Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain in all Southeast Asia (4,101 m). The mountain and its surroundings are among the most important biological sites in the world, with over 4500 species of plant, 326 species of birds, and 100 mammalian species identified. Among this rich collection of wildlife are famous species such as the gigantic Rafflesia plants and the orangutan. The name “Kinabalu” originated from the local dusun word “Aki Nabalu”, means the revered place of the dead. In the past, the local believe that Mount Kinabalu was the place where the spirits of the dead rested.
The new Taman Perdana park, a stone’s throw away from the Tanjung Aru beach is set to be the latest recreational facility. The park’s design pays homage to the identity of Sabah by incorporating architectural designs reminiscent of the old government quarters during the British administration complemented with soft landscapes. Among its features are a musical fountain, free purified water, handicapped- friendly, a containerised stage that could be used for cultural shows, reflexology footpaths and exercise areas.
SABAH STATE MUSEUM and HERITAGE VILLAGE
Built in 1985, the Museum complex is sited where then British North Borneo Governor's Istana was once located. The Museum consists of the Main Building, Science and Education Centre, Heritage Village, Sabah Art Gallery and Museum of Islamic Civilization. Inside are various Galleries housing Natural History, Ceramics, Ethnography and Archaeology exhibits, among others. There is a Heritage Village on the Museum grounds where you can enter and experience different types of traditional houses of the various indigenous groups of Sabah.
SABAH STATE MOSQUE
One of the most outstanding pieces of architecture in Sabah is none other than the State Mosque. With its majestic dome and stunning gold inlay motifs, the mosque sits a stone's throw away from the city centre. It is a unique combination of prevailing Islamic architecture and contemporary design.
SIGNAL HILL OBSERVATORY PLATFORM
Signal Hill, the highest point in the city, is one of the best places to get a good view of Kota Kinabalu. 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 of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and further.
TANJUNG ARU BEACH
The name derived from the casuarinas or aru trees along the fine sands is a must place to visit, to watch the greatest sunset as the crimson sun dips slowly into the horizon leaving the vast skies a brilliant red. There are food stalls serving local food such as chicken or beef satay, steamed peanuts and corn; coconut and sugarcane juice or you may opt to indulge in a full-course dinner at the seafood restaurant located there.
THE GREEN CONNECTION
This family-friendly conservation centre aims at showcasing the uniqueness of Sabah’s aquatic biodiversity. It also plans to promote awareness regarding the importance of nature and wildlife conservation through fun and interactive educational activities. The Green Connection offers the experience of strolling through limestone caves, dense jungles, mangrove area, coral reefs of Sipadan, the Northern Tip of Borneo, and Pulau Tiga.
THE TIP OF BORNEO - TANJUNG SIMPANG MENGAYAU
This dramatic headland is situated in the northern-most tip of BORNEO, the third largest island in the world, after Greenland and New Guinea. It is located in the Kudat Peninsula, about three and a half hours (or 215 kilometres) drive from Kota Kinabalu City. Simpang Mengayau means 'lingering junction' as it is here that the South China Sea lingers and meets the Sulu Seas flowing from the east ... Enjoy the stunning view. The sunsets and full moons are just beautiful ... The Pulau Kalampunian lighthouse is a reminder of treacherous coastline and past shipwrecks. On the left is the beautiful beach of Pantai Kalampunian.
TUNKU ABDUL RAHMAN PARK
The marine park is a cluster of islands comprising Pulau Gaya, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamutik and Pulau Sulug, all only 10 - 20 minute speedboat ride from the city of Kota Kinabalu. The five islands of the Marine Park are characterized by shallow waters, sumptuous coral gardens and all boast splendid white sandy beaches.
PADAS RIVER WHITE WATER RAFTING
Looking for some serious wet and wild fun? Then get ready to strap on your life jacket and safety helmet to brave the raging Padas River for some rafting adventure. This exhilarating excursion covers a distance of 30 kilometers—making it the longest rafting route in Borneo by far. Padas River has also been rated to have some of the best and safest rapids in South East Asia. It is suitable for rafters aged 12 to 55.
A popular hangout for both locals and visitors alike and a one-stop dining and entertainment centre. Have a taste of Indian cuisine, fusion food or indulge in a great seafood selection. In the evening, the Waterfront comes to life at various after-hours hangouts as you enjoy happy hours at The Loft, Cock & Bull and Shamrock. Paint the town red at BED (Best Entertainment Destination), one of the biggest dance clubs in Sabah. Dazzling lights, pulsating rhythms and a fantastic blend of energy makes The Waterfront a must-visit during your time in Kota Kinabalu.
MONSOPIAD CULTURAL VILLAGE
16 km or about half an hour away from the KK City Centre, Kotos Di Monsopiad or Monsopiad's Main House is dedicated to the life and times of Monsopiad and his descendants. On display are ceramic jars, padi grinders, bamboo items as well as the costume of Bobohizan Inai Bianti, direct descendant of Monsopiad and very senior high priestess. Other interesting exhibits include the massive monolith which invokes a dozen legends, the traditional restaurant and of course Siou Do Mohoing, or the House of Skulls, where all 42 'trophies' of Monsopiad hang from the rafters.
Situated near the sea, this majestic white mosque boasts similar features to the Nabawi Mosque in Medina. This floating mosque is by far the largest mosque in Kota Kinabalu, and even possibly the most beautiful one in Malaysia. The man-made lagoon which surrounds it gives a serenely gorgeous and dramatic look to the mosque on a full moon night.
GAYA STREET SUNDAY MARKET
Every Sunday morning from 6.30am to 1pm, Gaya Street is closed off to traffic to make way for the Fair. Shop for anything from batik sarongs, fruits and flowers, arts and craft, footwear, antiques and souvenirs, cakes, even pets and herbs. This is the best place to experience the cross-section of the local population when entire families enjoy a Sunday outing.
Surrounded by famous landmarks such as the Hyatt Regency hotel, Cocoon bar, and Wisma Merdeka shopping complex, this esplanade is a perfect place to chill out and enjoy the atmosphere of KK city. Overlooking the sea, the esplanade also serves as a strategic place to catch a beautiful sunset after a long, hard day.
LOK KAWI WILDLIFE PARK
The Lok Kawi Wildlife park is located along the Penampang-Papar old road. Among the inhabitants of the zoo are the Borneo Pygmy elephants, Sumatran rhinoceros, Orang Utan, Proboscis monkey, Malayan tiger, as well as some different species of deer. The park also offers visitors the opportunity to go jungle trekking along the 1.4 kilometres botanical trail.
MARI MARI CULTURAL VILLAGE
Situated amidst a remote forest setting in Kionsom, Inanam; 25 minutes away from city, is the Mari Mari Cultural Village. There are demonstration huts along the main houses where the daily routines of traditional Sabahan life come alive. You will get a chance to see blowpipe-making demonstration, fire-starting demonstration using bamboo, tattoo-making demonstration as well as explanations regarding its symbolisms, and so on.