Last Updated: November 13th, 2018
Formerly known as Jesselton during the British occupation of Borneo, Kota Kinabalu is now one of Malaysia’s growing tourist destinations. And while a trip to Mount Kinabalu is certainly on top of everyone’s list, here are 7 places that you can also include on your itinerary during your visit.
1. The Waterfront and the Marlin Statue
A great way to cap off your day is sipping a pint of beer while overlooking the orange hued sunset of Borneo. From a long line of restaurants and bars, one won’t run out of options in this area of Kota Kinabalu. While it can be crowded at times, it’s still to experience it at least once during your stay. And, if you still have time left, just walk a few steps to the Marlin Statue and I Love KK sign along the Waterfront.
2. Gaya Sunday Market
Tracing its roots back to the British colonial period, Gaya, back then, was known as Bond Street. What was once a railway track and later the center of commerce of Jesselton (the former name of Kota Kinabalu) quickly became an all-around market where fresh produce, souvenirs, and antiques were sold by locals and foreign traders alike.
Read in full: The Long Stretch of KK’s GAYA SUNDAY MARKET: In Photos
3. Chinatown and Atkinson’s Clock Tower
Occupying the same area as Gaya Sunday Market, Kota Kinabalu’s Chinatown has a long stretch of Chinese-owned restaurants and souvenir shops. And while walking around this ancient quarters, it’s hard to miss Atkinson’s Clock Tower–the oldest standing structure in Kota Kinabalu which was first built in 1905.
4. Sapi and Manukan Islands
And if you’re needing that much needed break from the busy streets of Kota Kinabalu, just book an island hopping tour for Sapi and Manukan Islands. The Sapi and Manukan Island tours usually start from 9AM until 3PM and includes a seafood buffet.
5. Sabah State Mosque
Designed by Malaysian architect Dato Baharuddin Abu Kassim in the 70s, Sabah State Mosque incorporates a combination of Islamic architecture and contemporary design. With its slender sculptural minaret and onion-shaped dome known for its unique honeycomb cladding, this architectural beauty is not as widely visited by tourists compared to the floating mosque.
6. Kota Kinabalu City Mosque
Construction of the city mosque started in 1989 and was finally opened to the public in February 2000. With its iconic gold and blue dome, its design incorporates Islamic and modern architecture and was made to resemble the Prophet’s Mosque (Nabawi Mosque) in the city of Medina in Saudi Arabia.
Read in full: Kota Kinabalu’s Floating Mosque: 8 Things To Know
7. Signal Hill Observatory
A perfect way to take a panoramic shot of the city, Signal Hill Observatory is the best place to cap off your stay in KK. Stay for a few minutes, grab a chair, and enjoy that cold durian ice cream while you relax.
The Manila Project
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