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  • Kota Kinabalu, the major part of Malaysia, is truly divine and exotic tourist spot. Kota Kinabalu not only overwhelms you with its beauty, but it also makes you fall in love with its friendly locals, rich culinary spectrums and breath-taking fiery sunsets. These are the places to visit in Kota Kinabalu.

    One won’t consider cultural villages as a tourist destination, but Mari Mari Cultural Village can change your perception. Home of many Sabahan ethnic communities, it will give you the chance to see blowpipe making, fire starting & tattooing. Friendly locals will surely make you fall in love with this village.

    Do you want to challenge your determination, will power and physical strength? Then you should go for breath-taking adventure of Mt Kinabalu. The feeling of accomplishment which you get after conquering one of the highest peaks in South East Asia will surely elevate your spirits and make you feel on top of the world. 

    Here are some of the Best places to visit in Kota Kinabalu:

  • 01Shangri-La's Orangutan Care Project, Kota Kinabalu

    Shangri-La's Orangutan Care Project, Kota Kinabalu

    If you are wildlife enthusiast and love exploring new places, which promote wildlife and its conservation, Shangri-La’s Orangutan Care Project is one that you cannot miss. The project is dedicated to the rehabilitation and care of Orangutans.

     It allows the common people to get the deeper insights into the lives of these amazing creatures. You can spend quality time with the Orangutans, get very close to them and even take memorable snapshots.

    During your tour, you will be acquainted about the lives of Orangutan through the short videos, both before and after the tour. After the video, you are escorted to the feeding platform, where you are allowed to feed these lovely Orangutans.

    The complete duration of the tour is around 1-2 hours. The excitement of the tour burgeons especially when your children accompany with you. Apart from the Orangutans, you also get to see a few more varieties of monkeys inside the care project.

     Location: The Orangutan Care Project is located at Pantai Dalit Tuaran in Kota Kinabalu. 

  • 02Lok Kawi Wildlife Park

    Lok Kawi Wildlife Park

    If the wild animals and wildlife fascinates you then Lok Kawi Wildlife Park in Kinabalu, Malaysia is a must visit place for you. Started in 2007 and developed by the Sabah Wildlife Department, the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park primarily consists of two sections: Botanical & Zoological. It is, especially, promoted with the objective to make it a family-oriented park and lot of emphasis is given to the Children’s Zoo. The wildlife park is a home of Borneo Pygmy Elephants, Proboscis monkeys, Malayan tiger, and a few different species of deer. On the other hand, the park also offers the opportunity to its visitors to go for jungle trekking in the botanical trail, which is about 1.4 KM long.

     

     Location: The Lok Kawi Wildlife Park is located on the West Coast Division of Penampang.

     How to Reach: The wildlife park is just 30-45 minutes drive from the Kota Kinabalu, estimated distance is 20 KM. Visitors can take the local taxis, which will cost you around 25-30 MYR per way.

     Timings: 9.30 AM to 5.30 PM

     Price: The entry fees costs approximately 20 MYR per adult.

  • 03Manukan Island Resort

    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.


  • 04Sapi Island

    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. 

  • 05Kota Kinabalu City Mosque

    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)

  • 06Mamutik Island

    Mamutik Island
    Image Credit : neo saed

    In the group of five islands among the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, the Mamutik Island is the second furthest. Though the waters of Mamutik Island is not as clear as the Sapi Island, but you do get to indulge in some amazing water sports activity and some world-class beach side cafes and restaurants serving the lip-smacking Malay and continental cuisines. There are also some beautiful souvenir shops from where you can take some to your family or friends.


    Location: The island is located in the downtown area of Kota Kinabalu and is off the coast. From the hotel Hyatt Regency Kinabalu, you can reach to the Jesselton Jetty point with 2 minute drive or by taking a 10-minute walk from where there are boats available regularly to reach the island.

    Price: You have to pay an entree fees of 10 MYR per person once to get inside the island.

  • 07Tabin Wildlife Reserve

    Tabin Wildlife Reserve
    Image Credit : Mike Prince

    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.

  • 08Kokol Hill

    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

  • 09Poring Hot Springs

    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

  • 10Sabah State Museum

    Sabah State Museum

    The Sabah State Museum is located in the same place where, once, the British North Borneo Governor’s Istana was situated. Built in the year 1985, the museum consists of the Main Building, Science and Education Center, Heritage Village, Sabah Art Gallery and the Museum of Islamic Civilization. The inside of the museum is loaded with many galleries, which include the Natural history, Ceramics, Ethnography and the exhibits of Archaeology. If you love experiencing traditional things, there is a heritage village on the grounds of Museum, which allows you to enter and behold the different vintage and traditional houses of various unique groups from Sabah. The place also organizes the timely cultural activities.


    How to reach: You can take the Bus No. 13 from the main City Hall and the ticket will cost you around 1 MYR per person only.

    Price: The entry fees to the museum is approximately 15 MYR per person.

    Timings: 9 AM to 5 PM

  • 11Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Kota Kinabalu

    Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Kota Kinabalu

    The Tunku Abdul Rahman Park is a group of five different islands, which include Pulau Gaya, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamutik and Pulau Sulug. There are various beach activities that the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park organizes. However, all these beach activities require a prior booking.

    You can also indulge in various water sports like snorkeling, scuba diving, and witness the beautiful coral and marine life of the island. The island tours can be booked on the spot from where you will take your ferries.

    Location: The Tunku Abdul Rahman Park is just 20 minutes boat ride from the Kota Kinabalu.

    How To Reach: The Jesselton Jetty ferry terminal consistently operates the boats to the Island, which takes around 20 minutes to reach there.

    Price: The approximate cost for the complete tour starts from 53 MYR per adult.

    Timings: 8.30 AM to 5 PM

  • 12Observation Tower

    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.

     

     

  • 13Gaya Street Sunday Market

    Gaya Street Sunday Market
    Image Credit : yumievriwan

    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.


    Image Credits : incanus



    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.

  • 14Mari Mari Cultural Village tour

    Mari Mari Cultural Village tour
    Image Credit : oldandsolo

    What is the point of visiting a place when you don’t understand its local culture and traditions? Explore the Mari Mari village give the travelers a unique chance to learn about the skeptic lifestyle of the local tribes. Grab the wonderful opportunity and gather knowledge about the regional cuisines and the ethnic lifestyle of the people. Witness their hunting skills and their precise fishing techniques.


    Image Credits : oldandsolo



    Highlights:  The settlement inhabits five different kinds of pagans. Learn their hunting skills. Get a chance to relax in the huts during the hot and humid days. Satisfy your taste-buds with mouth watering tribal food.


    Location: The cultural village is isolated modern civilization and deep into the country side of Inanam in Kota Kinabalu.


    Price: Approximately 200 MYR per person.
  • 15Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

    Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

    The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre is yet another place, which is focussed towards the conservation of Orangutans while keeping them in their natural habitat. If you love wildlife and wildlife photography, this is a must visit place as it allows you to get very close to this amazing creature and you are allowed to feed them from the feeding platforms with the help of rangers.


    Image Credits : CarolineG2011



    Location: The Rehabilitation Center is located in the Sandakan town, which is approximately 23 KM from the Kota Kinabalu City center.


    How to reach: You can take the public transport from the Sandakan town, which will cost you around 2.10 MYR per way. You also can hire a taxi, which will cost you around 100 MYR.


    Price: The entry fees starts from around 30 MYR per adult.


    Timings: 8 AM to 5 PM


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.


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Poring Hot Springs

Your Kinabalu tour is incomplete without a visit to Poring Hot Springs. This place is often frequented by locals and tourists who want to release their stress by stepping into the warm sulphuric mineral spring. In addition to Poring Hot Spring, you can also explore tropical gardens, butterfly farm, Poring canopy walkway, Rafflesia flower site and Orchid conservation centre.

With its alluring landscape and relaxing environment, it is one of the most sought-after places to visit in Sabah.

Location: Ranau, Sabah, Malaysia

Timing: 7:00 AM-6:00 PM

Entry fee: MYR 15 per person

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Signal Hill Observatory Tower

Do you want to relish the bird's eye view of Kota Kinabalu? If yes, then head towards Signal Hill Observatory Tower and capture some of the best shots of Sabah. The mesmerising views of Kota Kinabalu, its coastline, and lush green patches from the highest point of the city are totally worth it.

One can also catch a glimpse of Likas Bay, Abdul Rahman Park and Tanjung Aru from this point. The tower can be easily reached by climbing the wooden steps through the dense forests. If you are a nature buff, this is one of the most charismatic places to visit in Sabah.

Location:
Jalan Bukit Bendera, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Entry fee:
Entry into this tower is free of cost.

Timing:
9:00 AM -11:00 PM

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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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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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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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Lok Kawi Wildlife Park

If you are a big-time wildlife buff, this place will certainly appeal to you. Lok Kawi Wildlife Park houses different wildlife species including Malayan Tiger, Borneo Pygmy Elephants, and Proboscis Monkeys. Marking its presence since 2007, this wildlife hub consists of two sections, namely Zoological and Botanical. It is a family-oriented place where you can spend peaceful time with your family or friends amidst natural landscapes.

If you are visiting here along with your kids, explore the Children Zoo and gift them a trip for a lifetime. You can also head for a jungle trek in its botanical trail which is around 1.4 Km long.

Location: Jalan Penampang, Sabha, Malaysia

Timings: 9:30 AM-5:30 PM

Entry fee: The entrance fee for Malaysian adults and Malaysian kids is RM 10 and RM 5, respectively. For foreign adults, the fee is RM 20, while for foreign kids, it is RM 10.

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Mamutik Island

In the group of five islands among the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, the Mamutik Island is the second furthest. Though the waters of Mamutik Island is not as clear as the Sapi Island, but you do get to indulge in some amazing water sports activity and some world-class beach side cafes and restaurants serving the lip-smacking Malay and continental cuisines. There are also some beautiful souvenir shops from where you can take some to your family or friends.


Location: The island is located in the downtown area of Kota Kinabalu and is off the coast. From the hotel Hyatt Regency Kinabalu, you can reach to the Jesselton Jetty point with 2 minute drive or by taking a 10-minute walk from where there are boats available regularly to reach the island.

Price: You have to pay an entree fees of 10 MYR per person once to get inside the island.

Most Popular Places Around Kota Kinabalu

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