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Several excellent beaches are within reach from central KK. Tanjung Aru Beach makes for a fine picnic destination, while Likas Bay Beach along Jalan Tun Fua Stephens offers views of Sepanggar Port and the anchored ships off the coast. Farther afield is Rasa Ria, a private beach exclusively accessed by guests of the luxurious Shangri-La Resort.
Visit the bustling and friendly Filipino Market, and have a seafood buffet in the port at the well-known Port View Restaurant, serving up Kota Kinabalu's freshest catch.
Green Connection Aquarium
Sharks, snakes and turtles can be seen at the Green Connection Aquarium, which has interactive displays, including tanks where guests can touch some of the more docile creatures.
An early morning drive (2-3 hours) from central KK will deliver you to the base of the sacred Mount Kinabalu. At 13,513 feet, it is the largest peak between the Himalayas and Papua New Guinea. The mountain sits in a national park of the same name, and has excellent hiking trails, with ample opportunities to spot rare local flora, such as carnivorous pitcher plants and wild-growing orchids. Stretching from lowland rainforest to alpine meadows, the park was Malaysia's first World Heritage site, recognized for its rare ecological wealth. Spend the day hiking through the terrain surrounding the peak, or, alternatively, hike to the mountain's summit. (This requires two days with an overnight stay at the Laban Rata mountain hut maintained by the park.) The striking granite peaks of Kinabalu will be a long-remembered highlight of your trip to Borneo.
Museum of Islamic Civilisation
The Museum of Islamic Civilisation offers an historical look at Islamic influence on Malaysia. Islamic art, writings and religious artifacts all form an interesting mosaic that has been ingrained in Malaysian society.
Petagas War Memorial
The Petagas War Memorial is a must-see for World War II history buffs. It has been set up to remember and honor the 176 Kinabalu Militia who engaged in the “Double Tenth Revolt” on October 10th, 1943 against the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces. All of the attackers were summarily executed by the Japanese.
Poring Hot Springs
Near the base of Mt. Kinabalu is Poring Hot Springs, Japanese-style onsen tubs that were first built during the occupation of WWII. A number of hot and cold, private and public pools are available. There is also a canopy walk nearby, where you can wander through treetops hundreds of feet above the jungle floor.
Tambunan Rafflesia Reserve
Drive to the Tambunan Rafflesia Reserve, out in the Crocker Range Mountains, where you can see the indigenous rafflesia, the largest flower in the world.
Tunku Abdul Rahman National Marine Park
Spend the day visiting the nearby Tunku Abdul Rahman National Marine Park, a series of beautiful islands just a short boat ride from the city center. Go snorkeling or swimming and just enjoy the beach.
Start at the Atkinson Clock Tower and wend your way to Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, a major thoroughfare near the center of the city. If you are near Gaya Street at lunch, be sure to stop in one of its delicious local eateries. End up at the Signal Hill Observatory, which is an excellent location to watch the sunset.
Explore in-depth information, experiences and highlights by navigating to specific regions using the links below on the right.
Kota Kinabalu Itineraries
- 7 days / 6 nights
- Price Per Person
- From $4,700
- 7 days / 6 nights
- Price Per Person
- From $6,500
- 6 days / 5 nights
- Price Per Person
- From $3,900
The highly anticipated white-sand beach getaway will provide guests with unparalleled comfort along the sunny shores of Sabah, Malaysia. A new node in the Alila Hotels and Resorts luxury brand, the beach front resort offers 152 bedroom and suite options along with 74 private ownership villas with one and two-bedroom options. Never far from the sound of rolling waves, the hotel houses diverse dining options, sky lounge and bar, kid's club, library, boutique shops, swimming pools, outdoor wedding chapel, and events center. The villas are nestled within the 5-hectre estate, amongst meticulously maintained gardens, forests, and water features. All villas are connected to the beach and lagoon areas and furnishes panoramic views of the Mengkabong River. Inspired by Borneo's longhouses, the villages merge refined character with the spirit of the region. Constructed with local timbers, off-form concrete, woven rattan, painted screens, and tribal artefacts, these villas represent a balance of both chic and ecologically smart design. Rooms are designed to allow natural airflow and equipped with luxurious private swimming pools to ensure maximum comfort. Conveniently situated, the beachfront resorts are only a short drive from Kota Kinabalu and Mount Kinabalu.
Surrounded by 400 acres of lush tropical vegetation, some of which is in a nature reserve, the Shangri-La Rasa Ria is set on a beach looking out onto Dalit Bay. The resort’s 490 rooms, all featuring traditional Malaysian decor, complimentary broadband Internet access and cable television, are divided between the freshly renovated Garden Wing and the new Ocean Wing. Visitors should note that the Rasa Ria resort also operates an adjoining nature reserve and orangutan rehabilitation center. Some of the wildlife inhabiting the reserve include the icon of Sabah, the orangutan, as well as various hornbill bird species, peacocks, bear cats, wild rabbits, iguanas and more. A highlight of the resort’s recreational offerings is the tandem 18-hole Dalit Bay Golf Club & Spa. Dining options include Tepi Laut Makan Street, conjuring the delectable world of Malaysian street food stalls; Kozan for Japanese teppan-yaki (hot-plate grilled dishes); Naan, which serves northern Indian cuisine; and several terrace bar/lounge options. The Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort is a 40-minute drive from Kota Kinabalu International Airport and about 30 minutes north of Kota Kinabalu town.
Located just 10 minutes from the center of Kota Kinabalu, the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort’s 492 rooms are divided between two wings – the Kinabalu Wing, with views of the ocean and Mt. Kinabalu, and the Tanjung Wing, with views of the South China Sea. All rooms come with complimentary broadband Internet access and satellite television. Dining options include Café Tatu for breakfast and dinner, where a variety of open cooking stations offer Mongolian, Tandoori, Asian noodles, dim sum, pasta, and more; Coco Joe’s Bar & Grill, a beach barbecue restaurant; Peppino for Italian and Mediterranean in a chic setting; and Shang Palace for gourmet, traditional Chinese. There are also three bar/lounge options. The property’s CHI Spa comprises five individual Island Villas, three Couples’ Villas and an open Yoga Pavilion, all located on Pulau Bayu, the resort’s private island, and there is also a state-of-the-art health club with juice bar and sauna. The Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort is a 10-minute drive from Kota Kinabalu Airport.
Pendant Hut at Laban Rata
Malaysia Goes Well With
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
An Asia-focused magazine brought to you by Remote Lands - a platform for adventure, luxury, and authenticity from experts and explorers around the continent.
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