The 10 Best Places To Visit In Kota Kinabalu

Imagine a place where the sun kisses the horizon of an endless ocean, where the air is as fresh as the lush rainforests that blanket majestic mountains. That’s Kota Kinabalu for you, a gem tucked away in the corner of Malaysian Borneo. It’s a city that’s got it all – from jaw-dropping natural wonders to a vibrant cultural tapestry that’s just waiting to be explored. Let’s dive into the top 10 spots that’ll make your trip to this tropical paradise unforgettable.

1. Mount Kinabalu: A Trekker’s Paradise

Standing tall at 4,095 meters, Mount Kinabalu isn’t just a mountain; it’s an adventure that calls out to your soul. The climb is challenging, but the views? Absolutely worth every drop of sweat. You’ll wander through diverse ecosystems, from rainforests to alpine meadows, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot the elusive Rafflesia, the world’s largest flower.

2. Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park: An Underwater Wonderland

Just a stone’s throw away from the city, this marine park is a cluster of five islands that are a snorkeler’s and diver’s dream. The crystal-clear waters are teeming with vibrant coral and marine life. Whether you’re basking on the sun-soaked beaches or swimming with schools of fish, it’s pure bliss.

3. Poring Hot Springs: Nature’s Spa

After a long day of trekking, there’s nothing like soaking in the therapeutic waters of Poring Hot Springs. Nestled amidst the rolling hills, these natural hot Springs are the perfect remedy for tired muscles. And hey, while you’re there, don’t miss out on the canopy walkway that offers a bird’s eye view of the rainforest.

4. Kota Kinabalu City Mosque: Architectural Splendor

Also known as the Floating Mosque, this stunning piece of architecture seems to hover over the water. It’s a sight to behold, especially at sunset when the sky paints a backdrop of fiery hues. The mosque’s serene atmosphere is a gentle reminder of the city’s cultural diversity and harmony.

5. Signal Hill Observatory Platform: The Best View in Town

For a panoramic view of Kota Kinabalu, head up to Signal Hill Observatory Platform. It’s a short drive from the city center, and the vista is nothing short of spectacular. You’ll see the cityscape, the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, and the distant outline of Mount Kinabalu.

6. Manukan Island: A Beach Lover’s Retreat

Of all the islands in the marine park, Manukan stands out with its powdery white sands and water activities. It’s the perfect spot for some fun in the sun, whether you’re parasailing or just chilling with a good book. The island’s resorts offer a slice of luxury for those looking to stay overnight.

7. Kinabalu Park: A UNESCO World Heritage Site

This biodiverse hotspot is where nature enthusiasts can get their fix. Kinabalu Park is home to thousands of plant species, hundreds of bird species, and a plethora of other wildlife. It’s a living, breathing museum where every path leads to a new discovery.

8. Sabah State Museum: A Cultural Journey

Curious about Borneo’s history and culture? The Sabah State Museum is your go-to. With exhibits ranging from tribal artifacts to natural history, it’s a treasure trove of knowledge. The museum complex also includes an ethnobotanical garden, showcasing the region’s rich plant life.

9. Gaya Street Sunday Market: Shop ‘Til You Drop

Every Sunday, Gaya Street transforms into a bustling marketplace. It’s a place where locals and tourists alike hunt for souvenirs, sample street food, and soak in the lively atmosphere. From handcrafted jewelry to exotic fruits, you’ll find it all here.

10. Sapi Island: An Escape to Serenity

Last but not least, Sapi Island is a slice of heaven for those seeking tranquility. It’s less crowded than its neighbors, making it an ideal spot for a peaceful day trip. The snorkeling here is top-notch, and if you’re feeling adventurous, there’s even a zipline that connects to the neighboring island.


  • What’s the best time to visit Kota Kinabalu?

    The best time is between May and September when the weather is dry and ideal for outdoor activities.

  • Do I need a permit to climb Mount Kinabalu?

    Yes, you do. It’s best to arrange this in advance as the number of climbers per day is limited.

  • Can I visit the islands in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park on the same day?

    It’s possible, but I’d recommend focusing on one or two to fully enjoy the experience without rushing.


Kota Kinabalu is a treasure trove of natural beauty and cultural richness, offering something for every traveler. From the heights of Mount Kinabalu to the depths of its surrounding seas, this city never fails to amaze. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a peek into the local way of life, these 10 spots provide a comprehensive experience of what Kota Kinabalu has to offer. So pack your bags, and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime in one of Southeast Asia’s most captivating destinations.

Kurby Team

The Kurby Content Team is a diverse group of seasoned real estate experts dedicated to providing insightful, reliable information for homebuyers, real estate investors, and real estate agents. With backgrounds ranging from real estate brokerage, property investment, and residential home buying, our team combines decades of experience with a passion for demystifying the real estate world. We at Kurby are committed to helping you make informed, successful real estate decisions. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer, a seasoned investor, or a real estate professional, count on the Kurby Content Team to deliver the most relevant, actionable real estate content you need.