One of the most exciting cities you ever have been to. A modern capital with a warm hospitality that you hardly find in many places around the world. Just around a corner you have long sandy beaches, paradise islands, virgin coral reefs, tropical rain forests; and the mighty Mount Kinabalu is only 90 minutes away. Kota Kinabalu is situated on the tropical island of Borneo, and is the state capital of the Malaysian state Sabah, which is one of the two states of East Malysia. The location of the city is absolutely amazing; and from the airport it is just a short ride to mostly any hotel. You find a world class sailing marina and championship golf courses as well as both first class holiday resorts and good hotels for the budget traveler. And the food is varied in a way that only a state with 30 ethnic groups can offer. The flavours you will find are excellent and in KK, as Kota Kinabalu also is called, there are gourmet meals in restaurants for elegant dining, but you will also find wonderful tastes and textures in a bowl in a hawker’s stall at the night market.
Tunku Abdul Rahman Park
This Marine Park with wonderful tropical islands (pulau) is only minutes away from the city, so at least one of the islands is a must to visit when you are in Kota Kinabalu. Nowhere else in the world you will find a cluster of exotic unspoiled islands so close to a city. The Marine Park, comprising five islands Pulau (island) Gaya, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamutik and Pulau Sulug. These islands offers white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, reefs in shallow waters, coral gardens, lowland rain forests and nice walking paths.But that´s not all:
Tunku Abdul Rahman Park is also an ideal location for beginners that will dive, as well as a perfect spot for more experienced divers. And don’t forget your underwater camera, there are many rare marine creatures such as scorpionfish, blue-spotted rays, bright blue starfish, sea fans, cuttlefish and mantis shrimps, just to mention a few. If you plan to dive, you must contact the dive centers based in Kota Kinabalu.
This is a first class destination for trekking as well as swimming, and here you can find one of the most romantic and beautiful beaches in the area, Police Beach also called Bulijong Bay. If you ever have dreamed of a beach with shading palms and tropical trees, you have found the place. But this 140 hectares island with 25 kilometers of shoreline is not only for sun-bathers.Here is also a beautiful hiking trail system in the lowland rain forest where you can see mangrove-swamps, rare birds, and also visit a fishing village. Pulau Island is the largest of the islands, it was declared forest reserve already in 1923.
Small island with sandy white beaches and coral reefs for snorkeling or diving, where you can see reef fishes shimmering with all the colours of the rainbow. There are hiking trails through the interior, but they also lead to a jetty with barbecue sites, picnic tables and toilets.
Another island perfect for diving, snorkeling and swimming. Manukan is the most developed of the island in the Marine Park and offers several small beaches. The island has many local visitors at weekends, which means that there are moments that it is quite crowded and noisy. Here you can also rent chalets but then you must contact the Sabah Park office in Kota Kinabalu before you go to the island.
This island is an opposite of Manukan, as it is the less developed. So if you are seeking privacy, go to Pulau Sulug, a more tranquil atmosphere is hard to find. The eight hectares island is rocky, but it has a nice shoreline of sandy beach. At the southern end of the island you will find beautiful patches of coral.
The smallest island that covers six hectares. Another peaceful island with a rich coral and marine life. If you are a novice diver, try to get your first diving lessons here and you will discover another world. At the north-eastern tip of Pulau Mamutik you can find the rare white distichopora lace coral. If you are not going only for quick diving and want stay overnight, you can get permission from the Sabah Park office in KK to camp there.
The memorial that survived World War IIFrom the Signal Hill Observatory that lies in a natural area, you have a fantastic scenic view of Kota Kinabalu, the South Chinese Sea and all the islands. Along the bluff at Signal Hill there is also the Atkinson Clock Tower, built as a memorial of Francis George Atkinson who was the first District Officer of Kota Kinabalu. The Tower was built by his mother Mary Edith Atkinson in 1905. The Atkinson Clock Tower was for many decades used as navigation support for ships and is the oldest standing structure in Kota Kinabalu, but also the one of only three remaining buildings after the air raids in World War II.
Human skulls and a Multivision Theatre at Sabah MuseumThe main museum in KK is the Sabah State Museum located at old Palace Hill, nearby Queen Elizabeth Hospital. It is a unique complex built in 1985 with a museum, an ethno-botanic garden, a zoological garden and a heritage village – all in one place. Around the vicinity of the museum there is the Science and Technology Centre and Sabah Art. The main building is inspired and based on the architecture of Murut and Rungus longhouses. Here you will find a central exhibition hall and six galleries with a rich collection of tribal and historical artifacts, relating to the people of Borneo, but also human skulls from Sabah´s headhunting past. You can also find an exhibition about the petroleum industry, as well as a multivision theatre.
The internal roads linking different parts of the city are generallystate 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
Regular bus services operate around the city. Minibuses or vans are also used besides buses as an alternative public transportation. There are two main bus terminals in the central business area. The terminal along Jalan Tun Razak provides internal bus services towards different part of the city and its outskirts. Another terminal near Bandaran Berjaya provides intercity services towards destinations south of the city (Papar, Tenom, Beaufort, and others). The Kota Kinabalu (North) Bus Terminal in Inanam provides intercity buses heading towards destinations north and north-east of the city (Tuaran, Kudat, Ranau, Sandakan, Tawau, Semporna, and others). Taxicabs too can be found around the city.
A railway system formerly known as the North Borneo Railway was established in 1896 by the British North Borneo Company. It was built for the main purpose of transporting commodities from the interior to the port in Kota Kinabalu during the British occupation. The railway line connects Kota Kinabalu with Tenom and several other towns in between, and it is the only railway system operating in East Malaysia. Today the railway is known as Sabah State Railway, and it provides daily services for commuters, travellers, as well as for cargo transportation. A separate company operates the leisure tour also called the North Borneo Railway, which caters mainly for tourists. The train station and terminus is located in Tanjung Aru.
Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) 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 is a major gateway into Sabah and East Malaysia. It serves international flights to Bandar Seri Begawan, Seoul, Tokyo, Osaka, Hong Kong, Macau, Manila, Cebu, Singapore, Taipei, Kaohsiung, and other domestic cities. It is also a secondary hub for MASWings, which serves flights to smaller towns and rural areas in East Malaysia.
Kota Kinabalu Ferry Terminal provides daily services to Pulau Manukan, as well as other islands, throughout the day. On the right is a typical boat used to ferry passengers around
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 Terminal 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.