The City of Kota Kinabalu is the capital of Sabah. Located on the west coast of “the Land below the Wind”, under the watchful eye of majestic Mount Kinabalu, and on the fringes of the South China Sea, Kota Kinabalu is the bustling and colourful gateway to Sabah. Here you find an international airport, world class hotels, innumerable restaurants and cafes, shopping malls and business districts. We call this fast developing and modern city with some 350,000 inhabitants simply and affectionately KK!
There are a few heritage buildings and areas retained since the colonial era such as Atkinson Clock Tower, Sabah Tourism Building, Buildings along the stretch of Gaya Street. Transportation wise, there is a feeder bus that circles the inner city area but all areas with the city area can be covered by foot. The nearby Tunku Abdul Rahman Parks serves as the nearest island attraction point for visitors and locals.
The state capital has many places of interest. It is a city popular with foreigners and locals alike, and the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, adjacent to the city is one of the top tourist destinations, perfect for relaxing, snorkelling and a wide variety of water sports. Other places of interest include the Signal Hill Observatory, offering a bird’s view of the city; the Tun Mustapha Tower – a unique 30-storey building (it is a circular structure supported by high tensile steel rods, an architectural and engineering marvel, and one of only four such buildings in the world; it is Sabah’s highest tower); the State Mosque, resplendent with its majestic domes and golden motifs is the central place of worship for KK’s Muslim population; the new Likas Mosque, the largest in the state; and the Likas Bird Sanctuary.
The State Museum – based on the architecture of Murut and Rungus longhouses has several galleries exhibiting, among others, a cluster of human skulls from Sabah’s headhunting past, totemic figures, old photographs, valuable ancient pottery from all over South East Asia and antique Korans. In the Heritage Village of the museum you will find numerous life-size replicas of the traditional houses of the many ethnic entities in Sabah.
The Sabah Tourism Board building is a heritage itself, formerly serving as a postal office, and once facing a beautiful stretch of sandy beach now reclaimed lands with a former railway track that used to be behind it is now a tightly protected symbol of the once short-lived British Colonial Era. The building is the first tourist helpdesk which unfortunately isn’t 24 hours operational but the locals will be glad to help you bump around.
Major shopping malls are located along the main artery of Kota Kinabalu, and you can find just about anything from branded goods to local handicrafts. Recreational activities in KK include diving, a mere 15 minutes from the city in the crystal clear waters of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park! The ferries to the park leave from Jesselton Point at the northern end of the City.