boundary. The world's largest flower species, the Rafflesia, can be found here. Nearby here is the Gunung Emas Highland Resort which is another spot famous for its scenery and cool climate. The Tuaran Crocodile Farm, about 30 kilometres north of the city, has around 1000 crocodiles in its enclosure, making it the largest of its kind in Sabah

Atkinson Clock Tower

Atkinson Clock Tower Built in 1902 in memory of Francis George Atkinson, the first district officer of Jesselton, as Kota Kinabalu was then called. He died of a tropical disease in the same year at the young age of only 28. The tower is on a hill beside Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, just a few min away from the city centre.

Poring Hot Springs

Poring Hot Springs are another family friendly attraction located near Mount Kinabalu. There are swimming pools and hot springs. You can rent a private cabana or use the public springs. While these are not the best hot springs we have been to there was lots to see and do. My kids liked the butterfly gardens and the canopy walk where you go on walkways near the treetops. The trail to the canopy walk is leg aching! There are also orchid gardens and waterfalls. This is a nice day trip to do when you visit Kota Kinabalu with your kids.

The Green Connection Aquarium

The Green Connection Aquariumlocated 10 min outside the downtown area by taxi. The best place to see the aquatic wildlife of Borneo without leaving the city. Help conserve Sabah wildlife by visiting here. Lots of things to see and do - touch a shark, stroke a snake, watch a turtle. Opportunities for interns & volunteers or simply to dive in the giant tank and feed the fish.

Sabah State Mosque - located on Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman.

State Museum - A quick guide to Kota Kinabalu's history.

Right Time to Visit

July - October


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