Assuming the role of Sabah’s capital city, Kota Kinabalu is the hub and gateway for all who wishes to immerse themselves in the natural splendours of Malaysian Borneo. Kota Kinabalu’s early beginnings were as a small fishing village called Api-Api. It is formerly known as Jesselton in 1899, while under the British colonial ruling. The town was renamed Kota Kinabalu in 1967, after the majestic Mount Kinabalu. The very few historical landmarks left are the Atkinson Clock Tower and Sabah Tourism Board building (formerly Jesselton Post Office), obliterated by bombing at the end of World War II. These historical monuments with the mix of fast-modernising city and huge towering old shady trees lining the edge of Signal Hill, makes Kota Kinabalu unique in aesthetics, a charismatic blend of both old and new.

More About Kota Kinabalu Tourism

The bustling Kota Kinabalu resort waterfront, complete with marina and golf course and host a number of trendy bars, restaurants, and hotel lines. Along the same stretch, one can soak in the lively culture of the locals by visiting the traditional wet market, fishing boats, and hawker stalls.

Sabah is growing as a bustling tourist destination due to its proximity and access to tropical paradise. Located south of the city centre, and faces the islands of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, with beautiful beaches, reefs and sea sports just 15 minutes away from the coast, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kinabalu Park, where Sabah’s iconic mountain, Mount Kinabalu, can be reached in 2 hours from the city centre, one can find themselves exploring ocean deep to mountain high.

It is without wonder that Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) is dubbed the second busiest airport in Malaysia. If you’re looking for a chance to explore Sabah, chances are that your first steps in Sabah will be set at KKIA.

People Also Ask About Kota Kinabalu
  • Q: What language do they speak in Kota Kinabalu?


    The main dialect spoken by Kota Kinabalu's Chinese community is Hakka, but Mandarin and Cantonese are also widely understood and spoken.

  • Q: Is Kota Kinabalu expensive?


    A single person estimated monthly costs are 487$ (2,015RM) without rent. ... Kota Kinabalu is 60.91% less expensive than New York (without rent). Rent in Kota Kinabalu is, on average, 90.26% lower than in New York.

  • Q: What is the best time to visit Kota Kinabalu?


    The best time to visit Kota Kinabalu would be from December to April when it's the peak season. The weather is at its best during this time to visit the beaches and go mount climbing at the Mount Kinabalu. Other activities that are more prominent are the white water river rafting and deep sea fishing.

  • Q: How many days do you need in Kota Kinabalu?


    With three days in Kota Kinabalu, you can enjoy most of the highlights in the area, including the beaches and islands, wildlife, culture, and outdoor recreation. Here are a few ways to make the most of your 3-day journey.


  • Q: Is Kota Kinabalu worth visiting?


    Kota Kinabalu is a treasure trove of adventure and wonder. Travellers of this city canchoose to explore from lush rainforests, crystal clear waters, stunning mountain peaks, to the contemporary landscape of the city's architecture and heritage.

  • Q: Why Kota Kinabalu is famous?


    Kota Kinabalu is often known as KK both in Malaysia and internationally. It is a major tourist destination and a gateway for travellers visiting Sabah and Borneo. Kinabalu Park is located about 90 kilometres from the city and there are many other tourist attractions in and around the city.

  • Q: What are some popular attractions in Kota Kinabalu?


    Some popular attractions in Kota Kinabalu include Mount Kinabalu, the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, the Mari Mari Cultural Village, and the Sabah State Museum

  • Q: What is the best time of year to visit Kota Kinabalu?


    The best time to visit Kota Kinabalu is generally between the months of March and September when the weather is driest and most pleasant

  • Q: What is the local currency in Kota Kinabalu?


    The local currency in Kota Kinabalu is the Malaysian Ringgit (MYR)

  • Q: What is the local language in Kota Kinabalu?


    The local language in Kota Kinabalu is Bahasa Malaysia, although many people also speak English and other local dialects.

  • Q: What are some popular local dishes to try in Kota Kinabalu?


    Some popular local dishes to try in Kota Kinabalu include nasi lemak, fish noodle soup, sambal udang, and banana fritters.

  • Q: What should I pack for my trip to Kota Kinabalu?


    When packing for your trip to Kota Kinabalu, be sure to include lightweight, breathable clothing, sunscreen, insect repellent, and comfortable shoes. You may also want to bring a rain jacket or umbrella, as rain is common throughout the year.

  • Q: How do I get around Kota Kinabalu?


    You can get around Kota Kinabalu by taxi, bus, or rental car. Walking and cycling are also good options for getting around the city center.