A clean and bustling city with a pretty waterfront from which to enjoy the sunset, Kota Kinabalu has much to offer visitors, although most use the city simply as an entry point to Borneo, spending their time exploring the surrounding countryside instead.
However, the historic Gaya Street and the bustling night markets on the waterfront are worth a visit for those with a little more time. Outside the city, visit former headhunters at the Monsopiad Cultural Centre for a glimpse into Borneo’s tribal past and spend a day in Kinabalu Park for the diverse bird species, orangutans and carnivorous plants.
Adventure enthusiasts can climb Southeast Asia’s highest peak, Mount Kinabalu; go white water rafting; try the world’s longest island-to-island zip-line, the Coral Flyer; and go on treetop canopy walks. Those seeking relaxation can explore Sabah at a leisurely pace by bicycle, spend time on peaceful Gaya Island beaches, or enjoy a cruise around the coral islands just off the coast.
When to go
The best months to visit are between March and October to avoid the rainy season.
What to do
- Spend time on the waterfront, both for the busy night market and to enjoy a cool drink at sunset.