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  • Kota Kinabalu is the state capital of Sabah and main gate away into the island of Borneo. It is the second busiest airport in Malaysia and just 7km away from the city. There is so much to see and explore in and around this beautiful city.

    You can enjoy delicious local and western cuisines not only in the famous bars or restaurant, but on the local streets as well. There are some beach resorts in Kota Kinabalu, which can attract your attention in one go.

    This resort is perfect for both couples and family holidays. With the magnificent location surrounded by the beautiful beaches, it is a wonderful place to stay and enjoy. There are several restaurants to choose from with fantastic hospitality. Their villas are out of the world with lovely décor and amazing view.

    The resort is located just off the coast of Kota Kinabalu and offers you luxurious accommodations. The villas are incredibly spacious with access to the private section of the beach. The restaurant offers you a nice atmosphere and superb service. You can also enjoy various water sports. 

    Here are some of the best Beach Resorts in Kota Kinabalu:

  • 01Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa

    Set on the edge of the azure blue South China Sea near Kota Kinabalu, the 29-year old beach resort has been a visited winner of the international awards for its outstanding hospitality, facilities and conservation ventures. With a picturesque setting close to the coral islands of Tunku Adbul Rahman National Park and other historic monuments, this is perfect for rainforest treks and devoted beach life.




    Highlights: Shangri La's Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa features a private sandy beach and 2 outdoor pools set in lush gardens. The spa's open yoga pavilion includes a deck over the South China Sea.


    Getting There: This beachfront resort on Borneo's northern coast is a 10-minute drive from downtown Kota Kinabalu and Kota Kinabalu International Airport.


    Price: The approximate cost for a room starts from 760 MYR.


  • 02Rasa Ria Resort & Spa

    Situated on Kota Kinabalu’s Dalit Bay, Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort and Spa is set amidst a nature reserve whole overseeing the spectacular beach and surrounded by lush tropical rainforest ensuring the feeling of solitude and seclusion. Shangri-La & Rasa Ria Resort comprises of 420 well decorated guestrooms which offers a luxuriously furnished interiors and exclusive amenities.



    Highlights: The hotel boasts a private nature reserve with resident Orangutans as well as a remarkable array of indigenous flora and fauna and wildlife.

    Getting There:
    Located on the Pantai Dalit Beach on Borneo's northern tip, the resort is 12 kms from Tuaran Tamu.

    Price:
    The approximate cost for a room starts from 400 MYR.
  • 03Gaya Island Resort

    Around one hundred beautifully finished villas set in either side of the lush jungle foliage, atmospheric mangrove, or looking out on the corals and the blues of the nearby sea where high-end luxury meets nature at Gaya Island Resort, a serene getaway surrounded by sandy beaches and tropical rainforest. This 5-star non-smoking resort features an outdoor pool, yoga classes and a pampering Spa Village.




    Highlights: The pool-side Feast Village serves the best of local and international cuisines from 3 large kitchens and offers wine from its private cellars. The rooftop Fisherman's Cove serves freshly caught seafood. Cocktails can be enjoyed at the Pool Bar Lounge.


    Getting There: Gaya Island Resort is on Pulau Gaya, within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, off the coast of Borneo. It is a 10 minute speedboat ride from Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal.


    Price: Approximate cost for a room starts from 1050 MYR.


  • 04Gayana Island Resort

    Only few resorts on the planet offer access to both an unspoiled tropical jungle and vibrant coral reefs. With the turquoise blue waters of the South China Sea before you, and the glimmering jungle behind you, you'll truly feel you have stepped into a flourishing world of tropical paradise.




    Highlights: The resort's thatched huts perched above crystal blue waters are deceptively minimalist. Inside, you'll find all the modern convenience. You will awaken to the sound of gentle waves lapping below, while evenings promise a stunning tropical sunset from the privacy of your own terrace.


    Getting There: Situated at the edge of a jungle forest on Gaya Island, Gayana Eco Resort offers free ferry rides from the Kota Kinabalu Ferry Terminal.


    Price: Approximate cost for a room starts from 1250 MYR.


  • 05Borneo Beach Villas

    Situated within the spectacular peninsula of Karambunai, a 4,000 acre eco-sanctuary that is tucked away, yet, in the midst of civilization – located just 30 minutes’ drive from Kota Kinabalu. Borneo Beach Villas will lure you in with its tranquil ambience of soft rippling waters and panoramic greens. Relax and unwind while you enjoy a step back to nature.




    Location: Borneo Beach Villas, Off Jalan Sepangar Bay, Locked Bag 100, Karambunai


    Highlights: Treat yourself to a stay in one of the 46 individually decorated guestrooms, featuring private pools and private spa tubs. Guests can catch a ride on the complementary shuttle, which operates within 3 km. Satisfy your appetite at a coffee shop/café serving guests of Borneo Beach.


    Price: Approximate price for a room starts from 3000 MYR.


  • 06Magellan Sutera Resort

    The Magellan Sutera Resort in Kota Kinabalu is a magnificent 5-star resort with 456 rooms and suites. The grand entrance is a majestic longhouse style lobby; an architectural tribute to the Rungus natives of Sabah. With fine timber furnishings and traditional handicraft artifacts, this resort is a favourite with families and couples and those seeking a relaxing, tropical holiday in Borneo. The suites are lavishly decorated and present fabulous views of beautifully manicured gardens or the South China Sea set against a backdrop of the islands of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.




    Location: No 1 Sutera Harbour Boulevard, 88100 Kota Kinabalu.


    Highlights: Guests can exercise at the fitness center, watch movies at the mini cinema or enjoy a game of bowling at the hotel's bowling alley. Five Sails Restaurant serves a selection of breakfast and dinner buffets with unlimited flow of sparkling wine.


    Price: Approximate price for a room ranges from 600 MYR to 750 MYR.
  • 07Manukan Island Resort

    The Manukan Island Resort is a luxury private island resort. This serene retreat offers exquisite accommodation, sophisticated cuisine and unparalleled water sport activities in one of the most pristine corner of the world. Manukan Island is surrounded by a protected coral reef, and the island boasts a pristine rainforest and beautiful white sand beaches.




    Location: Manukan Island, 88100 Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia


    Highlights: This resort features an outdoor pool, a restaurant and spacious villas with private terraces and dining areas. The resort offers a wide range of activities such as diving, snorkeling and trekking. For views of marine life, glass-bottomed boat rides are available.


    Price: Approximate price for a room starts at 700 MYR.


  • 08Bunga Raya Island Resort

    Bunga Raya Island Resort is a luxurious abode set on a coral reef island just off the coast of Borneo. A secluded island hideaway of 48 timbered villas, the resort is tucked away on a tranquil and hidden bay framed by crescent shaped white sand beach on one side and the century’s old virgin jungle on the other. This resort features spacious accommodations with a private terrace, featuring tropical jungle or South China Sea views. It also has an infinity pool and a hilltop spa.




    Location: Polish Bay, Gaya Island, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, 88778 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

    Highlights: Guests can relax in Bunga Raya’s sauna or exercise in the gym. Alternatively, a wide range of activities such as kayaking, snorkeling and jet skiing are available. Heritage walks and cultural day trips can also be arranged at the reception.


    Price: Approximate price for a room starts from 1000 MYR onwards.
  • 09Beringgis Beach Resort & Spa

    The sun, sea and sand are not the only attractions at the Beringgins Beach Resort. Enjoy the best in nature and adventure. Within hours, you can experience the tropical rainforest, the sub-zero temperature at the top of Mt. Kinabalu, the soulful look of the gentle Orang Utans, the thrills of shooting the rapids or the underwater fascination of one of the world's finest diving spot! Placed amazingly and serenely situated on a stretch of soft sandy beach that faces the wide expanses of the South China Sea.




    Location: Papar, Sabah, Malaysia


    Highlights: Barbecue facilities and laundry and car rental services are available. Beringgis Beach Resort also organizes tours to Kinabalu National Park, Lok Kawi Wildlife Park and other attractions.


    Price: Approximate price for a room ranges from 200 MYR to 400 MYR.


  • 10Grand Borneo Hotel

    Grand Borneo Hotel has a colorful diversity of nature and indigenous cultures and luckily located below the hurricane spiral path. Kinabalu National Park which is listed as a World Heritage Site, is located 90 kilometers from the hotel and is popular among tourists who want to capture the peak of Mount Kinabalu. This hotel is part of the 1Borneo shopping center, the largest lifestyle stores in the area.




    Location: TA-00-01 1Borneo Hypermall, Jalan UMS, Sabah, 88450 Kota Kinabalu


    Highlights: The spacious air-conditioned rooms at Grand Borneo feature elegant design and furnishings. Each well-furnished room has tea/coffee-making facilities and a flat-screen TV with cable channels. To enjoy a good workout, guests can visit the hotel’s fitness center. Soul Out Coffee House serves a variety of international dishes.



    Price: Approximate price for a room ranges from 118 MYR to 300 MYR.



Attractions

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Sapi Island

Sapi Island is one of the smallest yet one of the most exciting islands in Peninsular Malaysia. Due to the large number of activities that this small place offers, peak seasons and weekends gets too crowded here. You can come here on weekdays if you want a relaxing atmosphere.

Highlights:  When you are here, try out the coral flyer exercise, which takes you in a zipline from island to island. You will get the longest zipline in the world in Sapi Island. White sandy beaches, clear waters, dense forests, great marine life and quiet beaches make this 25-acre island, a wonder, indeed. You will get to see wild boards, monitor lizards and macaques in plenty when you come here. Swimming, snorkelling, sea-walking, scuba diving, coral flying, exploring hidden beaches and cliffs and camping are some of the activities that you can do here.



Location: Close to Kota Kinabalu.

Timings: March to October.

Price: RM3 & RM1 per adult and child for Sapi Marine Park (locals).
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Mataking Beach

Another resort island with one of the best beaches in Malaysia, Mataking Island is the furthest from Semporna in east coast Sabah where a boat trip takes nearly an hour one way. Just stroll around the island to look for your own secluded place. One of the unique things about the island is that they have an underwater post office where you can literally post a letter or postcard. Highly recommended for those who want a 'Maldives' experience in Malaysia.

 

Highlights: This is the perfect romantic getaway as the island has a spa, private bungalows, an outdoor Jacuzzi by the sea and all the romantic walks by the beach you want. Special arrangements can be made for honeymooners, weddings or private parties. The only way to get here is by booking a tour package from the resort. There are no day trips or visits here.

 How to Get There: It is about 40 minute’s boat ride from the mainland of Semporna in the province of Sabah.

 

 

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Tabin Wildlife Reserve

If you are an adventure seeker, have a passion for wildlife photography, and you love to live close to mother nature, Tabin Wildlife Reserve welcomes you, as this place can give you a right and perfect taste of nature. Visiting the Tabin Wildlife Reserve can really be a priceless experience. Especially, if you are a birdwatching and wildlife photography enthusiast, there can no better place than the Tabin Wildlife Reserve. Not only for the photographers and animal activists, but also for the normal regular visitors, this place can be a paradise


How To Reach: The Tabin Wildlife Reserve is a 7 hour drive from the main Kota Kinabalu city. Or the other option is to take the direct flight from the Kota Kinabalu to Lahad Datu, which takes around 1 hour and from Lahad Datu, you can reach the Tabin wildlife reserve in one and half hours.

Price: The day trip to Tabin Wildlife Reserve costs around 570 MYR.

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Layang-layang Island

Also known as Swallow Reef, Layang Layang is one of the islands located towards the north of Sabah Coast in Borneo Island.

Highlights – This is a very remote island, as it located in highly deep waters. The diving spots are close to 2000m deep. There is a naval base here and tourists are prohibited from entering into this area. There are lots of restrictions for tourists in these waters, due to which marine life is well-preserved. You will be able to spot Hammerhead sharks, whale sharks and abundant coral reefs here. Scuba diving is the main activity here, with the island providing maximum depths of up to 40m. Some famous diving spots in Layang Layang are Crack Reef, D-Wall, The Point, Pier Diving, Dog Tooth Liar and Wrasse Strip.

Location – 300km towards the north the Sabah Coast, Borneo Island.

Timings – March to August.

Price – Depends on the package.
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Mount Kinabalu

Hiking is one of the prominent adventure activities in Malaysia. Mount Kinabalu is one of the well-known destinations for climbing enthusiasts. It is a perfect representation of beauty of Borneo Island.

Highlights – With its excellent species of flora and fauna, Mount Kinabalu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most popular hiking destinations in the world.



Facts – It takes around 5 hours to trek from Mount Kinabalu to Panalaban, This is the tallest mountain in South East Asia. Hikers must get permits for Sabah Parks & accommodation in Panalaban in advance. Starting point is Timpohon Gate and the ending point for hikers is Kinabalu National Park. Asia’s first Low Peak Circuit is available here.

Timings – The months between February and April are the best to climb Mount Kinabalu, as the climate is pleasant then.

Fee – Climb permit for local adults and kids – RM53 and RM31.80 respectively; for international adults and kids – RM212 and RM84.80 respectively.


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Bohey Dulang Beach

Bohey Dulang Island is a mountainous island forged by the remains of an ancient volcano. The southern side of the lagoon is open but just below the surface is a protracted stretch of reef which represents the southern cratered fringe. The island is best known for its spectacular views at the top of its peak. It is possible to trail around the island at low tide by following the narrow edges of the beach and mangroves, although this involves scrambling over rocks or through vegetation's.

Highlights: Prepare to be greeted by a host of tropical flora and fauna during the arduous but rewarding hiking trail to the top of Bohey Dulang Peak. Majestic views of the sapphire blue lagoon await those who make it through the hour long climb.

How to Get There: Bohey Dulang is located about 35 minutes by boat from Semporna, 20 minutes from Pom Pom, 30 minutes from Mataking and 1.5 hours from Mabul.

 

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Sapi Island

Sapi Island is one of the most beautiful Island in the whole Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Though the island is smaller as compared to the Manukan Island, but you can still find a good crowd here. If ever visiting these islands, Sapi Island is a must visit and you cannot afford to miss it. One, must try activity on the island is the “Scuba-Doo” mini submarine experience, which is a little motorbike style submarine to do a sea walk.

 

 Location: Sapi Island is one of the five Islands that make up the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine park and is just at a distance of 15 minutes from the Kota Kinabalu.

How to reach: The Sapi Island can easily be reached from Kota Kinabalu via two ways: Either you can take the hourly ferry from the Jesselton Pier or you can reach Sapi Island from the Sutera Harbor.

Price: You have to pay an entry fees of 10 MYR per adult on the island. 

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Manukan Island Resort

The Manukan Island Resort is a luxury private island resort. This serene retreat offers exquisite accommodation, sophisticated cuisine and unparalleled water sport activities in one of the most pristine corner of the world. Manukan Island is surrounded by a protected coral reef, and the island boasts a pristine rainforest and beautiful white sand beaches.




Location: Manukan Island, 88100 Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia


Highlights: This resort features an outdoor pool, a restaurant and spacious villas with private terraces and dining areas. The resort offers a wide range of activities such as diving, snorkeling and trekking. For views of marine life, glass-bottomed boat rides are available.


Price: Approximate price for a room starts at 700 MYR.


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Poring Hot Springs

You can never say you have visited the Kota Kinabalu until you have swung over the Poring Hot Springs. It is one of the most liked places by the locals as it has perfect spots where you can de-stress, soak the sores and aches of your muscles inside the hot sulphuric minerals springs, which are said to have the healing properties. Apart from the Poring Hot Springs, there are various other interesting places, which include the butterfly farm, tropical gardens, the Poring canopy walkway, Poring Orchid Conservation Center and the Rafflesia flower site.

 

Location: The Poring Hot Springs is around 136 KM from the Kota Kinabalu city.

How to reach: You can either take a direct bus, which will cost you around 16 MYR per person or a taxi, which will cost you around 160 MYR, from the Kota Kinabalu. 

Price: The entry fees to Poring Hot Springs is approximately 15 MYR.

Timings: 7 AM to 6 PM

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Observation Tower

Along the roads to the Atkinson Clock Tower, the Signal Hill Observatory Platform has a great view of the East side of downtown KK. The view has a mix of old and modern buildings of KK and out to the ocean with islands. It is the main financial and shopping district of KK where the major banks and the attractions were located.

 

 Location: Located in the west coast division of Kota Kinabalu.

 How to Reach: Just a couple of minutes’ drive from Padang Merdeka will bring you to the airy deck where you can get amazing views that extend to the outlying islands.

 Timings: Open daily from 8 AM to 12 PM.

 

 

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Mantanani Island

Mantantani Island ( a group of 3 islands) is a paradise for ornithologists as different species of birds come here during the migratory period.

Highlights – Mantanani Besar, Mantanani Kecil and Lungisan are the 3 islands that make up this group. The beach of this island runs up to 2500m. The island itself is shaped like a knife and provides great opportunities for marine life viewing up to 40m in depth. One of the major beauties of this island is that it is not visited much by tourists. Therefore, you can view the unspoilt beauty of the island in its fullest form when you come here. Do not miss to see the Scops Owl when you come here, as it is the only place in Sabah where you will get this chance.



Location – Sabah State, north Borneo Island.

 Timings – April to November.

Price – Activities start from RM20 per person
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A'Famosa Theme Park

Looking to rush to a water park during the harsh summers? A’Famosa Theme Park is the place where you have to head to, with your families and friends and splash away to glory to beat the scorching heat.



Highlights
– This is believed to the biggest theme park in Malaysia and contains a lot of entertaining game pool and water slides that provide you highly thrilling experiences of your lifetime. If you are tired of playing water games, you can relax at the white sands here and enjoy some serene blissful moments.

Location –
Simpang Ampat, Malacca. Activities – Arabian Villages, Kids’ Adventure Play Pool, Sandy Beach, Lazy River, Wave Pool, Inner Tube Slides, Family Raft Drive, High Speed Slides, Body Slides, Splash and many more.

Price –
Water Park plus lunch rates are RM43 and RM 38 for adults and kids respectively on weekdays; it is RM49 and RM43 for adults and kids respectively on weekends.

Timings –
11AM to 7PM (Monday to Friday) and 9AM to 7PM (Weekends, School & Public Holidays).
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Kota Kinabalu City Mosque

Kota Kinabalu City Mosque is the second most important mosque in the whole Kota Kinabalu after the State Mosque, located in Sembulan. It is a perfect blend of modern and Islamic architecture and can hold more than 12,000 people in a single time. The architecture of the mosque highly resembles the Nabawi Mosque in Medina. The man-made lagoons surrounding the mosque gives its visitors an elegant and dramatic look, especially on a full moon night and is the largest mosque in Kota Kinabalu.


 Location: The mosque is just 3 KM from the main Kota Kinabalu City and is easily accessible.

 How to reach: Either you can take a local taxi, which will cost you around 15 MYR per way or you can take Bus No. 5A from the front of Hotel Shangri-La, which will cost you around 1.50 MYR per  person per way.

 Timings: 8 AM to 5 PM (Fridays closed)

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Kokol Hill

If you are done visiting the islands and beaches and are looking for some scenic beauty in the Kota Kinabalu, Kokol Hill is a place you must go. It is a place, which can give you a perfect view of Mount Kinabalu and you can also enjoy a serene and elegant sunset with your someone special. The place is a must visit, especially if you are looking some quiet time, away from the hustle and bustle of the city amidst hills and close to the nature. You can even spend some great nights over the Kokol Hill as there are various home stays and resorts allowing you to enjoy the weather and scenic beauty of the place.


How to reach: The Kokol Hill is just a 1-hour drive from the main Kota Kinabalu city

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Gaya Street Sunday Market

Also known as the Sunday market, Gaya Street should be in every traveller’s bucket list. The place has been of importance to the traders for over a hundred years. It’s the perfect place for those who want to tour the local markets. Tourists can buy a variety of things like, authentic Malaya ingredients, a large variety of sea food, Malayan art and craft etc.




Highlights: If you are looking to buy some souvenirs to take back home, then this is the correct place to do so. People can also find traditional Malaysian artifacts. If you are a food lover, then you can explore the various ingredients for authentic Malaysian cuisines.


Location: It is located in the center of the city; hence people can stroll down to this place. The market is well connected with the public transport as well, so reaching there is not a problem.


Timing: The best time to visit the market is during the daytime on Sundays.

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Pulau Kapalai Beach

Beautifully impressive and romantic but the island is actually a sand bank island and is one of the most enchanting islands in Sabah Borneo. What makes this beach special is that the resort is a stand-alone unit with no one else around it. Usually when the tide is down, the sand bank becomes a spectacular beach, otherwise, they have an elevated man-made beach deck with special white sand where you can chill.

 

  Highlights: This private island is well known as the romantic paradise for special honeymooners and exclusive private weddings.

  How to Get There: The unique Kapalai Island stands above a huge sand bank which is about 1 hour by boat from Semporna in east coast Sabah. It is also a 10 minute boat ride from the well-known  Mabul Island.

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