The 10 Best Things To Do In Kota Kinabalu

Imagine waking up to the gentle caress of the South China Sea breeze, the majestic Mount Kinabalu in the distance, and a day ahead filled with adventure and relaxation. That’s a typical morning in Kota Kinabalu, a coastal city in Malaysia that’s a melting pot of cultures, cuisines, and experiences. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker, a nature lover, or someone who just wants to soak up the local vibe, there’s something here for everyone. Let’s dive into the top 10 things to do in this vibrant city.

1. Conquer Mount Kinabalu

Standing at a whopping 4,095 meters, Mount Kinabalu isn’t just a mountain; it’s an experience. As you ascend through the diverse ecosystems, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment like no other. The view from the top at sunrise? Absolutely breathtaking. It’s a challenging climb, but the memories will last a lifetime.

2. Explore Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park

Just a stone’s throw away from the city, this marine park is a cluster of five islands offering pristine beaches and clear waters. snorkeling here is a must-do. You’ll be swimming alongside a kaleidoscope of marine life. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a turtle gliding by.

3. Visit the Kota Kinabalu City Mosque

Also known as the Floating Mosque, this stunning piece of architecture seems to hover over the water. It’s especially captivating at sunset when the golden hues reflect off the water’s surface. Remember to dress respectfully when you visit.

4. Stroll Along the Waterfront

The Waterfront is the heart of Kota Kinabalu’s nightlife and dining scene. With a belly full of delicious seafood, you can take a leisurely walk and enjoy the bustling atmosphere. Don’t forget to try the grilled fish – it’s a local favorite!

5. Dive into the Markets

For a taste of local life, head to the markets. The Gaya Street Sunday Market is perfect for souvenirs and local crafts. Meanwhile, the Kota Kinabalu Central Market is a sensory overload with fresh produce and seafood. It’s a great place to chat with the locals and maybe even haggle a bit.

6. Get Wild at Lok Kawi Wildlife Park

Home to orangutans, tigers, and pygmy elephants, this wildlife park is a hit with families. It’s a chance to see Borneo’s unique wildlife up close. The animal shows are entertaining and educational, making it a fun day out for all ages.

7. Relax at Tanjung Aru Beach

After all the adventure, Tanjung Aru Beach is the perfect spot to unwind. The sunsets here are legendary. Grab a coconut, find a spot in the sand, and watch the sky turn into a canvas of colors.

8. Take a Cultural Tour at Mari Mari Cultural Village

Immerse yourself in the traditions of Borneo’s indigenous groups. The cultural performances are captivating, and you can even try your hand at blowpipe shooting. It’s a fun way to learn about the local culture and history.

9. Indulge in a Seafood Feast

Kota Kinabalu is a seafood paradise. Restaurants like Welcome Seafood serve up the freshest catch. From succulent prawns to steamed fish, your taste buds are in for a treat. It’s a seafood lover’s dream come true.

10. Adventure at Kiulu River

If you’re up for some adrenaline, white-water rafting on the Kiulu River is the way to go. The rapids range from mild to wild, so there’s something for everyone. Plus, the lush jungle scenery is a bonus.


  • 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 guide to climb Mount Kinabalu?

    Yes, a guide is mandatory for safety reasons. Plus, they’re a wealth of knowledge about the mountain’s Flora and fauna.

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

    It’s possible, but it’s better to pick one or two and enjoy them without rushing. Each island has its own charm.


Kota Kinabalu is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered. From the heights of Mount Kinabalu to the depths of its surrounding seas, the city offers a perfect blend of adventure, culture, and relaxation. Whether you’re marveling at the Floating Mosque or savoring the freshest seafood, each moment here is sure to be etched in your memory. So pack your bags, bring your sense of wonder, and get ready for an unforgettable journey in this corner of Borneo.

Remember, the best trips are those where you immerse yourself in the local way of life. Kota Kinabalu is more than just a destination; it’s a vibrant city that invites you to become part of its story. So go ahead, dive into the markets, chat with the friendly locals, and let the spirit of this place captivate you. After all, isn’t that what travel is all about?

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.