Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Kota Kinabalu Landmark Kota Kinabalu Landmark

Kota Kinabalu, formerly known as Jesselton, is the capital of the state of Sabah, which is located in East Malaysia. It is also the capital of the West Coast Division of Sabah. The city is located along the northwest coast of Borneo facing the South China Sea. The Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park lies on its west and Mount Kinabalu, which gave the city its name, is located towards the east.

Culture & Heritage

The Padang Merdeka or Town Field is the site where the declaration of Sabah's independence and formation of Malaysia took place. Another popular place is the Atkinson Clock Tower near Bandaran Berjaya which was built by Mary Edith Atkinson in 1905 in memory of her son, Francis George Atkinson. It was formerly used as a navigation aid for ships. It is only one of three pre-World War II buildings to survive the war. There are a number of cultural venues in Kota Kinabalu. The Sabah State Museum, situated near the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, is the main museum of Sabah. In the vicinity of the museum are the Science and Technology Centre, Sabah Art Gallery, and the Ethno Botanic Gardens. Wisma Budaya Art Gallery in the city centre hosts some national as well as regional art exhibitions.


Tanjung Aru, located about 6 kilometres from the city centre, is one of the beaches along the West Coast. Its name was derived from the casuarina trees (locally called Aru trees) that grow on the shoreline. The Tun Mustapha Tower, formerly Sabah Foundation Building, is about a 10-minute drive from the city centre. This 30-storey glass building is supported by high-tensile steel rods, one of only three buildings in the world that is built using this method.

Food & Drink

Seafood in Kota Kinabalu is very popular, so getting a dose of it is a must. Here are some places to try Kampung Nelayan Floating Seafood Market Restaurant, New Gaya Seafood Restaurant and many more.


Kota Kinabalu Handicraft Market, formerly known as "Pasar Filipino", is synonymous with pearls, local handicrafts, home decorations and lately crystals. You can also find souvenirs such as keychains, t-shirts with Sabah themes, carved wooden statues, batiks and sarongs, rattan handicraft and floor mats, Islamic calligraphy and broaches. Kota Kinabalu also features a number of shopping malls. These include Kompleks Karamunsing, Centre Point, Wisma Merdeka, Warisan Square, Plaza Wawasan, Kompleks Asia City, City Mall, KK Plaza, Suria Sabah and 1Borneo, which is the largest hypermall in Kota Kinabalu.

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