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 Kota Kinabalu was previously known as Jesselton while under British colonial rule from the late 1800s until 1963 when the British left and after Sabah became part of Malaysia. Most of the town was destroyed due to bombings during World War II hence there are not much pre-war historical sites around the city. Before the British arrived, the area was also known by a number of other names such as Deasoka (below the coconut tree), Singgah Mata (pleasing to the eye), Api-Api (fire!) and Gaya Bay.
 
Kota Kinabalu, the state capital of Sabah, is a relatively new town; the original one was destroyed during World War II. Strung out along the coast with jungle-clad hills as a backdrop, Kota Kinabalu, or KK for short, is home to a population of about 500,000. It was known as Jesselton before the war.
 
The state of Sabah occupies the northern part of Borneo and is about the size of Ireland. After World War II, the British declared Sabah a Crown Colony. In 1963, Sabah gained her independence and joined the Federation of Malaya to form the country of Malaysia. The old seafarer's name for Sabah was 'Land Below the Wind', referring to the state's location just below the typhoon belt.
 
Kota Kinabalu's deep-water harbour gave the town strategic significance, evoking a Japanese invasion in 1942 and heavy bombing by the Allies. Following the war, the capital was moved from Sandakan to Jesselton and renamed Kota Kinabalu after the mountain.
 
The pride of Sabah is Mount Kinabalu. At 13,435 feet (4,095 metres), this is the highest mountain in Malaysia and a spectacular sight. For centuries, the Dusuns, Sabah's largest ethnic group, regarded the mountain as the final resting place of their departed. High priests still perform annual rites to appease the spirits.
 
Where You're Docked
Kota Kinabalu is a popular port of call for many cruise ships. Most ships dock at Kota Kinabalu Port, and not at the Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal. The distance to the town centre is about 1.5 miles (2.4 km). Taxis are not permitted inside the port, but may be found along the main road outside the port area.Taxis are usually the best way to get to and from the pier. If staying overnight, hotels can also arrange for transport.
 
Getting around
Riding the bus is a fairly common way to get around and get out of Kota Kinabalu. There are two main bus terminals in KK. The South Bus Terminal is also known as the Wawasan Terminal because it is near that particular landmark. Buses from the airport stop at Wawasan. The City Bus, which is used to get around the city centre, also leaves from Wawasan. Buses travelling to destinations south of KK stop at this bus terminal. On the other hand, buses that are heading north of KK will stop at Inaman, where the North Bus Terminal can be found.
 
With a litre of gasoline cheaper than a litre of water, taxis are plentiful and cheap in Kota Kinabalu. This is actually the best mode of transportation because you travel at your own convenience. Make sure that the taxi driver uses the meter.
 
KK's city centre is actually quite small. Most of the establishments are accessible on foot. It will only take a 10-15 minute walk from Gaya Street, the main street, to the various malls, restaurants and coffee shops. During rush hour, it is more advisable to walk because some of the smaller streets can be clogged with cars.Car and motorbike rentals are also available for those who prefer to do so. Malaysia is right hand drive, meaning people drive on the left side of the road. Speedboats from Jessleton Point Ferry Terminal are also available for those who want to head out to the various islands nearby.
 
By foot
Downtown KK The city centre is quite small, and you can walk from one end to the other in less than 30 min. Safely crossing the street can be an issue, but most streets are at least equipped with sidewalks. You can also walk to and from the airport (1-2 hr each way). Even the highways outside of town usually have a walking path or a wide grassy shoulder to walk on.

Taxi
Short fares are around RM10, longer trips around RM20. A whole day shouldn't cost more then RM300. Haggling is absolutely vital in order to get a fair price. Many taxi drivers in Malaysia are infamous for raising their fare prices, even after a price has already been determined by thorough prior negotiation. They frequently attempt to manipulate and deceive unknowing tourists by feigning ignorance and delivering tourists to the wrong hotels, which sometimes provide kickbacks to the drivers. Mentioning a call to the authorities may resolve the situation quickly.
Bus and minibus (van)

The main depot for buses and minibuses from the city center to the suburbs such as Putatan, Tanjung Aru, Kepayan, Luyang, Penampang, Likas, Inanam and Menggatal is the Wawasan Bus Terminal opposite Wawasan Plaza. All buses coming in from the suburbs can only stop in this depot to avoid congestion in the city center. Bus fare is around RM0.50 to RM2.00 depending on the distance.

Wawasan Bus terminal also serves as a depot for long-distance buses towards south of Kota Kinabalu. A new southbound long-distance bus terminal has been planned for construction near Terminal 1, KKIA in Kepayan. North- and east-bound long-distance buses departs from the North Bus Terminal in Inanam, 25 minutes from the city center. There shuttle buses between these terminals.

To travel within the city center, the City Bus is used. The green and yellow City Bus departs from Wawasan Bus Terminal and circles the city center using 4 routes: Route 1A, 1B, 2A and 2B. City Bus fare cost RM0.50 and are quite frequent. However the conductor and driver often encourages more people to get on the bus until totally crowded before it leaves.

Route 1A: travels along Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens until Jesselton Point and returns along Jalan Tun Razak and Jalan Coastal.
Route 1B: travels along Jalan Coastal and Jalan Tun Razak and returns along Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens.
Route 2A: travels along Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman via Karamunsing and Jalan KK Bypass all the way to Sabah Trade Center in Likas and returns the same way.
Route 2B: travels along Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman until the roundabout near Australia Place and returns the same way.
Self drive

Road signs in Malay
Some road signs does not have English translations. Here are some of the important ones:
Awas - Beware or Danger
Kawasan Kemalangan - Accident-prone Area
Kurangkan Laju - Reduce Speed
Beri Laluan - Give Way
 
Cars can easily be hired on the spot from the hire car counters in the arrivals hall in the airport. Rates can be negotiated so compare the offers. Rental companies do not offer hand-controls for the disabled. There are also many car rental companies in the city:
Kinabalu Rent A Car, Wisma Sabah, Jln. Tun Razak,  +6088-232602
Kings Car Rental Services, Jln Murni, Tanjung Aru,  +6088-878282
 
Road signages are prevalent throughout KK and Sabah. So driving within KK and towards other parts of Sabah is not difficult. There are however some signages which are only in Malay. Signboards in brown color indicates recreation / places of interest. Most major roads in the city are dual carriageways however highways leading towards other towns are mainly single carriageways which might put your overtaking skills to the test especially in hilly areas. Be very careful when overtaking and no overtaking over double lines. More information on Malaysian road signs:  or check out the Malay phrasebook.
Highways are sometimes marked according to their numbers. The following are some of the major highways from Kota Kinabalu:
 
Highway 1 (formerly A2): Highway heading south of KK towards Putatan, Kinarut, Papar, Kimanis, Beaufort, Kuala Penyu, Sipitang, Lawas, Brunei and Sarawak.
Highway 1 (formerly A1): Highway heading north of KK towards Telipok, Tuaran, Kota Belud, Kota Marudu, Pitas and Kudat.
Highway 22 (formerly A4): Highway heading east (from Berungis Roundabout, Tuaran) towards Tamparuli, Kundasang, Ranau, Telupid, Beluran, Sandakan, Lahad Datu, Tawau and Semporna.
Highway 500 (formerly SA3): Highway heading east of KK towards Penampang, Tambunan, Keningau and Tenom

Motorbike rental
GG Rent A Motorbike Provides scooters and semi automatic motorbikes for tourists at a price of RM20(5 hours) and RM40(whole day). They provide maps and plan your itinerary with you to maximise your schedule and minimise the time.
 
Things to See
 
Kinabalu Park
Mt. Kinabalu is the highest mountain found between New Guinea and the Himalaya. Tour Mt. Kinabalu Park and travel through the rain forest. Your guide points out the native flora including ground orchids and insect-eating plants.
 
Sabah Museum
Visit a museum complex inspired by traditional island structures. View exhibits dedicated to the natural history, peoples and see the heritage village.
 
Lok Kawi Wildlife Park
Developed by Sabah's Wildlife and Forestry Departments, this 280 acre park showcases the country's diverse wildlife. View endangered animals including the pygmy Borneo elephant and proboscis monkeys.
 
Tun Mustapha Tower
Travel through Kota Kinabalu to the Tun Mustapha Tower. Named after a former Chief Minister of Sabah, this stunning 30-story glass structure is suspended from high tensile steel rods set around a central core.
 
Sabah State Mosque
A white honeycomb pattern structure with majestic domes and gold inlay motifs, this majestic religious site sits atop lush green grounds. The State Mosque is a place of worship for Kota Kinabalu Muslim inhabitants and visitors.
 
Signal Hill / Atkinson Clock Tower
Built in 1905 to commemorate the popular first District Officer of Kota Kinabalu, the Atkinson Clock Tower stands prominently on Signal Hill. The Tower was used as a navigation aid for ships until taller buildings overshadowed it.
 
Mangrove Cruise
Board a launch for a cruise through the mangrove swamps. Learn how to use a Bajaus-style crab trap, and try your hand at traditional crab catching. Gain an understanding of the importance of mangroves and sea life for the island.
Kota Kinabalu proper is pretty small. In fact, it can be toured around on foot. There not much to do within the city limits other than shop in the different malls and try out the different restaurants and bars. Most of the attractions are a short drive away.
Kota Kinabalu is home to two beautiful mosques. The City Mosque is a uniquely designed floating mosque. The Sabah State Mosque is a beautiful piece of architecture. Both are open to tourists.
 
Kota Kinabalu is known as a gateway to adventure. The city serves as a good base while indulging in some of the many adventure sports that the area has to offer. Many people visit KK annually with the goal of climbing Mount Kinabalu, the tallest peak in South East Asia. It usually takes 3-4 days to climb the mountain and requires you to be physically fit.
 
Tungkul Abdul Rahman Marine Park is a protected marine sanctuary that is just 10-15 minutes away by speedboat. White sandy beaches, crystal clear water and an abundance of marine life make it a popular getaway and diving spot. Tours can be booked from the Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal. Be sure to canvas the different tour operators and haggle for the best package. Gaya, Manukan and Sapi island are usually the most popular ones. Be sure to try the various water sport activities on offer; these are pretty cheap in KK.
 
Lok Kawi Wildlife Park is just outside Kota Kinabalu. It features various animals that are endemic to the island of Borneo. The park features orang-utans, proboscis monkeys, the Sumatran rhino, some tigers and all sort of birds and reptiles.
 
Other Sights
 
Padang Merdeka
The site where the declaration of Sabah's independence was declared in 1963, this field hosts the annual city celebrations and functions.
 
Atikinson 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 that year aged just 28. The tower is on a hill beside Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, this tower has been used for navigation by many ships and is the one of only three pre-World War II buildings to survive the war.
 
The Signal Hill Observatory is a 10 minute uphill walk from the Atkinson Clock Tower and offers a good view of the city centre.

The Green Connection Aquarium - The best place to see Borneo's aquatic wildlife without leaving the city. Particularly popular with children. Lots of things to see and do, including touching certain creatures like sharks and snakes or diving into a large tank and feeding the fish within it. Opportunities for interns & volunteers are occasionally available. 10 minutes outside the city centre by taxi (RM15-20).

Tanjung Aru Beach - Kota Kinabalu's most popular beach. Frequented by locals for strolls or picnics, especially on the weekends. There are many food stalls and a couple of bars. 10 minutes by car from the city centre.

Likas Bay Beach - Located along Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, this smaller and less pretty beach is also popular among locals. There is a view to be had of ships anchored off the city's main port at Sepangar Bay.

Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park - A collection of 5 islands (Gaya, Manukan, Sapi, Sulug and Mamutik) just of the coast of the city. Travel by speedboat takes about 15-30 minutes depending on the island and departs from the Sabah Parks jetty behind Wisma Merdeka, from Jesselton Point Waterfront jetty and STAR Marina at Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa.

Double Six Monument - Located in Grace Point, Sembulan. * It is a memorial site on the location of a the 1976 plane crash which killed the state chief minister Tun Fuad Stephens and other state cabinet members. There is a nice new food court on site called Grace Point Food Court offering local Sabah, Malaysian, Indian, Chinese, Korean, Thai and other cuisine.

The northern coast of Kota Kinabalu contains undisturbed scenic geographical features including Karambunai and Dalit Beach and behind these beaches is a lagoon-type estuary containing Mengkabong and Salut rivers. The Lagoon Park in Karambunai could be a good place to start in order to explore this area as there are boat rides or jet-skis for rent. The Mengkabong water village is also an interesting sight to explore. Salut contains two popular seafood reastaurants situated by the lagoon/lake in Salut called Salut Seafood and Gayang Seafood. Nearby Borneo Kellybays offers various watersports and camping activities around mangrove forest, river and beach.
 
City Park is a small park and the only park in the city center located opposite the court complex. It contains the British North Borneo Memorial which commemorates the soldiers who fought and died defending the British Empire during World War I. The memorial was built in 1923.

Kokol Hills in Menggatal offers a very nice view of Kota Kinabalu, the coasts and the sea from about 30 km away. The hills are pretty undeveloped but the road is good and new. As of January 2012, there is only one resort and restaurant called Kasih Sayang Resort. Kokol is also fast becoming a hotspot for paragliding.

Lok Kawi Wildlife Park in Lok Kawi is about 30 minutes south of Kota Kinabalu.

Inobong Visitor and Research Center perched 600m above sea level in Penampang is a Crocker Range Park substation and the nearest access to the Park from Kota Kinabalu.

Kinarut a small town 40 minutes south of KK contains quiet beaches, Pulau Dinawan, the 'sininggazanak' statues, and still existing wooden shophouses built around 1930s to 1960s.

Tambalang Racecourse is a horse-racing track operated by Royal Sabah Turf Club in Tuaran. Tel: 088-25 2705

Chinatown, also known as Gaya Street, is located in the city centre surrounding Gaya Street and Beach Street. There is a sunday market here and many chinese coffeeshops and restaurants. This area together with the adjacent area around Australia Place near the city police station has the highest concentration of budget hostels in KK. The name "Chinatown" is mainly a tourism gimmick after the arch gate was erected not more than after 2005, so many locals would not know what Chinatown is. Use instead "Gaya Street".

Tun Fuad Park, located on the eastern edge of the city (15 minutes drive from city center), is where the city meets the hilly jungles of Crocker Range. The park contains 2 restaurants, hawker centers, the Water World theme park, a lake and jogging track.

Perdana Park, an 18-acre new park in Tanjung Aru completed in 2011 featuring a light and musical water fountain, greenery, children's playground and jogging tracks. The park was built on the land formerly known as Hone Place where British government quarters stood. Fountain show starts at 7.00pm.

Petagas War Memorial, located about 10 minutes outside the city center, is dedicated to the 176 members of the Kinabalu Guerillas who attacked the Japanese occupying forces during World War II, in what was known as the "Double Tenth Revolt" (10/10/1943), who were subsequently detained and executed in Petagas.

Kota Kinabalu Wetland Centre, formerly known as Kota Kinabalu Bird Sanctuary, is a 24-hectare mangrove conservation area used for recreation, education and research. It is located in Likas along Jalan Bukit Bendera Upper just 5 minutes drive from city centre (15 minutes walk from Signal Hill Observatory). The area is managed by the Sabah Wetlands Conservation Society. Tel: +6088-246955

Sembulan Riverfront, located around the confluence of Sembulan and Karamunsing Rivers behind Sadong Jaya, is the latest urban feature in KK. Phase 1 nearing its completion stage as of April 2012.
 
Scuba diving & snorkelling
Try dives, leisure diving, technical diving and snorkelling are all available from Kota Kinabalu. Several interesting dive sites can be enjoyed as day trips from Kota Kinabalu with nearby World War II wrecks accessible for scuba diving. Some are in the 24-45 m depth range whilst other wrecks are only suitable for technical diving. Advanced and basic diver training courses are run from Kota Kinabalu by several dive centre operators.

Dive destinations
Usukan Bay near Pulau Mantanani, suitable for recreational diving. Located near the fishing port of Kota Belud 30 nautical miles north of Kota Kinabal these dive sites are ideal day trips from Kota Kinabalu. Boat trips north from Kota Kinabalu normally depart from Sutera Harbour Marina or Jesselton Point and take approximately 2 hr. These dives are only suitable for divers that already have PADI Advanced Open Water Diver or similar certification and some previous wreck diving experience is advised. There are three popular wrecks spread over a distance of about one kilometre lying 7 n.m offshore.
Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park offers many snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities between 20 and 30 min from Kota Kinabalu by boat. Dive operators depart from the Jesselton Point Jetty and Sutera Harbour Marina. Islands and beaches are beautiful, even though the water color is very green and not transparent. Underwater visibility can be an issue around the entire park, it sometimes drops below 3m due to dirty river water from Mt. Kinabalu by everyday-pouring rain. If you are used to snorkelling or diving in good visibility, better not try here.
The Gaya wreck lies in 50m of water within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park and is a 30 min boat ride from Kota Kinabalu. The wreck is thought to be that of the Japanese ship Nittetsu Maru.
Mayne Rock has large white boulders rising 7 m-15 m from the ocean floor and is surrounded by a coral reef.
Palau Tiga offers coral reef dives.
 
Dive operators
Pulau Manukan beach overlooking Pulau Mamutik is an ideal place for snorkelling and other beach activities.
Asia Dive Holidays, 88300, Kota Kinabalu.,  +60 88 257 669. PADI Dive Courses and Diving holidays in Kota Kinabalu's Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Lankayan island, Pulau Sipadan (Diving Permits), Pulau Mabul, Kapalai, Mataking and Semporna. Multi-Lingual dive staff: English, Malay, Chinese, French, Spanish, German... All PADI dive training from open water course to divemaster. 
 
BGB Country Tours & Travel, Lot 29, Ground Floor, Karamunsing Godown, Jalan Karamsuning, 88000 Kota Kinabalu. Sabah, 60 88 270976 (borneogb@gmail.com, fax: +60 88 270975). As a dive operator, BGB Country Tours & Travel places a special focus on diving tours, on both the east (Sipadan Island) and west coast of Sabah. Ranging from Discover, Leisure to Open Water course.
 
Scuba Junkie KK, G23a, Ground Floor, Wisma Sabah,  +60 88 255816, +60 145618947 (scubajunkiekk@gmail.com, fax: +60 88 255816),. 8:00AM-6:00PM daily. Scuba Junkie KK arranges daily dive and snorkel trips to over 15 Islands in the Kota Kinabalu (KK) area including the world famous KK Marine
Park (Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park) which features 5 amazing islands including Gaya Island and Sapi Island. For the more adventurous we offer Whale Shark Dives in the blue and wreck diving as well! We also do all PADI dive courses from Discover Scuba Diver up to Instructor! SCUBA JUNKIE is a Multi Award Winning 5 Star Gold Palm IDC PADI Licensed Dive Operator. 

Borneo Dream, F-G-1 Plaza Tanjung Aru, Jl. Mat Salleh, 60 17 811 8149 (info@borneodream.com, fax: +60 88 244 931), [28]. A boat transfer service is available to Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park for snorkelling or diving trips. Over 20 sites for diving and protected areas for snorkelling. Suitable for day trips. Goes to four of the main wreck dive sites on a regular basis. PADI Dive Boat, 10mx4m catamaran and a 9mx3m RIB, SDI resort dive centre, BSAC diver training centre, TDI resort dive centre and IANTD facility. Also offer SCR courses and training certified via the PADI with both a semi closed rebreather diver speciality course and closed circuit rebreather (CCR) training courses. 

Downbelow Marine & Wildlife Adventures, Lot B-3-12, Kota Kinabalu Times Square, Jl. Coastal, +60 12 866 1935 (dive@divedownbelow.com, fax: +60 88 485 300),. PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre is based on Gaya Island in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. The dive centre offers learn to dive courses, advanced courses from PADI Advanced Open Water Diver up to PADI Master Instructor & PADI Course Director, snorkelling, sea kayaking and jungle trekking. 1 on multi-day diving in the TAR Park and diving Pulau Tiga. Island facilities caters to individuals, groups and corporate events. High staff-to-diver ratios with professional, highly trained & experienced staff and quality, regularly serviced gear and equipment. 

Sabah Divers, G27, Ground Floor, Wisma Sabah, +60 88 256483, +6 12 8339901 (sabahdivers2u@yahoo.com, fax: +60 88 255482),. 8:30AM-5:30PM daily. Provide SDI courses in English, Mandarin and Cantonese. Diving tours to popular dive destinations all over Borneo, such as Sipadan and Layang Layang. Tunku Abdul Rahman fun dive packages available departing Jesselton Point Jetty including equipment, boat transfers and 2-3 dives. No shower facility. Guests will be left alone to walk back to the office after TAR fun diving. Beware - they ask credit card numbers including cvc for advanced booking. Notorious for arrogant office staff. 

Sensi Borneo Diving Resort & Tours (Diving Live-Aboard ‘Orient Explorer’),+60 88 788 111, +60 17 402063 (info@sensiborneo.com). Provide scuba diving trips and PADI courses. Also operate the 796 ton, 56.6m motor yacht Orient Explorer as a live aboard and floating hotel off shore from Kota Kinabalu. Originally launched in 1943 it has a dive deck, passenger cabins including family cabins, luxury and economy cabins, a restaurant, bar, lounge and a sick bay. The dive services offer a full range of PADI scuba diving courses from open water, divemaster, technical diving and rebreather courses. Trips to the Usukan Bay wreck dives and many other dive sites are available.

Deep sea fishing
Kota Kinabalu is also one of the best and cheapest places in Malaysia for exciting deep sea fishing trips. Boats depart from the makeshift jetty next to the Kota Kinabalu Central Market, the boats are to be found behind the small night market/parking lot.
Trips of all kinds can be arranged with the charter operators. Popular options include day trips that go for prices that start from around RM 2,000/boat and 2D/1N or 3D/2N trips (you sleep on the boat) that go from RM 3,000/boat. Most boats take around 10 persons per trip. Locals usually head to the Mengalum and Mantanani islands or near some oil rigs that are all a few hours away from Kota Kinabalu. Beginners can also opt for shorter trips to fish in a shipwreck off Gaya Island. For the very adventurous and advanced anglers, there are also several fishing competition held annually. The most popular one is the Labuan
 
IGFA Competition which is usually held around the Layang Layang island (Swallow Reef) area. The trips for this competition last for almost 1 week and cost at least RM 15,000/boat.
The boats are mostly pretty rudimentary medium sized wooden fishing vessels, don't expect any luxury or too much comfort for those prices. Basic toilets are available on board, but you won't be able to shower for the duration of the trip. Basic meals are also usually available and included in the hire price. Rental of fishing equipment can also be arranged by most of the boat charter providers. Do ensure that life vests are provided for all occupants well before setting out.
If you want to check out the boats before you head out, just drop by the open air parking lot near the Central Market and Hyatt Hotel, most of the for hire fishing boats are parked there. You can also see some of the catch for yourself when the boats return from their trips at around 2PM. You will probably see more boats coming and going on Sunday or Monday.

Borneo Crystal Sdn. Bhd., + 60178603205 (borneocrystal@yahoo.com). We are offering private charters, diving trips , island/sunset cruises as well as deep-sea fishing tours on a 60ft American Sport Fishing Yacht. The boat is berthed in one of the most beautiful marinas in South-East Asia - Sutera Harbour Marina. For further information, visit our website. For reservations and prices, contact us by phone or e-mail.

7 star fishing,. A more expensive option but the website has some nice pictures and videos to give you a glimpse of what you can expect from a fishing trip in Kota Kinabalu
Mr. K.K. Law,  +60 16 826 4588 (elhh82@gmail.com). A budget friendly option popular with the locals. The boat owner himself will be happy to come on the trip himself or help you arrange for more people to fill up the boat if your group doesn't have enough people. From RM2,000.

STAR Marina,+60 88 325999 (marina.tah@shangri-la.com.com), [34]. 8:30a.m. to 5:30 p.m.. Managed by leading city resort Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa, this facility offers a premium experience with 5-star service. Package is for minimum of 6 hours,for maximum 8 persons and includes boat charters with skipper, crew, towels, drinking water, hand lines, rods, reels, bait and fuel. Peppino restaurant, (At Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa). ? +60 88 327888. Kota Kinabalu's award winning fine dining Italian restaurant and winner of Malaysia Tatler's Best Restaurants. From RM400 per hour.  edit
White water rafting and sea kayaking
 
The nearest place for rafting would be in Kiulu River, Tamparuli, about 1 hour away from KK. The white water is classified Grade 1-2 which is suitable for beginners. A more adventurous rafting experience is Padas River near Tenom which is about 2-3 hours away from Kota Kinabalu. Padas is classified as Grade 3-4. There are many tour companies offering day packages for rafting in Kiulu and Padas and would normally include return transfer and meals. Sea Kayaking is possible from Tanjung Aru beach, a day trip will take you and your guide to some of the islands off the coast, where you can snorkel and swim, and back to the beach.

Borneo Wave Hunters,. this specialized operator has all the necessary qualifications and will arrange a full package, including pick-up from your hotel, lunch, etc. If possible, request Edhar as your guide, he is one of the most experienced white water rafting and sea kayaking guides in town and a lot of fun.  edit
 
Eating Out
Since KK and most of Malaysia for that matter is predominantly Muslim, don't expect pork to feature in most of the menus. Chicken is very popular in most restaurants. The barbecued chicken wings are very delicious! Since KK is an active seaport, there is a lot of seafood available. A popular way to enjoy seafood is to dine among the different seaside restaurants.Malaysians love their coffee and there are many kopitiams around the city centre. Try the white coffee, which is a favourite drink among the locals. Coffee beans are roasted with margarine, brewed and served with condensed milk. Popular dishes include hinava (marinated raw fish) and sup terjun (a soup). The favourite dessert is hinompuka, made from tapioca, sugar, and coconut.
 
Kota Kinablu is a cultural melting pot. Here Chinese meet Malays and Bruneis, Javanese, Filipinos and even a couple of Europeans, all of whom have brought along their own cuisine. Try out the many specialties offered at the various kedai kopi (often in buffet form making it easy to order) and shun fast food chains.For meals, head to the outdoor food stalls fronting the sea or coffee shops along the streets. The less adventurous could make a beeline for fast food outlets in the Centrepoint shopping centre while those with deeper pockets could try the pier-side restaurants just after the open air fish market. The promenade restaurants between the Filipino Craft Market and the fish market are poor value and only frequented by tourists. SEDCO Square is a popular hangout for dinner for tourists because of their wide selections of seafood. Their rates may be higher but the wide variety of fresh seafood available more than made up for it.
 
Seafood in Kota Kinabalu is very popular, so getting a dose of it is a must. Here are some places to try:
Kampung Nelayan Floating Seafood Market Restaurant, +60 88 8823 1003. 10 min drive away from Kota Kinabalu city, this seafood restaurant is built within a botanical park/lake using Malay architecture. There is a nightly cultural performance with a fire show performed during the weekends.
New Gaya Seafood Restaurant, +60 88 8838 5020
Ocean Seafood Restaurant, Right next to the Promenade Hotel and Parkson Grand. The restaurant faces the coastline. You can take a pick on your seafood orders by the fishtanks, or if you prefer, you can let the waiters recommend at your table.
Portview Seafood Restaurant, There are 2 branches of this in Kota Kinabalu. One of them is opposite Centrepoint Shopping Centre, called The Waterfront. This one is quite new, a very popular place for tourists and orders can be taken either way similar to Ocean Restaurant. This restaurant is nestled amongst other popular nightlife hangouts, mostly bars and clubs, but also cafes like CoffeeBean. The other older one is in front of a pier.
Salut Seafood Restaurant, It takes about 20 min car journey from the city centre to Salut where the restaurant is located near the Sepanggar Bay and Telipok. It is a famous place for cheaper seafood dishes as the prawns are bred by the restaurant owner.
Sutera Rimba, 7PM-12 midnight.
Welcome Seafood, a popular new seafood restaurant with 2 branches in Asia City Complex and in the deep suburbs in Bundusan. Usually packed due to cheap price and decent food. +60 88 447 866 (Asia City)
 
Shopping
Local handicrafts such as baskets, beadwork and pottery are best buys. The Handicraft Market is a good place for cultured pearls; it has everything from fake gemstones and wooden salad bowls, to shirts and traditional local medicines. The local currency is the ringgit.
 
Kota Kinabalu Handicraft Market (Next to the waterfront). Formerly known as "Pasar Filipino". Synonymous with pearls, local handicrafts, home decorations and lately crystals. Don't forget to bargain for good prices. The attendants here are very friendly and will always greet you with a warm smile. You can also find souvenirs such as keychains, t-shirts with Sabah themes, carved wooden statues, batiks and sarongs, rattan handicraft and floor mats, Islamic calligraphy and broaches. Some of the items are imported from Austria and others from neighbouring Asian countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Korea, and there is little actual Sabah handicraft available, but it is a very colourful place that will stay in your memory as a 'souvenir' from Sabah.
Gaya Street Tamu, Kota Kinabalu's Sunday market with everything from Malaysian delicacies, ground coffee, t-shirts, handicrafts, hardware to anything in between at bargain prices. Held every Sunday morning, 6AM-1PM, along Jl. Gaya right in the heart of town.
1Borneo Hypermall, the largest mall in Sabah and possibly the whole of Borneo. Located about 20 minutes drive from the city centre. There is a free shuttle bus from the city centre from Warisan Square.
Suria Sabah, the newest and most modern mall in Sabah located between Wisma Merdeka and Jesselton Point. The food court, located on the 4th floor, offers a nice view of the sea and Pulau Gaya. Shop consists of mainly branded goods compared to other malls in KK.
Wisma Merdeka, one of the oldest and smallest malls but still very popular.
Kompleks Karamunsing, an older but large mall specialised in computers and electronics.
Centre Point Sabah, a large mall adjacent to Asia City, Api-Api, Warisan Square and Sinsuran.


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