TOP 10 ATTRACTIONS IN KOTA KINABALU
KK TIMES SQUAREHome of Kota Kinabalu’s finest night clubs, fine diners, boutique hotels and offices, KK Times Square buzzes day and night as one of the popular hangouts in the city. Strategically located at central business district within the prestigious neighborhood, KK Times Square is dubbed as Kota Kinabalu’s New York, thanks to its reputation as the city’s best entertainment hub.
GAYA STREET SUNDAY MARKET
The centuries old Gaya Street was previously known as Bond Street – nostalgia and generations-old family business stood the test of time and still running to this day. The length of Gaya Street is closed off to traffic to make way for the Gaya Street Sunday Market from 6.30AM to 1PM. Those well acquainted with Gaya Street Sunday Market and the bargains available exclusively at weekend street markets will relish shopping at the historic bazaar. From house ware to pets, plants to jewelries, handicrafts to pastries, footwear to herbs, antiques to fruits and many others – all available at a bargain.
If you are looking for a seaside dining slash hangout experience, look no further than The Waterfront; situated along Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, the esplanade is a beautiful walkway of bistros, cafes, restaurants and clubs. Opt for a gorgeous sunset meal at any of the restaurants, have a flavorful meal at Kohinoor North Indian Restaurant, or indulge at Toscani’s fusion food cuisine. Spectacular during sunset and boisterous at night, The Waterfront is also popular among party-goers – dance your night away at BED (Best Entertainment Destination), one of the biggest dance clubs in Sabah or “chillax” at any of the chic and stylish after-hours hangouts; Cock & Bull, Shamrock, Spinoza and many others. But that’s not all The Waterfront has to offer as it is also home to Borneo Trading Post, perfect for dedicated souvenir hunters.
TANJUNG ARU BEACH
Famed for its magnificent sunset and sunrise view, Tanjung Aru Beach adopted its name from the casuarinas (aru trees) that grow in an abundance along the beach and has been dubbed as Kota Kinabalu’s most loved destination for outdoor social gatherings for locals and visitors alike.
Bask in the sun, stroll or cycle along the sandy beach or around the park, skate and blade at the mini skateboarding arena, or enjoy performances by street buskers* while you munch on fresh or pickled fruits available at the food court. Food stalls serving local delicacies are open until late at night, be spoiled for choices as you visit one stall after another – enjoy fresh coconut and sugarcane juice, chicken or beef satay, local fruit smoothies and other delectable dishes.
If you’re after a fine dining experience or wanting to chill with your friends and your favorite cocktails, head down to Aru Bar and enjoy the breeze and good music playing in the background. As Kota Kinabalu is renowned for its fresh seafood affair and it’s only fitting that Tanjung Aru Beach to host its very own seafood restaurant! Sink your teeth into scrumptious seafood servings offered by Tanjung Aru Seafood Restaurant.
THE GREEN CONNECTION
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Take a unique guided journey through limestone caves, dense jungles, mangrove area, coral reefs of Sipadan, the Northern Tip of Borneo and Tiga Island at The Green Connection, a family-friendly conservation centre dedicated to conserve and educate the public about Sabah’s aquatic biodiversity and the importance of nature and wildlife conservation through fun and interactive activities.
Visit the freshwater aquariums hall and discover all there is to know about the aquamarines’ magnificent habitat, Kinabatangan River, the Bornean mangrove, lake and pond and the paddy fields – witness how the variety of fish species and other wildlife communicate and live with each other.
Celebrated as the largest coral tank in South East Asia, decked with man-made coral reefs (bio-rock made of coral rubbles, cement and popcorns), it houses big and small fishes some of the most spectacular species (bamboo shark, marble ray, cowtail stingray, black-tipped reef shark, blue spotted ray, guitar shark, striped catfish among others) and if you are daring enough, take a dive into the coral tank during the feeding time.
KAMPUNG NELAYAN FLOATING SEAFOOD MARKET RESTAURANT
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Witness, experience and take part in live traditional dance performances and ritual performed and demonstrated by the “1Malaysia Cultural and Variety Show” as you dine at Kota Kinabalu’s only lakeside floating seafood restaurant set within a lush botanical park. Picturesque by day and breath taking at night, the traditional Malay architecture only adds to the charm of the floating restaurant. Kampung Nelayan Floating Seafood Market Restaurant serves an abundance of only the freshest seafood, meat, vegetable and wine, as well as beautifully arranged and well prepared ala-carte and steamboat set menus, all served by attentive and friendly staff.
Although Kampung Nelayan Floating Seafood Market Restaurant is an open air eatery, VIP rooms complete with KTV facilities are also available upon request and advanced booking.
RUMAH TERBALIK (UPSIDE DOWN HOUSE)
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Have you ever imagine what’s life like if everything turns upside down? First of its kind in South East Asia and among the five upside-down structures in the world (3 in Europe and 1 in Japan), Rumah Terbalik Tamparuli has spawned thousands of visitors ever since it first opened its doors to the public in February 2012. Furnished with Sabahan décor, everything from the house itself to the furniture and the garage is upside down, Rumah Terbalik has been honored by the Malaysia Book of Records Records for being the first of its kind in the nation. First time visitors may feel nauseous for the first few minutes before the enchantment of the house takes over. Also available at the Rumah Terbalik are meals and afternoon snacks as well as a souvenir gift shop and guided tours.
TUNKU ABDUL RAHMAN PARK
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A popular gateway for travelers from around the world, Kota Kinabalu is also a major diving and snorkeling destination - Tunku Abdul Rahman Park which is a cluster of five beautiful islands namely Gaya Island, Sapi Island, Manukan Island, Mamutik Island and Sulug Island. All islands are easily accessible from the city, with a 10 - 20 minute speedboat ride from the jetty.
Best characterized by the islands’ clear shallow waters, breathtaking coral gardens and white sandy beaches, the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park is a favorite amongst many divers. For novice divers and those who enjoy snorkeling in shallow water, the current is soft and reefs are visible, making it a perfect destination for all types of beach lovers. Seawalking and other water sport activities are also available. Tunku Abdul Rahman Park is open daily from 8.30AM to 5PM.
KK WETLANDS CENTRE
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First designated as a bird sanctuary in 1996 by the Sabah government, Kota Kinabalu Wetlands Centre (formerly Kota Kinabalu City Bird Sanctuary) is located at Likas, just 10 minutes from the city centre. The 24-hectare patch of mangrove forest was declared a State Cultural Heritage Site in 1988 for its dedication to create awareness and support from the general public on the importance of mangroves (and other wetland ecosystems) through conservation, educational programmes, recreational activities, tourism and research activities.
Almost 80 species of birds have been identified at the sanctuary and commonly sighted birds include migratory species like the sandpiper, Greenshank, Redshank, egrets and herons as well as canopy birds such as collared kingfisher and stork-billed kingfisher. KK Wetlands Centre is also home to lizards, fiddler crabs, mudskippers, weaver ants, butterflies and other insects, jellyfish, water snakes and mud lobsters. Both kids and adults would have a great time exploring the wetlands so if you have time this weekend, don’t forget to bring your family and friends to visit!