Gaya Street–home to Kota Kinabalu’s famous Gaya Sunday Market can easily be compared to the Sunday markets you see in Salcedo and Legazpi Village in Makati, minus the throngs of tourists of course.
Ideally located in the unofficial “Chinatown district” of this tropical destination, the weekend market is surrounded by a long stretch of local Chinese and Malay restaurants. Considering that we’ve had our fix of nasi lemak the day before, we ended up grabbing a quick lunch at Peppermint. And if you like authentic Vietnamese cuisine in this side of Borneo, you won’t go wrong with Peppermint–located right across the water fountain in the middle of Gaya Street.
Right smack in the entrance of the market is a paifang that was built in 2005 and a road sign that shouts “Gaya Street”. With locals and tourists taking up parking spaces within the area, a good way to get there is using Google Maps while lugging around your backpack and at least two handkerchiefs. With Kota Kinabalu’s excruciatingly hot weather, you’ll surely need one.
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 local crops were sold by locals and foreign traders alike.
Gaya Sunday market starts at around 7AM until well past 2PM.
The Manila Project
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