About Kota Kinabalu
Kota Kinabalu, the capital of the state of Sabah in East Malaysia, is home to a plethora of flora and fauna and is renowned for being a nature lover’s haven. The mountain ranges in the background wherever you go are a sight to behold, with Mount Kinabalu being the 5th tallest peak in South-East Asia.
Here are 5 things worth checking out when you’re in Kota Kinabalu.
1. Rumah Terbalik (Upside Down House)
This attraction needs no further explanation. This is a house standing on its roof, with upside down bedrooms, a kitchen, and a toilet. Visitors can take pictures with the house on the outside for free, but entrance fees are RM10.00 for local residents and RM18.00 for tourists to enter the house. Personally I felt it wasn’t worth paying to enter the house for a few pieces of upside down furniture, but the surrounding installments make for a good photo opportunity. You can also get some cool souvenirs from the gift shop. You can also check out Jensen's article on Rumah Terbalik from when he visited this attraction with his family.
2. Gerai Pekan Nabalu
This marketplace in the mountains was a new experience for me. Kota Kinabalu doesn’t have much to offer to shopaholics but you can get your hands on lovely batik sarongs and handmade leather souvenirs at this place filled with free-running friendly puppies. If shopping is not your thing you can also soak in the magnificent views of the surrounding mountains over a hot cup of teh tarik and some honest mee goreng.
3. Filipino Night Markets
Given its geographical proximity to the Philippines, Kota Kinabalu has an eclectic blend of cultures and traditions - the Filipino night markets held in the town square are proof of this. Besides fresh and dried produce the markets also offer a wide variety of food and drinks. I saw rows upon rows of seafood and other goodies. I tried some chicken wings that turned out moist and flavourful. I highly recommend getting your hands on some of the fresh pisang goreng still warm and crispy from the hot oil. You’ll get approximately 10 pieces for about RM2.00! What a steal!
4. Poring Hot Springs
Initially discovered and developed by the Japanese during the Second World War, Poring Hot Springs is now a popular tourist destination for visitors to Kota Kinabalu. The site offers both public and private baths and charge per hour at about RM10.00 to RM15.00 per person. There is also a Canopy Walkway in the same premises as the hot springs where bringing a camera in is chargeable at RM5.00 and a video camera at RM30.00. It’s best to just declare and pay at the start because they have park rangers stationed at every tower to check for receipts.
5. Kampung Nelayan
This massive floating seafood restaurant doesn’t just offer food. Patrons can enjoy highly interactive entertainment on weekend evenings including various ethnic dances and songs from the region. I was nominated to go up to try the bamboo dance. Thankfully I didn’t embarrass myself!
Visit Kota Kinabalu!
Going to Kota Kinabalu was definitely an eye-opener for me. Who knew we had such beautiful mountain ranges so close to home? Just 20 minutes away from the mainland there are also a few small islands worth exploring though unfortunately we didn’t have the luxury of time for it.
Thanks Tourism Malaysia for hosting us and showing us the untouched natural beauty of Kota Kinabalu.
Note: Foreigners traveling to Sabah will need a separate stamp on their passports, so remember to bring your passport when you go for a visit. Sabah is two and a half hours by plane from Singapore.
This post was brought to you by Tourism Malaysia.