The capital city of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu, is a great place to explore due to its diverse culture and authentic beauty. These reasons, alongside its rich history, have established itself as a popular travel destination. With so many things to do here, below are the top 9 Kota Kinabalu attractions that you should visit.
At 127 feet high, the Atkinson Clock Tower is one of the oldest and most well-known Kota Kinabalu attractions. This four-story tower has been standing strong for 115 years and is easily viewed from anywhere in the city, and it has served its purpose as an observation point throughout World War II and a signal of time for villages nearby. It is still used today, and you can catch this iconic landmark at Taman Budaya, Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, near the City Hall area of Kota Kinabalu’s capital city. The view from the top of the tower is magnificent, as you can easily see Mount Kinabalu, the most prominent mountain in Southeast Asia.
Ask any Sabahan, and most of them will recognize Gaya Street. This is because it has been the hub for business for over a hundred years, with all kinds of food sold to satisfy your palette. Gaya Street will transport you to a different world, as the colourful buildings decorated with traditional Asian designs will make you feel like you’re venturing into the streets of Bangkok or Delhi. Furthermore, walking to other tourist attractions like Warisan Square and Waterfront Promenade is a mere stone’s throw away, so the fun never ends here.
Located along the roads to the Atkinson Clock Tower at 800 meters high, the Signal Hill Observatory Platform is the perfect Kota Kinabalu attraction to get a panoramic view of the East side of downtown KK. The mix of old and modern buildings surrounded by the ocean with islands is a sight to behold. One should take up this opportunity to appreciate the beauty of Kota Kinabalu.
Officially opened to the public in 2007, Lok Kawi Wildlife Park is one of the best Kota Kinabalu attractions for visitors to experience a wildlife adventure. It is home to various animals like gibbons, macaques, and deer, eventually transforming into a hotspot for curious visitors hoping to be closer to these exotic creatures. Animal experts from all over the globe are also available to answer your questions, as the park frequently organizes events. Additionally, the parking is free once you’ve paid the entrance fee.
If you’re a history buff interested in Sabah’s history, the Sabah State Museum is one of the best Kota Kinabalu attractions to check out. The museum sheds light on how life used to be before modernization and globalization. An exhibition of a myriad of artefacts from as early as the first human settlement in Borneo from Malaysia and the Asia Pacific region is displayed, besides a Heritage Village and a botanical garden.
It has also been awarded as one of Asia’s top museums by Lonely Planet magazine in 2011 and won UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Culture Heritage Conservation in 2014.
Monsopiad Heritage Village is a fascinating heritage site that gives visitors a chance to understand the culture and lifestyle of the indigenous people in Sabah, particularly the Kadazan-Dusun people, as it houses traditional homes, gardens, and food sources. Visitors are also given the pleasure of experiencing authentic cultural performances held throughout the day. Monsopiad Heritage Village has a vast cultural significance as it safeguards this vanishing way of life by educating others about the customs and traditions, making a mark in this world.
Built to protect marine life and ecosystems through sustainability, The Green Connection is the first of its kind in Sabah and a platform for visitors to witness marine life worldwide. Besides being a fun Kota Kinabalu attraction to visit, it educates the general public on the importance of being environmentally friendly through workshops and events for people of all ages. Visitors can learn about recycling, going green, and respecting our natural environment for future generations to appreciate.
Mount Kinabalu, one of the most famous Kota Kinabalu attractions, needs no further introduction. As the highest mountain in Malaysia, it is also one of the most challenging hikes in the world. The several trails that lead to its summit each have varying difficulty levels, depending on the length.
The beauty of the landscape and the vastness of its natural resources have made it attractive to travellers worldwide. Fret not about getting lost, as both guided and unguided tours are provided, regardless of your fitness level or experience with hiking. Just be sure to train yourself physically before climbing, as you will require a lot of stamina.
Another one of the many culturally prominent Kota Kinabalu attractions, Mari Mari Cultural Village, offers traditional food and souvenirs for tourists to enjoy. It also has a museum that carries different artefacts from the past that have been preserved to portray the culture of the Kadazan-Dusun people. Like Monsopiad Heritage Village, visitors get a peek at their traditional life and practices, with the option of staying overnight. The locals here would be more than happy to share their stories from their history or show you how to make handicraft items.
With all the natural, cultural and beautiful Kota Kinabalu attractions, it is no wonder that this city is a popular tourist destination. Not only that, you will get to enjoy delicious and cheap seafood when you visit this city.