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Best Things To Do in Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu, located in the northern region of the island of Borneo is a unique coastal destination which is partly covered by rainforests. With the best Things to do in Kota Kinabalu, it offers the unique blended experience of enjoying the sea as well as the rich floral and faunal diversity at the same time. It also effectively preserves the cultural history of mankind in the region as displayed through museums , architecture and its cultural village. A city like none other, Kota Kinabalu derives its name from the mountain of the same name located to its east and is the capital city of Sabah in Malaysia.

Geographically, Kota Kinabalu stands on a flat land between the Crocker Range to the east and  the South China Sea to the west. There are five islands opposite to the city ( Sapi, Mamutik, Gaya, Sulug and Manukan) which form a major site of tourist attraction, they together form the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park. It is a popular recreational spot for tourists. The rainforests fringing the city have a certain section set aside for a Bird Sanctuary. Bird watchers find the region no less than a paradise for their activity of special interest.

Historically, Kota Kinabalu has much to offer to the tourists. The Padang Merdeka marks the spot where Sabah’s independence and establishment of Malaysia  took place. The Petagas War Memorial reminds one of the attack and assault of the Japanese during the Second World War.

Kota Kinabalu also has many leisure spots and conserved areas. Anjung Samudra, Tanjung Aru beach are a few which comes to mind in the context. Hiking, jogging, snorkelling are all on the offer list in this remarkable city. If there ever was a city with inclusivity as agenda for tourists and the best Things to do in Kota Kinabalu, then this is undeniably a destination which has something for everyone.

Popular Packages

Package Name Duration Price Rating Details
Mantanani Island Snorkeling & Kawa Kawa River Cruise @ 15% off 1D ₹ 6800 4.0 star View Details
Kota Kinabalu City Day Tour, Sabah @ Flat 17% off 2 Hrs ₹ 1499 5.0 star View Details
Day Trip to Tunku Abdul Rahman Isalnd with Boat Snorkeling Experience 7 Hrs ₹ 2900 4.0 star View Details
Kinabalu Park & Poring Hot Spring Tour, Sabah @ Flat 15% off 9 Hrs ₹ 2580 5.0 star View Details
Ulu Ulu Spa in Kota Kinabalu Flat 20% off 1 Hrs ₹ 2590 4.0 star View Details
  • Featured
    Mantanani Island Snorkeling & Kawa Kawa River Cruise @ 15% off
    l
    Kota Kinabalu
    d1 Day

    About Mantanani Island:Mantanani island Sabah is one of the most picturesque yet-to-be-explored destination Malaysian state that brims with pristine beaches, thick-wooded rainforests, abundant coral reefs, and diverse marine life. Sabah is one of the best spots for snork...

    Very Good 4.0
    32 ratings

    Starting from

    15% OFF

    6800


    8010

    Cashback 300*

  • Featured
    Kota Kinabalu City Day Tour, Sabah @ Flat 17% off
    l
    Kota Kinabalu
    h2 Hours

    Situated in the enticing island of Borneo, Kota Kinabalu city is a one-stop destination for peace seekers. The city has derived its name from its highest hill, Mount Kinabalu. Whether you want to explore its cultural treasures like Kota Kinabalu City Mosque or delve into...

    Excellent 5.0
    27 ratings

    Starting from

    17% OFF

    1499


    1816

  • Featured
    Day Trip to Tunku Abdul Rahman Isalnd with Boat Snorkeling Experience
    l
    Kota Kinabalu
    h7 Hours

    Get ready to spend a day which will be filled with thrill and fun while you enjoy a trip to this amazing island and relish the boat snorkeling experience. You will be stepping into a different world as you embark on the beautiful islands of Manukan, Mamutik, Sapi, and Ga...

    Very Good 4.0
    40 ratings

    Starting from

    2900


    Cashback 150*

  • Featured
    Kinabalu Park & Poring Hot Spring Tour, Sabah @ Flat 15% off
    l
    Kota Kinabalu
    h9 Hours

    About the tour: Visit the national park that surrounds Mount Kinabalu on a Kinabalu Park & Poring Hot Spring Tour and experience Malaysia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. This day tour for a personalized experience, so you have plenty of time to hike nature trails, so...

    Excellent 5.0
    23 ratings

    Starting from

    15% OFF

    2580


    3040

    Cashback 100*

  • Featured
    Ulu Ulu Spa in Kota Kinabalu Flat 20% off
    l
    Kota Kinabalu
    h1 Hour

    Enjoy a relaxing experience while you are vacating in Malaysia by visiting this amazing Spa in Kota Kinabalu. This place is classified as a 5-star spa chain by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture Malaysia. Get ready to treat yourself to a well-deserved spa day and en...

    Very Good 4.0
    27 ratings

    Starting from

    20% OFF

    2590


    3240

  • Featured
    Weston Wetlands Monkey, Sunset & Fireflies Cruise, Sabah
    l
    Kota Kinabalu
    h6 Hours

    About the Activity:The Weston Wetlands experience is a 6-hour long guided of Weston Wetlands, natural wonders of northern BorneoThe trip includes spectacular views, close proximity to the natural flora and fauna and scrumptious Asian foodThe activity includes free pickup...

    Excellent 5.0
    34 ratings

    Starting from

    17% OFF

    2890


    3482

  • Featured
    Sepanggar Island Day Tour, Sabah @ Flat 19% off
    l
    Kota Kinabalu
    h7 Hours

    About the Activity:The Sepanggar Island Sabah Tour is a 7 hours 30 minutes long guided tour from Kota Kinabalu City to the island of MengalumWith this tour, you can explore the farthest corners of Sabah and treat yourself to the natural landscapes and wealth of nature-ba...

    Excellent 5.0
    32 ratings

    Starting from

    19% OFF

    3350


    4180

    Cashback 150*

  • Featured
    Kawa Wetland River Cruise in Malaysia Flat 10% off
    l
    Kota Kinabalu
    h8 Hours

    Kawa Kawa is located at Kota Belud, and if you are a nature lover, this is a good choice for you to explore the original mangrove.In more than an hour's car ride away, you will enjoy the afternoon tea with local famous "Penjaram" pastries. After the meal, the tour guide ...

    Very Good 4.0
    23 ratings

    Starting from

    10% OFF

    1950


    2170

    Cashback 100*

  • Featured
    Coral Flyer Zipline Experience and Sapi Island Snorkeling in Kota Kinabalu
    l
    Kota Kinabalu
    h6 Hours

    If in Sabah, you cannot choose to miss the five-island natural complex named, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. White sand coastlines and sunny weather are enough to soothe your soul. To make the experience worth cherishing the travel to the two most visited islands would be done...

    Very Good 4.0
    35 ratings

    Starting from

    20% OFF

    5500


    6910

  • Featured
    Snorkeling or Diving Experience in Moon Bay from Kota Kinabalu
    l
    Kota Kinabalu
    h9 Hours

    It's time to snorkel deep into the sea and witness the stunning ocean life all around you. Walk down the fine sand beach of Moon Bay while enjoying the majestic view of the sea and get a chance to swim among a variety of colorful marine species during your scuba diving e...

    Very Good 4.0
    39 ratings

    Starting from

    20% OFF

    4350


    5500

  • Featured
    Borneo Night Cultural Show with Dinner in Kota Kinabalu Flat 20% off
    l
    Kota Kinabalu
    h1 Hour

    Feel the heartbeat of Kota Kinabalu as you walk some of the city’s landmarks before putting your bargaining skills to the test at the Night Market. Enjoy a delicious dinner featuring an array of Malaysian cuisine. The evening’s entertainment is a lively presentation of t...

    Good 3.0
    27 ratings

    Starting from

    20% OFF

    2900


    3640

  • Featured
    Mantanani Island Scuba Diving Experience Flat 20% off
    l
    Kota Kinabalu
    h11 Hours

    Mantanani Island is a group of three isolated islands, located northwest of Kota Belud. This island features crystal clear blue waters filled with a myriad of marine life and white sandy beaches surrounded by coconut palm trees. Due to its picturesque scenery, cool breez...

    Very Good 4.0
    40 ratings

    Starting from

    20% OFF

    6400


    8000

    Cashback 300*

  • l
    Kota Kinabalu
    h6 Hours

    About the Activity: This sport is designed for non-certified enthusiasts who are keen to experience the amazing world of marine lifeGet picked up from SunnyReef diving shop in Kota Kinabalu at around 8.30 AM and proceed to the activity location.After reaching you wi...

    Good 3.0
    31 ratings

    Starting from

    9639


    Cashback 1800*

  • Best Seller
    Kiulu White Water River Rafting, Sabah @ Flat 18% off
    l
    Kota Kinabalu
    h5 Hours

    About White water rafting:-    Kiulu Water Rafting is great for beginners as well as for children, thus a great activity for bonding with friends and family.-    A trained guide will lead you through the many rapids and cascading river water. Experience the 7km long raft...

    Very Good 4.0
    38 ratings

    Starting from

    18% OFF

    2627


    3204

  • Best Seller
    Padas White Water Rafting, Sabah @ Flat 18% off
    l
    Kota Kinabalu
    h12 Hours

    About White Water Rafting:Padas White Water Rafting is a thrilling opportunity for adrenaline junkies to experience a 10-kilometer long rafting experience in the rapids of the Padas riverThe whole experience lasts for about 12 hours and 40 minutes and includes a long and...

    Excellent 5.0
    31 ratings

    Starting from

    18% OFF

    2590


    3159

Attractions

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Sapi Island

The smallest yet most enticing island in Malaysia, Sapi Island welcomes you with a potpourri of adrenaline activities. From sea-walking to scuba diving, snorkelling to coral flying, there are several activities which will make you fall in love with this charismatic island.

With its sandy beaches, azure waters, dense forests, and rich aquatic life, Sapi is no short of a wonder. On the weekends, the island bustles with life as a large number of natives and outsiders flock this destination. Hence, if you want to experience serenity, visit here during the weekdays.

Location: Sapi Island, Sabah, Malaysia

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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

Are you a wildlife enthusiast looking for an ideal location to spot vibrant wildlife of Sabah? If yes, then Tabin Wildlife Reserve is an apt place to visit in Sabah. A tourist spot enveloped with immense natural beauty, Tabin reserve welcomes you with a bundle of priceless experiences.

It is spread across an area of 1120 Sq Km which remains covered with mangrove forest.  The most important animal species found in the reserve include gibbons, elephants, macaques, red-leaf monkeys, and orangutans. On your visit to Tabin Wildlife, soak in the charm of its natural surroundings or spend your time capturing its exotic wildlife in your camera.

Location: Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia

Entry fee: There is no entrance fee for getting inside Tabin Wildlife Reserve

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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

If you want to experience adventure amidst mesmerising Borneo Island, there can’t be a better Sabah tourist place for you than Mount Kinabalu. Standing at an altitude of 4095 metres, Mount Kinabalu is the tallest peak in Malaysia.

This World Heritage site is known for its exotic flora and fauna which adds to the fun of hiking. Mount Kinabalu trek is a 5-hour long journey which takes you through spectacular landscapes to Panalaban. On your hiking trip, don’t forget to get up early and witness the panoramic sunset view from the hilltop.

Location: West Coast, Sabah, Malaysia

Entry fee: RM 120 per person

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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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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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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.


Ask a Question

Traveller Tales From Kota Kinabalu

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Chandani Guha

08 July 2019

Snokerling is one of the best experience of my life till now. Superb day out with amazing experience

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Hiranya Shukla

08 July 2019

This is an offbeat but one of the most wonderful destinations in Malaysia. Enjoyed here a lot!

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Damodara Bharadwaj

08 July 2019

guide was good, helpful and professional highlight of the trip is the fireflies.

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Devi Marar

08 July 2019

This was the best so far from my other water rafting experiences and our guide is very cheerful, easy going and friendly.

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Chitraksh Pandey

08 July 2019

It was indeed a very different experience for me especially the visit to the Butterfly farm.

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Aishani Bhat

08 July 2019

Our guide was superb and knowledgable. He was funny yet professional. In all, it was an amazing experience. Would definitely recommend!!

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Vishnu Ahuja

08 July 2019

What a great experience to see the endemic proboscis monkeys of Borneo in just a two hour drive from Kota Kinabalu. The firefly display was also magical.

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Chandramohan Bandopadhyay

08 July 2019

Overall the trip was good. We thoroughly enjoyed the snorkelling part and Jetty transfers.

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Balamani Iyengar

08 July 2019

It is one of the best place for all water sports activities. The rates are also normal. Not on higher side.

Other Listings in Kota Kinabalu

What You Should Know More About Things To Do in Kota Kinabalu

  • Q. What are the adventure activities to do in Kota Kinabalu?

    Adventure in Kota Kinabalu almost ranges with the varied personality of the

    landscape. From exploring the tropical rainforests to surfing the sea and

    exploring the depths of the ocean, Kota Kinabalu has a range of activities in

    store. A few to name in this context are as follows:

    • Snorkelling
    • Hiking
    • Quad Biking Tour in Kiulu
    • Coral FLyer Zipline Adventure at Tunku Abdul Rahman Park
    • Sea Walking adventure
    • Indoor climbing

  • Q. What are some of the best things to do in Kota Kinabalu?

    The best things to do in Kota Kinabalu can be seen in terms of best activities for

    nature lovers, adventure sports lovers, history lovers, etc. To prepare a list of few

    of the best activities from each category, the must do list stands as follows:

    • Visit Pulau Tiga
    • Cycle through the city
    • Enjoy steamed buns at old kopitiam
    • Visit Grand Illusions
    • White Water Raft at Kiulu
    • Conquer fear of heights at Zip Borneo
    • Mountain Biking Excursions at Kiulu
    • Day trip to Ranau
    • Enjoy natural beauty of Bukit Padang
    • Jog at Perdana Park
    • Visit the tip of Borneo at Kudat
    • Visit Marine Museum
    • Visit Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park
    • Picnic at Tanjung Aru

  • Q. Where can we go for fishing in Kota Kinabalu?

    The Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park is a good spot for fishing. It is advisable

    to book leisure fishing tours to make the most of the experience. There are many

    tour operators who arrange for such packages for tourists.

     

  • Q. Which are best places for water rides in Kota Kinabalu?

    Water rides are very popular in Kota Kinabalu and forms one of the crowning

    experiences in overall tourism experience. The best place for water rides is the

    Water World Theme Park in Kota Kinabalu. Besides the Water World Theme Park,

    one can enjoy jet skiing at Mangrove Eco Safari and Langkawi, fly fish ride at the

    Abdul Rahman Marine Park and Banana boat ride at The Abdul Rahman Marine

    Park.

  • Q. What are the most romantic things to do on a honeymoon in Kota Kinabalu?

    Honeymoon in Kota Kinabalu can be an experience encompassing quite some

    variety of activities. At the very outset, the city offers a number of world class

    hotels to check into where everything from marvellous local and international

    cuisine to rejuvenating spas are offered. There are resorts with golf courses and

    provisions of other activities such as tennis and swimming pools to add to the

    luxury. Once one steps out of the hotel, the broad walks, markets and the

    beaches are good places to go for a casual stroll as the dusk rolls on to

    welcome the night. Further, the city offers activities ranging from safari to water

    sports, history walk to just plain cycling through the city and meeting locals. For

    the party lovers, the nightlife of Kota Kinabalu promises all the fun as any

    nightlife friendly city would offer.Complete with late night walks on the beach

    besides a few drinks at the local bars, a day in Kota Kinabalu can never end

    without the lingering aftertaste of a day well spent and a romance fully lived for

    that day itself.

  • Q. Where can we go for a wildlife safari in Kota Kinabalu?

    Kota Kinabalu is blessed with abundant rainforests and hosts a number of wild

    animals and plants. Few of the most popular places for wildlife safari around the

    city are as follows:

    • Kilas RIver and Nature wildlife tour
    • Lok Kawi WIldlife Park
    • Kinabalu Park Canopy Walkway and Poring Hot Springs tour
    • Sandakan Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Center

  • Q. Which places are best for scuba diving and snorkeling in Kota Kinabalu?

    Kota Kinabalu is famous for watersports and diving experiences in and around

    beaches. A few of the most popular places for scuba diving and snorkeling are

    as follows:

    • Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park
    • Gaya Island
    • Sapi Island

  • Q. Which are best cruising experiences in Kota Kinabalu?

    Cruising experiences are very popular amongst tourists as it accords the sight to

    the sea as well as the varied landscape of the shoreline half immersed in dense

    Rainforests. Few of the most popular cruising experiences are as follows:

    • Sutera Harbour, North Borneo cruise
    • Nippon Maru cruise
    • Mv Mega Bhakti cruise

  • Q. Where can we go for paragliding in Kota Kinabalu?

    Paragliding is an exciting sport which when conducted from just the right spot

    and elevation, can be an experience of a lifetime. In Kota Kinabalu, the Kokol

    hills are the most popular site for paragliding.

  • Q. Where can we go for zip lining in Kota Kinabalu?

    Ziplining can be best enjoyed while partaking in the ride from Gaya island to Sapi

    Island. It is an exciting experience where one gets to zip over the clear turquoise

    waters from one island to the other.

  • Q. Where to experience parasailing in Kota Kinabalu?

    Parasailing is an activity which can be enjoyed both in Tunku Abdul Rahman

    Marine Park as well as on Sapi Island.

  • Q. What are the best nightlife experiences in Kota Kinabalu?

    Kota Kinabalu has a reputed nightlife with world class bars and pubs, restaurants

    for the night owls amongst tourists. A few of the most popular places to go to for

    the evenings are as follows:

    • The Shamrock irish Bar
    • El Centro
    • Sunset Bar
    • M- Cubed Bar
    • Sullys Bar
    • Shenanigan's
    • Cock and Bull Bistro
    • Q Bar
    • Moretune

  • Q. Which are the best areas to try out the street food in Kota Kinabalu?

    Street food in Kota Kinabalu gives one a taste of local lifestyle and is a must

    have if one intends to experience first hand, every bit of life in the city. Few of the

    most popular street food joints are as follows:

    • Shoney’s Kitchen and Bar
    • Mad Ben Cafe
    • Tavern kitchen and Bar
    • KK Food Street
    • Yee Fung Restaurant
    • Little Italy
    • Fong Ip Cafe
    • Gusto Food and Wine
    • Sri Latha Curry House
    • Yuit Cheong