Seven Things to know before you visit Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Borneo



 
Ocean view on Manukan island, next to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Borneo

Seven Things to know before you visit Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Borneo

If you are looking for deep jungle hikes, amazing seafood, a very large mountain and a cozy backpacker home base in Sabah, Borneo; Kota Kinabalu might just be the perfect place for you.The number of varied things you can do in and around Kota Kinabalu and in the rest of Sabah on your holiday in Borneo is quite astounding.

Stay for as long as you want in Kota Kinabalu. Hence, there are quite a lot of different options when it comes to accommodation. Meaning you will be able to switch your lodging every couple of days.

Here are seven things you need to know before you visit Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Borneo.

Those beautiful islands on the horizon

Yes, those little black bumps you see on the horizon when you are dining at the seaside in Kota Kinabalu, they really are beautiful little islands.

You also have the option to visit these islands by boat. They can make a great addition to your holiday in Sabah, Borneo.

Ocean next to Manukan island. The aquamarine ocean at Manukan island.

 

The islands of Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Borneo are beautiful and unique in their own way.

Gaya, Manukan, and Sapi are the most popular islands near Kota Kinabalu. The unity of these small islands forms a national marine conservation area that is home to quite unique flora and fauna.

Manukan island, being the most popular one, has some of the best beaches in Sabah, Borneo.

From Kota Kinabalu, take a small ‘ferry’ boat to Manukan island or any of the other islands.

Boat to Manukan island from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Borneo Boat to Manukan island from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Borneo

 

You can also do a combo of visiting 2 islands in 1 day. The boat pilot will come and pick you up at a certain time on the first island and will drop you off at the following island.

The boat pilot will come and pick you up at a certain time on the first island and will drop you off at the next island. After a full day of fun, the boat pilot will come and pick you up to drop you off at Kota Kinabalu.

Keep in mind that you’ll have to agree upon the timings up front before you will arrive. Most likely, the boat pilot will ask you when he should come and pick you up again.

The boat ride won’t take very long. It can be a bit of a bumpy ride though.

Boat to Manukan island from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Borneo Another view on the boat to Manukan island from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Borneo

 

The natural environment around the tropical island around Kota Kinabalu is truly stunning.

It makes a perfect full-day trip to go and relax on one of the beaches here and to have a refreshing swim in the ocean.

There are also a few restaurants on some of the small islands.

Manukan island pier, next to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Borneo Manukan island pier. This is where you arrive with the transfer boat from Kota Kinabalu.
Manukan island beach, next to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Borneo Manukan island beach.
Beach of Manukan island, next to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Borneo Another view of the beach on Manukan island.
Ocean view on Manukan island, next to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Borneo Ocean view on Manukan island, which has some of the best beaches in Sabah, Borneo.

Search for one of the rarest jungle flowers

Yes, that’s right. You can go search for one of the rarest jungle flowers in the world when you are in Kota Kinabalu.

A special jungle area, where some of these rare flowers grow, is located about a 1-hour drive away from Kota Kinabalu. But, you’ll have to be lucky to actually see one bloom.

The Rafflesia flower in the Borneo jungle is quite a thing. Actually something you’ll want to see at least once in your lifetime.

The Rare and beautiful Rafflesia Flower in the Borneo Jungle. The Rare and beautiful Rafflesia Flower in the Borneo Jungle.

The fish market in Kota Kinabalu is a seafood heaven

People who love seafood will very likely enjoy the fish market in Kota Kinabalu.

Everything from clams, to fresh lobsters, amazing fish and crab are for sale in this market. Choose your seafood right at market watch it get grilled on the barbeque. Bon Appetit!

Kota kinabalu fish market: octopus A market table full of fresh seafood at the Kota Kinabalu fish market.

A beautiful mountain is located just next to Kota Kinabalu

Mount Kinabalu is the second largest mountain in South-East Asia. It is a great hike to climb up to the top. The views up there are literally stunning.

Here is a great guide with good advice about the climb to Mount Kinabalu.

Visit the Orangutan Rehabilitation Center during a day-tour

The orangutan rehabilitation center in Sabah is a great place for spotting a wild orangutan in the jungle. It’s ethically and ecologically the best place for spotting an orangutan. Better here than at a zoo.

The place is ethically and ecologically the best place for spotting an orangutan. Better to see one in the wild jungle than to see one locked up at a zoo, right?

The restaurants and  bars are quite good

Along the ocean side, there are several quality restaurants that offer a nice view of the ocean and good food.

The bars and clubs in Kota Kinabalu can also be quite fun for a night out drinking or playing games on a table outside on the pier.

Ocean side view in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Borneo Ocean side view of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Borneo

Want to know if you need to book a tour in Sabah?

No, you don’t need to book a tour when you are in Sabah, Borneo.

But it can be very convenient to have a drop-off and pick-up arranged. So booking a tour might be a very good idea whenever you want everything to be arranged for you.

Take a look at the offer of day-tours in Sabah, Borneo from Kota Kinabalu.

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