If you are looking for deep jungle hikes, amazing seafood, a very large mountain and a cozy backpacker home base in Sabah, Borneo; Kota Kinabalu might just be the perfect place for you.
The number of varied things you can do in and around Kota Kinabalu and in the rest of Sabah on your holiday in Borneo is quite astounding.
Stay for as long as you want in Kota Kinabalu. Hence, there are quite a lot of different options when it comes to accommodation. Meaning you will be able to switch your lodging every couple of days.
Here are seven things you need to know before you visit Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Borneo.
Table of contents
- Those beautiful islands on the horizon
- Search for one of the rarest jungle flowers
- The fish market in Kota Kinabalu is a seafood heaven
- A beautiful mountain is located just next to Kota Kinabalu
- Visit the Orangutan Rehabilitation Center during a day-tour
- The restaurants and bars are quite good
- Want to know if you need to book a tour in Sabah?
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Those beautiful islands on the horizon
Yes, those little black bumps you see on the horizon when you are dining at the seaside in Kota Kinabalu, they really are beautiful little islands.
You also have the option to visit these islands by boat. They can make a great addition to your holiday in Sabah, Borneo.
The islands of Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Borneo are beautiful and unique in their own way.
Gaya, Manukan, and Sapi are the most popular islands near Kota Kinabalu. The unity of these small islands forms a national marine conservation area that is home to quite unique flora and fauna.
Manukan island, being the most popular one, has some of the best beaches in Sabah, Borneo.
From Kota Kinabalu, take a small ‘ferry’ boat to Manukan island or any of the other islands.
You can also do a combo of visiting 2 islands in 1 day. The boat pilot will come and pick you up at a certain time on the first island and will drop you off at the following island.
The boat pilot will come and pick you up at a certain time on the first island and will drop you off at the next island. After a full day of fun, the boat pilot will come and pick you up to drop you off at Kota Kinabalu.
Keep in mind that you’ll have to agree upon the timings up front before you will arrive. Most likely, the boat pilot will ask you when he should come and pick you up again.
The boat ride won’t take very long. It can be a bit of a bumpy ride though.
The natural environment around the tropical island around Kota Kinabalu is truly stunning.
It makes a perfect full-day trip to go and relax on one of the beaches here and to have a refreshing swim in the ocean.
There are also a few restaurants on some of the small islands.
Search for one of the rarest jungle flowers
Yes, that’s right. You can go search for one of the rarest jungle flowers in the world when you are in Kota Kinabalu.
A special jungle area, where some of these rare flowers grow, is located about a 1-hour drive away from Kota Kinabalu. But, you’ll have to be lucky to actually see one bloom.
The Rafflesia flower in the Borneo jungle is quite a thing. Actually something you’ll want to see at least once in your lifetime.
The fish market in Kota Kinabalu is a seafood heaven
People who love seafood will very likely enjoy the fish market in Kota Kinabalu.
Everything from clams, to fresh lobsters, amazing fish and crab are for sale in this market. Choose your seafood right at market watch it get grilled on the barbeque. Bon Appetit!
A beautiful mountain is located just next to Kota Kinabalu
Mount Kinabalu is the second largest mountain in South-East Asia. It is a great hike to climb up to the top. The views up there are literally stunning.
Visit the Orangutan Rehabilitation Center during a day-tour
The orangutan rehabilitation center in Sabah is a great place for spotting a wild orangutan in the jungle. It’s ethically and ecologically the best place for spotting an orangutan. Better here than at a zoo.
The place is ethically and ecologically the best place for spotting an orangutan. Better to see one in the wild jungle than to see one locked up at a zoo, right?
The restaurants and bars are quite good
Along the ocean side, there are several quality restaurants that offer a nice view of the ocean and good food.
The bars and clubs in Kota Kinabalu can also be quite fun for a night out drinking or playing games on a table outside on the pier.
Want to know if you need to book a tour in Sabah?
No, you don’t need to book a tour when you are in Sabah, Borneo.
But it can be very convenient to have a drop-off and pick-up arranged. So booking a tour might be a very good idea whenever you want everything to be arranged for you.