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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 Starts From Rating  
  Scuba Diving Day Trip to Tunku Abdul Rahman Park at Kota Kinabalu 6 Hrs ₹ 9639 3.0 star View Details
  Mantanani Island Snorkeling Day Trip 9 Hrs ₹ 3950 4.0 star View Details
  Kiulu Rafting Day Trip and Bbq Lunch from Kota Kinabalu 5 Hrs ₹ 2990 4.0 star View Details
  Day trip to Tunku Abdul Rahman Park in Malaysia. 6 Hrs ₹ 3929 4.0 star View Details
  Padas Rafting Day Trip and Bbq Lunch from Kota Kinabalu 12 Hrs ₹ 3800 3.0 star View Details
  • 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


    Cashback 1800*

  • l
    Kota Kinabalu
    h9 Hours

    About the Activity:Indulge in the amazing snorkelling and scuba diving at Mantanani island in Malaysia.Get picked up from your hotel at around 7 AM in Kota Kinabalu and proceed towards the Rampaian Laut Kota Belud.At around 9 AM, depart for the Island via boat and reach ...

    Very Good 4.0
    32 ratings

    Starting from


    Cashback 1800*

  • l
    Kota Kinabalu
    h5 Hours

    About the Activity:Indulge in this amazing white water rafting activity in the Kiulu River.Get picked up from your hotel in Kota Kinabalu at around 8.30 AM and get transferred to Tamparuli town, which will take around 1 hour and 15 minutes to reach.Start your rafting act...

    Very Good 4.0
    38 ratings

    Starting from


    Cashback 1500*

  • Very Good 4.0
    40 ratings

    Starting from


    Cashback 1800*

  • l
    Kota Kinabalu
    h12 Hours

    About the Activity:Day trip to Padas river in Sabah provides you with a thrilling experience. Rivet in the heart racing activity of white water rafting and satiate your thirst for adventure.Start your tour after getting picked up from your hotel at Kota Kinabalu at about...

    Good 3.0
    31 ratings

    Starting from


    Cashback 1800*

  • l
    Kota Kinabalu
    h3 Hours

    About this Activity:Enthrall in this delightful city tour that provides you with the best views of this vibrant and beautiful city, Kota Kinabalu.Witness a mesmerizing sunset and rivet in the night tour of the city. Get a chance to learn about the local life of the peopl...

    Good 3.0
    27 ratings

    Starting from


    Cashback 1800*

  • l
    Kota Kinabalu
    h7 Hours

    About the Activity:Get picked up from your hotel at around 9 AM and proceed to the Jesselton point jetty via provided transport from where you will be taken to Manukan Island in the boat, which will take around 15 minutes to reach.With its white sandy beaches and clear w...

    Very Good 4.0
    40 ratings

    Starting from


    Cashback 1500*

  • l
    Kota Kinabalu
    h10 Hours

    About the Activity:Delight in the grandeur of Poring Hot Spring comprising of scenic countryside, vegetable farms, roadside stalls and smaller interior towns of Sabah.Get picked up from your hotel at around 8 AM in Kota Kinabalu and proceed to the activity location.Kin...

    Good 3.0
    23 ratings

    Starting from

    3% OFF



    Cashback 1800*

  • l
    Kota Kinabalu
    h4 Hours

    About the Activity:Mari Mari village is located about 25 minutes away from the city. The journey will take you to long roads surrounded by a rich spectrum of greenery and overarched by wild blue skies.Get picked up from your hotel in Kota Kinabalu at around 11 AM and e...

    Very Good 4.0
    28 ratings

    Starting from


    Cashback 1800*

  • l
    Kota Kinabalu
    h6 Hours

    About the Activity:Get picked up from your hotel in Kota Kinabalu at around 8 AM or 12.30 PM (two is available at two time slots) and begin this exciting day trip to Orang Utan Natural Reserve with a 45 minute drive through scenic countryside and industrial estate of Ko...

    Good 3.0
    40 ratings

    Starting from


    Cashback 1800*

  • l
    Kota Kinabalu
    h6 Hours

    About the Activity:Indulge in this exciting 5 hours trip at The Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park and get a chace to witness the stunning beauty of this region.Start you trip from the Lot F6, Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal, Jalan Haji Saman Kota Kinabalu and get transferr...

    Very Good 4.0
    28 ratings

    Starting from


    Cashback 1800*

  • l
    Kota Kinabalu
    h9 Hours


    Good 3.0
    41 ratings

    Starting from


    Cashback 1800*

  • l
    Kota Kinabalu
    h6 Hours

    About the activityThere is no shortage of wonders in Malaysia that will just leave you speechless when you hear of them and will dazzle you with the experience they will leave you with. One such experience is the visit to the underwater observatory aquarium where you can...

    Very Good 4.0
    29 ratings

    Starting from


    Cashback 1800*

  • l
    Kota Kinabalu
    h7 Hours

    About the Activity: Participate in this open water scuba diver course in Malaysia which is conducted over 3 days, which will be taught for 7 hours a day.Get picked up from the Sunny Reef dive shop in Kota Kinabalu at around 8.30 AM and proceed to the activity location.Du...

    Very Good 4.0
    37 ratings

    Starting from


  • l
    Kota Kinabalu
    h8 Hours

    About the Activity:You will be picked up from your hotel at Kota Kianbalu at 7:00 am.Get an exotic view of the country side while you travel from Kota Kinabalu to Weston in Sabah.In two hours you will reach the proud and historic town of Weston in Sabah.Enjoy the scenic ...

    Very Good 4.0
    34 ratings

    Starting from




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).

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.




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.


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.

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.


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.



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.


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

Ask a Question

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


  • 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