Kota Kinabalu

The city Kota Kinabalu (KK, formerly known as Jesselton) has a population of 600,000 and lies directly at the South China Sea. It is a lively city with some great places to eat and if you are into good, fresh and cheap seafood the filipino barbecue stalls at the large night market may very well become one of your favorite spots in all of Borneo. There are many good restaurants at the waterfront east of the market but they are all made for tourists and pretty expensive. Some of the chinese coffee shops in town offer pretty cheap beer in the evenings (3 cans for RM12) and we had a quite few sets with Leon and Julie.

Sunset at the waterfront

We absolutely loved the sweet, yellow mango they sell at the markets btw. Beware if you‘re german and like Mangos though, you won‘t touch the stuff they sell in Germany again after you had one of these!

Near the jetty, KK

KK also has some good beaches, some west of the city at the coast and many more on the 5 tropical islands of Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, which can be reached in 30 minutes from the jetty in the eastern part. It is also the city closest to Kinabalu National Park (90km, 2h by bus or minivan) which surrounds the impressive 4095m mountain that towers above Sabah and gave both the park and the city their names: Mount Kinabalu.

The city has more tourists than any other place we visited and almost everything costs a bit more there btw. And it has by far the worst traffic.

Houses in KK

We stayed in KK for 7 nights but this number is misleading because it includes 3 day trips to Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, 1 day trip to Kinabalu National Park and a tour to Lok Waki Wildlife Park. The latter was surprisingly good with many local animals and a great aviary.

large Birdie at the aviary, Lok Waki Wildlife Park

Sumatran Tiger, Lok Waki Wildlife Park

Salt water crocodiles, Lok Waki Wildlife Park